Sometime during the fall, many of us here in the Hudson Valley and Catskills regions think that grilling season has ended. So we do a final cleaning of our grills, put the grill cover on, and resign ourselves to a winter of longing for the ease and deliciousness of grilled foods any time we want them.
It’s time to stop longing and start grilling!
With some simple adjustments, you can use your propane BBQ during the winter and get a taste of summer even when the thermometer is below freezing! But grilling in the winter isn’t the exact same as grilling in the summer. Here are some tips so you can fire up the grill this week.
Have enough propane. The cold weather here in New York means your propane BBQ grill will use more propane than in the summer to keep the grill hot enough to grill your food. It will also need around 10 minutes longer to warm up before grilling. Have a spare propane cylinder on hand to prevent a runout.
Put your grill in the right place. Winter winds can make grilling difficult, both in terms of comfort and keeping the flame on. Put it in a spot where it will be blocked from the wind as much as possible, and make sure it’s perpendicular to the wind to prevent wind from being blown down the tube burners or blowing out the flame. Also, keep a clear and safe path to the grill. And make sure the grill is a safe distance from the house to prevent a fire and protect your siding.
Be prepared. Keep your outside time and your propane usage to a minimum by taking the time before starting the grill to get everything you’re going to need together: tongs, brushes, meat thermometer, sauces or seasonings, and trays to bring the food out to the grill and back inside.
Be safe: Check the path to your grill and clear any ice or snow to prevent falls. Don’t wear a scarf or other winter outerwear that can dangle over the flame and catch fire. Be extra careful of flame near your coat. NEVER use your grill in an enclosed or covered area like a garage, covered patio, carport or screened-in porch. That can create a dangerous buildup of carbon monoxide. And never store your propane cylinders there, either.
Let there be light. It gets darker earlier in the winter, so you will likely be grilling supper after sundown. Make sure your grill is in a well-lit area so you can safely get to the grill, operate it, see that the flame is on, and better monitor how the food is cooking. Invest in a grill light.
Make it fast. This isn’t the time for low-and-slow indirect grilling like pulled pork or brisket. Grill quick meals like kebabs, chicken breasts, fish, steaks, and pork tenderloin. Also, keep the lid of your grill down as much as possible. The grill loses heat each time you open the lid, which lengthens cooking time and makes you use more propane.