Summer is here and you're already smelling hamburgers and hot dogs in the air. You've found the perfect little vacation rental and gathered all the supplies for the ultimate barbecue, but uh oh, you open the grill and you have no idea how to use it. Gas and charcoal grills are extremely different, and the skills are definitely not one size fits all. Never fear! Here's our complete guide to becoming a grilling master just in time for dinner.

Use These Tips To Properly Grill At Your Vacation Rental

How to use a charcoal grill:

There's nothing like the smell of firing up a charcoal grill to get those taste buds drooling. First things first, you never know how the last person left it. Empty the old ash in the bottom of the grill because it makes temperatures hard to control. Just scoop it into a bag and throw it away. Then, use a stiff bristled wire brush to scrub off any rust and food residue. Traditional briquettes are relatively inexpensive, easy to light, and burn long and steady. You can also go with lump charcoal for an intense, smoky flavor, but they're hotter and burn out faster. The easiest way to get your charcoal started is with a chimney. Stuff some newspaper in the bottom underneath the wire rack and fill the top with charcoal. Remove the top grate from the grill, place the chimney inside, and light the newspaper. Let it burn about 5-10 minutes until the charcoal is covered with white-gray ash. Then, wearing protective gloves, hold the chimney by the handles and carefully pour the charcoal into the grill. If you can't find a chimney, you can light the coals with lighter fluid. Start by arranging the charcoal in a neat mound. Add lighter fluid and light immediately. To simplify things even more, you can also buy match light charcoal that lights with a match! Once the coals are lit, put the grate back on and let it warm up for a few minutes before you start cooking. Once dinner is cooked, remember to clean the grill for the next vacationer. Use a stiff-wire grill brush to clean the grate when it's still hot.

How to use a gas grill:

Gas grills are a little more convenient to use than charcoal ones. You light it pretty much like you'd light your stove at home. Before you start, check the propane levels. Nothing ruins a barbecue like running out of gas halfway through cooking the meal! Then, open the grill lid so gas fumes don't collect inside. Slowly open the valve on the propane tank all the way and wait a minute for the gas to travel through the line. Turn on the burners and set them to high. You might be tempted to start cooking right away, but you still need to preheat the grill. Once the grill is lit, keep the lid closed for 10-15 minutes before you start cooking. Hopefully the last guest cleaned the grill before you came along, but if not, clean it once it's preheated. The food bits will come off easier when the grates are warm. Adjust the burners to your desired temperature and you're ready to rock. When you're done, make sure the valve is closed tightly on the propane to prevent leakage.

Grill master tricks:

1. Soak a paper towel in vegetable oil and thoroughly oil the grate to keep food from sticking.

2. Limit the number of times you open the lid. Your food will cook faster if you keep the grill closed.

This article was written by Lauren Gaw.