The first thing you need to do when barbecuing in colder weather is be prepared. Make sure your guests are warm enough for the outdoors, and this includes before, during and after the grilling phase of the evening. Ask your guests to wear thick coats and hats, plus have a few warm items like blankets to hand just in case. Also, it’s a good idea to invest in outdoor heaters at this time of year, especially if you intend to keep your barbecue busy throughout the coming months. And make a selection of hot drinks as well as fiery BBQ sauces for your guests, as these are perfect for drinking and eating with food on winter nights.
In addition to this, you can make sure the barbecuing itself goes smoothly with a little bit of preparation.
Top winter barbecue tips:
- Pay attention to the specifics of the weather on the day so you can make the necessary adjustments. For example, if it’s windy try to set up your barbecue in a sheltered location and keep an eye on it throughout the grilling time to ensure the flame on a gas barbecue and heat from a charcoal barbecue is not blown out. Take care, though, to place the device somewhere safe, away from overhanging branches and the house, and on an even surface.
- Pre-heat the barbecue so it’s perfectly hot when you start cooking. For charcoal barbecues, this takes around 30-45 minutes depending on the weather. You need to wait for the flames to die down and for the coals to be hot enough and covered with a fine layer of ash before you add any food. Listen for that sizzle sound when you place the food on the grill, as this tells you it’s hot enough.
- Keep the lid down. To prevent too much heat being lost, place the lid of the barbecue down as this helps to keep the temperature consistent, something that is harder to manage on a winter’s day than on a warm summer’s day.
- When it’s really cold, you may need to adjust the cooking times. Because of a loss of heat as the food barbecues, you may want to use a digital thermometer to ensure the food is cooked thoroughly.
- Watch out for slippery surfaces. Clear the area around your barbecue before you start cooking, to make sure you can work quickly and safely – for example, remove fallen wet leaves or any snow to prevent you from slipping.
- Plan the meals and go for more straightforward dishes and smaller cuts of meat to speed up the cooking time.
- Light it up. Make sure you can see what you’re doing while cooking and that guests can easily make their way to and from the barbecue without tripping in the dark.
- Eat inside. If the weather really gets cold, why not eat indoors when the food is ready? This way you get the best of both worlds – you can stay warm while enjoying delicious barbecued dishes.