Having a winter barbecue

Your first thought when reading the title of this post may have been; “What? Is he mad?!?” and I wouldn’t really blame you thinking that. Barbecue food is lovely, and why should you miss out on the delights of home cooked sausages on a barbecue just because it’s a bit chilly outside? Barbecuing can be done all year round, plus it feels great to be eating hot food near to a nice warm grill during the winter months.

Don’t bring a winter barbecue indoors whatever the circumstances

A word of warning – NEVER bring your barbecue indoors. The carbon monoxide that is produced when using your barbecue collects in an enclosed environment and can quickly overwhelm you, which may prove fatal.

Setting up

  • Wrap up warm. Scarves, gloves, and loose flaps should be kept well away from any flames, so think about this before you begin.
  • Use a charcoal grill, although gas isn’t out of the question either. Charcoal may be harder to find in supermarkets during winter, but some places should have it if you shop around. Of course, you can avoid all this by stocking up on charcoal during the summer and making sure you have plenty left over. To me, a gas grill doesn’t really make sense when you could just cook the food inside instead. Although if it’s all about the experience then it doesn’t really matter what type of grill you use, but food cooked over charcoal always seems to taste better to me anyway.
  • Make sure your grill is clean prior to filling it with charcoal/lighting it. If it’s been sitting there for a while check it’s clean, there could be rust or old food from the summer still stuck to it. Use a wire brush to get rid of any rust, and make sure you clean it after use as it is more likely to corrode during the out of season months.
  • Grills take longer to warm up in cold weather, plus they can be harder to ignite if wind is around. You could be waiting for at least 10 minutes longer than the summer months, so make sure you don’t start cooking the food too early.
  • Make it feel like summer. Ok, so I’m not suggesting that you need to dress in shorts, a t-shirt and a silly pair of sandals. Instead, you should use paper plates, nice summery tabletop covers, and napkins

The Food

  • Whatever you choose to cook is up you, but my personal favourites are sausages, BBQ ribs, chicken and salmon (with a bit of lemon sprinkled on after cooking, yum!). Also prepare side dishes; such as potato salad, tossed salad (with cucumber, because in my mind every salad requires some cucumber!) or even fruit bowls.
  • Meat should be removed from the fridge and left to reach room temperature prior to cooking. This will mean cooking temperatures stay even and a nice tender bit of meat once it’s cooked.
  • Resist the urge to lift the grill cover and keep checking on the food, instead purchase a probe that will slip into the meat, check the temperature, and beep when the meat is cooked. If you keep opening the grill cover, especially in winter, the temperatures will drop and cooking will take longer.

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