And I’m not just talking about Chicago. A windy day can certainly provide some challenges to grilling the big feast, but nothing that can’t be overcome with a little preparation.
For instance, if you have a charcoal kettle:
Buy extra charcoal. Make sure you buy a little extra charcoal. The wind can cause the charcoal to burn faster so you may want to add a couple of pieces to each side during the cooking process. An additional half hour without adding charcoal can make a big difference in the success or failure of the big meal.
Face vents away from the wind. Point the front leg of the kettle into the wind to minimize wind coming into the bottom vents.
Open your lid carefully. Wind can cause the ashes in the kettle to whirl and be drawn up onto the food. Make sure you open the lid slowly and carefully, and expect the unexpected.
Adjust the damper as necessary. You have to keep the damper open, but pay attention to how hot the grill is cooking, and adjust the damper accordingly.
If you have a gas grill:
Anticipate the wind. It's a good idea to turn the grill perpendicular to where the wind is coming from. The wind will have less effect that way.
Always monitor the grill. If you notice the gas burners have gone out, turn off the burners and open up the lid and let the air circulate for about five minutes. Then relight it.
Maintain your temperature. Make sure the inderct setting (medium-off-medium) maintains a 350° F to 375° F temperature.
And finally, always make sure your grill is at least 10 feet away from any buildings. Happy Holidays!