BBQ Outlets’ headquarters is based in Southern California, and we’re lucky enough to grill year-round without getting too cold. Premium BBQ grills made of stainless steel can last for years without rusting/corrosion due to their superior material build, but it’s still helpful to winterize your grill if you don’t plan to use it during colder winter months.
Need to know how to battle old man winter?
Following we’ll share what we think is the best grill for cold weather, give you tips for grilling in cold weather, and provide storage tips for protecting your outdoor grill if you would rather wait for the weather to warm up before you fire up your grill again.
Best Grill for Cold Weather
Folks who live in colder climates should purchase BBQ grills made of high-quality materials. In particular, you should choose a model with 304 stainless steel, which can be found in many of the brands we carry, including Artisan and Coyote BBQ grills.
Regardless of the material quality, you can keep your BBQ grill outside during the winter. However, BBQ grills made from a high-quality stainless steel will last longer against the elements of a cold, wet, snowy winter than those made from a lower-quality material. Stainless steel left outside in a more acidic environment or higher heat can corrode, but it’s still harder for it to rust than a cheaper material.
It doesn’t matter if you’ll be using a charcoal grill or propane grilling in the winter – keep in mind that frigid air temperatures cool your food off if you lift the grill’s lid. It’s best to keep the grill lid down as much as possible when grilling in cold weather.
Hestan BBQ grills have heavy-duty lids that are still very easy to lift, thanks to its spring-assist hood hinges. Our 42” Hestan Built-in Natural Gas Grill with Rotisserie is great for grilling in cold weather because it has a thermometer on the hood. You won’t have to worry about lifting the lid frequently to let the heat out (no matter how easy lifting the hood may be!) Another plus to using Hestan grills is the motion-activated under-hood lighting that can come handy in winter when the sun sets earlier during the day. You can also check out our Blaze grills for models with illuminated control knobs and interior lights.
Another thing that can help with keeping the heat in on those chilly days is the advanced heat distribution systems found in Fire Magic grills. Whether you’re wanting to grill, sear, or smoke, using a Fire Magic grill ensures your food will stay the right temperature it needs.
Tips for Grilling in Cold Weather
- Don’t grill indoors. Safety is always the most important thing to keep in mind. No matter what the weather or temperature is, never grill underneath an overhang or inside somewhere like your garage. Always make sure you’re grilling in a well-ventilated area at least five feet away from all combustible materials.
- Remove snow and ice. Make sure the path to your grill is clear of snow and ice even before you ignite your grill to keep you from slipping and falling. Removing snow and ice from the grill itself means your grill won’t have to fight as hard to increase its temperature after you ignite it.
- Allow extra time for preheating your grill. When you’re grilling in cold weather, preheating your gas grill can take twice as long as normal, so make sure you leave extra time for that. It’s also possible the grilling itself may take longer than normal, so make sure to use a meat thermometer to make sure your food is safe to eat before you take it off the grill.
- Have extra fuel ready. Since preheating and cooking can take longer in colder temperatures, make sure to have extra charcoal briquettes or propane gas on hand just in case. If you position your grill at a 90-degree angle to the wind, this can help you maintain your grill’s temperature so you hopefully won’t have to use as much fuel.
- Stay near a light source. Like we mentioned above, when the sun goes down earlier, you would benefit from having lights on your grill, but you might also need to install outdoor lights in your grilling area.
- Stay warm. It can be easier to dress in layers to keep yourself warm so you can avoid using things like scarves or anything else that might hang down and touch the grill. Thinner gloves make it easier to move your hands. Consider adding an outdoor patio heater to your grilling area as well.
- Prepare as much in advance as possible. If you make your rubs, sauces, and marinades in advance, it saves you time later in case your food takes longer to cook. Plus, the more you prep inside, the less time you have to spend outside in the cold!
Protecting Your Outdoor Grill
If cooking in below freezing temperatures just isn’t your thing, we get it. Winterize your grill if you won’t be using it all winter. Note: if you have a charcoal grill, you can follow the same basic steps – just clean your grill and store it in a shed or garage.
The first step? Clean your grill. Turn your grill on high for about 15-20 minutes to burn everything off. Then, fully clean the BBQ, making sure to take out and clean grates, burners, cook boxes, grease pans, etc. You can also reference our previous blog if you need more ‘Tips and Tricks for Cleaning Your Grill After the Summer Season‘.
You should also be sure to shut off the gas at the fuel source. If you’re storing the grill inside, do not bring the propane tank inside (this includes a storage shed or garage). Even a small gas leak can cause a huge explosion, so keep the tank outside in an upright position away from vents and where children can play with it.
You can put cooking oil on the metal parts like the burners to keep out any moisture that may build up during the winter and lead to corrosion. Many people like to use plastic wrap or bags over the burners and gas line openings so spiders and other insects don’t make the gas tubes their home in the winter. If you do this, check for moisture under the plastic every couple of weeks to avoid corrosion. And, of course, make sure to remove all the plastic before igniting your grill again.
Your premium grill will be able to withstand winter weather longer than a lower-quality one, but since it’s such a large investment, you might want to consider a grill cover to help extend its life. It’s important to note that grill covers can also trap moisture inside your grill in addition to keeping it out, so you’ll want to remove the cover and wipe down your grill regularly (weekly or so). Make sure the grill cover is dry before putting it back on, too. Most grill covers aren’t totally waterproof, but a higher-quality cover made of a more breathable material and/or one that can vent out the moisture is best.