Just because the snow is flying doesn’t mean you have to give up meals from the grill. According to Shane Draper, pitmaster at Grilla Grills in Holland, all you need to do is make a few adjustments to your technique and you can keep your grill lit all winter long.
Draper shared a handful of tips with GR|MAG. He also suggested a few ingredients that make for a “warm meal.” “Find recipes that use ingredients such an smoked paprika, ancho chili powder or chipotles. These ingredients will warm you up from the inside out,” he said.
Warming Your Grill & Keeping it That Way
- Allow more time for your grill to come up to the desired temperature. Some grills made of thinner materials will require more time to get to your desired cooking temperature. Don’t be afraid to add an extra 15-20 minutes to the warm-up time so the grill is ready to cook. This will minimize the time you are standing outside waiting for it.
- Trust the grill to do its job. The less you open the door checking on it, the better.
- If you are using propane, understand that it behaves differently in cold environments. Depending on just how cold it is you can use 50 percent more propane cooking in the winter, so be sure to have plenty on hand.
Use the Right Cookware
- Use ceramic cookware and plates and warm them up. They hold heat great and will help make sure what you serve is still warm even on the coldest days.
- Invest in a quick an instant-read thermometer. My personal favorite is the Thermoworks Thermopop. It’s cheap, plenty fast and will save you lots to time. When you have to get the temp of 50 chicken wings, a thermometer that reads in one to two seconds per wing versus five seconds makes a big difference on heat retention in the grill and how long you are exposed to the elements.
- Consider repositioning your cooking area to minimize the number of steps to get to the grill. Being committed enough to grilling that you shovel a path to it is one thing, having to wear ice skates to and from the grill is another. Slipping and sliding to the grill carrying meat, knives, etc. is a bad idea and sure-fire way to ruin the festivities (and end up in the Med Center).
- Snow gloves are not cooking gloves. Your favorite winter gloves can easily burn or be ruined when trying to use them while grilling.
*Photo courtesy of Thinkstock Photos