How to Grill in Cold Weather & Snow – Tips & Tricks

Is it winter already? Snow is not an obstacle that can’t be overcome. If you get properly prepared, grilling in the winter is not only possible, it can actually be fun. Below I present the most important information to remember when grilling in snow, follow all of the tips below and I’m sure you’ll be satisfied.

What is most important is to get properly prepared and have everything planned so that you don’t run out of fuel or something. The best results, similar to the summer ones, can only be achieved if you get the grill properly isolated, so get going.

1. Pick the right type of grill

Every type of grill and model is made of different materials and reacts differently to the winter weather conditions. Some of the grills have pretty thin walls which makes them lose heat much faster ( like offset smokers or simply cheap models of grills ). There are also grills, on the other hand, made of materials that are much better at insulating heat and work very well when grilling in the winter ( kamado grills ).

That’s why if you have several different types of grills in your garage, choose one that is very good at insulating heat. If you don’t have a real ceramic kamado grill then pick a smaller grill with thicker walls so that you can reduce the heat loss to the minimum.

If you get your grill properly isolated then pretty much every type of grill will be good for grilling in snow. The main problem when grilling in the winter is losing heat, large fuel consumption and difficulties with holding higher temperatures.

2. Prepare the grilling place and the grill

prepare place to grill

If your grill was outside then clean it of snow and make sure that the lid didn’t freeze. If it did, move the grill into a warmer place for a while ( like the garage ) and wait for the ice to melt ( you can make this process faster with a hairdryer for example ).  Don’t try to open a frozen grill by force, that’s an easy way to get something broken in it.

Then prepare a place for grilling, you can’t grill at home or in the garage or any enclosed space. Grilling in the winter has to be done outside, like under a gazebo or at a roofed porch. If you don’t have a cover then it’s no problem, just get the snow out of the porch or the backyard and place your grill there.

Remember that the place should be protected from wind, a very cold and strong wind can easily make grilling harder, wind is another great enemy you have.

3. Create an insulation

What for? In the winter, the loss of heat due to very low temperatures is very high, plus you have to use much more fuel. That’s why the best solution is to make an insulation that will hold the heat inside and significantly reduce the fuel consumption, which won’t be much higher than in the summer that way.

There are many different ways to do that, the easiest is buying a special cold weather jacket that was made individually for a particular type of grill or create your own insulation which will cost you much less.

People use different types of materials that are good at insulating heat. Everyone tries to solve the problem at the lowest possible cost, which means that I’ve seen plenty of methods of insulating a grill.

I will show several examples of this kind, plenty of people use things like a welding blanket that they simply wrap the grill with. Others put bricks around that are also good at insulating. The rule of thumb is that everything that is resistant to high temperatures and great at insulating heat will work here, which means that on top of my own suggestions you can also make use of your own knowledge.

4. Warm up the grill and prepare more fuel

prepare grill in the winter

Remember that in the winter, when the temperature outside is very low, every grill will take much longer to warm up ( at least twice as long ). Very low temperatures make it harder to get the right temperature, but it’s necessary to start grilling which is why you have to be patient.

Of course if warming up the grill in the winter takes more time then it means that you also need much more fuel to maintain the high temperature. Depending on whether you’re going to be cooking on a charcoal or a gas grill, just prepare a large supply of fuel. When it comes to gas grills, it’s a good idea to have a spare propane tank around.

5. Always remember to keep the lid closed

The loss of heat caused by opening the lid when grilling in the winter is enormous. Opening the lid often is a very serious mistake that you have to eliminate right away if you want to think about grilling in snow.

Only open the lid when you really have to and try to close it back as soon as possible. Not only will you lose a lot of heat, but you will also increase the fuel consumption. After closing the lid, the temperature goes back to its previous level pretty fast for winter conditions.

If you want to reliably monitor food then I recommend a remote controlled digital thermometer with a probe that allows you to monitor the meat’s internal temperature without opening the lid.

6. Use simple recipes and smaller pieces of meat

Grilling in the winter usually takes a little longer ( unless you have a very good insulation ) but you still have to take into account that days are shorter and the  temperature outside is very discouraging. That’s why it’s a good idea to consider recipes that use the simplest types of meat ( wieners, hamburgers, chicken wings, steaks etc ). Avoid thick slabs of meat that simply take much more time.

7. Cleaning the grill

grilling in the snow

Cleaning the grill in the winter is obviously a very important topic. You’re probably wondering how it should go, but the solution to this problem is actually simple.

After you’re done cooking, it is a must to start cleaning, take advantage of the grill being hot. While the grill is still hot, it is much easier to remove the grease and food remains from the grates, all it takes is a regular brush that matches the type of the grill grates.

If your grill includes a grease tray then it is necessary to always empty it after cooking in the winter so that it doesn’t freeze.

When you’re done cleaning the grill, leave it for a while to slowly cool down, once it’s all cool check it out once again. Different little critters look for a warm and safe place to spend winter, which is why after your grill cools down you should make sure if there aren’t any unwanted guests under the grill’s lid or in the gaps inside.

8. Storing the grill

store grill in the snow

When you’re done grilling and cleaning your grill afterwards, don’t forget to store it away in a dry, sheltered, warm and safe place. Don’t leave it out in the cold where snow, ice, wind, sun and any other negative factors could impact your grill’s condition.

A cleaned grill should be checked one more time to make sure if it doesn’t have some animal hiding inside, then stored away, preferably in the garage. I also recommend getting a special cover that will make your grill look like new during the next grilling. I especially recommend this solution if you’re not planning to use the grill for some time.

9. Bonus – dress warm

We all love grilling and our grills, but there is something more valuable than that – our health. That’s why you should make sure to be dressed accordingly and not get cold on very cold days. I hope that my advice will get you to like grilling in the winter.

If you believe there’s something missing about grilling in the winter here then share your knowledge with us by leaving a comment below.

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