1. Re-position Your Barbecue
You wouldn't leave your child exposed to the elements would you? So why would you treat your baby (did we say baby, we mean barbecue) that way? When possible, make sure that your barbecue is shielded from the wind. However, you should always keep the barbecue 10 ft away from your house or any flammable structure or overhang - and never barbecue in your garage or enclosed space.
2. Choose Your Grill Wisely
Winter grilling works best on two types of barbecues. The first is a gas grill that has a cook box made of double-walled steel or cast aluminum. The other is a ceramic charcoal barbecue. These types of barbecues are superstars at holding in the heat to make sure that you aren't wasting any fuel or letting heat escape.
A gas grill with roll-top lid is another great feature - like this Broil King Regal. Remember when your parents used to shout "make good choices" when they dropped you off at University or college? The same applies here.
3. Patience, grasshopper.
Be sure to leave yourself extra time to let the grill preheat. Your barbecue is heating up from frozen, so it takes a wee bit longer than when you're heating up the barbecue while it's a balmy 30°C in July. You can't rush perfection, my friend.This will probably take about 20 minutes depending on the temperature you want it at. Kick back, fix yourself a bevy and wait.
Bonus tip: Keep extra fuel on hand. Your barbecue may use an extra 20-30% of propane or charcoal to help get up to and maintain temperatures.
4. Stop opening the lid, for the love of meat!
We know it can be tempting to sneak a peek inside the barbecue to check on things. Remember when we told you that it takes a while for the barbecue to heat up? (I hope you do because it was only a few sentences ago.) Well, every time you lift the lid, you interrupt the cooking process and cool down the cook box. This means it will take longer for your food to cook.
See this? This is an example of what not to do, kids.
5. Grill the right foods for the season.
Nope, we're not done with this whole lid closed thing. Sorry. It's important to us. Geez. To keep your heat from making a break for it, the best foods for grilling in Winter are either foods that grill really quickly or low and slow cooking that require very little attention. This will reduce your need to lift the lid. Okay, now we're done. We'll refrain from using the word "lid" for the rest of this post.
6. Safety first, buddy ol' pal!
Water is not the only thing that can freeze in the cold. Be sure to check your gas and propane hoses for leaks. Sometimes old hoses can become brittle and crack in the cold. A visual check and either a soap test or leak detector spray can go a long way from preventing a problem.
Bonus tip: It's also important to clear any snow or ice from your path to the barbecue to prevent injuries and accidents.
7. Bundle Up!
Alright tough guy (or gal) we know you want to prove that 'the cold ain't got nothin' on you but there is no need for that tomfoolery. It's hard to barbecue when you're holed up in a hospital because you got frost bite and your fingers fell off.
Okay, that' a bit dramatic, but you catch our drift. We're not saying that you need to dress like Nanook of the North, but at least throw on a warm sweater, something to keep your noggin warm and some barbecue gloves, like our buddy Ian here. Try to avoid scarves or anything that might dare the flames to jump up at it.
8. Keep an eye out for squatters
No, not people squatting in your backyard. We mean critters making your barbecue into their home. Like any logical being, these little amigos seek shelter when it's frigid and snowy out. We can't blame them really. Just be sure to open the lid and cart doors before turning the barbecue on.
9. Invest in a remote thermometer
While remote thermometers are helpful year-round, they are especially helpful in the Winter. A cooking thermometer of any kind is always a great idea for making sure your food is cooked to the proper internal temperature, but a remote thermometer allows you to do this from the warmth of the indoors.
Maybe you're kicked back watching the football game or you're playing board games by the fire with the family, either way you can still keep an eye on the internal temperature of your meat and the cook box all without having to step foot outside.
10. Let there be light
The sun goes to bed before you even get home from work at this time of year. If only your kids could learn to go to bed early... We digress... A grill light can be one of the most useful barbecue accessories in the Winter. It will definitely help you to make sure your medium-rare steak doesn't end up CBR (charred beyond recognition) or vice versa. investing money into preventing frustration and wasted meat sounds pretty sound to us.