We have rounded up the most frequently asked questions about winter grilling.
First, here are 3 tips to follow regardless year round but especially in the winter.
1. Check the temperature of the food halfway through grilling, three quarters of the way and then when you think it is done to make sure that you are on the right track. This will help you monitor and make sure it is not over cooked! Consider getting an iGrill app-connected thermometer, it will allow you to monitor the doneness of your food from beginning to end, and notifies you on your smart device once food has reached the perfect temperature to serve.
2. Make sure that the meat is fully cooked to your desired temperature before removing it.
3. Let it rest for 20-30% of the total grilling time before cutting into it.
Know the weather forecast
During the harsh winters in Chicago, I am constantly checking temperatures and forecasts because when I am grilling I have to be ready for anything. Mapping out your grilling schedule can help make sure you will be able to grill no matter what the conditions and also be ready for anything Mother Nature throws at you!
Change in weather conditions
The weather constantly changes day to day, hour to hour and minute to minute here in Chicago. I have learned to make sure my I have all the tools needed when I grill during the winter, which include a shovel close to the door, salt to make sure I have a safe path to my grills, extra fuel nearby just in case I need it. These hints can ensure you are ready for anything and most important grilling success.
Around the holidays my family and friends come out of the woodwork. We have big parties, big food and big time fun. Making sure all the food comes out perfect and at the correct time can be very challenging. A couple of things I do to help ensure success include writing down a time schedule, prepping the food ahead of time and finally using a timer. All of these things will keep you on track, on pace and most important keep your family and friends full of great holiday grilled food.
I have no idea how to cook my food.
Not to worry! We have a ton of resources here.
My food isn’t cooking fast enough!
This is an easy problem to fix. If it’s a charcoal grill then open up the dampers a little more to get more heat. Also, if you have been cooking the food and notice it's not cooking as quickly as before it could be because you are running out of charcoal, so make sure to check it periodically.
If you are using a gas grill, turn the control knobs up a little to get more heat. If the food is taking too long you might have run out of fuel so always make sure you have enough.
Also, keep the lid closed as much as possible. If it's cold outside, each time you open the lid it adds 5-7 minutes to your grilling time.
My food is cooking too quickly!
If you are finding that the food is cooking quickly you can close the dampers on the top of your kettle or smoker to slow the process down. If you are using a gas grill, adjust the control knobs down to a lower setting.
My smoker or kettle is too hot!
We recommend that you keep the bottom dampers open only a quarter of the way. Keep the top damper open halfway to start. Control the temperature throughout the process by closing the top vent to reduce the temperature.
My smoker or kettle isn’t getting hot enough!
We recommend that you keep the bottom dampers open only a quarter of the way. Keep the top damper open halfway to start. Control the temperature throughout the process by turning the top vent to being more open to get the temperature higher. Also, make sure you are adding 9 briquettes to your kettle every hour, there should not be a need to add additional fuel to your smoker.
My gas grill is not getting hot!
If you have fuel, then you might be in bypass. This is an easy fix, check out our troubleshooting guide.
It’s cold, how do I adjust my grill?
Not to worry! You will need to allow for extra time if it is below 40 degrees, so pay attention to how many times you are opening the lid. Every time the lid is opened it will add about 5-7 minutes to your cooking time.
Also, add about 3 minutes per pound to our recommended cooking times.
It’s snowing really badly, how can I save trips outside to check on my food?
Have you seen our iGrill app-connected thermometer? You will love getting temperature alerts on your phone, which means less trips outside opening the lid to check on your food.
I don’t want to track snow all through my house by going in an out.
Set yourself up for success by prepping your food inside before grilling to save time outside. Keep tools and platters inside at room temperature, ideally just inside the door nearest to your grill.