Our culture has a nearly obsessive interest in grilling, and who says the party has to stop when summer ends? You can — and should — continue to engage in this cooking style over the colder months.
It naturally reduces fat and imparts flavor without any extra salt. With that in mind, here are five tips for using your grill in winter.
1. You Can Take Things Indoors
Maybe you’re the hearty type who declares that neither snow nor sleet nor hail will keep you from your grill. You’ve fashioned a windshield out of an old dog crate and insulation, and you’ve shoveled a path to your outdoor kitchen.
However, if you prefer not to brave the elements, there’s nothing wrong with using some models of grill inside, as long as you provide adequate insulation. Please use care to avoid putting it under eaves or overhanging materials, and keep your children and pets away from the area. While you should never leave a grill unattended, keep an extra eye on it when heading indoors.
One thing to avoid is bringing standard gas or charcoal grills inside because of the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Every year, a dozen people die from attempting this trick. Fortunately, you can find indoor-outdoor models if you live in an area where blizzards have you saying un-uh to venturing out in the snow.
2. Prepare For Inclement Weather
If nothing but the flavor of genuine hickory-smoked barbecue will cure your craving, a little snow and ice won’t kill you. Why not clear a path and get outside to grill? Your body will benefitfrom an extra infusion of vitamin D, which some researchers are now looking at as a weapon in the war against the novel coronavirus.
Remember, safety comes first, which means getting rid of the snow and ice that makes your outdoor kitchen hazardous. Chip away at thick coatings after shoveling and then put down an eco-friendly alternative to rock salt to keep surfaces clear.
You also need to protect yourself from hypothermia — warming your mitts over the flames isn’t recommended. A grease splatter could cause flames to erupt and burn you. Protect your paws with a pair of gloves that have grips to make spatula-management a snap.
3. Protect Your Investment
If you want your grill to provide you with years of delicious pleasure, you need to maintain your investment. Prepare your device for the cold season by taking the following steps:
- Cover up: A grill cover protects your investment from snow and ice. It also keeps it warmer, leading to speedier heat when you go to cook.
- Clean up: You don’t want to open your grill to find a tribe of forest creatures have turned it into their refrigerator. Take off all racks and thoroughly scrub them and remove any splatter or spills from side burners.
- Shut off: If your grill is part of a larger outdoor kitchen, please make sure you turn off the water and drain your faucets to avoid pipe bursting from freezing temperatures.
4. Take Advantage of Pleasant Days to Socialize
Getting outdoors has a host of mental and physical health benefits, so dine alfresco when the weather is pleasant. One recent study published by Mental Health Colorado indicates that 30 minutes of nature exposure per week reduces depression by 7% and blood pressure by 9%.
Exposure to sunlight also ramps up your body’s production of vitamin D, a vital hormone for immune function. For best results, leave your skin sunscreen free for a few minutes to soak up the good stuff.
5. Consider Enhancing Your Outdoor Living Space
Can you grill even when the snow is falling? You can if you have a roof over your deck or patio and the wind isn’t blowingtoo hard.
Another option to consider is screening in the area. Doing so keeps insects out of your outdoor space in the summer months. During the winter, you can build removable plastic inserts that you can take down to grill, then put back up after the smoke clears to take advantage of the greenhouse effect. It’s almost like adding another room to your home.
Use Your Grill in Winter
Now you know what you need to if you want to keep using your grill in winter. Doing so lets you enjoy authentic barbecue flavor any time of year.