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.