Winter is around the corner. People are packing up their backyards and saying goodbye until the weather warms up again. One thing you don’t have to say goodbye to is your grill. That’s right, with just a few tricks up your sleeve, you can carry on grilling through winter.
There are a few added precautions you need to take for safety reasons. But once you’ve addressed them, you can enjoy grilled food in the middle of winter. Read on to discover 12 tips for grilling in winter.
1. Layer Up
Every town seems to have that one guy who’s always wearing shorts and a tee, no matter the weather. Don’t be that guy if you’re planning on winter grilling. It may seem obvious, but layer up. A jacket, shoes, hat, scarf, and even a base layer will make you much more comfortable when grilling outside in the winter. Snow gloves are not heat resistant, so don’t make this mistake. Make sure your clothing items aren’t made from highly combustible materials.
2. Move Your Grill
This one depends on how your house and yard are designed, but consider moving your gas grill if you plan to use it this winter. If the weather always comes from the same direction, maybe you could move your grill to a sheltered spot on the other side of the house. Always consider how close the grill is to your house, and make sure you only use it in a safe place. Only use your grill in a well-ventilated area and never inside.
3. Extra Warm-Up Time
When it’s freezing outside, your grill takes longer to get up to the right cooking temperature. It is especially true if you’re using a wood or charcoal grill. It could also affect the cooking time of your meal. A meat thermometer could help prevent undercooked meat. Always remember to include this extra time in your preparations and make sure you have plenty of extra fuel or a propane tank to keep that fire burning.
4. Keep It Closed
Keeping the grill lid closed will keep the heat where you want it; cooking your food. Obviously, you’ll have to open it from time to time to check the progress of your meal but prioritize keeping it closed. It will keep colder temperatures away from your food and help things cook more quickly.
5. Grill Appropriate Food
Grilling a rack of ribs that needs basting every five minutes is not a good idea in the winter. Opening and closing the grill so often will let all that heat escape. Consider fast cooking foods, such as pizza or pork rashers. Alternatively, consider long, slow-cooking foods that don’t require constant interaction. Anything that either cooks quickly or cooks slowly with minimal intervention is what you want.
6. Make Sure There’s Enough Light
The days are shorter in winter. It means that if you’re preparing dinner, you might find yourself outside in the dark, grilling. Make sure you have adequate light in the right places before you start to avoid mishaps when the sun goes down. You can even get your hands on a purpose-built grill light. Check out our post on the best grill light for more information.
7. Cover Your Grill
You want your grill to make it through winter, which it will do if you look after it correctly. When not in use, cover your grill. It will keep it out of the wet and cold. Make sure you have a sturdy grill cover that is water-resistant. Make sure to check out our post on the best grill covers to help you with your decision.
8. Take It Inside
No, not the grill. You can, however, grill food inside without a grill. That’s right, get yourself a good quality grill pan, and you can have your favorite foods grilled on the stovetop. For a full tutorial, check out our guide on how to grill indoors.
9. Consider Insulating
That thin metal that your grill lid is made from transfers heat quickly. It is evident by how hot a grill lid can get. It works in reverse too, and the cold temperatures of winter can significantly slow down the warming time of your grill. A fire-resistant thermal welding blanket or thermal blanket for grills can help keep the heat in.
10. Clear The Path
The last thing you want after grilling up an amazing meal in the frigid cold is to slip and fall while you’re taking the food inside. If there’s snow on the ground, clear a pathway between the house and the grill. Clear some space around the grill for circulation. Also, don’t forget to salt it if you plan on grilling all winter.
11. Purpose Built
If you’re a true grilling fanatic, and you know you’re going to be grilling in the winter for years to come, why not build a gazebo specifically for winter grilling? You can place it out of the wind, with an appropriate covering and plenty of ventilation. You can even add lots of storage space for the added fuel needed for winter grilling. If building a whole gazebo is a bit much, check out our post on the best grill canopy instead.
12. Double-Check Your Grill
In colder weather, all the different grill elements are more likely to become brittle or cracked. Before each grilling session, take the time to check your gas lines, all connections, knobs and dials, the gas tank itself, and any other operable piece on your grill that you feel needs some extra attention. It is especially important if you’re using a gas grill.
With these 12 tips, you won’t have to say goodbye to your grill over winter. With a few extra precautions, you’ll be able to grill food all year round. As always, safety should be the number one priority, especially when a fire is involved. So make sure you only use your grill in uncovered, well-ventilated spaces.
Other than that, the only other thing you need to watch out for is the cold, so bundle up. What do you think? Will you be grilling this winter? Comment with your answer below.