Do your friends and family call you the grill master? Are you willing to strap on a parka and boots in the dead of winter so you can barbecue the perfect cut of meat? Well, according to a survey conducted by Weber GrillWatch, you’d be in good company: More than half of American grill owners cook outside all year round, while 37 percent continue to BBQ even when the temperature drops below 32 degrees F.
For those of you who have yet to venture into the wonderful world of winter BBQ, follow these strategic steps for firing up the grill even when the weather forecaster advises you to stay inside.
Before You BBQ
- First things first: Dress accordingly. Just because you’re cooking like it’s summer doesn’t mean you should be wearing shorts and sandals when it’s snowing outside.
- Avoid clothing that could come in contact with the grill, such as scarves and tassels. Fingerless gloves are a wise choice as well because properly gripping tongs is an all-important task.
- Plan ahead. Have all cooking utensils, trays, seasoning and meats at your disposal to save time. Also, recipes that only call for one flip are a wise choice.
- Find a primo spot for the BBQing to take place. No, that doesn’t mean you should bring the grill indoors – rather, identify a space that is protected from the wind. Just be sure to avoid cooking under porches or near vinyl siding or other potential fire hazards.
- Clear a path back and forth from the grill and be sure to remove all snow from the grill long before you fire up the starter.
- Choose smaller cuts of meat and quick-cooking vegetables, which will take less time to thaw, season and cook.
- If you plan on cooking with propane, choose a grill with a high BTU to maintain maximum temperature.
- To prevent food from sticking to the grill, coat the grill with oil.
- Start warming up the grill at least five minutes sooner than you normally would during summer.
While You Grill
- According to grill company Crown Verity, a good rule of thumb for BBQing meat when it’s frigid outside is to add 20 minutes of cooking time for every 5 degrees below 45 degrees F.
- Whether you’re using charcoal or propane, keep reserves nearby. You’ll likely burn through more briquettes and gas than when it’s warm outside.
- Keep the lid closed as much as possible to further maintain the correct cooking temperature.
- Use a meat thermometer to make sure meat is grilled properly.
- Using ceramic cookware will insulate food not only on the grill itself but as you transport it back inside to enjoy eating.
After You Grill
- While the grill is still warm, use a grill brush to gently remove build-up.
- Frozen fat is no fun to clean up, so keep a bowl of warm cloths just inside the house for a quick wipe-off.
- Protect your grill with a high-quality, non-flammable, all-weather cover.
- Work safely and quickly so that you can warm up inside and enjoy the fruits of your labor!