Is There Such a Thing As Too Cold To BBQ? Nah…
Let's switch gears here, With all the talk of snow pack, icy roads, rolling blackouts and historic cold there's only one thing on my mind... can you still BBQ. Many of you might think I've lost it, but look at it this way BBQ is primal, our ancestors did it even when it was cold outside, (they kinda had no choice in the matter) and with a few simple steps you too can become the all seasons master of your pit. even if your backyard looks like this:
For starters let's talk safety. You can't do much if you can't get to your grill or pit. make sure you have a good safe ice free path. and of course you want to make sure you're bundled up. your grill or pit may put out a little heat but there wont be too much externally around it to warm you up. keep it in an area that offers a little bit of a wind break, not only for the fire but for yourself as well, this comes in handy when you need to check up on your cook.
Grilling or Smoking in the cold offers a different set of challenges. (temperatures aside) For starters no matter the ignition source, (wood, charcoal, pellets, propane, etc) you can expect to use 50% more on average to maintain the temperature of your cooking environment as it has to fight heat loss at the same time. preheating is crucial as well as you don't want to be warming up a grill and trying to cook at the same time. this leads to the outside of the meat ending up more burnt than normal.
By the way, if you're using charcoal... be kind... don't drown the briquets in lighter fluid... I think we can all agree no one likes tasting the latest vintage from the store shelves. use a chimney if you can. and believe it or not corn chips (Doritios, Fritos, Etc) make a great fire starter and you won't taste it later.
You will need to pack patience. it will take you roughly a third longer in your cook times to get things where you want. and this is also a great place to say don't go crazy trying to smoke a brisket like I did. (unless you like being outside all day) but don't just cook brats or burgers, add the veggies on here too, you're going to the effort of cooking in the cold... make it worth your while.
There is one good thing thing about all this... your beer will never get warm while you cook and you too can be the year round envy of the neighborhood.
Or you could just order in... no judgement here.