Winter Grilling Tips
Well…it’s winter, and that sucks, but there are a few things that can make it more enjoyable. Besides booze and snuggies, add grilling to the list of things to enjoy in winter. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “grilling outside when it’s -10° doesn’t sound like fun,” but with a few tips for cold weather cooking you too can enjoy the hot smoky flavors of July in the middle of winter.
Tip 1: Preparation
Prepare rubs and sauces ahead of time in large batches, and always have them on hand. This not only saves time when you decide to cook, but it can also help limit the time you spend outside. Marinate large pieces of meat the night before, and allow for enough cooking time.
Tip 2: Plan Ahead
Set your menu for the week ahead of time, and create a shopping list from your menu. Then try to grill everything for the week on the same day (ie. grill up chicken and steak on Monday for fajitas on Thursday). This will significantly limit the overall time you’ll spend out in the cold grilling for the week.
Tip 3: Think About Efficiency
If you decide to grill at the last minute and don’t have anything ready, pick smaller cuts of meat and fast cooking vegetables. Smaller cuts take less time to thaw, season and cook. Don’t get home from work at 6:30 and expect to have brisket for dinner at 8:00.
Tip 4: Simplicity
Make simple dishes. If you’re planning to grill outside in the winter, avoid complex dishes that involve a lot of time tending to cooking food. The more simple the dish the less time you will have to spend standing idle in the cold or constantly opening and closing the grill’s lid.
Tip 5: Grill Placement
Make sure you strategically place your grill in a location that’s sheltered from cold winds but still safe. Don’t push it up against your vinyl siding or other materials susceptible to heat damage or catching fire. Also, for your own comfort, make sure you can get to and from your grill easily so when you have to run outside to check on your food your not fumbling around snow and ice or exposing yourself to frigid air.
Tip 6: Keep the Heat
Be smart while you’re actually grilling. You’ve got precious heat that the cold desperately wants to get rid of. Avoid opening and closing the lid too many times. Trust your instincts and put confidence into your cooking. No need to open that lid every 30 seconds.
Tip 7: Don’t Forget Safety
It may be cold out there, but don’t let that distract you from being safe. It seems like common sense, but avoid loose winter clothing like scarves or other articles that may have strings or nylon straps that can easily melt or catch fire.
Tip 8: Grill Inside!
If you have planned ahead and prepared in advance, but it is just too cold, then surrender. Of course, if you talk to us we’ll probably make fun of you, but all avid grillers should have a backup plan. If you don’t already own one, buy yourself a cast iron grill pan. This way you can still trick yourself into thinking you have authentic, grilled food on your plate but you were in the comfort of your warm kitchen the whole time.