Fall Grilling: Preparing For Winter
As I watch leaves start to fall off the trees here in southwest Ohio, I’m having a hard time coming to grips with the arrival of fall. While I grill year round (don’t we all?!), there is a lot to be said for the joys of hot summer nights at the kettle. Oh, and to all of my friends in perennial warm climates, or in the southern hemisphere just now planning for summer, yes, I’m jealous.
Grilling in cold and darker weather is not insurmountable, it just involves more clothing and better planning. Here are a few things to keep in mind as the seasons change.
If your grill goes to rest over the winter months, a good clean come spring will suffice. However, if winter is simply the halfway point of your year long grill adventure, a fall clean is probably a good idea. My last thorough clean was in May. As I hoisted the lid on my Summit Grill Center last night, I peered down into the grates and drip pan. It needs a good clean now, as well as the removal of some fallen spears of asparagus.
This is the time of year I wait for an unusually warm day to “fall clean” my grills. It’s a lot easier to do when the weather is still nice. All of our tips for a spring clean are just as important now.
Winter means snow and wind and as of last winter, more snow. For a change of scenery, I tend to move the grills around our back deck. However, as winter approaches, I look to put them in a more sheltered and protected location. I want to minimize the impact from falling snowflakes and stiff breezes, as both can impact cooking times and also, as equally important, griller comfort.
While the cold weather is one thing, winter also means early sunsets. It gets dark early, real early. In the summertime, we rarely think about it, but as the days grow shorter, make sure you have adequate outside lighting to illuminate the grills grates, or better yet, the entire grill area. Check bulbs and switches to make sure everything is in working order. It’s a lot easier to do it now than during the first snowfall.