7 Winter Grilling Do's and Don'ts, According to a Grill Master

This mistake will make your meat dry.

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January 25, 2021
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Cooking Steaks and Kabobs on a Backyard BBQ in the Middle of Winter

Photo by: LauriPatterson/Getty Images

LauriPatterson/Getty Images

Summer grilling is peachy and all that, but did you know that you can (and should) be grilling through the winter? It’s just as easy as warm-weather grilling. We turned to none other than Kevin Kolman, head grill master for Weber, for all the winter grilling tips and tricks. Read on before firing up your barbecue in cold temperatures.

Winterize Your Grill

It’s a good habit to keep your grill covered all year long because over time the elements can take a toll on your grill. During the winter though, you should always keep your grill covered. Kolman explains why: “If it’s icy and snowy it’s easier to just take the cover off than it is to remove ice and snow from your grill. The less I have to clean the outside of the grill, the better off I am.”

Clean Your Grates Extra Well

Yep, we always tell you to clean the grates of your grill. But in cold temperatures, it’s especially important, and here’s why. “If the grill has a lot of schmutz (that’s a professional barbecuer’s word for grease and food particles and barbecue sauce), the convectional air doesn’t move around inside as quickly,” Kolman says. Convection heating is one of the main ways your food cooks on a grill, and if it’s not fully effective, your food will take longer to cook. Foods like chicken breast or steak that you grill quickly over high heat will dry out the longer they’re on the grill. Dirty grates = dry meat.

Bring Your Grill Closer to the House

You’ll be more likely to grill if you shorten the walk between your house and grill or garage and grill. “Just make sure you’re at least 10 feet away from combustible areas. So no bringing it inside the garage or anything like that,” Kolman said. Steer clear of grilling on covered patios, underneath a raised deck, and make sure you note safety rules before bringing your grill to your apartment patio.

Photo by: Kevin Koleman

Kevin Koleman

Set Up an Ice-Free Grill Station

It helps to have everything you need to fend off the elements set up before, well, the elements strike. Kolman likes to keep a bucket of salt next to his grills so he doesn’t have to run somewhere else for it. You should also keep an extra propane tank or bag of charcoal near your grill because cold weather causes grills to eat up way more fuel. You’ll be surprised by how quickly you fly through it.

Wear Heat Proof, Flexible Gloves

If you have an extra coat, hat or gloves, wear it. About those gloves … Kolman reminds you that it’s important that they allow for dexterity. He loves gloves made out of Kevlar material, which prevents against heat and knife cuts but also is light and flexible.

Factor in More Time to Preheat

“Preheating might take longer because the air is cold,” Kolman said. “So if it normally takes you 10 to 15 minutes it might take you 15 to 20 in the winter.” Make sure you factor in these extra minutes when you’re timing your meal.

Try Not to Open the Lid

“If you’re constantly opening the lid, you’re adding five to seven minutes onto your cook time,” Kolman said. And when you slow down cook time, you already know what happens: the meat stays on too long and gets dry. Instead, try to make a game plan and use a wireless grilling thermometer (like the Weber Connect) so you can see the temperature without opening the lid.

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