Over 14 million grills and smokers were sold between April 2020 and February 2021. While these people are learning about the benefits of grilling outdoors, many of them aren’t using their new gear to its full potential.
If you’re only grilling during certain seasons, you may fall into this category.
In this article, we answer the question, ‘can you grill in the winter?’ From our best winter grilling tips to grill maintenance, we tell you everything you need to know. Read on to make the most of your grill this winter.
Can You Grill in the Winter?
The answer to, ‘can you grill in the winter,’ is a guarded ‘yes’. While you can grill any time of the year, you have to decide if you’re willing and equipped to do it because it requires an adjustment to your methods.
Grilling outdoors in the winter is about knowing how to use the right grilling tips to do it successfully. Consider your current methods, the types of winters in your region, and what cooking factors you have control over.
What to Consider When Grilling Outdoors
If you want to start grilling outdoors in the winter, you need to understand how the colder weather can affect your process. Learning these factors can help you adapt your grilling tips to the winter season.
Winter and Your Grill
One of the first considerations you should factor in whether you’re grilling outside in winter or not is how the season will affect your grill. If you live in a wet climate, your grill may be at a higher risk of rusting than in dry climates.
If you do plan to use your grill in the winter, be sure to clear it of any snow before you use it. Snow can weigh down the lid of your grill. If it’s too heavy when you go to lift the lid, you could risk damaging the handle.
Another important factor in deciding whether you can grill in the winter is the cooking temperature. The winter season can make grilling outdoors more challenging because of the snow and/or cold temperatures.
Operating a grill in the winter means adapting to cold temperatures by finding ways to keep the heat in your grill with insulation. Properly insulating your grill helps it maintain the right temperature for evenly cooked dishes.
Since grilling outdoors in winter makes it difficult to maintain a steady grilling temperature, you may notice a change in the amount of fuel you need. This change applies to all grills regardless of the fuel type used.
Most grills rely on propane, natural gas, and charcoal, but there are also pellet grills, wood-burning grills, and electric grills. To maintain temperatures in winter, grills will need more fuel and potentially longer cook times.
Winter Grilling Tips
The next step in answering the question about whether you can grill in the winter is learning how to do it effectively. This involves using the right winter grilling tips to make the process easier and more enjoyable.
Without the proper adjustments to your technique, you could end up frustrated with the cooking process or, worse, undercooked food.
Find Ways to Insulate
One of the most important and effective winter grilling tips is to insulate your grill. The better insulated your grill is, the less difficulty you’ll have in getting your food to the right temperature. Some popular methods include:
- Grill on a covered deck or another covered area
- Move the grill closer to your home’s door
- Keep the lid closed as much as possible
- Invest in a grill jacket or welding blanket
- Switch to cast-iron grates
Once you’re done cooking and the food is off the grill, it’s also important to keep the food covered to prevent heat loss.
Ventilation is Essential
If you decide to use winter grilling tips that suggest keeping your grill inside, be sure you have proper ventilation. Gas grills, propane grills, and charcoal grills produce carbon monoxide, which can be lethal even in small doses.
There’s also the risk of heavy smoke and grease fires. Whether you’re grilling in your garage, on an enclosed deck, or another space, never leave your grill unattended, and be sure there’s enough airflow.
Keep Up With Grill Maintenance
Grilling outdoors is easier if you keep up with grill maintenance. Part of preparing your grill for winter is preventing rust. You can do this by coating metal parts with cooking oil and covering the grill, which repels moisture.
You also want to protect your burner from damage caused by pests. Wrapping the burner in plastic wrap or with a plastic grocery bag can help with this.
Choose the Right Foods
Some grilling foods require frequent checking, flipping, and other kinds of maintenance. One of our winter grilling tips is to save these foods for warmer weather. It will be difficult to get these to the right temperature.
Resources such as Own the Grill for more information can help you with choosing the right winter grilling foods. It can also give you more grilling tips to use year-round.
Coordinate Grilling Time With Temperature
Colder days are going to require longer cooking times, which means you need to plan accordingly. Try to start the cooking process earlier in the day when it’s warmer.
You should also allow time for preheating since the cold weather will make starting your grill more difficult. If you don’t have the flexibility to start cooking earlier, try to choose food that cooks quickly.
Invest in the Right Gear
If you want to make grilling outdoors in winter more enjoyable, consider investing in some new gear. An instant-read thermometer or a remote thermometer can make temperature checks more efficient.
You should also plan to dress for the weather to keep yourself comfortable. Wear warm clothing and shoes in case you need to be outdoors for longer periods. You can also invest in an outdoor firepit for additional warmth.
Can You Grill in the Winter? Now You Know
Instead of wondering, ‘can you grill in the winter,’ you should be asking yourself, ‘how can I prepare to grill in the winter?’ Combining the best winter grilling tips and proper grill maintenance can lead to the best results.
For more helpful tips and guides, visit our blog.