Temps are falling, days are getting shorter, and there’s every indication that this season we will be staying in and cooking at home more than any winter before.
Here’s one way to get by: don’t put that grill or smoker away. Instead, embrace backyard cooking through the fall and all winter long.
The following are 10 tips to make the most of grilling in the coming months:
- Don’t peek! Heat escapes quickly and you’ll be adding on cooking time. Limit lifting the lid except for turning and flipping foods.
- Plan on adding 25% more cooking time to compensate for cold temperatures. Use a reliable food thermometer to check.
- Consider adding a propane heater to your patio this year. Of course, these heaters can make barbecuing and entertaining in winter much more comfortable.
- Make shorter trips outside by moving your barbecue grill a little closer to the house, but make sure you still keep it at least 10 feet from any buildings or structures. Never grill in enclosed spaces, such as a garage or under an overhang, that can trap deadly carbon monoxide.
- Position gas grills so the wind is perpendicular to the gas flow, and not blowing the flame down the burner tubes. A sturdy patio umbrella set on its side can also serve as a wind block. When lighting the grill, do not turn the handwheel on the propane tank all the way on. Instead, use a single turn before lighting.
- Check that everything is in working order before using your grill. Don’t force a frozen knob or grill lid – you’ll risk cracking it or breaking the seal. Instead, move your grill to a garage where it can thaw or use a hairdryer.
- You’ll want to dress warmly, but avoid hazardous bulky clothing and tuck in loose scarves. A pair of easily-removable boots or shoes is a good idea when making trips in and out of the house. You’ll find heat-resistant gloves with plenty of dexterity are worth the investment.
- The days are shorter in the winter, and you’ll likely be grilling in the dark. While your favorite flashlight works, it can be hard to juggle with your grill tools. Clip-on or magnetic grill lamps are a handy upgrade for monitoring your cooking.
- Consider a wireless remote or instant read thermometer your new best friend. A leave-in remote thermometer allows you to monitor cooking temperature while you stay warm inside, and an instant read thermometer will minimize your time in the cold.
- When not in use (and only when completely cooled), protect your grill from the elements with a snug cover.
If you’re not planning to grill over the winter, it’s important to protect your grill from the harsh winter elements. Learn more here: hpbacanada.org/winterizing-your-barbecue.