Firing up the Grill is In - 6 Tips and Tricks for American Winter Grilling

Winter is also BBQ season.

Key Takeaways:

  • Store charcoal & briquettes in a dry place
  • Wear warm clothing for grilling, but make sure it's fireproof and without tassels
  • Always keep an eye on the wind
  • Warm dishes are not only good for warm hands
  • Utilize alternative cuts of meat in winter
  • Clean up immediately and quickly to avoid later trouble


Who thinks about grilling in January?

Quite simply: a whole 60% of Americans. Because, as our friends on the other side of the big pond know, even cold weather doesn't diminish the joy of grilling in the slightest. On the contrary – with great cuts of meat that you might never think of in summer or might be hard to come by, winter grilling can open entirely new doors for enthusiasts. And who doesn't salivate at the thought of a piece of smoky meat, even on cold winter days?

So why not try to follow in the footsteps of our American grill companions this year and light up the fire in snow and wind instead of sun and heat.

To ensure that the joy of grilling and good taste take center stage even in the cold season, here are our tips for stress-free winter grilling:


Store Charcoal Dry

No fire, no grilling – hence, it's important to store charcoal, briquettes & Co. protected from the elements and, above all, dry during winter. If you have a garage or a weatherproof shed, you're in luck; otherwise, you should keep a small reserve of charcoal from summer in a secluded corner where it's out of everyone's way.

If you prefer to grill with gas instead of charcoal & Co., pay attention to the type of gas you're using. The well-known propane gas is very stable and only liquefies at temperatures below -42 degrees Celsius, far from our lowest temperatures here. However, other commonly used gases like butane can start liquefying around freezing point, putting a damper on your grilling fun.

If you don't want to miss out on the distinctive smoky flavor of burnt charcoal even while using a gas grill, we recommend trying Rufus Teague's Liquid Smoke, which offers a delicious blend of hickory aroma, molasses, brown sugar, and soy sauce.



Warm and Fireproof Clothing

Naturally, the right clothing is absolutely essential for winter grilling; after all, not only should the meat stay comfortably warm. However, it's important to keep in mind that you're working with open fire and in winter, there's often a brisk breeze. Clothes that tend to flutter in the wind, like scarves or ponchos, shouldn't be your first choice. Also, tassels and cords, as stylish as they may be in winter, are best kept away from the grill.

And even though wool and felt are naturally cozy and warm, they're also very flammable, and a few sparks could quite literally burn a hole not only in your grilling mood.

We recommend opting for tightly fitting jackets, preferably with a hood. And for those who want to be extra safe, fireproof or at least non-flammable materials are a better choice than traditional fabrics.

For cold fingers, you can simply use sturdy grill gloves or, for extra warmth, put on mittens first and then slide the grill gloves over them. For this, the robust leather grill gloves from Outset are suitable – available as mittens or finger gloves, depending on your preference.



Watch Out for the Wind

As mentioned earlier, as a professional winter griller, you should keep an eye on the wind. Not only can fire and sparks fly your way unexpectedly, but a strong gust of wind can also lift a handful of ash from the embers and scatter it over your delicious sizzling grilled meat. Therefore, it's important to check the wind direction before lighting up and position yourself and the grill in a way that smoke and haze don't obstruct your view and enjoyment.

Also, ensure that the smoke carried away by the wind doesn't potentially end up directly inside your home. Keeping windows and doors closed, even during short trips to the grill, can help with this as well.

If the wind isn't too strong, an alternate option is to use a windbreak. However, we should remember to keep potentially flammable materials far enough from the grill and securely anchored to prevent them from suddenly flying onto the open flame in strong winds. Adequate ventilation is also important so that smoke and haze can dissipate quickly and safely.

If you have a grill with a lid, you're in luck. Simply close the lid, and most of these issues are resolved for you.


Pre-Warm Dishes

Once all the precautions around the grill itself are taken care of, you might think you're ready to go, but it's still worth taking the time to plan one more step:

Because what could be worse than your beautifully seared steak getting chilled on its way from the grill to the dining table, leaving you with a lukewarm piece of meat after all your efforts?

The grilled meat can cool down quickly, but this time the culprit isn't primarily the wind. Heat is lost most quickly through physical contact, and if you place your freshly grilled steak on a cold plate, it literally draws the heat out of the meat.

However, if you preheat your plates and thereby reduce the temperature difference between them and the food, the meat & Co. will retain their temperature for longer.

Therefore, it's best to place the plates in the oven until shortly before serving to let them attain a certain baseline warmth. And since you probably already opted for mittens & Co. while winter grilling, you can just keep them on and use them as substitutes for oven gloves when you go to collect your portion.

Our tip for even more warmth: Simply take a second preheated plate and place it over the meat like a lid. This way, the heat is better retained in the shielded food until it reaches the dining table.

If that's not enough heat for you, we personally recommend offering delicious spicy sauces from Rufus Teague, Bone Doctors, Stonewall Kitchen & Co., or a deliciously tangy aioli for dipping and enjoying:



Alternative Cuts of Meat for Winter

And now that everything is prepared, our grill is fired up, and the plates are preheating in the oven, it's finally time to talk about the most important aspect of grilling: our menu.

Of course, the summer classics like pork and beef in the form of sausages, steaks, ribs & Co. also shine in winter, but the grill pro knows that the season should be used to try cuts of meat that are rarely or never found in summer, or that offer more than just a few cents in savings compared to summer.

How about trying something different, like grilled lamb chops, instead of the classic beef? Lamb is a delicacy for many, and its distinctively savory taste guarantees an aromatic alternative during the cold grill months. Grilled lamb becomes especially delicious with notes of garlic and rosemary. Therefore, we happily recommend the flavorful Stonewall Kitchen Aiolis for a taste experience like no other:



For seafood enthusiasts, the winter months offer great alternatives too. Instead of shrimp skewers, how about grilling a piece of salmon wrapped in aluminum foil and savoring the taste of delightful seafood with a zesty touch of lemon:



Vegetarians won't miss out on winter grilling either. Eggplant, sweet potato, & Co. slow-cooked over an open flame are doubly delicious in cold weather. We particularly recommend the aromatic spices from Urban Accents:



And even though cold beer might not be the ideal choice for most grillmasters in winter, there are solutions. How about enjoying a delicious Mulled Cider to keep the grilling spirit high even in the wind? Especially for lamb, the adventurous could even go for a cup of hot chocolate – a surprisingly harmonious flavor combination that we heartily recommend. Or, during the cold season, how about a tasty Pumpkin Spiced Latte, easily and quickly made at home? Just add a good splash of Pumpkin Spice Syrup from Blackberry Patch to your prepared latte, and your warm and flavorful winter drink is ready:



Clean Up Immediately, Relax Later

Lastly, let's talk about cleanup. Our simple tip: Dismantle and store everything right after grilling. Protect any leftover charcoal and the grill from the weather before a snowstorm catches you. That way, everything is ready and set for the next round of winter grilling.

If you need a little extra motivation to stay committed to this less-favored task despite the cold and wind, we recommend reaching for bags full of delicious Sunflower Spitting Seeds by Rufus Teague in 4 delicious BBQ flavors. From spicy to smoky, there's guaranteed to be a taste that suits every winter griller:



So, take a cue from our American friends and make winter 2022 your grilling season. Enjoy your meal!