It’s time to make final plans for your Super Bowl party, especially if you’re grilling, as so many people do on game day. Super Bowl Sunday is the most popular grilling day of the winter, with two-thirds of grill owners breaking out their grills for the festivities. Grilling in cold weather takes longer than when it’s warm, so check now to see if you have enough fuel on hand.

"If you haven't fired up your grill since last summer, don't expect it to start up and cook like it would in warmer weather," says Cindy Fisher, who oversees Consumer Reports' grill tests.

Here are some more tips for cold-weather grilling from year-round grilling pros.

You'll Need Patience, but It Will Pay Off

Do a grill check. In addition to a fuel check, make sure your grill is shoveled out and that the lid and knobs aren’t frozen shut. If they are, move the grill into the garage or to a warmer spot to let it defrost—or use a hair dryer. Don’t force open a frozen knob or lid, which can damage the grill.

Put the grill in a safe place. While you want easy access to your grill, don’t place it too close to the house: 10 feet away is recommended. To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, never grill in an enclosed space like a covered patio, garage, or under an awning. Inspect the burners, jets, and gas lines for blockages that will restrict the gas flow. The flame should burn blue, not yellow, which indicates clogged air inlets or burners that need adjusting.

Be patient. Preheating your gas grill can take up to twice as long in frigid temperatures, so factor that in. To keep food from sticking to the grates, make sure your grill is hot enough. Position the grill at a 90-degree angle to the wind so the flames don’t blow out on a gusty day.  

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Suit up safely. Bundle up, but don’t wear scarves, tassels, or any other item that can dangle over the grill and ignite. Choose a pair of warm gloves that allow full hand movements so you can easily manipulate your grilling tools. And make sure you have an ABC multipurpose fire extinguisher handy just in case. 

Keep a lid on it. Heat escapes every time you lift the lid, prolonging grilling time. For the grill to retain as much heat as possible, keep the lid closed. If you have an app-connected wireless meat thermometer, use it to monitor temperature and cooking time.

Test meat temps. Cold-weather grilling takes longer, so make doubly sure that your meat is thoroughly cooked. Insert a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the food and follow this advice from the Department of Agriculture:

• Cook raw beef, pork, lamb and veal steaks, chops, and roasts to 145° F. Allow meat to rest for at least 3 minutes before carving or eating.
• Cook raw ground beef, pork, lamb, and veal to 160° F.
• Cook raw poultry to 165° F.

Plan a quick cleanup. The best time to clean your grill is when it’s still hot, so take the time to brush food debris off the racks, especially if the grill will be sitting idle for the rest of the winter.

Need a Gas Grill?

As grilling becomes a year-round activity, it’s getting easier to find models for sale in the winter, even if you have to look in the back of a store behind the more seasonal items. If you need a grill for Sunday's game, make sure you have time to assemble it. While some stores offer assembly in warmer months, that task is usually done by seasonal workers who may be off-duty now. For the results of our gas grill tests, see our full gas grill ratings and recommendations.