Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Grillin' And Chillin': Tips For Winter Grilling

NF Note: Even though Fayette County citizens have been shivering over the past couple of weeks, we know there will be plenty of opportunities to step outside and grill over the winter months.

(NAPSI)-Even when it's chilly outside, you don't have to compromise your taste buds. If you don't want to give up the wonderful flavor of grilled food during the colder months, you're not alone. In fact, according to the 19th Annual Weber GrillWatch Survey, more than half of American grill owners are grilling year-round and 37 percent grill when the temperature dips below freezing.

If you're ready to join in on the grilling fun:

• Do your warm-ups. While you're clearing a path through the snow to your grill, remember to brush the white stuff off of it as well. Snow will lower the temperature inside the grill, ultimately adding to your cooking time. Also, in below-freezing temperatures, plan on taking almost twice the time to preheat your barbecue as it takes in the summer.

• Use your head. Don't cut corners by grilling inside your garage or under an overhang that could catch fire. Grilling in an enclosed space can trap deadly carbon monoxide and grills should be at least five feet away from combustible materials.

• Charcoal lovers take note. Cold temperatures will affect the heat inside a charcoal grill, actually raising the temperature due to the added oxygen feeding the fire. To compensate, close the dampers on the grill's bowl slightly, slowing down the burn. However, always keep the lid vents wide open.

• Put the pedal to the metal. In cold weather, oftentimes you may have to kick a recipe's recommended grilling temperature up a notch to generate enough heat to properly cook your food--usually around 20 percent higher. Monitor the grill's internal temperature to maintain a constant cooking temperature.

• Hunker down. For gas grills, position the grill so the wind is perpendicular to the gas flow and not blowing the flame down the burner tubes.

• Keep it simple. The best bets for cold-weather grilling are foods that don't require much attention. Steaks, burgers or fish that need only one quick flip or large meats that can cook unattended without repeated basting will work well. Not only do you eliminate multiple trips outside to the grill, but you won't be opening and closing the lid repeatedly, which will add to your cooking time, as precious heat escapes each time the lid is lifted.

• Be patient. Generally, it will take a little bit longer to grill when the temperature dips. To ensure that food is cooked properly, use a meat thermometer.

• While you're out there...Try your hand at an easy side dish or even dessert on the grill. There are few things like good old-fashioned comfort food to help raise your spirits. Grilling year-round fruits, such as bananas, and hearty, in-season vegetables, such as acorn squash or sweet potatoes, is a tasty way to round out your meal.

For more tips and recipes, visit www.weber.com or call the Weber Grill-Line at 1-800-GRILL-OUT (open 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. CT every day except Christmas Eve and Christmas).

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