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Five hot tips for successful winter grilling

Consumer Reports News: January 02, 2013 03:53 PM

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Grilling season used to begin Memorial Day and end when those last burgers came off the grill on Labor Day. No more. Nearly two-thirds of grill owners polled said they grill year round, according to the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association, an industry group. And if you spend much of the winter shoveling snow—hello Rochester—year-round grilling brings outdoor living inside, just when you need it. Here are five tips from manufacturers on grilling in cold weather.

Dress the part. Bundle up, of course, but no scarfs, tassels, or other fabrics that dangle and could catch fire.

Position the grill. Shield it from the wind and place about 10 feet away from combustible surfaces and away from any materials, such as siding, that heat could damage. And to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, always grill in a well-ventilated area and never inside an enclosed patio, garage or beneath an overhang.

Do a safety check. Inspect the burners, jets, and gas lines for blockages that restrict the gas flow. Check that the flame burns blue not yellow. Yellow flames indicate clogged air inlets or burners that need adjusting.

Plan ahead. Pre-heating your gas grill can take up to twice as long in below-freezing temperatures. Cooking on a gas or charcoal grill may also take longer, so use a meat thermometer to ensure meats and fish are safe to eat. The instant-read Taylor Weekend Warrior 806 was a standout in our tests of meat thermometers and cost $16.

Keep a lid on it. For the grill to retain as much heat as possible, cook with the lid closed. Find more winter grilling tips on the Weber Nation website.

Year-round grilling means some retailers now sell grills throughout the year. And you might even find one on sale. Use our Ratings of dozens of gas grills to help find a grill with a cooking surface that matches how much you usually cook. We group grills based on our measurements of the main cooking area. Manufacturers might also include warming racks and searing burners in their claims.

Kimberly Janeway

   

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