Here are a few winter grilling tips to make your cold weather grilling a little less of a challenge. If you are just cooking something quick like burgers most of this will not apply to you. Northern Ohio, where we are located, may not have the worst weather in the country. It can get pretty miserable at times.
Wind is your enemy, more so than the cold.
Gas grills especially have large vents to let them breathe. A good gust of wind will blow your burners out. Charcoal grills tend to be better equipped to deal with the wind. Even a little wind can cover your food with ash when you open the lid. Try placing something to block the wind a couple of feet away from the grill to act as a buffer. Do not back you grill up to your house. Especially if you have vinyl siding, also do not block your vents. Placing your grill near your house may not seem like a big deal but accidents do happen, no matter how careful you are.
Place a fire brick or two in your grill.
This winter grilling tip helps to stabilize the internal temperature of your grill. Even when the wind is howling and you won’t loose all your heat when you open your lid. There are bricks made specifically for use with food and fire. I have found a normal brick wrapped with foil is just as effective for this use. The walls of most low end grills are a thin metal and will cool off when hit with just a slight breeze. Bricks can be set right on your grill grates off to the side and out of your way. More expensive grills like the Weber brand have thicker bodies and will hold the heat better and the venting seems to be less.
Have enough fuel.
Depending on your grill and the temperature outside you will be using 10 to 30% more fuel. Just to reach and maintain the same temperature you use in the summer.
Allow plenty of time to preheat your grill.
I double the time I allow the grill to heat up before cooking in the winter. The grill gets hotter than I allow it to get in the summer. It also cools down rapidly when I need to turn the gas down.
You can now find grill blankets to cover your grill (see ad below) to minimize your heat loss. This sounds like an effective solution for long cooks I just can’t imagine using them when grilling burgers.
Our final winter grilling tip: Don’t set your meat thermometer down outside if it has an LCD screen. Keep it in your pocket where it will not freeze. Freezing the LCD screen will ruin it.
Setting your beer on your side table in the summer is a big no no. In the winter that residual heat can prevent the beer from icing over.
aka Sultan of Sizzle
I have been blogging about and selling grilling tool for over 12 years. A Certified Food Safety Professional, KCBS member, award winning writer and have over 10 years experience in the food service industry.
“I have experienced some of the best food this country has to offer and nothing is better than the food that comes off my own grill!”
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