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Hints and Tips for Grilling in the Winter

Yep, it sure is cold out there. Yep, its snowy, too. But you’re kind of longing for a juicy steak done on the grill, or maybe some barbecued chicken, or even some simple hamburgers from the grill? Well, just because it’s Winter doesn’t mean you have to stop grilling. Grilling and smoking foods can be a year-around activity. Here are some hints and tips to help you still enjoy grilling during the winter months.

Bundle Up and Fire it Up – Put on a warm jacket, gloves, and hat to stay warm while you’re working at the grill. Just be careful not to have any loose scarves, tassels, or other loose clothing that might get close to the fire or stuck in the grill. I have an old barn coat that I wear when I’m grilling when it’s cold – that way I don’t care if it gets dirty from the charcoal, or a spark lands on it, or if its smells a little smokey – it’s my grilling coat!

Snow Gloves are NOT Heat-Resistant Gloves – As warm and comfy as your ski or snow gloves may be, please be aware, they are NOT heat-resistant gloves! You cannot pick up a hot grill grate with your snow gloves. You cannot handle hot food directly off your grill with your ski gloves. You still need to use your regular grill gloves or welding gloves to handle the hot stuff you usually handle.

Grill in a Well-Ventilated Area – Just like you would in the summertime, make sure you grill in an area that is well-ventilated. Don’t grill in your garage or a shed. At least wheel the grill outside a bit so smoke and fumes don’t build up in an enclosed area. Also, it’s wise to keep your grill at least 2 feet away from combustible materials. The same rules and advise that apply in summer apply in winter, as well.

Remove All Ice and Snow – Make sure your grill is clear of all ice and snow. And clear a path free of snow and ice to your grill. The last thing you want to do is be slip-slidin’ away with a platter full of meat headed for a snow pile! I’ve even been known to clear a path to my grill first after a snowstorm before doing my driveway!

Give Ample Time Due to Colder Temps – You may need to give your grill more time to pre-heat and cook your food due to the colder temps. Depending on how cold it is, you may need to add 5-10 minutes to pre-heat your grill and possibly add another 5-10 minutes to cook whatever you’re grilling. Typically, it’s the wind that really sucks the heat from a grill. So, if possible, position your grill away from the wind, or so the wind is to the back of the grill, or pick days that aren’t too windy to grill. And you’ll also want to make sure you have some extra fuel on hand, whether that be pellets, charcoal, or LP gas tanks.

Grill with the Lid Closed – The other way to help maintain cooking temps is to grill with the lid closed. Not only will this help retain the heat in your grill, but it will also help reduce flare-ups.

Use a Wireless Thermometer – One of the easiest ways to know whether your meat is done cooking without having to go outside and lift the lid to look at it is to use a wireless meat thermometer. There are a number of different kind of thermometers that use Wi-Fi and/or Bluetooth to connect wirelessly. In the store we carry Meater and Thermoworks thermometers that can connect via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth to an app on your phone for you to monitor the temp of your meat and/or your grill as you’re cooking. Heck, even a lot of the grills these days have the same capability. It’s a great way to save trips outside, stay warm, cook faster and get the perfectly done meat on your grill.

Do What You Know – If you don't enjoy being outside when it’s cold, then winter grilling probably isn’t the time for you to try new stuff. Instead, stick with what you know how to cook and enjoy it.

The bottom line is you can still grill in the wintertime! Just be careful due to the ice and snow, stay warm and, as always, have fun with it! Let’s Get Grillin’!!

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