Who Does Winter Grilling? You Do!

Stipple illustration of grilling Rib Eye Steak and Buffalo Chicken during late winter.

Winter grilling is not just for the football season. It is a year round cooking method that helps brings a great meal to your table. And as we all know, everything tastes better grilled. Just because it is February and there’s a chill in the air, that is no reason to not be winter grilling. Maybe you are a grilling novice or maybe you are a grill master in training, either way we’re going to help get you to the grill now.

Who Does Winter Grilling?

Now that the NFL season is over, it’s time to get back to the grill. Maybe you were a regular guest attending weekly tailgate parties last season? Or maybe you were hosting football tailgates using our Game Day Menu ideas all season long? Or maybe you’re a griller who prefers warmer temperatures? No matter what level of griller you are, do not put away the grill until spring! We’re going to give you ways to grill despite the wind chill or amount of snow. Okay, so the recent Midwestern polar vortex is the exception to outdoor grilling being a good idea. Even the Grill Guy took cover during the polar vortex.

Indirect Grilling

The key to winter grilling is using the indirect grilling method. It allows you to prep your meat inside and then grill outside with minimum exposure to the cold. We’re going to cover indirect grilling with charcoal detailing the two-zone and three-zone methods as well as using a gas grill.

Indirect Grilling With Charcoal

The indirect grilling method involves placing the meat to be grilled away from the coals. This method is normally used when cooking large cuts of meat that require hours to cook. Cooking indirect can be enhanced by using wood chips to add smoke flavor to the meat. Soaking wood chips in water for 30 minutes will help make them produce wonderful smoke that seeps into the meat creating that much sought after “smoke ring.” The smoke ring is the grill master’s quest, a badge of honor so to speak. Any griller worth their weight in charcoal will be glad to show off the smoke ring when their cut of meat is ready.

Two Zone Method

The two zone method uses charcoal briquettes on only one side of the grill. The other side of the grill is where you place the meat. This method works great when grilling hams, whole chickens, or roasts. Place about 25-30 briquettes on one side of your grill, then light them and wait for that “perfect gray.” Add a large handful of wood chips soaked in water to get the delicious smoked flavor using mesquite, apple, or hickory.

Three Zone Method

The three zone method of indirect grilling involves placing charcoal briquettes on both sides of the grill, leaving the center zone open. Place 20-25 briquettes on both sides of the grill and light them up. You can use this method for a leg of lamb or baby back ribs.

Indirect Grilling With Gas

Cooking indirect with gas depends on how your flame bars are set up. If you have the ability to shut off one half or a third of the grill, you can cook indirect. You can also use wood chips to smoke on the gas grill. Take a large handful of dry wood chips and place them in a foil pouch. Cut slits in the top of the pouch and place it near the flame bar. The heat will cause the chips to smolder, which will produce the smoked goodness.

Last Word on Winter Grilling Success

Using these indirect grilling methods allows you to be inside during the majority of your grilling time. You will have to venture out to light the grill and of course to place your meat on the grill. If you are grilling large cuts of meats like a roast or a whole chicken you will also need a meat thermometer to determine when it is ready. Meat thermometers have the ideal temperatures on the dial for most meats, just follow those to success.

If you would like to try your first winter grilling adventure use our Perfect Grilled Chicken directions. This is a surefire way to grill the most delicious chicken ever. It also involves one of the more controversial grilling terms around: spatch-cocking. This preparation method is the best way to grill whole chickens or turkeys. It will also be a great conversation starter when you tell your guests how you grilled such a delicious bird. Never has anything that sounded so dirty tasted so good. Now get grilling!

For more grilling tips, check out LWOS Life: Food & Drink.

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