Wintercue 101

Grilling Tips & Tricks

Whether it’s winter in North Dakota or South Florida, you can’t beat barbecuing to give foods extra flavor and to have more fun at your next get-together. Here are some helpful hints when you fire up the warm grill on the coldest days.

  • It will take longer to heat your grill in cold temperatures (start by tacking on an extra 5-10 minutes) and it’s best to allow the temperature to stabilize before cooking. If using charcoal, keep extra coals in a separate grill or chimney so you can maintain your desired cooking temperature.
  • 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 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.
  • Limit your time in the cold by selecting foods and smaller cuts of meat that can be cooked quickly on direct heat. Try thin steaks and chops, pork loins, burgers, chicken breasts, shrimp, fish steaks or filets, and kebabs.
  • Grill foods that can be prepped in advance and don’t need constant attention on the grill.
  • 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.
  • Always store charcoal and wood chips in a cool, dry place, such as a garage, basement, or air-tight container. Be prepared with extra fuel as cooking will typically take longer, requiring more fuel than during warm weather.
  • It is best to clean-up the cooking grids and racks while the grill is still hot is the best to ensure your grill will be ready for next time.
  • When not in use (and only when completely cooled), protect your grill from the elements with a snug cover.

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