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Three Lefse Grill Tune-up Tips

These probe controls for the lefse grill can burn out with long use.

I have four lefse grills that I use for my lefse classes and for market demonstrations, but only one was reliable … usually. The others were iffy in providing heat consistent enough for a productive lefse-making session. With the pandemic, I did my lessons using Zoom or had very small classes, which meant I could get by with one grill. I expect larger classes this year, so I will need to use more than one grill. This means tuning up my grills or replacing them.

My grandson Zo had a baseball tournament last summer at the Field of Dreams complex in Dyersville, Iowa. This is close to Cresco, Iowa, where the Bethany Housewares lefse grill assembly plant is. I called Bethany owner Roxy Svoboda (featured in Keep On Rolling!) and asked if she would tune up my grills when I drove home from the tournament. She said sure and even came to the plant on a Sunday to check out the grills.

Roxie fixed all four and my cost was about the same as buying one new grill. She said the grill itself will last for decades, but the parts in the electrical unit need care. Here are three tips:

  • Rub the prongs with steel wool. The two prongs inside the shield attached to the grill can get corroded from age and flour dust. This corrosion can mess up the connection to the replacement probe control that holds the temperature-control dial, and getting heat adequate for grilling can be problematic. Corrosion can lead to a loose connection and burning out the probe control (see image above). So shine the prongs with a fine steel wool as needed to restore optimum connection.
  • Use two replacement probe controls. The manual of the grill states that if your lefse-making session lasts more than 1.5 hours, you should switch out the replacement probe control with a second one. Temperatures near or at 500 degrees Fahrenheit over time are hard on the plastic of the probe control, so use a second one to protect this vital unit from burning out.
Have a second replacement probe control, and alternate them every 1.5 hours of use during your long lefse-making sessions.
  • Do not unplug your replacement probe control from the grill. I always used to pull the replacement probe control from the grill after making lefse. But I noticed that unplugging became easier and easier over time, which meant that the electrical connection between the grill and probe control was getting looser and looser. And this was reducing the heat generated on the grill. Now, I leave the probe control alone and store the cooled grill with probe control firmly connected. A new probe control should not insert easily into the grill; a firm push is needed and you know that the connection is tight. Repeatedly pulling the probe out and pushing it back in only loosens the connection, so leave the probe control connected to the grill when you are done.
Leave your replacement probe control connected to the grill after making lefse. Don’t pull the probe control out but store the cooled grill and probe control connected.
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