Grilling outside is always thought of as a summertime activity. From memorial day onward until Labor Day is considered peak grilling season, but we think you can definitely grill outside of that time period. You just need the right tips for grilling in the winter. Whether you want to grill up some steaks or make a grilled salmon that your family will swoon over, we’ve got you covered.
- Stay warm. This is one of the most important safety tips. Even if you think you’ll only need to dash in and out of your house to check on the food, stay bundled up and warm. If you’re grilling in the snow, make sure you are wearing the proper footwear for that, and have a jacket, hat, gloves, and anything else that you may need to stay warm while checking on the food.
- Keep your grill covered. Whether you leave it on your back porch or you have it in the yard, you’ll want a good grill cover. This will help to keep anything unwanted out of it, including little animals that may eye it for warmth. With a grill cover, your grill won’t need to be cleaned off or have any worries of any dirt or debris getting into it as the winter season kicks in.
- Keep your grill close to the house. However, keep in mind you need to keep it at least 10 feet from your home. This is to keep you and your inhabitants safe. You’ll need to store it in a dry place, which may mean moving it around before you light it up and start grilling. They can be safely stored on back porches but should be moved farther away from the house when in use.
- Snow is not a friend of your grill. That’s right, there’s a reason we suggest storing on your porch and most definitely with a cover. Even if you don’t use the grill consistently during the winter, make sure you clear it from snow before doing so and even periodically if you don’t use it frequently.
- Give yourself extra time. Grills take a few minutes in the summer to warm up to the right temperatures, and this is even more true during the winter months. You may need to double your warm-up time when your grill is out in the cold, so if it normally takes 20 minutes to get your grill preheated to the right temperature, it can take up to 40 minutes in the colder weather. This is important to remember so you can cook and plan accordingly, especially if you have guests over. You don’t want to feel them watching you over your shoulder, just waiting for the food to be ready.
- Don’t leave the grill open. That’s right, in the summer it may be okay to keep things open, but in the winter, this could cause you to lose too much heat and affect the cooking of your meal. So try to keep it tightly closed at all times. You’ll need to flip your burgers or steaks once, but try to do so only when necessary, and immediately close the lid when you’re done turning the food or checking on it. This will keep the heat escaping down to a minimum.
- Have a well lit cooking area. If you’re lucky enough to have a whole section of patio covered, away from the house, and devoted to your grilling, then make sure it is adequately lit. The sun sets much earlier in the winter, so you’ll want to make sure that you don’t wind up finishing your grilling in the dark. This goes for anywhere you have your grill set up. Make sure there is more light than just a flashlight, even if you have to break out some camping lanterns to get adequate lighting. Having enough light will help to prevent any accidents that could happen between snow, ice, a hot grill, and anything else that could factor in.
- Have a covered dish for your finished meal. Even if it’s a short walk, going from the grill to inside the house could cause that delicious meal you spent time working on to go cold in mere seconds. With a covered dish, once you get everything off the grill, put the lid on, and transfer your items, still hot, to the house. This will make it easier for your items to stay warm, and prevent you from having to do any reheating once you get back inside.
We hope these winter grilling tips make your life easier and encourage you to fire up that grill in all seasons.