As Grillaholics, we take pride in the fact that no matter what Mother Nature throws at us, grilling is still our #1 priority. While many across America pack up their grills for the year as soon as the temperature dips below 60° Fahrenheit, true Grillaholics understand that grilling is a year-round sport.
Winter grilling is not for the faint of heart. It’s cold, it’s potentially snowing or hailing. Yet it’s the perfect time to grill because these weather facts mean that you are even more awesome for deciding to fire up the old grill and get to work. It’s time to expose the whole “can’t grill in winter” thing for the myth it truly is.
Check out these tips and find out how to become a winter grilling warrior: pro status. Screw winter: nothing’s coming between you and your grill.
12 Tips for Winter Grilling
1. Establish a Path
If your grill is outside or on your deck, make sure you clear a path. You need to be able to get to that grill without fear of falling on ice. Establishing a path will also help you establish where the grill is in case it’s really snowing out.
2. Keep the Snow off the Hood
Get the snow off the hood before starting up your grill, then continue to wipe the snow off the hood so it’s clear before your open it. Unless you want barbecue with a side of wet meat and smoldering coals, then by all means, leave the snow on.
3. Preheat the Grill
Is it summer out? No, it’s the dead of winter?! Then it’s probably going to take you more time to heat up the grill. Something to do with the fact that it’s -17 out, probably. Give the old grill some time to heat up. If you think it’ll be a two-minute job and you’re waiting outside with your steaks, you’re sadly mistaken.
4. Put the Cover Down
Although you may think you’re pretty cool by cooking with the cover off, your food will be just as cool. Opening the cover increases the time you’ll need to cook overall. Keep it closed– unless you want that several-hour coveted winter grilling experience.
5. Don’t Grill in Your Garage
We hope it goes without saying, but your garage is NOT a good winter grilling option. You want someplace ventilated with plenty of open space. Choose anywhere but inside your garage, no matter how attached you are to it.
6. Have a Fire Extinguisher
Don’t rely on snow and freezing rain in this case. Cold weather equals grease build up on your grill which leads to… grease fires. You’re going to need a fire extinguisher. Period. We know fire in the winter sounds nice, but this kind of fire is not warm and cozy.
7. Have Tools on Hand
Gather your tools before you leave the house, not after. This isn’t a relay race, it’s winter grilling. Do as the Boy Scouts do and always come prepared.
*Check out some of these awesome grilling accessories that making grilling easier, so you can focus on more important things. Like, BEER.
8. Check Gas Grill Hoses
Gas grill hoses have pipes that might have cracked in the cold. If you’ve ignored our earlier advice to not grill in the garage and also neglected to check your gas hoses, this might be a problem for you. Remember that fire we talked about?
9. Use a Head Lamp
Not just for camping! Head lamps let you see how your food is cooking. That way, you can avoid dropping a flashlight into your shrimp. We know, it’s brilliant. Thank us later.
10. Have Fuel/Charcoal
You’ve marinated your chicken, bundled up, started grilling, and now you’re out of cooking fuel. Don’t be this guy. You can’t cook your food with your tears… you’re not Chuck Norris.
11. Shield It from Wind
If at all possible, shield your grill from the wind! Hide it behind a wall, build a special insane three-piece wind guard fold that you stick into the snow. Too much wind can blow gas grills out, and then how will you cook outside at 7 at night like a crazy person?
12. Pick the Easy Recipes
We know you’re bold, but don’t push it. Pick the easy recipes. The ones that take less times, that require one flip. We assume you’re grilling and you’re also hungry. As Tom Cruise says in Jerry Maguire, “Help me help you.”
Those are our winter tips for grilling! Don’t forget to wear a hat and bundle up out there, because you’re no good to your grill if you’re frozen. Follow this guide and you’ll be geared up to grill all sorts of delicious meats and treats no matter what the weather. Don’t let winter keep you from being great.