Tips For Grilling In Winter

grilling in winter

Tips For Grilling In Winter

When the temperatures start to drop, our first reaction is to escape to our homes and avoid braving the cold as much as possible. We’re here to tell you that you don’t have to become a recluse this winter! You can enjoy a delicious grilled meal just like summertime! Yes, you can enjoy grilling in winter.

Keep it Covered

Getting a cover for your grill before winter is important because it not only will protect your grill from the elements, but a cover makes grilling more convenient during the months of heavy snowfall. Simply dust the snow off the cover with a shovel or brush, then remove the cover, and you have yourself a snow-free grill. We always recommend keeping a shovel or brush right outside your back door to clear a path to your grill as well.

Fuel Check

Make sure to keep extra fuel nearby during cold months. Charcoal should be stored in a dry place protected from snow or rain. When you are grilling with charcoal be sure to use a little extra because it will burn quicker in colder and windy weather. For all gas grilling, remember to preheat with all burners on high for at least 15 minutes. Having a full gas tank and extra charcoal ensures you will be able to keep your grill at the desired temperature.

The colder temperatures will mean your grill will need a little more time to get up to the temp you want for cooking. Give it a good 5-10 minutes extra from what you would normally wait. It is best to pre-heat to 400 or 450 degrees as a minimum and then adjust the temperature. When you place your food on the grill and it doesn’t sizzle then that tells you that it is not nearly hot enough. If cooking on a charcoal grill, make sure to use plenty of charcoal to get the heat needed for grilling.

Stay Warm and Safe

The Midwest hit some low record-breaking temperatures last year, so just remember if you are going out in the cold to grill, bundle up in your winter gear, tuck in any scarfs inside your coat, and use your grilling gloves when handling the grill!

Safety First

Just because it’s cold outside remember it is never a good idea to grill in an enclosed space that can trap deadly carbon monoxide, like inside a garage, under an overhang, indoors or in an enclosed area. In addition to carbon monoxide accumulation, accidental fire damage, and smoke damage are all possible to be aware of any loose or dangling clothing that could catch on fire.

Being well-prepared is the best way to avoid problems. Place your grill on a firm level surface—a wooden deck is not the best choice for obvious reasons! Keep your spare fuel away from the lit grill.

Winter clothing like scarves can trail into the flames, so be sure you’re safely dressed when grilling.

 

Good Lighting

If you’re grilling in winter after dark, you’ll need to choose outdoor lighting, both for atmosphere and practicality. Light strings are an attractive feature when draped around your deck. Don’t rely on extension cords as your power source because they are a trip hazard. And beware of naked flames like candles if children and pets are around.

For grilling, a good overhead light is best, but you can get excellent visibility with a powerful headlamp that leaves your hands free for cooking.

 

Invest in Grilling Gloves

 

Normal winter gloves might keep out the cold, but they won’t cut it for grilling. Purposely designed grilling gloves are made to withstand extremely high temperatures and have long cuffs to protect your hands and wrists against burns. Made from fire-resistant material such as silicone, they won’t wear into holes, and they often have special non-slip grip for safety when handling hot food and utensils. And best of all, they’re easy to clean—some are even dishwasher-safe.

 

Avoid Catastrophes

Planning is key: Locate your grill at least 10 feet away from fences, buildings or other flammable materials. Have a designated place for raw and cooked food and don’t mix the two—no one wants food poisoning to follow a great barbecue! Use separate utensils, too.

 

Build a Permanent Grill Shelter

For confirmed winter grilling fanatics, the best solution is to construct a purpose-built shelter that houses your grill, and also has a wide range of customizable features like built-in cooler space, storage for barware and beverages, lighting and bench seating.

Have any questions about grills, grilling in winter,  or any other products that we offer? Contact us here. 

Cleaning Your Grill

cleaning your grill

Cleaning Your Grill

Like any good relationship, you need to put some work into the one you have with your grill. It doesn’t matter if you’re dealing with a top-of-line model or a cheap knock-off, with proper maintenance, cleaning your grill bound to keep it working a long time.

Polish the Outside

If you have an enamel grill, you can just spray a paper towel with glass cleaner and wipe down the exterior. For a stainless steel grill, you should use a brush and polish made for steel. Then you can buff along the grain with a microfiber cloth.

CLEANING THE GRILL GRATE

After getting a fire going, the first order of business is cleaning the grill grate. The grill grate will see the most action and because of this—and the fact that food will come into direct contact with it—most of your cleaning attention should be focused here.

If you haven’t already, invest in a good grill brush with a long handle and firm bristles or scouring pad.

Soak and Scrub

Remove the grates and the metal plates underneath, and place everything in a bucket of hot, soapy water. After a few minutes in the bucket, give the grates and the plates a good scrubbing with the grill brush; dip and redip it in the soapy water as needed. Give the grates a rinse with the garden hose and set aside. Use the grill brush to scrub the inside of the hood with hot, soapy water (that stuff that looks like peeling paint is a harmless buildup of carbon), and use steel wool for hard-to-get nooks.

Remove and clean the drip pan, then toss it into the soaking bucket. Let sit, then scrub with the grill brush and rinse with the hose. Reassemble the grill (no need to dry anything), and reconnect the propane tank. If there’s a cabinet below, give it a good sweeping with a whisk broom, then wipe it out with a damp paper towel.

OILING THE GRATE

After cleaning the grate, the question is: “To oil, or not to oil.”

Oiling your grill grate helps prevent food from sticking when cooking. To do this, dip a wadded paper towel in a little oil and, using tongs, wipe the oil evenly over the grate. Be careful not to use too much oil, because that’s a sure-fire way to start a good flare-up—a little goes a long way here.

CLEANING YOUR GRILL

Cleaning the grill grate and the ash out is very important, the rest of the grill—not so much. About once a month take a rag and some cleaner to the outside of the grill to keep it looking nice and shiny. Like a good cast iron pan, grilling over and over seasons the inside of your grill.

Fire up the grill, cranking it high for 15 minutes to burn off any food residue. Use a stainless-steel grill brush to scrape anything loose off the grates. Then turn all the knobs off, disconnect the propane tank (or, if your grill is connected to your main gas line, turn off the gas line), and wait until the grill is cool to the touch.

Clean the burner

Make sure the propane tank is turned off. Remove the briquettes and cooking grates, and carefully detach the gas tubes and burner. Clean the tubes with warm, soapy water and dry them with a towel. Wipe the burner clean with a damp cloth.

If you have a gas grill, one part that often gets clogged is its burner tubes. Symptoms of dirty burners include reduced flame size. They may also burn with an orange color instead of the usual blue. Both indicate abnormally low temperatures and an underpowered grill.

Typically a gas grill has multiple burner tubes, though some may only have one. Use a nylon or steel wire brush to gently clean the small holes on the tubes. Be sure to brush from the center of the tube outward, moving sideways (not up and down). Otherwise, you may push debris into the tube or holes themselves instead of clearing them.

Burn Off The Grease

During grilling season, briquettes transfer heat to the cooking grates, leaving them coated with grease. Before firing up your grill, flip over the briquettes, close the lid, and heat the grill on high for 15 minutes.

Certain practices can help discourage deposits of dirt and grease from forming in the first place. One method is to grease the grates of your hot grill with a little cooking oil right before you start cooking. In the same vein, scrubbing grates with raw onion is another tactic you can try. If you do have a grill brush without bristles, it’s a good idea to scrape your hot grates both before and after grilling.

Wrap It Up

If you don’t have a grill cover or never use the one you do have, change your ways. It could reduce your monthly deep-cleans to once a season. Best are vented covers, which allow moisture to escape.

If you have any questions about grills or cleaning your grill then you should contact us here!

Summer Grilling Tips

grilling tips

One of our favorite things about summertime is summer barbecues and cookouts. We know not everyone is a grill master. That’s why we’ve assembled a list of our best grilling tips to ensure you can have fun and be safe during your summer cookouts.

Here are 14 of our grilling tips!

The Pool and Spa Warehouse’s Grilling Tips

Clean Your Grill

Start with a clean grill. Don’t let last night’s salmon skin impart a fishy-char flavor to tonight’s chicken breasts. Use a sturdy metal brush to clean the grates in between uses.

The Less Movement The Better

Don’t move the food around. In general, the fewer times you flip something, the better (once is ideal for most meats). If the meat is stuck to the grill, let it cook more — it will unstick itself when it’s ready for flipping.

Don’t Press Down

Don’t squeeze or flatten meats. Yes, I know that burst of sizzling flame that comes from squishing a burger with a spatula is tempting. But you know what is creating that flame burst? Fat. And you know what fat is? Juicy flavor. Don’t squish meat, because you will squeeze out the taste and moisture.

Keep Water Near

Keep a spray bottle handy for flare-ups. Flames are not your food’s friends — they will char it unpleasantly. Keep a spray bottle filled with water handy; this will allow you to dampen flare-ups without interfering with heat.

Check The Temp with a Thermometer

Buy a meat thermometer. Unless you are a very experienced cook, it is hard to tell meat’s temperature merely by touching it. (Although if you are interested, here’s how to do it: Touch the meat. If it’s soft like the flesh between your index finger and thumb, it’s rare. If it’s soft like your cheek, it’s medium-rare, and if it’s firm like your forehead it’s well-done.) More accurate for most of us: A quick check of temp from a thermometer. Your confidence in grilling will skyrocket with this one $10 purchase.

Use aluminum foil to trap heat.

Really hot grill bars equal great grill marks on your steaks. To concentrate the heat and keep it from escaping, lay a sheet of foil over the grill for 10 minutes. Peel the foil off just before cooking, scrunch it into a ball (it cools fast) and use it later to scrape any residue or ash from the bars.

Bring the Meat to Room Temperature

Avoid putting cold foods straight on the grill. Letting meat come to temperature on the counter for 30 minutes before grilling will help it cook more evenly. (If you are looking for a rare sear, however — like if you’re grilling tuna, for example — then chilled is the way to go!)

Season meat liberally.

One of the most important grilling tips. Big, thick steaks need a lot of seasoning, so be sure to cover them liberally with salt, pepper, and any rub before grilling. A good rule of thumb for home cooks is to salt the meat twice as much as you think is needed.

Under not over

Undercook foods, just slightly. Carryover cooking is a real thing — food continues to cook after it leaves the grill. You can expect food temperature to go up about five degrees after leaving the grill, so plan accordingly.

Don’t poke.

When checking for doneness, resist the urge to repeatedly poke, stab, or pierce your meat with a fork or prongs. The juices will escape, making the meat drier and less flavorful. Use a spatula or tongs to gently move and flip your food

Create heat zones.

On a kettle grill, bank up the coals in the center. Sear food in the middle, where heat is highest, then moves it to the outer edges of the grill to perfectly cook without burning. On a gas grill, leave one burner on high, another on medium.

Cook on the coals.

Lay sweet potatoes, onions, and even corn in the husk directly on the embers. Roast, turning with tongs until the skins are coal black. When you scrape off the burned skin, the vegetable inside will be super sweet and smoky.

Let It Rest

Rest all meat! Allow the meat to sit undisturbed (and unsliced!) for five to 15 minutes after cooking, as this will allow the juices to redistribute. The bigger the piece of meat, the longer the rest time. Resting meat is an important key to juicy results.

Don’t Over Char

Don’t over-char to cook through meat with bones. No one wants to eat meat covered in thick, black char. If you have thicker meats with bones, such as chicken thighs or legs, cook them on high heat to get a nice crust, and then move to lower, indirect heat on the grill. This will allow the meat to cook through more slowly without overcooking the outside. Or, consider par-cooking the chicken in an oven for 15 to 20 minutes before grilling. Also great to precook: ribs!

Have any questions about grills? Or need more grilling tips? Don’t hesitate to contact us here!

Easy Grill Recipes

grilling recipes

Easy Grill Recipes

These easy grill recipes will help you and your grill cook some delicious food!

Pizza

The only thing better than pizza is grilled pizza. Grilling pizza isn’t as daunting as it sounds. It’s also the perfect way to get a crispy crust with a great charred flavor.

You can use any topping you’d like, but seasonal toppings will always “top” the competition.

Chicken Wings

That’s right, frying isn’t the only way to enjoy chicken wings. Grilling chicken wings can give a great smokey flavor to them, and enhance the flavor of their marinades or sauces.

Grilled Peppers

Flame-licked red, green, and even bell peppers make a great appetizer for outdoor parties.

You can fill them with anything from a cream cheese spread to a spicy sausage mix. They’re spicy, filling, and satisfying.

Grilled Shrimp Tacos

An easy way to improve your usual taco recipe is to cook them on the grill.

Nothing is better than coating your shrimp in olive oil, herbs, and spices and charring them on your grill.

You can even crisp up your tortilla on the grill to add an exciting element to the dish.

Are you looking to replace your grill or just looking for something new? Check out our selection of grills here.

Don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions!

How To Prepare Your Grill For Spring

grill

How To Prepare Your Grill For Spring

With spring on the horizon, so is the season’s first backyard cookout. If your grill has been braving winter’s storms on your back deck, it might be time to get it ready for this year’s BBQ season.

Follow these simple steps your neighbors will be jealous of the delicious smells coming from your backyard in no time.

Make sure you’re covered.

When your grill isn’t in use, you should ensure you have a cover that will protect it from the elements.

How’s the tank?

You must check your propane tank to ensure all connections are tight, and that you have enough in it to start grilling.

Check burners

Your grill burner should evenly distribute heat and flame. If it seems blocked it may be time to replace parts. Leftover food from last season? Nothing a little soapy water and a wire brush can’t fix.

Contact the Cincinnati Pool & Patio with any questions about our wide selection of custom gas grills to liven up your outdoor living space.