Once the barbecue season is over and the weather becomes colder as a sign of the incoming winter season, many people consider how to take proper care of their barbecue grills during those months. While there are people that still barbecue during the breaks in between snowy days and those that just tuck their grills away until next year, proper long-term care for the grill is still important.
Typically, many sources simply say to cover the grill and leave it outside. However, this can actually damage the grill if not done correctly. Though winter is a far less humid season and much wetter, rust and all sorts of debris can cover the grill. Little critters like squirrels also tend to hibernate and need places to hide food, making your barbecue grill free real estate.
To help you avoid many of these winter grill problems, we’ve put together this article to detail what are the most common ones and how to avoid them. If you want to learn more or just want to get a barbecue grill cover or any other accessories, we’re here to help.
- 1 What to avoid if you don’t use your grill in the winter
- 2 What to avoid if you do use your grill in the winter
- 3 Takeaway
What to avoid if you don’t use your grill in the winter
If you find that you don’t use your grill much or at all during the winter, you, like many other Canadians, likely just tuck the barbecue away until the next warm day in spring rolls around. While that isn’t a bad idea, there are a few things you need to make sure you don’t do to make sure that your metal barbecue doesn’t start to rust or accidentally become a home for all sorts of critters and crawlies.
Covering the grill loosely
In many cases, when people do get a cover for their grill, it’s too loose. While this isn’t all that bad for protecting the grill from snow and sleet during the winter, smaller creatures and bugs can still get into your grill from underneath it.
In order to prevent this from happening, you should invest in a barbecue grill cover with ties or velcro to properly tighten and cover up any potential entry points. Also take into consideration what kind of grill you have. Grills with both smoking and grilling capabilities tend to also have chimneys, which can also be a place for squirrels or birds to get away from the wind. Get a special grill cover that suits your grill, and if you can’t afford something more high end, you can always use rope or other kinds of ties to fasten a simple cover down.
Not covering up your grill’s gas lines and other tubing
If you own a propane grill and have found a safe place to leave the propane tank for the winter, make sure you also find a way to cover up your gas lines and any other necessary tubing. While a long enough and fitted grill cover can do the job just as well, bugs and spiders frequently manage to make their homes in places you never expect them to. So, as a bit of extra precaution, wrap up the ends of tubing and gas lines to prevent them from getting in.
To do this at home, all you really need is a few old plastic bags, a pair of scissors and some sturdy tape. Cut a strip out of the plastic bag and wrap it around the end of the gas line that would connect to the propane tank. If you want to or if the connection point is particularly uneven, you can take a few more pieces of the plastic and wrap them around too. Then simply use the tape to secure the end of the plastic in place and prevent it from sliding off. You can similarly use a smaller piece to cover the ends of the burners or any other natural holes you might have.
Not coating the grill’s metal
Again, if you have a tight enough cover, there’s not that much need to coat all of your grill’s metal surfaces. However, it is a good idea to at least apply a few layers of oil or another food-safe commercial rust repellent to your grates. If you’d rather avoid searching for a specific repellant, you can also just season the grates one last time right before you tuck the grill away for the winter.
What to avoid if you do use your grill in the winter
Grilling during the winter is almost like doing so during the summer, though you need to be careful with how you store it until the next time you fire up the grill. It’s recommended that you take certain steps to make sure that the grill stays well maintained and rust free, like cover it up when you don’t use it and cover up any possible entrances, so you don’t get roasted bugs.
Not having extra fuel on hand
Since the weather’s colder and snow’s all over the place, grilling can become harder than you expected. With how cold it can become, starting the grill can take much longer, especially since you need to wait until the grill’s internal temperature reaches a certain level. By the time it does heat up, you’re more than likely going to be much lower in terms of fuel for that one cooking session. That’s why it’s highly recommended to keep some more charcoal on hand or a filled backup propane tank ready.
Grilling with your barbecue’s lid open
While it’s not much of a big deal during the summer, it’s important to grill with your lid closed. Though you’re far less likely to grill during the middle of a Canadian snowstorm, the general freezing temperatures and risk of high winds can cause a drop in both your food’s and your grill’s internal temperatures. The longer you keep the lid open, the more heat escapes from both and the more fuel that’s needed to get the heat back to what’s optimal for proper barbecuing. So, once you’ve finished flipping your burgers or steak, close the lid right away.
Whether you’re tucking the grill away for the winter or you’re planning to use it during those days, there are a number of common problems that many beginners and even some barbeque experts make. Some of the summer tips to keep your grill well maintained and cared for still carry through to winter, like covering it when not in use and never barbecuing indoors or without proper ventilation.