You don’t have to say goodbye to the grill once winter gets here. Really if you’re willing to brave the elements, then there’s no reason why you wouldn’t be able to grill outdoors all year long. Having said that, here are some winter grilling tips if you are going to try to grill outdoors.
- Make sure you have a good quality grill. While grilling with coals really gives food a special taste, you’re really better off for winter grilling going with a gas grill that has a cast iron grate and the highest BTU (British Thermal Unit) rating you can afford. Basically you need something that will heat up fast and retain that heat because you’re going to lose a lot of heat every time you open the lid.
- Be prepared for longer cooking times in the winter. If you position your grill at a 90-degree angle to the wind then you will have better temperature control. And remember, patience is a virtue when it comes to winter grilling.
- Clear any snow and ice from the grill’s surface before you start cooking. Letting it melt off will just take longer for it to get to temperature. Plus, it will make for a very slippery surface later when it freezes over. So clear that area of snow to make sure you can safely get to your grill the next time you want to use it.
- Grills can be harder to start in the cold winter months. Don’t turn the propane all the way on; instead give the wheel one turn to make starting easier.
- Make sure the gas lines are clear too for proper gas flow. Checking the gas lines, burners, and jets for blockages is a good idea year round really to stay safe when grilling.
- Make sure your grill is not near anything that is combustible. Also, a place that is sheltered from those cold winter winds is a good idea.
- Dress for the weather. But be careful that you don’t have any dangling fabric that can light on fire. So skip that scarf and any sort of tie closures that you might accidentally lean into the grill and start a fire.
- When you’re all done grilling outdoors, make sure you properly shut down your grill. Cool completely and clean the grease trap. Make sure you protect it with a proper cover.
- And when all else fails, bring the grilling indoors. No, not with your outdoor grill, but with an indoor grilling machine like a George Foreman grill. Some newer ranges even come with an on-board grill. So if by chance you’re in the market for a new stove, check out one of those if you can’t resist grilling and would like to keep it going year long without freezing your fingertips off outdoors.
Ultimately grilling in the winter isn’t too much different than grilling in the summer. It’s just colder and you have some difficult elements to contend with. If you can get past all of that and stay safe while you’re outdoors grilling, then you can really truly enjoy your favorite grilled foods all year round.