WANTAGH N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Grilling season is upon us. Is your backyard barbecue ready for action?

CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff got some grilling tips from two names synonymous with barbecue on Long Island you should consider before your first summer cookout.

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Al Horowitz, better known as “Smokin’ Al” has cooked for thousands of Islander fans at the Coliseum.

The restaurateur pulled out his original backyard smoker for CBS2 to remind everyone the first step of grilling is cleaning – especially cleaning the outside of your barbeque.

Experts say it’s just as important to clean the outside of your barbecue. (Credit: CBS2)

“Even though I have a cover on it, dirt gets on it… the outside should be cleaned, you want it to be appetizing,” Horowitz said.

Next, do a safety check.

The experts at Jetmore in Wantgh recommend you turn on the tank and spray soapy water on hose connections.

“If it bubbles you have gas leak there, you should either retighten the connection or replace the hose, Jetmore manager Larry DiPalma said.

A leak is a fire hazard and so is grease.

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“We don’t suggest a power wash or anything like that, just a simple maintenance, cooking grids. Eliminate a build-up of grease.”

Experts say clean the grates too. You’ll need tools for tougher residue, which is also a bacterial hazard as well.

To make it easier on your post-grilling wash, experts say clean off gook right after you cook.

“It’s so easy, once you finish… just take a minute and clean off all your grates and get all that food off. Then you’re ready to go the next time,” Horowitz explained.

Don’t forget to clean the burners too.

“You can remove these heat plates… get to the burners which are underneath… you want to brush these down and make sure all the ports are not clogged with grease,” DiPalma added.

Smokin’ Al also recommends doing the “white bread test.” It will help you know your grill’s hot spots – so you don’t burn your food one section that’s hotter than the rest of your grill’s surface.

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Place slices of white bread across your active grill to see which ones burn faster. (Credit: CBS2)

If any of your safety checks should fail, it might be time to call a professional. A BBQ maintenance visit should run under $150.