by Daniel Garcia for Club LT
Spring is here and that means it’s time to start grilling again in the warmer weather. Still, some days might be pretty frosty and others might feel like summer. Even though days may be warm, nights can still be cold and that means you’ve got to plan differently than you would if you waited till summer is in full swing to start grilling.
If you’re like me, grilling doesn’t stop just because the weather changes. If living in Oklahoma has taught me anything, it’s not a good idea to make plans around the weather forecast. The saying around here is, “if you don’t like the weather just wait 5 minutes!” So I’m always ready to fire up the grill and smoker. Here are some of my all-weather grilling tips so you can enjoy those steaks or ribs all year long.
Don’t leave your utensils and other accessories outside. Even in warm summer months, rain and humidity can cause them to rust. If you don’t have room in your kitchen for them, you can always put them in a plastic tote and keep them in them garage or spare bedroom.
If you packed stuff away for the winter, make sure to clean everything from the grill grates to utensils and check all the seals on hoses for damage from the harsh winter weather. Spring cleaning isn’t just for the house – make sure to get your grilling gear back in tip-top shape, too.
Always keep your grill covered:
If your grill is covered and you do get some unexpected snow or rain, just take the cover off and your grill is ready go! Not only will this help you get started faster, this will also extend the life of your grill by protecting it from the weather. If you’re going to make an investment in a grill, it only makes sense to protect it.
Check your fuel:
Whether you use charcoal, propane or natural gas, make sure you have plenty on hand. It’s always a good idea to have a spare propane tank since it can be difficult to tell how much is left. No one wants to run out of propane in the middle of grilling a 16-ounce porterhouse! Remember too that on colder days it will take more fuel to preheat the grill than on a hot summer day. Plus, your cooking times may be longer in the colder weather.
Location, Location, Location:
Another thing to think about is where the grill is located. You don’t want to have to walk through spring mud and slush to get to the grill. How bad would it suck to lose your steak because you slipped on some ice! If possible, try moving the grill closer to the door. This will make it safer for you getting to and from the grill. Plus it will limit your time outside if it’s really cold.
While summer grill masters might be grilling in shorts and a tee-shirt, in spring there might be cold nights where you need to wear a jacket or scarf. Avoid those that hang down and could catch fire when you are tending to your food.
Now we are ready to cook
Try to do as much prep work as you can inside. No one likes to stand out in the cold. And make sure the meat is trimmed and seasoned properly. A little planning at the beginning will make grilling in spring a lot easier.
Plan on an extra 5 minutes or so for your grill to preheat in colder weather. It’s also a good idea when preheating your grill heat it more slowly than you would in the summer. This can prevent stressing the metal if it is super cold out.
Once you put the food on the grill resist the urge to lift the lid and peek. This lets heat escape and will extend your grilling time. Your grill will cool down a lot faster in the cold weather compared to the summer.
Know Your Grill:
Since you aren’t going to sneak a peek at your food, it’s important to know your grill. Does it have hot spots? Does one area flare up more than another?
Now all that’s left is to enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Armed with these tips, you are a man in the know and probably the first in your neighborhood to fire up the grill. Don’t just kick back and enjoy your superior skills, invite the neighbors over and show them who’s the real master of the grill in your town. But, like a good host, have plenty of beverages on hand.
About Daniel Garcia
Daniel is a father, cook, and savvy shopper who loves to travel, play poker, and try new foods from around the world. He and his wife, Melissa, run a network of shopping, family, and travel websites including Consumer Queen from their office in Oklahoma City. Daniel, of course, is Consumer King!