According to the Hearth-Patio-Barbecue Association, fifty-six percent of all grill owners cook outdoors during winter. The colder, wet weather that comes with the season calls for some special techniques. Here are some cold weather cooking tips:
●Shelter your cooker away from wind/rain. This reduces lost heat in the metal. Make sure wind isn't blowing into your grill.
●Give yourself additional cooking time--especially if its freezing or below! Plan for additional pre-heat time, and recapture time after you open the lid to baste, mist, sauce or just peek at what's going on inside your cooker.
●Start with a hotter fire/temperature to pre-heat your cooker. Then reduce the heat to the cooking temperature you want. With the metal hot, you have a much better ability for stable cooking temperatures.
●Use a good quality meat thermometer to monitor internal cooking temps. This is when a good quality oven thermometer and cable-probe thermometer prove their usefulness.
●Wrap your cooker with a welding blanket or 100% wool blanket- Make sure it is not exposed to open flame so it doesn't catch on fire. Make SURE that you are using only a "pure" wool blanket, otherwise the material will melt on the hot metal.
●Add some bricks to your cooking chamber. Hot bricks will radiate heat, and help your cooker regain any lost heat when you open the lid.This is an especially good trick for pellet grill owners. Position the bricks in front of and behind your firepot.
●Avoid opening the lid for long periods of time. Crack it open, as opposed to all the way. Every time you open the lid, you loose heat. Depending on how efficient your grill is, it may take up to 20 minutes or longer to regain your cooking temperature.