Winter BBQ Tips: Stay Lit Up All Year Long

Winter BBQ Tips: Stay Lit Up All Year Long
Packing up your grill and storing it away over the winter months is a thing of the past. BBQ season NEVER ends! Some of the best cooking events happen from autumn to spring, so why not keep that 'cue fired up all year long? To get the most out of your grill sessions during colder weather, here are a few things to keep in mind...
  • Keep your grill free of snow (and make sure you can get to it). Rule of thumb: when you shovel your stairs or driveway, make your next stop the barbecue.
  • Consider replacing or upgrading your cover. If you've noticed your BBQ cover has some wear & tear or just feels flimsy it may be worth looking at premium covers, which are designed to withstand the elements
  • Be aware of how outdoor temperatures effect your particular grill and fuel type. Charcoal & pellet barbecues tend to be more tolerant of the cold than propane, which can be more difficult to get to higher cooking temps. Gas becomes more compact in the cold so you may notice your flames are weaker or go out more easily in the winter. To help with heat conservation there are winter accessories available for some grills like the YS640 Thermal Jacket. Strong winds are another factor to consider. Gas grills can be turned perpendicular to the wind direction so burner tubes are protected, which makes it less likely that your flame will be blown out. Charcoal ash can cause burns or even fires if not contained properly. Be extremely careful when lifting your lid, make sure you are grilling in a cleared, open space and consider cooking with another heat source on really windy days.
  • Preparation is EVERYTHING! Plan ahead and take your time to avoid making multiple trips in & out, having to lift your grill lid more than you need to, etc. This includes dressing for the weather so you can enjoy your cooking experience.
  • Preheating will likely take some extra time and your grill will use more fuel when it's cold... make sure you stock up! Keep your charcoal in a cool, dry & protected area - if it's damp it can be very difficult to light and reach/maintain the proper cooking temperature you need.
  • Make sure your hands are protected properly. Those fuzzy mitts or snowmobile gloves you have readily accessible are not the safest choice. Instead, try grilling mitts or leather grilling gloves - there are many brands & styles to choose from including the Weber Premium Gloves and YS Long Leather BBQ Gloves.
  • Keep your lid closed as much as possible. Your 'cue has to work extra hard to maintain a steady cooking temperature in colder weather, so help it out by making your lift time short. Investing in a wireless temperature monitoring system, like the Weber Connect Smart Grilling Hub, minimizes the need open your lid and allows you to keep an eye on things from indoors.
  • Be sure your food is cooked properly. Because cooler weather can alter the amount & intensity of heat your grill is able to produce, the risk of undercooking your food is higher in the winter. If you aren’t using a monitoring system, using a probe thermometer like the Yoder Smokers Maverick PT-75 to test the internal temperature of whatever you’ve got cooking is a good way to make sure it’s safe to eat. Test different locations in your food, especially the thickest parts, before determining if it’s ready to leave the grill because uneven cooking can be more common in the cold as well. Try to be as quick as possible with lid lifting when checking food temperatures to avoid heat loss, which can be significant depending on the conditions.
  • Try a new technique! Indirect grilling (e.g. brisket, roasts, whole chickens or turkeys) or cold smoking (e.g. cheese, nuts, desserts) are two great ways to branch out from the conventional direct flame method. Because both of these techniques don't require high heat, they are a perfect fit for winter cooking. Accessories like the Broil King Chicken Roaster and The Smokin’ Wedgie make trying something new on the grill even easier.


The team at SMOKE & FIRE is stoked to help you make the most of your winter grilling experiences. Baby, it's cold outside... keep yourself fired up, festive & feasting!

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