Grilling doesn’t have to start at Memorial Day and end at Labor Day. In fact, you can grill all year long even in the winter! Just because the weather gets chilly doesn’t mean you have to forgo firing up your grill. According to the latest Weber GrillWatch™ survey, “More than half of American grill owners grill all year round and 37 percent keep on grilling when the temperature dips below freezing.” Don’t let the temperature scare you. Grilling in the winter can be fun and enjoyable if you follow these 7 basic tips!
1. Invest in a quality grill
Grills behave differently depending on the weather. For winter grilling, opt for a gas grill with a cast-iron grate and the highest BTU rating you can afford. You want a grill that is highly efficient and will retain as much heat as possible while grilling. Gas grills with double-walled construction and Kamado-type cookers are more heat retentive. Gas grills will also make the job easier and allow you to stay inside for a good portion of the time.
2. Dress for the job
Wear a heavy coat and a pair of grilling/barbecue gloves to stay warm. Be careful of any dangling fabric or tassels that could potentially catch fire. It’s best to leave your scarf indoors or to at least tuck it into your coat.
3. Prepare the grill
If you grill has a coat of snow, make sure to clear it away before you start cooking. You should also do a safety check. Inspect the burners, jets, and gas lines for blockages. The flames should burn blue not yellow; yellow flames can indicate blockages or burners that need adjusting.
4. Position the grill
Place your grill in a wind-protected outside area that is well ventilated. If you position your grill at a 90-degree angle to the wind, it will help control the temperature inside the grill. Just make sure to keep it approximately 10 feet from any combustible surfaces.
Even if it’s raining or snowing, never grill in a garage, under an overhang, or in any enclosed area due to risk of fire and carbon monoxide build-up. Also, don’t place it against siding or near materials that could catch fire or be damaged by heat.
Winter might not be the best time to try to grill a 5-course meal, although it very well could be if you are ambitious! Realistically you should opt for simpler dishes that take less than 30 minutes. After all, the easier the dish, the less time you have to spend outside in the cold. Steaks, chicken breasts, and burgers are great choices. Check out the simple recipe below from Weber!
6. Allow extra time
Be patient! The grill will take longer to heat up, and food will take longer to cook in the winter. According to Barbecue Bible, food could take anywhere from 30-100% longer than it would under normal conditions. It’s a good idea to check your propane tank before you decide to grill. You should keep your tank full and keep extra fuel on hand.
7. Keep the grill closed
Although it’s extremely tempting to frequently check on your food, try to keep the grill closed. Use a timer and meat thermometer, and only lift the lid when necessary. Opening the lid to check on your food extends cooking time because the grill loses heat quickly. The good news is, no matter the weather, your grill can get the job done!
Sources: Top image courtesy of franky242 from FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Serves: 4 // Prep time: 20 minutes | Marinating time: 3 to 5 hours | Grilling time: 12 to 15 minutes
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest (from about 2 lemons)
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
¼ cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon grated, peeled fresh ginger, including juices
Extra-virgin olive oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, each about 6 ounces
1 red onion, about 12 ounces, cut crosswise into ½-inch-thick slices
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
In a large, resealable plastic bag combine the marinade ingredients, including 2 tablespoons oil. Place the chicken in the bag, press the air out of the bag, and seal tightly. Turn the bag to distribute the marinade, place the bag in a bowl, and refrigerate for 3 to 5 hours, turning occasionally.
Prepare the grill for direct cooking over medium heat (350° to 450°F).
Brush the onion slices with oil. Remove the chicken from the bag and discard the marinade. Season the chicken evenly with the salt and pepper, and then grill over direct medium heat, with the lid closed, until the meat is firm to the touch and no longer pink in the center, 8 to 12 minutes, turning once. At the same time, grill the onions over direct medium heat until tender, 12 to 15 minutes, turning once or twice. Remove from the grill as they are done, and let the chicken rest for 3 to 5 minutes.
Cut the chicken crosswise into ½-inch-thick slices. Serve warm with the onions.