Winter Gas Grilling Tips from Blue Rhino
Did you know that more than 60% of backyard chefs grill year-round? Although the basic principles of grilling apply in every season, here are a few tips that are unique to winter.
Before You Grill
While You Grill
- Safety Check: Check all the gas lines, burners and jets for possible blockages. Insects such as spiders have been known to make webs, which will restrict gas flow.
- Dress Warm: Wear a warm jacket, but be careful of any hanging fabric that could catch fire. Cover-ups with an elastic band around the wrist or a button closure are a perfect choice. Also, warm gloves are helpful. Select gloves that allow you to move your fingers, such as fingerless gloves, or gloves that have the ability to remove the finger tips.
- Grill Placement: Place your grill in a location that’s sheltered from cold winds (approx. 10 feet from any combustible surfaces). Don’t place it against siding or near other materials susceptible to heat damage or catching fire.
- Meal Planning: Select smaller cuts of meat and fast cooking vegetables. Smaller cuts take less time to thaw, season and cook. Note: In the winter, food will take a little longer to cook.
- Gas: Use a grill with a high BTU rating for maximum heat output. And make sure you have enough propane! You can’t cook without it!
- Oil: Coat your grids with cooking oil before lighting. This will help keep food from sticking.
- Starting: Propane grills can be harder to light in the cold. To make it easier, don’t turn the handwheel on your propane tank all the way on. Instead, try turning it just a single turn before lighting.
- Season: Pre-heat the grill to about 300°F and liberally apply vegetable oil with brush or spray bottle. Close the grill and allow it to sit for about 20 minutes. After 20 minutes wipe the cooking surface clean with a warm damp cloth.
After You Grill
- Lid Placement: Depending on the type of food you are cooking, leaving the lid down in the winter will help your grill retain as much heat as possible.
- How to Mark Food: Sear food over high heat for 90 seconds and then rotate it clockwise 45 degrees and sear again. This will create a crosshatch design.
- Grill Tools: To avoid losing natural juices, use long handled tongs or spatulas instead of forks.
- Don’t Mess with it: Let the grill do the work! Resist the urge and turn foods over as little as possible.
- Direct Cooking: To sear or cook food from the outside-in, put it directly over lit burners. Perfect for steaks, burgers, and veggies.
- Indirect Cooking: For larger or more delicate cuts of meat such as chicken, roasts, and fish fillets, preheat the grill with all burners on. Once the grill is hot, turn off one set of burners, put food over the unlit burners, and close the lid. This will make the inside of meats juicy and tender while the outside is brown and caramelized.
- Try Wood Chips: Enhance flavors by using wood chips in smoker boxes or aluminum foil pouches. Follow the wood manufacturer’s instructions.
- Reheat Pizza: A gas grill is ideal for reheating leftover pizza. Set burners on low and place pizza directly on preheated cooking grid. Close lid and cook until cheese starts to bubble.
- Taming Flare Ups: To reduce flare-ups, use lean cuts of meat, or trim fat. Avoid cooking at very high temperatures. If a flare up does occur, put the grill lid down, or turn all burners OFF and move food to another part of the grill. After the flames subside, relight the grill. DO NOT spray water on flare-ups.
- Using Foil: Place delicate foods in aluminum foil pouches. Then, indirect cook, or place the pouch on the warming rack. Never cover entire cooking area with aluminum foil.
- Rubs: For a mild flavor, add a rub immediately before cooking. For a more intense taste, rub meats a day or so in advance.
- Warming Rack: Use it to keep cooked food warm, toast breads or cook delicate foods in aluminum foil pouches.
- Side Burner: Use it like your kitchen stove: for boiling, warming, sautéing for frying.
- Food: After cooking, let grilled food stand for a few minutes before serving to allow its juices to redistribute. This will ensure a more consistent and juicy taste.
- Clean: While the grill is still hot, clean cooking grids and racks with a quality grill brush designed for your grids. Wear protective gloves and gently remove the build-up.
- Protect: After every use, allow grill to cool. Then, lightly coat cooking grids with cooking oil, empty grease pan, wipe outside surfaces with a suitable cleaner, and protect surfaces with a quality cover that fits your grill.