Don’t let the cold temps cool off your grilling skills! 4 tips from Allegro on grilling during winter.
While prime grilling season is long behind us, you don’t have to abandon your grill from Labor Day to Memorial Day! Grilled meals can bring warmth, comfort, and a hint of summer during the dark, cold months of winter if you’re brave enough to bear the cold. Here are four tips to making grilling season last all year long!
1. Dress warmly.
Don suitable clothing and footwear. Coats, hats, boots, and gloves will keep you warm while you man your post and grill to perfection. If wearing gloves, wear an older pair that you don’t care to ruin due to smoke or invest in a pair of grilling gloves to protect your hands from both the cold and the heat!
2. Prep your grill and fuel.
Protect your grill and yourself from the elements by moving it to a well-ventilated, well-lit outdoor area where it will be protected from the elements and the wind, which reduces the efficiency of your grill. Consider building a permanent grill shelter for year-round grilling. DO NOT ever grill in any enclosed area such as a garage or porch overhang. Grilling in such areas increases risk of fire and carbon monoxide poisoning. When not in use, cover your grill to protect it from harsh precipitation and other environmental factors. Before lighting your grill, clean off any ice, snow, or other debris which can be harmful to your grill. If cooking with a gas grill, check all gas lines and connections for leaks as these become brittle and prone to cracking in cold temperatures. Also, check the control knobs to make sure that they turn freely and aren’t frozen in place. If cooking with a charcoal grill, you can line your grill with aluminum foils, shiny side facing upward, to increase heat efficiency. Just make sure to poke holes through the foil so that air can still flow through the vents in the grill and keep the coals hot. Be sure to have ample fuel for your grill as grilling in cooler temperatures reduces its heat efficiency and will require more fuel to thoroughly cook food than it would during warmer temperatures. Due to colder temperatures, it will also take food longer to reach safe cooking temperatures, so make sure to prepare in advance for the additional cooking time needed.
3. Keep the lid closed.
Resist the temptation to open your grill lid during cooking or heat will escape, and cooking time will be prolonged. You can work around this, stay warm inside, and still reach grilling perfection by using a Bluetooth meat thermometer or timer to keep an eye on proper cooking times and temperature. You can also reduce cooking time by choosing smaller and thinner cuts of meats. Try cold smoking for added flavor and add a thermal blanket to increase the cooking efficiency of your smoker. If you maintain a cooking temperature of 250 to 275 degrees by periodically adding fresh coals, you also can smoke meets in a kettle grill.
4. Have a game plan.
Once fully cooked, place finished food in preheated ceramic or cast-iron pots and pans to keep your meal warm. Have a place set up right inside the nearest door in advance to place food inside immediately after removing from grill to reduce cooldown during transfer. Be sure to clear off a path from grill to indoors in advance to reduce the chance of slipping on snow or ice and dropping your delicious, freshly grilled meat!