For some, the grill only really comes out during summer and fall. Which makes sense—you typically would want to cook outdoors when the weather is welcoming, and during the winter you’re going to try to stay inside as much as possible.
Unless you’re a dad.
Dads don’t let the snow limit their grilling abilities. Which, of course! You absolutely can and should grill during the winter, whenever you want! But before doing so, make sure to follow these tried and true tips from grilling dads across the nation.
Tip 1: Stock Up On Coals/Gas
One difficulty with winter cooking is that the grill has got to heat up quite a bit more to get to where you need it to be. So make sure to really stock up on your propane or charcoals, depending on your grill’s fuel of choice. To be safe, assume about 50% more coals/gas on top of what you normally need for cooking. Because nothing is worse than trying to grill outside and suddenly running out of fuel when the meat’s only halfway cooked.
Tip 2: Keep the Grill Covered
This is handy advice during the summer months too, but especially true in winter when the elements can really cause some damage to your grill. Plus, having the cover is especially useful when you want to grill right after a big snowfall, since you can get all the snow off the grill by just removing the cover.
Tip 3: No Peeking
The impulse to open the lid and see how your food is progressing will be a strong one, but it is an urge you must resist with all your might. The more you check on your food, the colder the grill gets, and the longer your meat will take to cook. So build your fire and have patience.
Tip 4: Account For More Cooking Time
Just as winter grilling uses up more fuel, it also takes longer to cook. If you’re grilling burgers or brats that means a few more minutes on each side, about five to ten minutes is a good rule of thumb depending on size. And if you’re cooking something larger, like, say, a turkey, you’re going to add 20 minutes of cooking time for each pound of meat for each 5 degrees colder than 45 it is outside. So in 30 degrees, you’re adding an hour per pound of meat. So maybe just stick with the smaller fare.
Tip 5: Don’t Experiment
Winter grilling is not the time to try grilling venison for the first time, or to try to make smoked salmon for the first time. There’s plenty of chances in the summer to get out of your grilling comfort zone, but the winter is no time to get fancy. Just stick to the essentials, the foods you really know how to cook. There’s too many variables in play, so keep it simple.
Happy winter grilling season, everyone!