Winter grilling and barbecuing is almost always feasible no matter how cold it gets. There is absolutely no reason to put your griller or smoker away just because the temperature starts to fall a little. All that said, cold weather grilling and smoking are not the same as they would be in warm weather. The key is to understand the obstacles you will face and know how to get around them.
Get a Bluetooth or WiFi barbecue thermometer
These days you can do you can connect just about everything in your home to your smartphone, including meat thermometers. A Bluetooth barbecue thermometer is a little more practical than it might sound to fans of traditional barbecue, especially in the winter. Your Bluetooth barbecue thermometer will connect to an app on your phone and can work at a range of up to 300 feet depending on the device. A WiFi thermometer allows you to check your meat’s temperature from anywhere in the world as long as both you and the thermometer are connected to the Internet.
If it’s especially cold outside, being able to check your meat’s temperature without going outside can be very convenient. Also, not having to open the lid means that you can keep the heat stable.
Light up your grilling area
Grilling a dinner in the cold may not be especially difficult, but doing it in the dark certainly is and you are more likely to find yourself with no visibility during the shorter days of winter. Grilling with your phone as the only light source is incredibly inconvenient, especially with gloved hands. You don’t need to spend a large sum on backyard floodlights to illuminate your grill. An easy option is simply to set up a clamp light near your grill or a hands-free work light.
Keep your smoker or grill away from the wind
The colder it is in your location, the more important it is to ensure that your grill or smoker maintains a high enough temperature to cook your food. In colder climes, this is often difficult as icy winds can keep a thin-walled grill from coming up to temperature. Unless you want to invest in a new insulated grill, you will need to position your grill to keep it from cooling down. The key will be to shield it from the wind. You can improvise a protective covering with plywood or any other material that does not conduct heat.
If you want a more effective long-term method for insulating your grill, try a welding blanket since they are flame resistant and can do a good job of protecting your grill or smoker from the elements. The same kind of foil insulation that you use in your home can effectively insulate a grill as well. It works by reflecting the heat inward so that it does not escape. Your grill will lose much less heat and it will be easier to keep it at the desired temperature.
Use lump charcoal
If you are grilling over charcoal, lump charcoal might be your best bet as a fuel source. One of the benefits of lump charcoal is its high heat output when compared to briquettes. The downside is that it also burns away in less time than briquettes. You may want to opt for faster-cooking grilled meals and leave the low and slow type of barbecue for the summer.