For those of you that know me well, you may well agree that my unofficial title is “grill master.” Gaining that title has meant I’ve spent countless hours grilling in the great outdoors of Wisconsin at places like Miller Park, local beaches, on my patio, and just about anywhere a charcoal grill is acceptable. And while late spring through early fall can produce fabulous, easy meals with a Weber, it’s the cold winters that can pose a real challenge to backyard chefs anywhere. And, since I’m a true diehard, that means even now I’m still grilling and battling old man winter!
So what’s the biggest challenge to grilling in December? Well, cold weather and snow is definitely a deterrent, as is a dark night and rain. But, to me the biggest obstacle to a successful meal is battling the wind. If you’re adventurous enough to take on the elements, just remember these three things to overcome the challenges and put a tasty, well done piece of meat on your dinner plate.
1) Purchase good quality, dry charcoal or lump hard wood for use. Generic, inexpensive or sale priced fuel doesn’t cut it. Ever.
2) Fire up an abundant amount of coals to meet the challenge. The more coals you have available to control the grill temperature, the better your odds of eating before midnight.
3) Invest in a grill thermometer (or two). One thermometer can be used to be kept in the grill at all times to monitor its internal cooking temperature, while the other (digital is preferred) can be used to check the food temperature. Cooking food to proper temperature means it is done to your likeness, and can prevent any possibility of overcooking or being subjected to food borne illnesses due to insufficient cooking.
Keep these three things in mind and you are well on your way to producing memorable meals for friends and family each and every time you break out the barbie!
Duane Drzadinski is a marketing professional, father and social media enthusiast. Connect with him and continue the conversation on Twitter and LinkedIn.
as a long time friend i felt the need to say he is exactly right on all three accounts. real quality grill cooking requires more more detail and is a rabbit hole true grilling savants are willing to dive into “just go ask alice”. however if all you ever want to do is cook a burger brat or occasional chicken breast then the aforementioned rules are all you need. I would also say a timer of some sort is also a necessity so that your meals don’t look like something cooked buy a cub scout over a fire on his first camping trip. Nothing beats a mouth watering piece of beef cooked to a perfect medium rare, charred exterior and juicy red blood center. Start out checking the temp put the meeeeeeeeaaaaattt on the grill set a timer and immediately return when the timer goes off, turn meat and re set timer and check grill temp once more. Hey I know this sounds like too much work already but its well worth it. If you are not sure the meat is we’ll done enough for you nick a piece off the thick side and take a peak, better the food needs more cooking time than being overdone — kinda like the charcoal grill and the fact that they have crap service and bingo your out of business but i digress. Record cooking time and temp in a notebook, once the meat is perfect after doing it several times then you know the exact time and temp need to cook xyz perfect every time. Us more advanced grillers don’t always refer to a notebook, we cook with intuition but we still use a timer. Otherwise watching mad men and drinking beer while cooking would result in a burnt meal every time without the timer . So good luck more tips to come and of course whole meals on the grill cast iron cooking and much more, just haven’t perfected grilled ice cream yet. David Volland