(Shop Local) Fire up that grill with these hot tips for summer

Master the grill with these tips from Seth McManigle, manager at Solenberger Hardware in Winchester and self-proclaimed grill enthusiast.

“A great dinner prepared on a grill doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive,” McManigle said. “You just have to know how to work those flames.”

McManigle said clean grates, a well-worked flame and quality ingredients allow him to whip up any meal at a moments notice. His favorite grillable items include salam, steak, chicken and a wide assortment of vegetables.

Clean last week’s charred remains

“Regular grill cleanings are very beneficial,” he said. “Not only do they maintain the grill itself but also ensures the best possible outcome for your meal’s taste and its appearance. Food and oil often stick to the grates, which can transfer residues onto what you’re cooking next.”

No one wants a burger seasoned with lighter fluid.

Gas vs. Charcoal

“This is an old age debate,” he said. “And honestly a personal opinion.”

McManigle said he personally grills with a pellet grill because it gives his food a more wood fire flavor. Hardwood pellets come in a wide variety of flavors that include mesquite, cherry, apple and maple and can be purchased at Solenberger’s.

“It really comes down to cost, flavor and convenience,” he said. “Some people like the flavor of charcoal more than gas because its smoker- charcoal when mixed with smoke from wood chips or chunks makes a distinctive flavor typical of traditional southern barbecue.”

Get it Hot

“Always preheat your grill roughly 15 to 20 minutes before you start to cooking to make sure it reaches the correct temperature,” he said. “It also ensures that any lingering bacteria that may be growing on the grates is killed.”

Surface temperature for the grill

400-450 for high heat

350-400 for medium to high heat

300 to 350 for medium heat

250-300 for low to medium heat

250 and below for low heat

“A property heated grill will sear foods on contact,” he said. “Allowing the moisture and flavor to remain inside.”

Know your grill’s personality

“Once you learn the proper way to grill it really doesn’t matter what type of grill you use as long as you enjoy the outcome,” he said. “Again it all comes back to personal opinion.

Learning to grill like a professional isn’t difficult. It just takes a little knowledge and understanding.

A couple helpful tips

Always keep an eye on what you’re grilling.

Have the proper grilling tools to do the job.

Oil the food, not the grill.

Spice food in advance.

Be creative but careful.

Solenberger’s Hardware sells a wide variety of grills ranging from $100, for the “everydayer” to $1,000 for the ultimate master griller and everyone in-between.

“We see such a wide range of shoppers come in looking to buy or upgrade their grills every summer,” he said. “Sometimes they know exactly what they want and other times they have no idea.”

With over ten styles of grills to pick from, grillers of all levels are sure to find one that suits their grilling needs.

McManigle added that his trusty staff will even put the grill together for those unsure of how to do it.

“It’s a small thing. But we’ve done it a few times and are glad to be of help to anyone who walks through our doors.”

Need thongs, skewers, propane or charcoal? McManigle said they sell it all. Except for the meat.

“The most important thing to remember about grilling is to have fun,” he said. “Anyone can be a pit master with the proper grill and utensils. But it ultimately comes down to the fun. “