Monday, January 10, 2011

Ten Tips for Cold Weather Grilling

You know how great that chicken, steak or burger tastes in the summer when it's warm, right? So don't settle when it is cold out! I want to pass along some tips for grilling when cold weather abounds.

Tonight's dinner was grilled chicken with a red chilie veloute sauce.

Sure I could have pan seared or broiled the chicken inside, but to me you just can't beat or substitute the taste of grilled chicken.

So despite the fact I had to walk back and forth through this.....

the results were worth it!

Here are my ten tips for grilling in cold weather -

  1. Plan on dishes with shorter cooking times . Lean meats and thinner or smaller cuts cook quickly over high heat. Chicken breast, pork loin, and steak cook fast.
  2. Preheat your grill longer. Preheating takes longer in the winter. Your grill grate that contacts with the surface of the meat is much colder to start with. Let your grill grates heat at least 30 minutes. This will help with sear marks and reduce sticking.
  3. Use the cold to your advantage. Stick your beverages in the snow. If you have to marinate under refrigeration and it's 30f out, don't take up space in your 'fridge.
  4. Use quality charcoal that is warm and dry. Cold and wet charcoal will take forever to light and come to temp. Use lump charcoal, it burns hotter and faster.
  5. Wear shoes that you can slip on and off. You don't want to keep tracking in snow, mud and ice into the house.
  6. Carry your timer with you. When it is really cold out, there is no need to stand out there watching the minutes tick away. Go back inside even when you are only flipping every 5 minutes.
  7. Mise en place. While having all your ingredients lined up is a luxury when cooking indoors, when cooking outdoors in freezing weather it becomes a necessity. Have all your rubs, glazes, and sauces ready ahead of time.
  8. Gimme' Shelter. While the idea of keeping your grill "covered" from rain and snow above is obvious, you also want to shelter it from the wind if possible.
  9. Don't forget YOUR comfort. This is fun, remember? Dress warmly and in layers. Wear a jacket/coat that you won't have a stroke over if it gets a grill stain.
  10. Appreciate your environment. Grilling when snow is falling and everyone else is huddled inside is something special and peaceful. Don't think of it as a chore, enjoy the solitude.


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  2. Good tips Chris - I grilled out in the cold last night myself. That's a great looking dish and I can tell you spent some time adding the sauce just right. I'm usually too ready to eat it. Hope you're planning to post the recipes.

  3. What a gorgeous plate of chicken with the pretty sauce and the grilled carrots. Beautiful presentation Chris.

    Great cold weather grilling tips. I would have not thought of the last tip and I'm one who adores peace and quiet. That's a good one.

  4. Timely. I do plan on doing some grilling today - on my covered porch, with my gas grill - which is probably not grilling in your eyes :)

  5. My husband and I grill year round, and these are great tips! I love the beer in the snow!

    Kim in MD

  6. All great tips, Chris! Especially the one the one about your drinks, people tend to forget about those sometimes :)
    Living in the desert I am fortunate enough, most years, to not have to worry about grilling in the cold...this year has been a surprise to me. It's been really really cold for us and I forgot how much longer it takes to preheat the grill!!!

  7. Great advice!! I am grill-challenged anyway, so grilling in the winter is usually out for me, but you've given me the confidence to try it!! Maybe I'll wait till the snow melts :)

  8. Grilling in the winter: Step 1) preheat the broiler in your stove.

  9. I grill year round, although it's not as fun in the cold January weather :) looks delicious!

  10. AND -- it smells so much better in the cold air!

  11. I'm going to forward this to my father. he's the griller in the family and he needs all the help he can get to make his meals taste better!

  12. I am definitely a fair-weather-griller...if it was just the cold or just snow that we had to deal with then maybe I could be talked into it but grilling in the rain, when one hand has to hold an umbrella is just too complicated! In my next life I'm going to live in a rain FREE Northwest! Another recipe to print out and put on my stack! xo, Nan

  13. Good timing on the tips, Chris! Here in the high desert of New Mexico, we have six inches of snow on the ground, and the high today was 21 degrees.

  14. These are great tips Chris;your chicken looks wonderful and I can only imagine how good it smelled on the grill. But, I'm such a wimp when the temps are this cold (9 degrees), so hopefully next week will be a tad warmer!

  15. Love the list! Hot grill, crisp air and a cold beer - what more is there?

  16. Very cool site! Shared it on my FB fan page for our business, since many of our clients are outdoor enthusiasts! Hope you get click thrus!

  17. What a gorgeous plate of chicken with the pretty sauce and the grilled carrots. Beautiful presentation Chris.


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