Winter Grilling 101


This time of year, you may be discouraged by the weather, but fear not!  If you’re properly prepared, you can continue grilling through the freezing temperatures and snow.  Here are the best winter grilling tips we’ve found, through our experience and through others’ experience:

  1. Clear all the snow off your grill before firing it up.  The grill will heat up faster and stay hot longer, and the melted snow won’t drip into it while you’re trying to cook.
  2. Make your grill easy to get to, and make sure the path from your house to the grill is completely clear.  All snow and ice should be removed.  You don’t want to slip on an icy deck with a plate full of food.
  3. Bundle up.  You want to stay warm, but make sure all scarves, sleeves, strings, and anything else that may dangle are tucked in and away from the flames.  Catching on fire would definitely ruin your day!
  4. Do NOT bring your grill inside, even in a garage or under an awning, no matter how tempting it is to be warm and dry while you cook.  Running a hot grill under cover is a major fire hazard for charcoal grills, and it can cause an unsafe buildup of propane with gas grills.
  5. Shield your grill from the wind if you can, but be sure to keep it at least 10 feet away from your house and any other combustible materials.
  6. Preheating your grill can take up to twice as long in sub-freezing temperatures, so leave yourself enough time for the process.
  7. Do as much preparation beforehand as possible.  Prepare all your sauces and rubs ahead of time to minimize the time you spend outside, and marinate your meat the night before.
  8. Cook with the lid closed.  This will help your grill retain as much heat as possible and cuts down on cooking time (and thus time spent outside).
  9. Use a meat thermometer to ensure your food is done.  Don’t go by cooking time alone; in frigid temperatures, times may vary significantly.
  10. Grill multiple meals on the same day.  If you’re planning to make 3 different meals this week, cook all your meat at the beginning of the week, so you only have to go outside once!
  11. Choose simple meals with fast cooking times.  Save the complex dishes with long cook times for when you’re not standing out in the cold waiting for it to be done.

To you brave winter grillers: through the snow, sleet, hail, and wintry mix, you persevere.  Have courage, stay warm, stay safe, and grill on.  Happy grilling!

Sources: TLC, Grilling Addiction, Consumer Reports


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