Tips for Winter Grilling

Although most people associate grilling with the warmer summer months, in reality it is an activity that can be enjoyed year round. Part of the fun of winter grilling is braving the elements to make that perfect meaty dish to bring inside, and it makes a nice change from the stove top meals that are in rotation so often each winter. Remember that grills will heat and cook differently when the ambient temperature drops below freezing, so recipes and cooking times may need to be adjusted. Although winter grilling might bring with it a new set of challenges, it can be just as exciting as a summertime barbecue. Here are some top tips to keep in mind when grilling during the winter.

Dress for the Weather: Remember that whether you are grilling in January or July, it requires you to spend a significant amount of time outside. While the grill might provide a little heat for the chef, it is still important to dress warmly so that you are able to focus on the food, not on how chilled you feel. Plus, if you are running inside every few minutes to warm up, you risk burning or overcooking certain items on the grill.

Keep it Covered: In the summer, it might be nice to keep the grill open while you cook, watching the meat and checking up on it every few minutes. However, in the winter the constant opening and closing of the grill can cause the flame to die down because of the wind, and even slow the cooking process significantly. To ensure that your barbecue items cook as quickly as possible and don’t keep you outside any longer than possible, keep the lid closed on your grill the majority of the time. Try to time foods to know exactly how long they will take before you flip them to ensure perfect cooking each time.

Stay Outdoors: As the weather turns bitterly cold many people are tempted to bring their grills indoors to use. Although the garage or basement might provide a warmer space to grill, there are severe risks associated with using an outdoor grill inside. Smoke might make breathing difficult, or carbon monoxide poisoning could leave you without adequate air. Never bring grills indoors to use, even for a short period of time. If you want that great grill flavor without braving the snow, buy a grill pan to create sear marks on your meat from the comfort of your heated kitchen.

Choose Your Grill Wisely: In the summer many grill enthusiasts prefer the smoky, authentic taste from charcoal grills. However, as winter approaches convenience way win out. Charcoal grills take up to an hour to heat to the right temperature for cooking meat, which is an entire hour you might have to stand outside in the snow. Gas grills, on the other hand, can just be turned on and are ready to go straight away. Even the most die-hard charcoal fans might have to switch over the gas during the winter. You also want to make sure you have a grill that closes completely to keep out the elements, as well as one that is tall enough. It is very challenging to cook using a small grill during the winter.

Basic Precautions: There are a few extra things to think about when grilling during the winter. The first is that with extra scarves, long sleeves and jackets, it is more likely that some of your fabric catches on fire. Do your absolute best not to let that happen by exercising caution. Also, as the sun sets earlier in the winter, be prepared with plenty of overhead lighting.

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