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Grill In The Chill: Hot Tips For Cold Weather BBQ

DETROIT (WWJ) - While the weather may be frigid, hearty grillers will still brave brutal temps to brush the snow off the BBQ and turn up the heat for their favorite grilled meats.

Many people fail to realize, however, that different rules apply for barbequing in cold weather versus warmer months.

Those who are dying to melt away some winter blues by firing up the grill for some juicy burgers or steak should consider the following tips and tricks to properly "Grill in the Chill."

1. Winter Check-Up

If you have not checked the operation of your grill since the end of the summer, don't wait until an hour before your guests arrive. Fire up the grill the day before and use a grill brush to clean up the grate. Also, be sure your propane tanks are full and ready to go. Charcoal grills will create better control over the temperature in the harsh conditions and give your meats a delicious smoky flavor.

2. Shield the Goods

The number one winter grilling enemy is not cold temperatures, but wind. Wind makes it difficult to keep your cooker at proper cooking temperature and may even blow out the flame if you are using a gas grill. Position your grill in a location that's sheltered from wind but still safe. Never grill on an indoor porch or in your garage. This creates a fire hazard and risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

3. Keep the Heat

Avoid complex dishes that involve a lot of time tending to cooking food. Keeping the dishes simple allows for less time opening and closing the lid too many times. You can also warm your platters in the oven to help keep your grilled meats warm as they come off the grill.

4. Bonus Time

Meats may take longer to cook on a cold winter day. A dish that takes 20 minutes in the summer may take 40 minutes in the winter. A meat thermometer can help you determine the proper doneness.

5. Never Pierce the Casing

Those three diagonal cuts so many of us put in our hot dogs before grilling generally provide no taste improvement or enhancement. In fact, many natural juices and spices run out of these slices, diminishing the hot dog's taste and plump appearance. Cook your hot dogs over med-low heat instead, and remove from grill once they are browned.

6. Gear Up Right

Even the quick run from the door to the grill can be a chilly one. You want to bundle up, but make sure you're always aware of grill safety. Loose clothing and draping scarves can easily fall into the line of fire. Grab a pair of gloves with removable fingertips for the best grilling mobility.

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