With autumn here, and winter around the corner, many believe grilling season to be drawing to a close. However, cold weather grilling is becoming increasingly popular, especially during the holidays. In fact, one survey reveals more than half of American grill owners grill all year round, and a whopping 37 percent keep on grilling when the temperature dips below freezing1.
With advances in grills, features, and equipment, winter grilling is no longer only the passion of extreme grillers. Any grill enthusiast can enjoy fresh chargrilled food year round. To help you join the winter grilling revolution we have some helpful tips and two Thanksgiving-inspired recipes to get you started.
Keep the grill closed. This is the most important key to successful grilling in cold weather, extreme or mild. Modern grills will definitely heat up and maintain their temperature, but every time the grill is opened and closed, the cold air that is trapped inside has to be warmed again, causing longer cooking times. Stainless Steel gas grills with maximum BTUs, like those offered by Summerset Grills, tend to be preferred for the ease of lighting and maintaining temperatures. However, regardless of the grill, keeping it closed and letting the grill do the work is your key to success.
Allow more time. Since the air around the grill is colder, it will take longer to preheat your grill and cooking times will be longer, so plan accordingly. You will need to extend the cooking times for most recipes, usually an extra 15-30 minutes depending on the dish. Again, this is directly linked to keeping the grill closed. The less you open the grill, the shorter the cooking times will be.
Stay warm and be safe. Even though you will be by the fire, stay bundled up with adequate winter clothing and gloves. Items with elastic bands are better for warmth and safety, but don’t wear scarfs, tassels, or items with dangling or lose threads that could get too close to the flame. Also, keep your working environment around your grill free of debris, snow, ice, or flammable materials. Never grill in your garage or an enclosed space.
Grill location is important. Wind can be your worst enemy when grilling, even more than snow. High winds can make lighting your grill difficult, blow out burners causing a build up of gas or propane, and cause longer cooking times since the air around the grill is always moving and not warming. Try to position your grill so that your home, or another structure, can act as a windbreak, still maintaining a safe distance.
Whether in cold, wind, rain, or snow – enjoying terrific BBQ is not only possible, but also very doable with these tips and practices. In fact, these colder conditions are ideal for outdoor grilling – standing around the warm fire, brisk air that is invigorating, beautiful scenery we don’t enjoy enough, and hot grilled food actually tastes better in colder temperatures.
We have provided recipes for Rotisserie Turkey and Rotisserie Pan Sweet Potatoes to try out. Rotisserie is perfectly suited for cold weather since you mount it and let it run for a couple of hours while the grill does the work. The sweet potatoes get roasted in the drip pan below the rotisserie, coming out browned and caramelized. It’s a relatively easy way to get acquainted with winter grilling, and it works great for Thanksgiving and holiday menus. So fire up the grill, winter grilling season is just beginning…
Rotisserie Turkey & Rotisserie Pan Sweet Potatoes
Recipe from: DadCooksDinner.com
Cook time: 180 minutes
· Grill with Rotisserie attachment
· Aluminum foil drip pan (11"x13", "turkey size", or whatever fits your grill)
· Cotton twine
· Gallon zip-top bag full of ice (optional)
· 12 to 14 lb Turkey
For Dry Brine:
· 1/4 cup kosher salt
· Zest of 1 orange (save the orange, cut in half and wrapped in plastic wrap to stuff the turkey)
· 1 teaspoon brown sugar
· 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger (about a 1/2 inch piece)
· 1 teaspoon grated fresh garlic (2 cloves)
· 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
· 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
For Sweet Potatoes:
· 2 large sweet potatoes
· 1 tsp kosher salt
· 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
· 1 tsp vegetable oil
1. Dry brine the turkey 1 to 3 days before it is time to cook. Mix the dry brine ingredients in a small bowl, then sprinkle and rub evenly over the turkey. Make sure to rub some inside the cavity of the turkey as well. Put the turkey on a rack over a roasting pan or baking sheet, and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate, removing the plastic wrap the night before cooking to allow the skin to dry. (If you are only dry brining for 24 hours, skip the plastic wrap.)
2. Prep the turkey one hour before cooking. Remove the turkey from the refrigerator. Stuff the turkey with the halves of the orange, then truss and skewer with the rotisserie spit. Put the zip lock bag full of ice on the breast, not touching the legs or drumsticks, to chill the breast meat until cooking. (This will allow the legs and thighs to cook thoroughly without overcooking the breasts.)
3. Prep the sweet potatoes: Peel the sweet potatoes, slice them in half lengthwise, then cut into 1/2 inch thick slices. Put the slices in a microwave safe bowl and toss with the salt, pepper, and vegetable oil until evenly coated. Cover the bowl and microwave on high for 5 minutes.
4. Prepare the grill: Set your grill up for rotisserie cooking at medium heat. You want an internal grill temperature of 350°F for turkey. Set up the heat on the leg side of the turkey, to cook the legs faster than the breast. Turn the two burners on the right to medium, and turn the infrared burner to medium. Then put the drip pan in the middle, over the unlit burners.
5. Cook the Turkey: Put the spit on the grill, and turn on the rotisserie motor. Cook with the lid closed. It should take 2 hours to 2.5 hours, depending on the size of the bird. A 14lb bird should be done in about 2 hours 15 minutes. It's better to go by temperature, though - you want the breast at the thickest part to read 160°F to 165°F; start checking about 15 minutes before you think the bird will be done.
6. Pan roast the sweet potatoes: On a grill set up for rotisserie cooking at medium to high heat, carefully pour the sweet potatoes into the drip pan, and spread into an even layer. Cook for 30 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are browned and crispy on the top. Stir the sweet potatoes halfway through the cooking time if some sections are browning quicker than others.
7. Remove the sweet potatoes from the drip pan with a slotted spoon, leaving as much of the cooking fat behind as possible.
8. Serve: Remove skewer from grill, remove turkey from skewer, let rest at least 15 minutes, carve and serve with pan roasted sweet potatoes.
1 Weber GrillWatch™ survey