With a bit of effort and preparation you can be grilling all winter long. Take advantage of any warm days to give your barbecue a really good cleaning to get rid of all of the oil, grease and chunks of charred food that have built up in your barbecue. This will not only help maintain the longevity of your barbecue but it will deter critters looking for food from taking up home in your outdoor kitchen.
We had a squirrel get into ours and it chewed through the gas line between the tank and the ignition system. Luckily my wife caught wind of the gas. I ran out and opened the cabinet doors to see a very dopey squirrel sitting atop the tank shrouded in a cloud of sublimated propane. The squirrel came about after a bit of fresh air which is why you need to shut off the gas at the tank but leave it attached to the barbecue.
Make winter grilling a bit more comfortable and improve your barbecue’s efficiency by finding a place for it that is brightly lit and protected from gusts of cold winter winds while giving consideration to sufficient ventilation and structural fire hazards as fabricated siding will melt even when it is 20 below.
Maintain a path to your grilling station by keeping it shoveled and de-iced. Use an old car snow brush to brush the snow off of your barbecue instead of a broom or shovel as external parts on barbecues can be easily damaged when frozen. Stock up on a couple of extra propane tanks now as you can expect to burn twice as much fuel in colder weather to maintain your grilling temperatures and up to an extra 30 minutes to bring your fire pot up to temp from a sub-zero start up.
Most winter fashion wear is made from materials that readily melt or catch fire including mitts and gloves which is why you should use a pair of heavy duty oven mitts or kitchen gloves to keep your hands warm and protect them from getting too hot. Leave the pashmina in the closet as scarves tend to dangle and blow about easily catching on fire.
Winter grilling requires different recipes than just steaks or chicken breast as the cold will affect the results that you are accustomed to in warmer temperatures. Try slower barbecue recipes instead of fast grilling styles like the following recipe for butterfly chicken. Whole chickens are available at your local butcher shops and often if you ask, they will even butterfly the chicken for you.
Grilled Butterflied Chicken
1 whole chicken, 4-5 lbs.
1 medium onion, peeled and cut in half
1 large garlic clove, peeled
4-6 tbsp. Italian Scallion
¼ cup cooking oil
3 tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice
Pre-heat your barbecue on high setting.
Prepare the chicken by placing it breast side down on a firm cutting surface and remove the backbone with a pair of kitchen shears or a chef knife, cutting along both outside edges of the spine. Flip the bird over and press down on the breast bone with your palms to flatten the bird.
Make a paste by pureeing all remaining ingredients in a food processor. Rub the paste all over the bird, inside and out and under the skin.
Cook the chicken breast side down, away from direct flames by shutting off half the barbecue to allow for indirect cooking. Close the lid and head back inside to warm up for 10 minutes. Head back out and flip the bird. Return indoors to stay warm for 20 minutes. Run out and flip the bird again and cook until the thickest part of the chicken has reached 165 °f. Carry the bird indoors in a preheated cast iron pan or Dutch oven to keep warm and serve immediately.