Tips to BBQ in Cold Weather Temperatures
I live in the frigid great white north, in Canada. Confession: I’m a total wimp when it comes to being outside and “enjoying” it. Yep, the quotation marks around “enjoy” is what I am expected to say, but that doesn’t mean I do. BUT! I do cook outside all year round (otherwise the cooking season would be 4 months long, so if I can, you can too! Here’s a few thoughts to make your cold weather cooking experience tolerable:
- Set yourself up for success. Move your BBQ in closer proximity to your patio, deck or door entrance so you don’t need to trek across 2 feet of snow to cook dinner. And if you move your cooking apparatus BEFORE the snow flies, you can actually move it. 🙄 It’s not folklore that your BBQ or grill will freeze in place, especially if you get fluctuations in temperature – freeze, thaw, freeze temperatures <speaking from personal experience.>
- Ensure you have extra fuel on hand. Whether it’s propane, pellets or charcoal, expect to use more fuel to get your BBQ temperature up and keep it there
- Ambient temperature is frosty, polar and even glacial, right? So to warm up the ambient air in your BBQ you should expect it to take longer. How much longer the warm up takes, is relative, but I’d take 1.5 times the normal warm up period as a starting point.
- Keep the heat in and don’t peek at your food more than necessary. Food cooks best if there is a hot cooking chamber or said differently, the air around the meat is hot. If you only have one heat source (and it’s on the bottom for example), it will be difficult to achieve even cooking. Thick cuts pork chop might not cook through. There is a saying in bbq, if you’re looking, you’re not cooking. So either trust yourself to look less by buying temperature probes, overlay a fire proof blanket (welding blankets) on top or around the cooker to insulate or expect longer cooking time. You can even tell your significant other, that you need to upgrade upgrade your BBQ to thicker metal, better design with tighter seals or more BTUs. SmellaQue approved!! Plus buying a new BBQ in winter may be cheaper on the pocketbook since it’s offseason. Deal!!!
- Finish in the oven. Particularly if you are smoking meat, once you wrap your meat in tinfoil or butcher paper, the smoke flavor cannot penetrate the meat anymore. So once you foil wrap your ribs, throw it in the oven to finish at the same cooking temperature as you would outside. You will still have the same great smoky flavor with a pro tip to keep you out of the elements. <I just told you my biggest cheat; this is a winner for the long haul meats like brisket or pulled pork. You’re welcome! :)>
- Prepare all your cooking utensils, plates, special sauce that you need onto a baking sheet to take outside easily. That way you have everything you need! Mise en place!
- Indoor staging is important. At the doorway, prepare footwear that is both cold protective, non-slip and easy to pull on and off. Also, keep a warm coat that can be thrown on easily.