Tips for Cold Weather Grilling

January 26, 2014

Cold weather is rushing across the country this week but that shouldn’t be an excuse to put your love of outdoor grilling in storage ‘til Spring. 

If anything, cold weather grilling has created some of my greatest cooking memories, from sub-degree pig roasts on New Year’s Eve to digging through 18 inches of snow in order to cook up some “date night” ribeyes. The key, however, is to understand the elements and adjust your cooking accordingly.  I cook differently in the extreme heat (keep lots of cold beverages on hand, adult and otherwise), in torrential rain storms (have a change of clothes or several readily available), and in the cold…

fall grilling season

1)    Clean house. After a long summer of hard core use, your grill is most likely in need of a thorough cleaning especially since all of that ash, grease and debris can severely shorten the lifespan of your grill.

  • Take all of the easily removable parts out and shrub well with a wire brush or steel wool soap pad until they’re looking as close to new as possible.
  • Using a spray lubricant, oil any moving parts such as hinges and adjustable vents.  Next, wipe the interior free of any mess, using a grease remover such as Greased Lightening® to help break through a summer’s worth of gunk.
  • Finally, use bleach wipes such as those made by Clorox to wipe down the exterior of the grill, removing any dirt, drips and stains that may have accumulated.

2)    Keeping temps in check. The biggest adjustment when cooking in cool weather is with cooking times.  Colder air means it will take longer to get the grill to the proper temperature so be prepared to add 20-30 minutes to every recipe’s cook time.

3)    Shut it up. It took extra time to heat the grill and that means it’ll take extra time to warm it back up every time you open the lid to peek inside.  The longer you can refrain from looking (and as a result let a lot of precious heat escape), the shorter the wait will be for your hard earned meal.

4)    Breaking wind. If it isn’t the cold temperature that’ll get you, then it’s the wind chill.  By positioning your grill next to a fence or wall or constructing your own barricade out of spare plywood, you can significantly reduce the blasts of wind that normally send a chill through you and your food.

5)    Count on your digits. Grilling is a hands-on method of cooking so keeping your fingers warm is a must when the temperature starts to drop.  Available at most hardware stores, nitrile coated work gloves provide warmth for temperatures in the 50s and 60s while still providing the flexibility to work your grill magic.

6)    Safety first. Finally, Fall doesn’t only mean cooler weather, it means a yard full of leaves and rapidly browning grass.  Just as you shouldn’t grill with live fire on a wooden deck, you shouldn’t grill over dried leaves and grass.  A quick rake job and an inexpensive fireproof grill mat can save you a whole lot of trouble should a stray ember fall from the grill.

Got any additional cool weather grilling tips?  Post them below and we may feature them in the future!  

-Clint Cantwell, Guest Editor

Related Topics: Cold Weather Grilling | Cooking In Cold Weather | Cool Weather Grilling Tips | Editor's Picks | Extreme Winter | Grill Cleaning | Grill Prep | How To Clean Grill | How To Grill In The Cold | What's Hot

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