Labor Day has come and gone, the summer and fall seasons are over and it’s time to retire your grill for the year, right?
Even though winter is upon us, you don’t need to deprive yourself of all your favorite grilling recipes. In fact, grilling during the winter months brings friends and family together. When the temperature drops and snow starts falling, it is time to cook foods that warm the soul.
That said, winter weather can present some challenges to even the most seasoned grill masters. Luckily for you, we’ve compiled some veteran winter grilling tips and tricks that will help keep you safe and warm and enable you to deliver on your reputation as a world-class grill master all year long.
1. Shovel Your Grilling Space Ahead of Time
When grilling, safety should always be your top priority. If you’re planning on grilling with layers of snow in your path to and from the grill, make sure to shovel the entire space before you get to work. This will help prevent dangerous slips and spills and can help you avoid complications when going between your grill and your living space.
It’s also imperative that you shovel out any snow that’s accumulated under your grill, as your grill should always be operating on stable and level ground.
2. Set Up Proper Outdoor Lighting
Winter months mean earlier nights and snowfall that can cloud your vision. Since visibility is key to safe and effective grilling, you should always ensure that your grilling area is properly lit.
This doesn’t require anything extensive. Any type of outdoor lighting fixtures should suffice so long as the entire area is well lit to help you avoid mistakes that can be dangerous or detrimental to your end product.
3. Dress Warm and Wear Grilling Gloves
It’s important that you bundle up and dress appropriately for the occasion. Make sure that you pack on enough layers to stay comfortable and effectively operate your grill for as long as necessary.
Grill gloves are also key. Ski gloves or mittens don’t allow for the dexterity needed for proper handling and, since grill gloves are built to withstand extremely high temperatures, they’ll protect your hands and wrists from burns while enabling you to effectively work your magic on the grill.
4. Use Grill Covers and Prevent Snow from Piling on Your Grill
Proper care of your grill is more important during the winter months than ever. Make sure to always utilize a grill cover when your grill is not in use to prevent damage from harmful precipitation. If you notice large amounts of snow piling atop your grill, be sure to remove it. The snow doesn’t act as insulation, it can only negatively impact your grill’s longevity and performance.
5. Pre-Heat Your Grill
When grilling in the snow, you’re going to want to spend the least amount of time outside as possible. Be sure to pre-heat your grill to the desired temperature to avoid wasted time monitoring your food during the heat-up period. You should also be prepared to allow for extra time for your grill to reach the desired temperature, given that it has to ramp up against the cold to get there.
6. Look for Gas Leaks
Lower temperatures mean a higher likelihood that grill parts can freeze or crack. If using a gas grill, be sure to monitor all of the gas lines and connections to ensure everything is working properly. Knobs can also freeze in place, so be sure to scrupulously check all of the grill’s different components to avoid any potentially harmful situations.
7. Try Fast-Cooking and Low Maintenance Foods
This one is a no-brainer. The less time your food takes to cook, the less time you have to battle with the cold. Look for recipes that require minimal grill times so you spend less time outside and more time enjoying the warm indoors with your friends, family and delicious meals.
8. Use a Grill Thermometer
Perhaps the most effective means of staying warm while monitoring your food is checking the temperature remote. Consider using a grill thermometer that allows you to monitor the temperature of the food on your grill from the warmth and comfort of your indoor living space.
9. Keep the Lid Shut and Avoid Peeking When Possible
It can be tempting to keep an eye on your food and monitor its progress while grilling. The problem with this is that you allow a great deal of heat to escape the grill every time you lift the lid. We know it’s tempting, but the fewer times you lift your grill lid, the less time you need to spend outside. Fortunately, many grills come equipped with hood thermometers that let you know where you stand in the grilling process without having to take a peek under the lid.
10. Keep it Warm After Grilling
There’s nothing worse than taking your food from grill grate to cold plate and having your meal run cold by the time you get a chance to enjoy it. You can avoid this by heating a pan over your grill side burner, if yours has one, and transferring your food from grill to hot pan to plate. Also consider utilizing a cover for your food plate when bringing it indoors to avoid having it ruined by the harsh winter elements in transfer.