Winter is approaching fast, and with it the slavery of cooking over a stove and dealing with a sink full of dirtied pots and pans. This is part of why summer seems so carefree and easy – you can avoid the hassle of traditional cooking by simply throwing a steak and a few crisp veggies on the grill.
However, with the right setup, you can grill throughout the year on your decking. Portland, Oregon’s climate is mild enough to sustain year-round grilling, assuming you’re willing to layer up and brave the elements. Even in colder areas of the country, winter grilling is gaining popularity, both for its health benefits (grilled food often has less fat) and for the sheer challenge of grilling throughout all four seasons. Prepare for winter grilling by following the tricks we’ve gathered below:
Wear proper grilling attire. Proper grilling attire for the winter includes layers of clothing. Here in the Pacific Northwest, you may want a raincoat and a pair of rain pants as your outer layer – unless you happen to have a patio cover over your grill, that is. Don’t wear any dangling items such as scarves or loose sleeves, as these could easily catch fire and turn your grilling adventure into a medical nightmare.
Get a good grill. The old bucket style barbecue fueled by charcoal briskets works well in July, but it will peter out and die in the winter. Winter grilling calls for a powerful machine – ideally one with a cast iron grate and a high BTU rating, which describes the grill’s heating value. Cooking with gas is the only way to go for winter grilling.
Consider adding a patio cover. Beyond protecting your own head from the Pacific Northwest drizzle, a patio cover can actually turn your wintertime grilling into a social occurrence. You may be surprised when your family members drift out to chat while you hover over the grill. With a patio cover offering protection from the elements, you can use your deck as an outdoor living area even in December. After adding patio covers, homeowners often get far more use out of their decking. Portland, Oregon’s weather isn’t going to change anytime soon, so if you’re hoping for a comfortable grilling setup you can use year-round, add a patio cover.
If all of this winter grilling business makes you shiver, have no fear – you can enjoy grilled food all year long by investing in an indoor electric grill.