It wasn’t so long ago that people routinely retired their grills after Labor Day, stowing them in a corner of the garage or basement to commiserate with the golf clubs until better weather.
My, how times have changed. Whether it’s due to larger investments in grills and outdoor kitchens, a protracted appetite for the smoky flavors of summer, or the continued need for barbecue bragging rights, live fire cooking outdoors has become a four season endeavor. The Hearth and Patio Barbecue Association reports that the majority of Americans (56% in its latest survey) grill year-round.
Now, you might wonder why you’d accept winter grilling advice from a man whose home base is Miami, Florida. Well, I grew up in Maryland and lived in Boston for 20 years, and book tours and television shoots—not to mention regular winter excursions to Martha’s Vineyard—keep me up on grilling in inhospitable weather.
Steven Raichlen’s 13 Tips for Grilling in Winter
Here are my tips for grilling in winter.
1. Find the best position for your grill.
Position your grill perpendicular to the wind in a protected outside area (wind really reduces your grill’s efficiency) that is well-ventilated. Never grill in a garage, under a porch overhang, or other enclosed area. Not only is the potential for a fire great, but deadly carbon monoxide can build up. Clear any accumulation of snow off the grill.
2. Look for gas leaks.
If grilling with gas, check all lines and connections for leaks. In cold weather, parts become brittle or cracked. Make sure the control knobs are not frozen and turn freely.
3. Don’t forget to preheat your grill.
Once you’ve started your gas grill or built your fire, replace the grill lid and preheat the grill for at least 20 minutes.
4. Use aluminum foil to help retain and reflect heat.
Line charcoal grills with heavy duty aluminum foil, shiny side up, to help retain and reflect heat; poke holes through the foil corresponding to the bottom vents.
5. Have plenty of extra fuel on hand.
When charcoal grilling, I like to have a second kettle grill for lighting and holding live coals. Or have extra chimney starters at the ready on a heat-proof surface. (Not on your wooden deck!) Add coals every half hour, or as needed.
6. Resist the urge to peek on your food.
Heat escapes rapidly each time the grill lid is lifted; resist the urge to “peek.” A digital temperature probe can keep you apprised of what’s going on under the lid. Some charcoal grills come equipped with a built-in thermometer—very useful in the wintertime.
7. Allow extra cooking time.
Food will take longer to cook in cold weather—anywhere from 30 to 100 percent longer.
8. Use extra lighting if lighting around the grill is dim.
Remember, winter days are short. If lighting around the grill is dim, supplement it with a Clip-On Grill Headlight or food-illuminating Lumatongs. At the very least, have a flashlight on hand.
9. Select recipes that can be cooked quickly.
Save the ambitious menus for friendlier grilling conditions. Select foods that can be cooked quickly—in 30 minutes or less— over direct heat. Steaks, chops, burgers, chicken breasts, shrimp, fish steaks or filets, kebabs, etc., are all good bets.
10. Use a kettle grill to smoke in winter.
In my experience, smoking is very difficult to do in cold weather as many smokers are constructed of thin-gauge metal and do not retain heat well. You can smoke in a kettle grill if you maintain temperatures of 250 to 275 degrees by periodically adding fresh coals.
11. Make a smoker pouch.
Rather than throwing soaked wood chips directly on the coals, which will immediately cool them, make a smoker pouch and put it directly on the grill grate.
12. Use a grill that is better at holding in heat.
Gas grills with double-walled construction are better at holding in heat. Kamodo-type cookers, are extraordinarily heat-retentive, too.
From time to time, we include visitor blog sites from loved ones of Barbecuebible.com. It provides me terrific satisfaction to present you to Greek cooking and barbecuing professional, Diane Kochilas. If you’’ ve check out Barbecue Bible or Planet Barbecue, understand my interest for Greek barbecuing. Diane and I have another connection—– the manufacturer of her PBS TELEVISION program, My Greek Table is none besides Matt Cohen, manufacturer of Project Fire !
This week, Diane blogs about among the world’’ s earliest barbecuing customs– Greek. I definitely found out something, and I hope you will too. When it comes to the dish, Grilled Leeks with Prunes —– leeks are filled with taste this time of year. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. To find out more on Diane, visit her site . —– Steven Raichlen.
In Greece, they state you can discover to prepare however you’’ re born to grill, so respected are the easy foods prepared to excellence over charcoal and wood. Barbecuing has an unique, practically prehistoric, location in Greek food tradition, from ancient and mythic pagan events to the vacation referred to as Tsiknopempti, or Smoky Thursday, when custom determines that a person delight in a selection of smoky, grilled meats, the last such time to do so prior to the start of Lent and the abstention of all animal items.
Greek barbecuing methods are stealthily basic. It takes zen focus to barbecue an entire fish to that point where the skin is charred however the flesh succulent, or to get squid or octopus off the grill at the best minute, prior to they turn rubbery (octopus requires to be boiled initially). To cut and season meats such as lamb or pork, for grilled kebabs of differing size, or as chops, or in pieces to fit onto a rotisseried skewer takes well-honed impulse and discipline, understanding how big pieces require to be so that they remain juicy, specifically because Greeks like their meats well-done, and understanding simply just how much of the easy trinity of coarse salt, oregano and pepper are required to draw out that distinctively Greek umami taste.
Grilling in the Greek custom is less a home-cook’’ s bailiwick and more the rule of pros, normally males. Grilling in your home typically indicates dealing with rather primitive grills, often absolutely nothing more than a substantial, old, disposed of hot water heater, formed like a huge cylinder and halve lengthwise then equipped with a rack. The coals enter into the rack and the stubborn belly sits about 8 inches from the heat source, unadjustable. You’’ ve got to have an excellent sense of awareness to prepare well on such a device. Other house grills are the ones frequently discovered in the gardens of Greek nation houses, constructed into a stone wall, sans covering. Fish, souvlaki (aka kebabs), biftekia (Greek hamburgers), breads, and seasonal garden veggies are typically what individuals like to prepare on summertime nights.
There is, naturally, the whole chapter of spit-roasting offal sausages and entire animals (called kokkoretsi), which is something we Greeks do at Easter and for a periodic special-occasion household banquet. The custom is more widespread on the mainland than on the islands, and nowadays what was when the tortuous job of turning the rotisserie by hand for hours as the animal gradually roasts, has actually been minimized by the introduction of motorized deals with.
In the grill world that is Greek, one might perhaps consist of Greece’’ s most renowned street food, gyro, the upright rotisserie of very finely layered meats, that are stacked into pita rounds, slathered with tzatziki, and garnished with onions, tomatoes and french fries prior to being covered. The art here is not as much in the barbecuing as it remains in the layering and flavoring of thin pieces of meat, generally pork or chicken, which nowadays are commercially ready once depended on the proficiency of gyro professionals who comprehended how to layer and press and season and get the fat in all the ideal locations to produce tender, meltingly great pieces that peeled the turning cone.
In a minimum of one location, Crete, there is a totally various outside barbecuing custom. It is called antikristo (an-dee-kree-STOH) and needs a fencelike circular grill onto which big, flat pieces of meat are connected, around charcoal and flames in the. The grill doesn’’ t turn; rather, the grillmeister thoroughly keeps track of the development of each piece, turning it as required and basting it with that magic quartet of olive oil, salt, oregano and lemon juice.
Another local pleasure is the spit-roasted entire suckling pig, gourounopoula, that is a specialized of the Peloponnese. On Sundays in lots of locations around the area, you discover it on roadside stands and offered to daytrippers by the piece, covered in parchment to go, as they make their method house back to Athens. Here, too, the flavoring is a standard salt-pepper-oregano trio. Greeks like to keep it basic no matter what they’’ re barbecuing, the much better for the scrumptious tastes of meat and seafood to shine forth untainted.
Grilling is probably the earliest cooking art kind in Greece, the car of heroes’ ’ banquets and ancient routines. There are still tools utilized today that have actually stayed the exact same over the centuries: the satz, for instance, a sheet of metal, generally a freeform frying pan, was the tool of option for ancient, typically travelling, cooks all throughout the Mediterranean and the Fertile Crescent. It’’ s very little various from the hot plate utilized on indoor grills in today’’ s revolutionary kitchen areas. Greek island cooks still utilize something called a fou-fou, which is generally a mini clay or ceramic grill, with a docked tray on the top where the food sits, and an area simply below where a little fire burns that cooks the food on hand. Up until a generation or more back, it was the utensil most home cooks utilized to grill fish. My preferred Greek barbecuing accoutrement is a somewhat more contemporary, long-handled, cage-like gizmo suggested specifically for entire fish, to keep it undamaged over the grill and to assist in turning it without triggering it to break down.
Sexy grills and barbecues are fairly brand-new to Greece. For the majority of people, whether in the house or in expert dining establishment setting –– undoubtedly, there are dining establishments called Psistaries, which serve absolutely nothing however grilled meats and a couple of side meals –– the art of barbecuing refers ending up scrumptious, succulent, if well-done, cuts of meat with really couple of flavorings on relatively primitive devices. Perhaps that shows the knowledge of the expression that you can discover to prepare however that you’’ re born to grill. You either have the touch or you wear’’ t!
My terrific love when it concerns barbecuing Greek-style is a self-imposed one, less custom and more a reflection of the method I like to consume. I enjoy the pledge that Greece’’ s large range of veggies supplies. From zucchini in summer season to winter season squashes in cooler weather condition, to scallions, leeks and onions, to eggplant for different usages, consisting of packed, and tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms, and even cabbage, Greece’’ s powerful veggie customs are for me the things of a cook’’ s dream. I marinade veggies in olive oil, lemon juice, sea salt and dried herbs or spicy ground peppers; love to utilize ouzo and mastiha liqueur as a component for marinades; discover enjoyment in soaking veggies in sweet red wine such as mavrodafni or dry, tannic reds like a great northern Greek xynomavro; and respect the chewy texture of grilled leeks with sweet-savory sauces of raisins, prunes and petimezi (grape molasses), Greek honey or balsamic. For me, it’’ s the veggie world that holds the most guarantee on the grill, for here one can integrate primitive impulse with health-conscious choices that fit wonderfully within the tenets of the Mediterranean Diet.
Inspired by her journeys and household events, the stories and dishes Diane Kochilas shares in My Greek Table commemorate the range of food and the culture of Greece. Her Mediterranean meals cover a varied series of appetisers, main dishes, and desserts to produce raucously delighted banquets, similar to the ones Diane delights in with her household when they take a seat at her table.
Did you know that venison is good for you? Like, really really good for you.
Venison – America’s SUPER Meat
Venison is deer meat. There is an overpopulation of deer in the US which harms crops, so hunting them for meat actually helps the environment too. Plus, venison has many health benefits that outshine all other forms of meat (even Turkey). So grab your rifle and help partake in the great circle of life by harvesting and eating venison. Don’t want to hunt? You can buy venison too. Call your local butcher and find if they carry it. Someone is sure to.
Many centuries ago, our ancestors hunted and lived off their harvested meat, proving how vital this was for survival. The old age tradition of hunting for food is one of the most useful skills anyone could learn for self-sufficiency. This detailed infographic prepared by the good folks at GoodGameHunting.com not only showcases the benefits of hunting for a meal, it also shows the many benefits to eating wild game such as venison. Deer meat is high in protein, low in calories and contains half the fat of beef, just to name a few. It’s evident that venison is an extremely nutritious and healthy red meat and a much better alternative to eating store bought meat.
The Benefits of Harvesting and Eating Venison:
The only question left is, WHERE can I get some? If you live in deer-country, go out and hunt it! If not, GOOGLE it.
Please note, always be mindful of where your food is sourced from. One of the factors that causes venison to be so healthy is because it has not been touched by factory farms and undergone cruel treatment, nor has it been genetically modified to grow or taste a certain way. If you buy beef or other forms of protein from humane sources such as organic farms or family farms, you can avoid hormones or genetically modified substances in this food too.
Want to give it a try? Here’s a recipe you should try from Jamie Oliver:
Do you like venison? Are you a fan of the super tasty, super healthy deer meat? Share your comments below!