I am a huge fan of fire, in its respected place. I love putting various food items over fire regularly and with malice. Beef, pork or fowl (and even fruits or vegetables!) are likely to find their way between my tongs over the wonderful aroma of burning charcoal or propane. Lately I’m experimenting with the various kinds of wood chips to produce different flavors on whatever is over the fire.
To summarize, I like food with grill marks on it. I’m a fan. Now here’s the question: How many of the residents at our properties are fans? Does the property have a picnic or common area with an area to allow safe grilling? If so, is that grill or area listed on the preventative maintenance schedule like other common areas?
Here are some tips to add to the schedule, especially during peak grilling season:
- At least daily, open up the grill and verify that it is not lit or hot if not in use.
- Periodically clean the inside of the grill. Charcoal grills require this more often than gas grills do.
- Depending on usage, completely clean the grates, baskets or racks. In many cases, this can be performed in a vacant apartment by running the items for a cycle in the dishwasher with detergent, using the heavy duty pots and pans setting. (Don’t forget to remove any large stuck-on food before placing it in the dishwasher.)
- If using a gas grill, consider replacing the briquettes or lava rock with generic heat plates. This will cut down on the possibility of flare ups and ease cleaning efforts.
- Don’t forget the area around the grill. Ensure that the area under the grill is flame safe and that all landscaping doesn’t blow into the fire area.
- Keep an eye on signage, trash can liners and supplies for the “pet potty” station to ensure good curb appeal.
With the grill area operating in peak form, why not use it for a resident function or two? Here are some ideas:
- Host a cooking challenge between the property management staff and the community. Invite the local fire department to be judges. (Maybe they will even bring chili ... yum.)
- Grill fruit and use it to make homemade ice cream.
- Collect resident recipes by email and compile into a community book. (I’ve even seen one property sell it, and the proceeds went to a local charity.)
- With a little creativity the grill can be used to toast marshmallows to make s’mores.
- Provide some mason jars with holes in the lids and have a lightning bug party. (Be sure to have a “catch and release” policy in place.)
It’s easy for a grilling or picnic area to get overlooked. With these tips your property can not only have residents, but also an elite group of Grill Masters.
See you somewhere...
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When not grilling or eating his concoctions, Paul is providing education for NAAEI as their National Maintenance and Safety Instructor. He travels the country teaching all aspects of property maintenance. He also believes that apple wood-smoked peaches will be served over homemade vanilla ice-cream in heaven.