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Summer months are notorious barbecue months. A sunny day doesn’t feel complete until you finish it off with a meal hot off the grill. When winter comes around, we turn more and more to the oven and stovetop. That doesn’t have to be the case. We’ve compiled tips on winter grilling and laid out how to winterize your grill so you can prepare your favorite recipes no matter the weather. It’s time to make grilling a year-round event.
How to Winterize Your Grill
Winterizing your grill means getting it primed and ready to be used in cold weather. Some of us have spent a pretty penny on our outdoor cooking hobby, so it’s important to make sure we protect that investment so we can enjoy tasty grilled meals throughout the year.
An important part of winterizing your grill is keeping it protected from the cold when it isn’t in use. Taking active steps to winterize your grill will make your cooking process safer and tastier. It will also help maintain your grill and keep it in optimal condition.
By winterizing your grill, you can be ready to prepare a pristinely grilled meal no matter what the weather looks like outside.
Get a Grill Cover
A grill cover is the first step in maintaining your grill, no matter the weather. A grill cover is an essential tool for protecting your grill while it is not in use. When it stays covered, it is better prepared for whenever you want to grill.
The cold weather can take a toll on your grill if it is permanently stored outside. Maintenance can cost you lots of time and money cleaning your grill of rust, dirt, or snow. The grill cover is perfect for protecting your grill from moisture and cold. The last thing you want is a rusty grill.
The experts over at BBQGuys have an incredible selection of grill covers on their site. Whether you have a small charcoal grill or a Mack Daddy smoker, go over to BBQGuys.com now to protect the most underrated member of your household.
Keep Your Grill Clean
Keeping your grill thoroughly clean, both inside and out, is vital for maintaining the pristine state of your grill. It also ensures that your food can cook as it should. Always clean your grill when you are done using it, and make sure there is no leftover food stuck to it. Cover it, and store it somewhere where it can stay clean.
Along with routine maintenance after cooking, giving your entire grill an extensive clean twice a year is a smart routine to start. This cleaning includes everything from grates, to burners, to the grease trap. Taking time to give your grill that extra care will increase the life of your grill.
Warm Up Your Grill First
Before you start cooking your winter BBQ, take the time to preheat the cooking surface. Let the grill have enough time to completely warm up before you put any food on it, anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes depending on your grill.
It is important to let it run for a while before you use it so that it can reach its optimal temperature. You don’t want your food to cook unevenly or take too much time because it was placed on the grill too soon. Preheating will also give your grill the chance to warm up after sitting outside all day in the cold.
Don’t Keep Checking Your Food
When grilling in the winter, it is best to keep the grill cover shut for as much of the grilling process as possible. Refrain from opening the lid to check on your food. The cold temperatures will throw off the cooking pattern of whatever it is you are grilling.
Ideally, you should only turn food items once during the grilling process. This helps retain the flavor and achieve the right cooking temps. Use a timer and thermometer while cooking your food so you know when it is hot and ready to go.
How to Enjoy Winter Grilling
Your grill is uncovered, clean, heated, and ready to take on any grilling challenge. But first, you have to prepare yourself for the cold. There are a few tips you can use that will keep the grilling process as comfortable and efficient as possible. Keep the following advice in mind to give yourself the best winter grilling experience possible, and make sure your food comes out perfect.
Prepare Everything Inside First
Before heading out into the cold, you will want to prepare all of your food and gather your equipment, like spatulas, tongs, and scrubbers, inside where it is warm. You can do much of your food preparation in the house before and after the grilling is done.
For example, some BBQ enthusiasts opt to boil their meats inside before throwing them on the grill to facilitate the grilling process. Be sure to season all your foods, like veggies, before bringing them outside.
Layers, Layers, Layers!
Summer is best known as grilling weather because it is easy to stand outside all day long on a warm, sunny day. The winter months mean, obviously, colder weather. If you are grilling, you will likely be standing outside from start to finish of the grilling process.
If the weather’s cold, this is no easy feat. Be sure to layer up and keep your entire body warm as you grill, including gloves. Keeping cozy with sweaters and beanies makes it more bearable to be outside while you finish up your meal.
If you want to take your level of cozy to the next level, check out our friends at Gobi Heat. They offer battery-heated jackets, hats, vests, gloves and more.
Use a Well-Lit Area
Grilling in the dark can be dangerous, and you will want to keep your cooking station lit at all times. It gets darker in the winter, and the daylight is almost entirely non-existent by dinner time. Try to keep your grill in a well-lit area.
If your grill is not in a well-lit area, be sure to bring a light source with you like a lamp, flashlight, or headlamp to keep you accompanied while grilling. You can even purchase a beanie with a built-in headlamp, which will do the dual job of keeping you warm and well-lit at the same time.
Choose Quick and Easy Meals For Winter Grilling
While you will want to spend time getting that perfect grill, you do not want to be standing outside for extended periods in the cold. Do not give yourself too much to do. You will want to keep your grills straightforward and to the point in the cold and potentially dark. Luckily, as “Grilling and Boiling” states, a lot of foods cook faster on a grill than other kinds of ovens.
Our pal, celebrity chef Eddie Jackson, has a cookbook full of recipes that fit this bill. Check it on on Amazon below:
Start Grilling Early
If possible, start early in the day to maintain as much daylight and warmth as possible and give yourself ample time to get your food grilled. When you BBQ in the winter, it is crucial to take your time and not rush the grilling process.
“Grilling and Broiling” also notes that food on the grill will finish cooking at different times. Keep a close eye on what food on the grill is finished, and what needs a little more time. That way, whether you are cooking meat or veggies, nothing will be over- or under-cooked.
Now that your BBQ is efficiently winterized, it is time to break out your favorite winter grilling recipes. Winter veggies such as squash, Brussels sprouts, carrots, and potatoes are only made better on the grill. Popular winter meats such as turkey and ham can also be grilled to perfection.
Whether you’re tailgating at home, or just cooking up some dinner, you no longer have to hold off on cooking your favorite meals just because the weather is cold.
Keep your grill clean and covered while it is not in use. Give your grill enough time to warm up before cooking. Keep yourself organized so you can get in and out of the house quickly. Finally, keep yourself warm and your area lit as you embark on your grilling adventure.
Thanks to Beyond Yard for contributing this article.