Just because it’s winter, it doesn’t mean that you need to abandon your grill. While most decks and patios are designed with summertime in mind, that doesn’t mean we can’t extend the time that you’re able to make use of your beloved outdoor living space. So bundle up and follow these tips to create delicious and flavorful food on your grill all winter long!
Prepare the Deck – Set Up in a Clean Space
Before heading out into the cold, make sure there isn’t any slippery ice patches. Remove snow ( there could be hidden ice patches under light snow) and make sure you have a clear and safe path to the grill.
Note: Don’t forget to clear off your grill! Snow on your grill will slow down cooking times and melting water may leak onto the food inside – yuck! Keeping your grill covered when not in use will speed up the snowy cleanup times.
Warm Up Your Space – Firepits, Heaters, and More
Adding a firepit to your outdoor space can create a special kind of cozy ambiance. A fire pit is a great spot for gathering with friends and loved ones. If you like to grill in the cooler months, it’s also a great place to warm yourself in between flipping burgers.
There are a lot of options depending on your outdoor setup. You can have a built-in firepit, a movable and lightweight metal frame fire pit, or build a basic but beautiful one yourself out of bricks or stones. Be sure to keep your firepit properly protected from the winter weather with a fire pit cover when not in use. There’s also the option of adding in an outdoor heater, these work best in spaces that are covered and you can close off such as an enclosed patio or a canopy with outdoor curtains to help hold in heat. Just be sure to follow all manufacturer settings for safety, especially when using the heater in enclosed areas.
Note: It’s important to note that your grill or smoker itself should never be used in an enclosed space, under a canopy, or in a garage. These cookers are designed for outdoor use only. Instead, it’s best to grill nearby and have a cozy place to warm up in between checking on your food.
Insulation is Essential
It takes longer to warm up the grill and longer to cook in the winter months. Check your specific grill type to see if it’s safe to put an insulation cover on top.This will save you time waiting around in the cold for it to preheat. Just be sure not to cover up any vents!
Keep it Covered – Strike While the Iron is Hot
When transporting cooked foods back into the house, just a minute or two of that cold winter air can cool your food down far too quickly. There’s nothing worse than expecting a warm juicy steak and instead getting a cold hunk of beef. Instead, use a container that holds heat in such as a cast iron pot or just about anything insulated that is heat approved – preferably no plastic.
If you’re eating outside, you could consider using warming pans or placing items onto the top tier tray of your grill when you turn it off, just be sure that it’s not anything that can overcook!