Winter Grilling: Don't Let the Snow Slow You Down
Here in the Midwest, grilling is nice and easy for three out of the four seasons, but when winter hits, the motivation to go outside definitely goes down a few ticks. Don’t let the cold weather get you down! After all, you didn’t buy that grill just so it could look good out there?
First things first, you want to make sure that you have a quality grill cover so that it can withstand the elements year-round. Ice leads to rust and rust is not your friend. With a cover, all you’ll have to do is knock off the snow and you’re ready to go.
Grilling in any season means easy prep work, easy cooking, and easy cleanup. With winter grilling, it’s not the cold that really bothers me (It’s easy to layer up and stay toasty) it’s the dark. This is probably the biggest obstacle to overcome, but we’ll get to that later.
I don’t really consider charcoal grilling an option in the winter (unless I’m smoking some food). Because it’s so cold out, you’ll have to use a lot more charcoal to get your goods grilled up in a timely manner. So, I stick with propane. You’ll need a few extra minutes to get it warmed up, but you won’t have to tend to it as much as you would a charcoal grill. Just set your dials a bit higher to compensate for the cold air outside and you’re good to go.
I also limit my grilling options. As much as I love a good rotisserie grilled chicken, that’s not going to happen in the winter. I’m looking to grill up some food that takes less than 40 minutes from ignition to shutdown; which means lots of steaks, chicken breasts, burgers, pork chops, potatoes and other veggies.
Once you commit to it and have the grill fired up, there are two options.
Option 1 – Shuffle back and forth between going inside and outside while you’re running the grill. This probably means you’re gonna be taking your coat and boots on and off. All of the back and forth can be frustrating, which is why I’m a big fan of…
Option 2 – Brave the elements and stay outside. Think about it. There’s no running in and out of the house. Maybe you’ll even get a break from the kids for a bit. It’s quiet; no one else is outside. Maybe you just light up a propane heater, have a seat and enjoy a cold one…or a warm one.
Earlier, I had mentioned that darkness was going to be your biggest obstacle. Why? It’s really hard to see what’s going on with the food on your grill without some light. Here’s the solution: attach a grill light (or two) to the handle of your grill. This will give you some good visuals to make sure that all of your food is cooking evenly.
With that in mind, you really, really should trust your grill and leave the lid closed. Every time you open up that lid, more cold air gets in which means your food is going to take longer to cook. This is another reason that I choose to grill simple foods in the winter. Unless I see the grill thermometer spike, I’m going to leave the lid closed until it’s time time to flip some meats.
Those are really the only extra considerations you’ll have with grilling in the winter. I’m a big fan of grilling year-round because it gets me outside for a bit and nothing tests better than something fresh from the grill.