Winter Grilling

Winter Grilling

Brrrrrrr. It's getting awfully chilly out there. Everyone in my neighborhood, myself included, have been dusting off our snow shovels and breaking out the winter gear so we can dig out after each big storm. And as we all dig out our houses, there's one very important thing that no Weber lover should forget: Clear off that grill! Yep, you heard me. I know many believe that wintertime means grilling time is over, but that couldn't be further from the truth. Grilling is a year-round event and I for one love the ritual and excitement of bundling up and then firing up.

In fact, the latest Weber GrillWatch™ survey reveals that plenty of people share my same passion for winter grilling. More than half of American grill owners grill all year round and a whopping 37 percent keep on grilling when the temperature dips below freezing.

The numbers don't lie and I know I'm in good company. Therefore, I thought it would be appropriate to share my top five tips for successful winter grilling.

  1. Make sure you're decked out in all your best cold-weather clothing. I know your grill may be warm, but bundle up, and remember to avoid any scarfs, tassels or other clothing items that could come in contact with the grill during use! Your hands, feet, ears, and face will thank you later.
  2. Make sure you clear a path to your grill and remove all snow and ice before ignition—the weather alone will lower the temperatures inside the grill, so any additional snow will just add to this problem. Also, make sure there is ample room around the grill for you to move freely and give your grill enough time to pre-heat. In below freezing temperatures, the pre-heating process could take up to twice the time, so plan accordingly.
  3. Charcoal lovers should always be prepared with extra briquettes in cold weather. Grilling time may need to be extended or the grill may need a little extra fuel to reach the right temperature, so add briquettes when necessary. Gas grillers have it a little easier, but just remember to position the grill at a 90 degree to the wind. This will help control the temperature inside the grill even throughout gusty cooking hours.
  4. Through freezing temperatures and high winds, your Weber grill still knows how to get the job done, so be patient even if it's taking a little longer in cold weather. Winter temperatures aside, it's always a good idea to use a meat thermometer to make sure you food is grilled properly and to perfection.
  5. No matter the weather—snow, rain, sleet, wind—never grill inside your garage or under an overhang. Grilling safely is always the best policy, so be sure your grill is at least five feet away from all combustible materials and in a well ventilated area. 
  6. Finally, remember to grill with the lid closed. Grilling when the temperature is below freezing will lead to longer cooking times and the more you open the lid, the longer your food will take.

So now, if you'll excuse me, I need to grab my coat and head out to the grill. I hope you'll follow suit...

What are your thoughts? (25)


Mark J

Thanks for a great and informative column!
I recently moved, and inherited a Weber Spirit grill. It is just right for grilling for two. I used it extensively all fall and into the cool weather.
When the cold weather hit, I didn't grill for a week or two, but when I went back out the grill only would produce a very small flame when lit, and go out completely when the 2nd burner was turned on.

I thought it may be a problem with the tank, so I traded at Rhino for another full tank.
That day it was about 38 degrees F, and the grill again worked great.
Two days later (Welcome to Northern Wisconsin) it was -1 degree F, and the grill again repeated the very time flame as if the grill is no longer getting LP. I tried 2 other tanks which work on other appliances, but I can't get the grill to fire up.
Could this be a regulator problem?

Your thoughts are certainly welcome.

For now, I'm pulling the kettle back out and lighting up the charcoal, but I sure like my gas in the winter!
Thank you.


Kevin Kolman

Thank you for the kind words! Yes, the Spirit is great for a smaller group and also very very convenient. To me this sounds like a bypass issue and possibly a regulator issue. I do know at times Blue Rhino tanks do not have the same amount of threads as other tanks and thus not allowing the regulator to fully engage causing “bypass”. It is always good practice to try the soapy water test if you think its a regulator problem. This would tell you if you have a gas leak. One other thing, this has happen to me, now that I think about it and it was because I did not fully tightening the regulator to the tank. I know its hard to believe but it has. Keep us posted, you can also find me on Facebook and Twitter at Kevin’s backyard and always Happy Grilling!!!



What do you recommend for protecting the grill if you want to keep it outside for winter use? We have a cover, but when I uncovered the grill to use it today, I noticed the grill was moist and getting rusty inside. Thanks.


Kevin Kolman

Hi Zoe,

Winter grilling is great! Be sure to keep a cover on the grill and to also keep the vents open if it is a charcoal grill. This will help keep the air flowing in the grill. If it's a gas grill, be sure to keep it clean in between use. You can also find additional cleaning information posts here on the Weber Blog.

Happy Grilling!


todd b

I recently purchased the Weber Smokey Mountain 18.5 Cooker Smoker. I live in Alberta where it can get quite cold in the winter and was curious as to what people have done to overcome this cold weather to get the cooker to the right temperature for smoking? I was thinking of building an enclosure to put the smoker in and insulate to help with the heat? Thanks for your thoughts.


Kevin Kolman

Hi Todd,

Congratulations on your new Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker Smoker! That is one of my favorites.

Being close to Chicago, we can have some pretty extreme temperatures here too. Here are a few tips to help with the process:

1. Start with more lit charcoal. This will help get the smoker up to temperature.
2. Always give the smoker an extra 5-10 minutes to come up to temperature when it’s very cold outside.
3. Do not overfill the water pan. Too much water will cause the unit to stay at a temperature that is lower than ideal.
4. Make sure you check the unit periodically because the air is cleaner and will cause the charcoal to burn quicker.

There is no need to build an enclosure since your Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker Smoker is tested in all the elements. Let us know if you have any more questions.

Happy Smoking!


Mike T

My buddy introduced me to Weber Grills and I can say, charcoal grilling is the best and I do it year round and even in the winter. The slots on the bottom, allow for perfect air-circulation and stays nice and hot. Thanks!


Justin L

My biggest problem is the grill cover gets stiff and hard to handle, then rips. What is a recommended grill cover that does not get stiff in cold? Thanks.


Kevin Kolman

Hi Justin,

This should not be happening with our grill covers. Please contact Weber Customer Service at 1-800-446-1071 and they will assist you.

Happy Grilling!


Peter L

I have a Q100 and used it extensively in Calgary's -0.4 F (-18 C) winter weather. Pre-heating time took almost 30 minutes. The Q rocks! :-)


Kevin Kolman

Hi Peter,

I agree! The Weber Q series is one of my favorites as well. That is probably why I have 6 of them. Although it gets cold in Chicago, you have us beat! We are not even close to those temperatures! You also bring up a great point when it comes to preheating. The colder it is outside, the longer you will have to preheat. Thank you for reminding us all of this important tip. Let’s enjoy the warm summer weather now! Thank you for the kind words.

Happy Grilling!


Bob W

Sometimes I enjoy grilling more in the winter time. I have been doing it for years.


Duane S

Lighting the charcoal grill for first time this year in southeastern Wisconsin. We have 7 inches of snow and it's 32 degrees.  


Derek R

It is mid February and I just picked up my first Weber kettle. The first thing I did was slow cook a rack of ribs. I have never done it before so it was a little stressful. It was 39 degrees and windy.
I must say, they came out great for the first time. The next day I cooked steak. It was 21 degrees and snowing. The wind was blowing 40mph plus and the grill performed great. You can cook on a kettle in any weather. If I can do this in the winter, I can't wait until the summer...



Grill Master Kevin,

You're missing something so serious about winter grilling, it's not funny. I can't tell you how many times I've gone to the store to refill my half filled tank, and lit up the ports underneath with a propane torch. I've been grilling in my garage for the past two months, only to still have the problem of not enough gas pressure to get the job done without burning everything else I've been cooking at the same time on a Sears stove.

One golden rule I learned from Yahoo answers tonight, is to turn the gas line on the tank on SLOWLY while lighting the grill. If you don't do this, the safety flow valve in the tank or Weber regulator may think there is a problem and SEVERELY restrict your flow and you won't get anything cooked.

Please pass the word on so folks can learn and like me, not take matters into their own hands with grilling inside on a Weber. Unfortunately it's a tank/regulator thing that the griller needs to know about.

Scott in VT


Kevin Kolman

Hi Scott,

I can appreciate your excitement over this topic. The same thing has happened to me many times, but there is a safety feature in the regulator that every Weber grill must have. Another important safety topic is to please keep your grilling to the outside and not in your garage. The grill is meant to be used only outside and never inside. That being said, you are correct in making sure you turn the tank on slowly, but more than that, you need to let the gas pressure equalize after you turn the tank on. A good rule of thumb is to open the tank valve and wait 30 seconds before turning on the first burner and pushing the ignition. Check out my video on this topic here:

Thanks again.

Happy Grilling!