Winter Grilling – 10 Best Practices

Winter Grilling – 10 Best Practices

Ah, to grill year-round. Outside of Southern California, Florida, and parts of Arizona, it may be instilled that when the snow starts falling, the grilling is over. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

With these ten best practices, anyone anywhere can grill throughout the coldest months of the year.

Best Practice #1 - Wear a good amount of clothes

Break out those winter clothes because you’re going to need them. Sweaters, jackets, warm shoes; wear as much as you can to keep from freezing your keester off while grilling. You’ll also want to wear heat-resistant grilling gloves (not mittens or snow gloves). What should you avoid wearing? Scarves, loose-fitted clothes, or anything that may catch fire when dangling too close to the flames.

Best Practice #2 – Stay outside (the grill, at least)

Avoid grilling inside a garage or under an unvented patio. Instead, keep your grill away from any combustible materials in a well-ventilated area. To keep the flame from blowing out with a powerful gust of wind, find a place with minimal wind and angle it away from the wind’s direction. As for you, stay inside as much as you can as the grill works its magic.

Best Practice #3 – Clear the way

It may feel like a chore when all you want to do is cook, but safety comes first. Remove any snow or ice that surrounds the grill to help the barbecue heat up faster. Then, clear a path from your home to the grill to rest assured you won’t sprain an ankle. Lastly, check for frozen lids or knobs. If you find them, use a hairdryer to thaw them out.

Best Practice #4 – Extra fuel is necessary

It’s cold outside, which means cooking time will need to be extended. Why? Because the grill takes longer to heat up. It also won’t burn as hot as it does during warmer weather. And what do longer cooking times equal? More power to fuel the flame. Whether it’s natural gas, propane, or charcoal, know that you will need more fuel to make the same amount of food. Be cautious when using propane as well. Depending on how cold it is, propane may remain a liquid and fail to power your grill properly.

Best Practice #5 – Keep it covered

Cold weather will do everything in its power to cool your grill and your food. Making sure the lid is closed while cooking will help cook your food faster. But you also want to remember to protect your grill with a heavy duty cover when not in use to keep the elements from causing any long-term damage.

Best Practice #6 – Keep it simple

Stick to what you know and love when grilling in cold weather. As mentioned above, constantly opening and closing the lid will continually expel heat and cause your food to take longer to cook. This could lead to burning or overcooking your food. Foods that include a lot of flipping, basting, experimentation, or a lot of attention may need to wait until the weather warms up.

Best Practice #7 – Patience

We may be tenderizing a dead cow, but it’s important to remember that colder weather means longer cook times. Plan on a longer pre-heat time and add more to time to your cooking schedule to accommodate fluctuations in heat and other factors. A good rule of thumb – double the pre-heat time you need in the summer. It may be harder to gauge correct temperatures when it’s cold and dark around the grill as well. Therefore, it’s good practice to use a meat thermometer as much as possible,

Best Practice #8 – Keep your food warm

This may seem like a no-brainer, but in cold weather, your cooked food will drop in temperature much faster once pulled off the grates. Prepare a warm server dish to transport your food to the warmth of your home prior to removing your food from the grill.

Best Practice #9 – Cast iron

As discussed in our blog titled “Cook With Iron,” cast iron heats up quickly and retains that heat longer. If you do not have cast iron cooking grates, it might be time to invest in some. It only adds to the strength of your cook.

Best Practice #10 – Stay lit

No, not that way. Because there are less daylight hours in the winter, you want to make sure you have ample lighting when heading out to cook your dinner as the sun sets.

Dec 20, 2023 DIY BBQ

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