Just because Canada is now deep in the middle of winter doesn’t mean your beloved backyard grill needs to go into hibernation until the spring. Don’t be intimidated by the frosty weather, a rewarding winter grilling experience requires only a few simple tweaks to be successful. The following guidelines for grilling when it’s cold out will give you delicious results while also keeping you safe and (relatively) warm.
Keep extra fuel handy
Both charcoal and gas barbecues need extra fuel when temperatures drop below freezing. Avoid partially cooked food and major disappointment by checking your fuel supply in advance and topping up if necessary. If winter grilling is a regular occurrence at your house consider stocking up on fuel, it’s better to have too much rather than run out at an inopportune moment.
Make sure there’s clear path to the barbecue
Any Canadian who’s stepped onto an icy patio or deck will understand how perilous and slippery it can be trying to get from one point to the other without falling. Add a tray of grilled meat and barbecue tongs and a fall becomes even more disastrous and dangerous. Create a wide path for yourself directly from the door to the barbecue and keep it maintained throughout the season for easy grilling access throughout the entire winter.
Protect your barbecue from the elements
Strong gusts of wind, heavy snowfall and persistent, driving rain are just some of the winter elements Canadians have to look forward to once temperatures drop. Protect your barbecue by keeping it as sheltered as possible, taking caution to keep it far away from any overhanging branches or dried wood.
Close the lid
Keeping the lid closed while you’re barbecuing is the best way to maintain a hot, steady temperature and it’s a particularly important safety guideline to follow in the winter. The combination of icy winds and subzero temperatures makes it difficult for your barbecue to hold onto heat the same way it would in the summer. A longer cooking time and the use of a grill thermometer to check the internal temperature of all meat, poultry and fish are both effective ways to ensure your food is fully cooked and safe to eat.
Use a Dutch oven to keep food hot
Dutch ovens and other forms of ceramic bake - and cookware may be on the heavier than other dishes, but they do a remarkable job of keeping food hot thanks to their ability to retain heat. Always use a separate dish for raw meat or fish, transferring the grilled food to the Dutch oven or other ceramic cookware when fully cooked.
Prep your ingredients wisely
Prepping wisely makes any cooking endeavour run more efficiently, but it’s especially important when grilling outdoors during the winter. Making sure each ingredient and tool is ready for the grill means you’ll get to spend less time going in and out of the house, a boon for both yourself and anyone who finds themselves sitting close to the door.