Basic Maintenance is the Secret to Better Tasting Food and Overall Lifespan of Grill

3:57 PM, Apr 25, 2011   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- The 20th Annual Marc's Great American Rib Cook Off & Music Festival presented by Time Warner Cable, The Plain Dealer, WKYC-TV3 and marks the beginning of grilling season in Northeast Ohio. Before you enjoy a good ribbing, give the backyard grill a basic tune-up to be sure it's safe and functional.  

Northeast Ohio's most rockin' Rib Cook Off is celebrating its 20th anniversary in a new downtown Cleveland location.  After years at Time Warner Cable Amphitheater at Tower City, the newly named Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica and adjacent Nautica Entertainment Complex will host the 2011 Marc's Great American Rib Cook Off & Music Festival. The landmark venue on the West Bank of the Flats is located along the Cuyahoga River behind The Powerhouse in downtown Cleveland. For a map and driving directions, visit

Don't let a burnt burger or BBQ bone get in the way of a sizzling Memorial Day weekend celebration.  Even the professional pit masters who trek across the country know that preparing a backyard meal with an open flame begins long before the meat hits the grill.

"We have to keep our grills in safe working condition in order to cook and serve the big Cook Off crowds," said Dave Amstutz, owner of Jack on the Bone in Massillon, Ohio, and winner of the 2010 "Greatest Ribs in America" prize.  "Keeping your grill in top shape also protects the flavor of the ribs. Plus, it's harder to burn ribs when the grill is squeaky clean."

According to Amstutz, taking care of the grill is the secret ingredient to blue ribbon barbecue. Follow these professional tips as a rule of flame for smarter, safer, better-tasting barbecue:

Basic Upkeep

• At least once a year, use a bucket of soapy water and give the grill a good cleaning.
• If your grill is showing signs of rust, purchase a can of grill safe paint for a quick fix.
• After every use, clean grate with stiff wire brush while the grill is still warm.

Gas Grills

• Inspect your burner and gas supply tubes for spider webs, grease build-up and rusted out areas, which can ultimately slow the flow of gas.
• Check all gas connections to be sure they are tight and not leaking.
• Lift out the cooking grate and clean off the barrier above the burners.

Charcoal Grills

• Clean the grate and brush out the ashes to cut excess smoke and bad flavors.
• Replace lava rocks or ceramic briquettes to avoid bad tasting smoke produced by dirty rocks.

Quick Clean-Up

• Before lighting the grill, apply non-stick spray on the grates to cut down clean-up time.
• For charcoal grills, line the bowl with aluminum foil then simply discard the cooled foil filled with coals and ash.

Grilling Essentials

• Multipurpose utensils such as long-handled tongs, spatulas and forks are "must haves" for the grill.
• Keep a full, spare propane tank handy so you never run out of fuel.
• Keep a shaker jar filled with baking soda handy in case of flare-ups.


Friday, May 27        11 a.m. to 11 p.m.   

Saturday, May 28      Noon to 11 p.m.   

Sunday, May 29        Noon to 11 p.m.   

Monday, May 30        Noon to 8 p.m.     

The 20th Annual Marc's Great American Rib Cook Off & Music Festival has moved to the newly named Jacobs Pavilion and the adjacent Nautica Entertainment Complex on the West Bank of the Flats in downtown Cleveland. For more details, new venue information or driving directions, visit the festival's new and official website or call the Jacobs Pavilion Box Office at 216.622.6557.  

General admission is FREE UNTIL 3PM EVERYDAY compliments of Ohio Natural Gas, the official gas provider for Live Nation and House of Blues Cleveland. Adult general admission is ONLY $5 with coupon from Marc's or with online coupon from  Kids 12 and under are FREE everyday, all hours.  Entertainment continues to be FREE with paid general admission.  

20th Anniversary Rock & Ribs Dining Deal and Music Package!  Rib lovers can purchase this special offer while supplies last and receive $50 worth of food & beverage tickets and 2 FREE general admission tickets to the Rib Cook Off, which includes headline entertainment, for ONLY $28! That's a $66 value for only $28, plus applicable service fees. This limited time offer is available exclusively online beginning April 29 at

Advance general admission tickets and a limited number of Front-of-Stage General Admission "BBQ PIT" tickets for Seether and prime reserved seats for Collective Soul and Bruce Hornsby & the Noisemakers, which include admission to the Rib Cook Off, are on sale now at and all Ticketmaster locations. There are no discounts on advance general admission tickets or prime reserved seat tickets.

This Memorial Day weekend, play downtown and stay downtown at the Hilton Garden Inn Cleveland Downtown - the official hotel of Jacobs Pavilion and the Marc's Great American Rib Cook Off & Music Festival.  Contact the reservations desk at 216.658.6400 for details!


The 20th anniversary of the Marc's Great American Rib Cook Off & Music Festival is produced by Live Nation and co-presented by Time Warner Cable, The Plain Dealer, WKYC-TV3 and

Associate sponsors include Anheuser-Busch Inc., Akron-Canton Airport, Bluegreen Vacations, Bud Light, Clear Choice Custom LASIK Center, Constellation Wines, Hilton Garden Inn Downtown, House of LaRose, Kraft, Ohio Department of Tourism, Ohio Natural Gas, Nabisco, Renewal by Andersen, Scene Magazine, Snyder of Berlin Salty Snacks, Travelwise Vacations, Windows on the River, 96.5 KISS FM, 102.1 WDOK, 99.5 WGAR, WKNR 850, Majic 105.7, 100.7 WMMS, 106.5 The Lake, 98.5 WNCX, Q104, V107.3, WTAM 1100, Radio 92.3, 93.1 WZAK.  

Our 2011 charitable partner is Easter Seals.


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