On one side of the country, winter storm system Jonas managed to wreak havoc across a dozen states.
On the other side of the country, El Niño has made sure that California is seeing more rainy days than sunny ones — but residents aren’t exactly complaining, considering that most of the state is suffering from a massive drought. As the Los Angeles Times noted, “even a little rain is enough to stall the freeways” over on the West Coast in the winter.
Regardless of whether you’re still searching for your car under piles of snow or you’re staying inside to escape the winter rainstorms, now is actually a great time for one unexpected activity: grilling! Over 80% of homeowners have at least one type of grill but most pack away their grilling supplies when the weather starts getting chilly.
If you need a little grilling inspiration to brave the cold weather, here are a few quick tips to make winter grilling (almost) as enjoyable as snowball fights and cozying up by the fire with hot chocolate:
- Clear out your snowy yard to create an open space. Make sure to shovel a clear path from the grill to the house. You also want to make sure that you brush off snow from any tables surrounding the grill.
- Double-check your equipment. Most heavy-duty grilling equipment is designed to withstand winter temperatures, but it’s a good idea to make sure that nothing needs to be oiled, cleaned out, or replaced before you get started. You’ll need more gasoline or charcoal to heat up your grill when it’s cold out, so make sure to account for this.
- Prepare everything inside. If chicken needs to be marinated, make sure you do it inside so the sauce doesn’t freeze. If veggies need to be cut, you definitely don’t want to attempt that feat with frozen hands.
- Don’t rush to get everything done and back in the house. The only thing worse than burnt chicken is under-cooked chicken. Give yourself some extra time to prepare dinner and make sure that you aren’t rushing to get it done in record-time.
- Use winter foods instead of summer foods. You can pretty much grill everything, so try to save a little bit of money by looking for recipes that use winter foods. Instead of making corn on the cob, for example, you can grill cabbage wedges or throw potatoes (wrapped in foil) right onto the grill.
- Safety first. Even when you’re grilling in the snow or rain, don’t rely on Mother Nature to put out the fire. Make sure you have quick access to water if the fire gets out of hand, keep the lid closed on the grill, and don’t leave your food unsupervised when it’s cooking.
If you happen to be a winter grilling fanatic, be sure to share some of your own grilling tips or favorite recipes with us!