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Dont wait for Summer, Winter BBQ now!

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It’s still winter, but the prospects of warmer weather may be enough to get us thinking about a Winter BBQ. If you are uncertain whether it is possible to Barbecue in winter weather, then consider the tips below.

Grilling is a year-round event. We may not fire up the grill as often as in mid-summer, but there is a special excitement of bundling up and then heading outside to clear off the grill. Follow these guidelines and get barbecuing.

Don’t wait for Summer, Winter BBQ now!

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Stock up on Fuel for your Winter BBQ

Barbecues have to work harder when it’s cold out there. You should make sure that you have extra propane of Briquettes in storage.

Scrape off snow

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Before you start scrape off any snow that may have settled. A coating of snow or ice will mean that your grill will have to work even harder.

Check inside of your Barbecue

Before you light up check the inside of your barbecue.  After a long break there maybe nests or even small animals who have taken shelter under the grates.

If you are using a propane grill check that the tubing is clear and that no spider webs need cleaning with a small brush.

Location Tips for a Winter BBQ

Before you light up in cold weather have a close look at your barbecue site. Cold air and strong winds will not help when you are trying to maintain the correct temperature. It may be worth moving your Barbecue to a more sheltered location.

Safety Location :

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(Photo showing the dangerous location for a BBQ)

  • The barbecue should be at least 3 meters away from your house. to minimize fire risk.
  • Make sure your site is clear from any overhanging branches or porch roofs that may be flammable.
  • Your grill should be only operated outside or in a specially designed fireplace inside your entertainment room that will draw up and away any carbon monoxide.

Charcoal vs Propane in Winter

This depends on the regions that you live in and whether the temperatures drop below freezing.

You are unlikely to be outside in sub-zero temperatures grilling but some adventurous souls do accept the dare to get their barbecue fix!

Charcoal is usually a better option in very cold areas as it does not freeze over or become unable to burn.

Remember that propane is really a kind of refrigerant. When it evaporates to form gas it actually cools. In very low temperatures the regulator will start to freeze over and this will slow down the volume of the gas flow. This may result in you not being able to reach the required temperatures to grill successfully.

Before you begin to grill

Make sure that you clothe yourself in warm winter clothing. I know it goes without saying! However, pay attention to loose scarves and other items that may come into contact with flames when you grill.

Remember that snow gloves are NOT heat resistant.

Use Oven gloves for your Winter BBQ

Try and get organized before going outside. Assemble all the tools and food you may need beforehand. so that you don’t have to run in and out of your kitchen for items you have forgotten.

This is not the time to experiment with new foods or cooking times. Grill what you know.

If you are using propane, preheat your grill allowing an extra 10 mins longer than normal.

If it is very cold outside, try and look at smoking a cut of meat that will benefit from long slow cooking times. i.e. Brisket, Pork Shoulder, etc.

Grill with your lid closed. It will take longer to grill than normal so the less heat you let escape the better.

Checking that meats have reached optimum temperatures:- Invest in a quality meat thermometer. This will make it much easier to see when your meat is ready. There are even digital thermometers that work with a Bluetooth option. Use your phone, which will allow you to “keep an eye” on temperatures from the warmth of your house!

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As it is officially still winter remember that light can fade fast. Keep a torch or headlamp close by.

Foods that are perfect for that winter barbecue

Pizza:- is a great idea for outside winter grilling. It can be prepped inside in advance and it cooks quickly on the Barbecue.

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Click on this link to find information on BBQ Pizza 

Pulled Pork  & Brisket:– These cook perfectly on a grill in winter. They are very suitable for slow cooking and don’t require a lot of attention, keeping you out of those cold winds! Sure you can cook in an oven but you won’t get that extra smokey taste. They can take a while,  ( Larger Pieces up to 9 hours)so allow plenty of time according to the size of your cut., Free Cooking and BBQ Magazine

Whole Turkey:– Again you can cook a whole turkey in your oven but you will miss that added flavor. Follow this link for tips on barbecuing turkeys.

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Sausages:– These are perfect for direct grilling. They can be preheated in a large pot inside and then when your fire is ready just take the pot outside remove sausages and grill!

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Butternut Squash:– Taking the trouble to grill on charcoal will result in all sorts of smoked, charred deliciousness.

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Pineapple:- Pineapple is sturdy and can take direct grilling. It will char quickly and is a perfect reminder that summer is just around the corner!

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Why wait for Summer? Plan and head outside to renew your love for all things grilled.


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Posted in: Tips

About the Author:

Hi, I am a writer based outside Cape Town in South Africa. I come from a Barbecue obsessed family. With the great weather we have in Cape Town ( most of the year) we enjoy Cooking Outside in our Backyard as often as possible. South African's love to "Braai" anything! The trick to continuing to enjoy Barbecuing is loving the old favorites but experimenting with new foods and methods often.

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