7 Secret Tips to Grilling in the Winter

Grilling in the winter is different from grilling in the summer. You’ll need to adjust to how you prep your food, grill your food and handle the finished product.

The colder temperatures change how heat is transferred inside of a grill.

It causes the food to take longer to heat, and it’s important to pre-heat your grill for a longer amount of time.

So, if you want to have a good grilling experience in the winter, you need to know the right process and what kind of equipment you should use.

Grilling in the winter can be easier than you think, provided you know how to do it the right way
Source: Timo Newton-Syms (Flickr.com)

Tips to Help You Master Grilling During the Winter Months

1. Prepare your grill properly

If possible, try not to alter the charcoal arrangement on your propane grill when there is still fuel inside of it or while it is still warm.

You might accidentally create hot spots that could burn your food if you move around the charcoal before it completely burns out.

Before cooking, adjust your gas grill’s temperature down to between 300 °F and 350 °F. If you are grilling low and slow on a charcoal grill, light more briquettes than usual to make up for the colder temperatures outside.

I’d advise you to use a proper grilling thermometer to check that you’re cooking at the right temperatures, especially when grilling in the winter.

2. Pre-heat your grill

One of the main causes of underdone meat is due to cold food being placed onto a hot grill.

To compensate for this, allow your grill temperature to heat up at least 30 minutes before placing any food on it.

Light the briquettes and wait until they turn gray before placing your food on the grill if you are using a charcoal grill.

Doing these two things will help to achieve a nice searing on your food and lock in the juices.

3. Clean your grill

Before placing any food on the pre-heated surface, scrape off any leftover residue from previous grilling sessions with a grill brush.

You can also use a damp paper towel to wipe down the grates if you are in a hurry.

4. Oil your food

Grilling oil is great at transferring heat from your hot grill to your food, which will give you an even sear on all sides of the meat.

If possible, spray your cooking oil onto your pre-heated grill grates until they are lightly coated. Then, place your food on the hotter side of the grill first for faster searing times.

5. Cook your food thoroughly

Make sure to cook your food all the way through. Cold spots can appear unexpectedly on a grill grate if the outside is cooked more than the inside of the food.

Switch to low-temperature cooking as soon as you notice hot and cold spots forming to finish any meat product properly.

6. Rest your food

Let your grilled foods rest for at least 5 minutes after cooking allows them to retain their juices before serving or eating.

If you prefer well-done grilled foods, make sure they have finished cooking before resting them. This way escape steam doesn’t carry out any of their moisture.

7. Use a thermometer

Grilling in the winter might take longer than grilling in summer due to colder outside temperatures. So, it’s essential that meats reach their recommended internal temperatures for safety reasons.

A meat thermometer will let you know when your food is thoroughly cooked and safe to eat.

There are many kinds of grill accessories that exist today that can help you with grilling in the winter.

Source: Helen Penjam (Flickr.com)

Winter Grilling Accessories

To grill properly in the winter, you’ll need the right accessories, such as:

  • Cast iron top grate – A cast iron top grate will heat up faster, retain heat better and transfer heat more evenly than stainless steel.
  • Oven safe pan – You can use an oven-safe pan on your pre-heated grill if you don’t want to use any kitchen utensils directly on the surface. This way, no charred residue will be left behind, so you can save time cleaning after grilling.
  • Grill mat – You can use a grill mat that will protect your food from charring and keep your grill clean at the same time. This is great for grilling seafood, vegetables, fruits, and even dough.
  • Grilling mitts – Grilling mitts with a firm grip will protect against hot surfaces if you need to rearrange or handle coals on your charcoal grill.
  • Grill stand – A grill stand will make it easier to get underneath your food and avoid having burnt fingers or arms.

Safety Reminders for Grilling

Whenever you are using an open flame, make sure it’s always supervised and kept away from children and pets.

Also, keep excess fuel away from the grill and never overfill your propane tank.

It’s also essential to ensure that you always cook on a clean surface, so no contaminants are left behind.

For some reason, if you notice any kind of issue with your grilling equipment, stop using it immediately and have it repaired by a professional.

The last tip is, of course, to have fun!

Grilling in the winter may take more time than grilling in summer. But it’s still important to stay safe and have a good time cooking your meal.


You can still grill in the winter, but you will need to use some of these tips when doing so.

Even though the cold may deter you from grilling, it’s still possible to get a nice char on your food if you are determined.

It’s also important to remember that these tips can help any time of year, not just wintertime.

Grill safely and enjoy!