Winter BBQ Masterclass – Conquering the Grill in Cold Weather

Image by Timo Newton-Syms via flickr

In the UK, BBQs usually evoke thoughts of sunny weather, bank holidays, and big gatherings with required bunting. Every year, more Brits discover the unlocked world of winter grilling. The smell of delicious smoked meats, gathering around the fire, and creating memories in the cold. These are activities locals in Canada, the USA, and other northerly climes look forward to every year. Fortunately, BillyOh is here to help turn your cold and dreary winter garden into an incredible grilling paradise for memories that will last forever. 

Gearing Up for Winter Grilling

Humans have gathered and feasted around the fire all year round since we discovered its magic. Adapting as we went, gathering became, and still is, a fundamental part of who we are. The winter never deterred our ancestors and with the right preparation, it needn’t stop us either. 

Serving up delicious winter feasts on the grill is a way of life for many people closer to the arctic circle. The cold weather doesn’t stop them enjoying the best winter foods and seasonal delights. By adapting our garden, cooking style, and recipes to the climate, we can also indulge in delicious outdoor winter feasts. 

Choosing the Right Weapon

The main event for outdoor time in winter is often the food. The delicious grilled meats and smoked dishes open up a whole new recipe book of flavours. Selecting the right BBQ grill or smoker for your needs is vital to getting your winter dining off to a great start. Below, we highlight some ideal options based on your needs:

  • For instant heat: BillyOh’s 4 burner gas grill is an ideal starting point for versatile grilling on the spot. With instant gas heat, there is no waiting for charcoal and no huge clouds of smoke. With a fast gas grill, dinner can cook outside in minutes, allowing you to easily grill any day of the week.
  • Charcoal with pizza options: If you want to grill in traditional charcoal style but have the modern option of a pizza oven, then a 3-in-1 charcoal grill, smoker, and pizza oven might be ideal for your needs. Homemade pizza night is always a winner and even more so when it is cooked to perfection in a pizza oven. 
  • For large families and groups: For large family dining or those who expect to entertain a lot, a 6 burner grill can handle the volume of delicious food you might need at once. 
  • Serious smokers: Fans of traditional style BBQ who also love the delicious smoked flavours and the wafting scents of wood, a traditional drum grill with smoker can be the best of both worlds. 

Image by Thomas Lillis IV via flickr

Essential Winter Warriors

To enjoy the best of winter fun, all we need to do is adapt. It is true that some of your delicate summer Pimms glasses won’t be too useful on a cold February night, but making seasonal changes can add to the fun. 

Wintering your outdoor space with helpful or themed items can make winter outside more comfortable and more fun. Some ways you can change up your routine for winter include:

  • Using metal cups and plates: Retain heat and give your feast an olde worlde feel by switching to metal tableware. Alternatively, to work with what you have, plastic microwave safe tableware can be warmed in the microwave before using outside to help food retain heat.
  • Grill accessories: To make your grilling simple and safe during the winter season make sure you have the accessories you need in advance. Protective gloves, metal utensils, and meat thermometers all have a part to play in safe outdoor cooking. 
  • Embrace blankets outside: Staying cosy outside can be easier than you think when you adopt snuggly blankets as a go to item. Just remember to bring them inside each time, or invest in a garden storage shed or box to keep them warm and dry. 
  • Grill covers: When not in use it is vital to protect your grill and winter garden furniture from the elements. A grill will rust quickly when not protected from the elements and it is important to keep your furniture away from the rain, frost, and snow that winter brings. 

Building Your Winter HQ 

To use your space whatever the weather, protective outdoor space options like log cabin sheds and gazebos can shelter you from the elements. 

Taller garden chairs and comfortable rocking chair options are popular with older people who wish for a supportive seat wherever they are. 

Image by Mike via flickr

Mastering the Winter Grill

Winter grilling recipes can create some delicious meals, whether you want an immediate steak dinner, or a slow smoked rack of ribs. Winter does bring changes in temperature and the environment. Adapting to the season is a big part of learning to make winter BBQ fare a staple in your home. 

Texas Smoke & Drum Magic

For the ultimate in outdoor cooking, Texas smokers and American-style drum BBQ’s are the secret weapon for creating slow smoked delights. Traditional smokers are popular across the US for creating such dishes as:

  • Slow smoked brisket
  • Glazed and smoked fish
  • Racks of delicious smoked ribs
  • Smoked chicken wings
  • Pulled pork dishes

Conquering the Elements

Adapting to cooking in the winter is fairly simple and a lot of common sense. It is simply new if you haven’t branched out into grilling in the cold before. Follow some of these simple guidelines to help you get started:

  • Expect greater fuel needs: The cold air will cause your food to take longer to heat, so expect your grill to use more fuel than during the summer months. 
  • A watched grill never boils: Well maybe not quite, but you get the gist. Constantly looking into your grill or smoker will let the heat out and cause everything to take longer to cook.  
  • Remove ice from the area: Removing any ice that has built up on your grill is a given for cooking outdoors, but remember to check for any ice or slippery patches on the ground around the grill. It is important to remain safe and sturdy while cooking your winter feasts. 
  • Consider the wind: In winter, the wind is often the most problematic and coldest part of grilling outside. Your grill should always be positioned 10 feet away from any structure, but choosing a spot for your grill that blocks the direction of any cold wind can speed up your cooking times and make sitting outside more comfortable. 

DIY Den for Budget Grillers 

Creating an outdoor winter wonderland to enjoy delicious feasts and meaningful get togethers doesn’t need to cost a fortune. Some of the most fun garden areas are made with innovative solutions and creative repurposing. Some ways to create a joyful outdoor space on a budget include:

  • Repurpose wooden pallets: Old pallets can be an excellent resource for creating a foundation for homemade benches, seating, tables, and even storage bins. 
  • Source items at charity shops and car boot sales: Second hand shops and local sales are often full of items that other people couldn’t find a use for but would be perfect for your winter wonderland. 

Comfort & Joy Around the Grill

A major part of gathering around a fire and enjoying time outdoors like our ancestors, is being comfortable and warm enough. In addition to wearing warm and windproof clothing, there are ways we can design our outdoor space for a cosier feel and to avoid the worst of the weather. 

Photo by Matteo Milan via pexels

Warmth for All

  • Comfortable seating: When people are indoors they are usually sat on couches, armchairs and carpets. Although we can’t always go that far with furniture outside, ensuring we have the most comfortable furniture possible is vital to enjoying the space for longer periods of time. 
  • Have plenty of spare blankets, hats, gloves, and scarves: Inevitably when guests come to visit your winter wonderland, they will underestimate how cold they will be. By having extra blankets, hats and scarves lying around, no one will feel the need to exit simply because of the cold and everyone can enjoy the entire time together. 
  • Adding a patio heater or table fire pit: For an extra boost of heat, an additional fire pit or patio heater can ensure that everyone stays close to a cosy source of heat. This is especially vital if your garden is on the larger side, or has no structures around to break up the cold wind. 

Eco-Conscious Choices

Starting to use your outdoor space more often can lead many people to question their choices from an environmental standpoint. Protecting the ground from unnecessary damage and personal preferences around smoke usage may affect the choices you make while designing your ideal winter garden and grilling spot.

If you aren’t comfortable with using charcoal, wood, and other major smoke producing grill options, a gas propane or butane grill is ideal for your needs. 

 To protect your ground from the area around your grill, you can build your grill on an Ecobase Fastfit Foundation Base. These base bricks to fill with gravel are tough, weatherproof, and made from recycled plastic. They can even act as a base for larger structures and garden furniture.

Image by Vincent Ma via flickr

Winter BBQ Delights

Discovery is never ending as winter outdoor cooking opens up a world of new delicious recipes and serving ideas. By trying new recipes and tweaking to your liking, you will soon have a list of show stoppers that delight guests and you look forward to every season. 

Smokin’ Hot Recipes

Nothing says Texas style cooking quite like a beautifully smoked brisket. This seasoned and tender smoked beef dish is a must for any new outdoor cook. This traditional style recipe from HeyGrillHey is simple, top rated, and reviewed by brisket lovers. 

You don’t need to live by a loch to enjoy delicious smoked fish on the weekends. To really up your grilling game and dazzle your friends, try serving delicious smoked fish recipes for brunch on a crisp winter’s day. Turn your weekend into something special by learning new grilling skills, discovering new tastes, and enjoying the outdoors in style. 

Grills and smokers open up a world of recipes to try, each one filling the air with delicious scents. To fully take advantage of your winter grill or smoker, try these popular cold weather snacks and meals:

  • Fire baked potatoes
  • Roasted nuts 
  • Racks of ribs
  • Grilled apples, peaches, or pears
  • Vegetables such as asparagus, broccoli, parsnips, and green beans

Presentation with a Chill

Recommend serving suggestions using metal wine glasses and stainless steel plates, adding a touch of elegance to the cold weather feast.

  • Add a magical ambiance with outdoor fairy lights
  • Use metal wine glasses, beer steins, and plates for the look of a traditional feast 
  • Light table candles or add lanterns to eat by flickering flame
  • Consider planting evergreen bushes or trees to enjoy greenery all year round
  • Cook and serve fish on cedar planks for traditional flavour and hardy tableware
  • Warm roasted nuts and popcorn have a retro feel when served in paper bags

Final Thoughts

Getting out of our day-to-day grind creates memories we remember forever. When we do things a little differently and make adventure happen wherever possible, we start to make the most of our lives. Grilling outdoors in the cold, keeping warm, and creating bonds with friends, is a time to cherish and something you will remember for years to come. Get to know your grill, discover delicious recipes from afar, and delight your guests with your culinary skills. 

Share the Winter Fire

When you discover the true joy of grilling in the winter time, you’ll want to share it with the world. The delicious smells, the crisp air on your face, the cosy fireside chats, and the memories made.

Share your winter grilling joy with us at our BillyOh Instagram @billyohcom and add your experience to the hashtags. #billyoh #gardenpub #grilling