Cold Weather Grilling

Our two grills, shortly after lighting.Well, it’s officially winter break: it’s sleeting outside, I’m putting off wrapping gifts, and I’m at my parents house with very little to do.  I had a pretty decent semester, and my one class (Advanced WWW Technologies) is now complete, so I can focus full time on my master’s work.  In a sort of neat twist, however, my course-long project was to build a graphical front-end for my the software I’m building (currently named λ (lambda) — discussed in the preceding post as well).  That user-interface is now complete, and at some point I’ll post up a link to the server I have which runs λ.  That day is not today, however.  Today is a day for discussing winter grilling.

I know a lot of people aren’t big fans of winter, which bums me out, because it’s my second favorite season (the top slot goes to Fall).  I understand a lot of the complaints — being cold is lame, you’re not on summer vacation, and it’s not very pleasant outside so your ability to do fun stuff is restricted.  While all of these are valid, one particular fun activity, grilling, has not ceased just because it’s below freezing outside.

During the summer, my roommate(s) and I got into the habit of grilling every week on Sunday.  We’ve continued this tradition as the months progressed, and are planning on trucking through the winter.  We have a cookbook on simple grilling recipes, and they’re really pretty good — a recent weekend’s menu was chipotle-peach glazed chicken and buttered new potatoes, for example.  Grilling in inclemency takes a bit more effort than your standard Memorial Day weenie roast; there are in fact several unique factors to consider.

First, there’s wind / rain / snow which can slow down your fire when it’s first getting lit.  Second, there’s the fact that it’s considerably colder outside — note that both this and the first factor can be remedied by adding more charcoal briquettes (propane is lame) to get stuff up to the appropriate temperature.  Third, you have to wear more clothing while lighting the fire and tending the grill, and this clothing gets smoky.  This happens during the summer, too, but I have a lot more t-shirts than I have hoodies and coats.

There is one definite advantage to grilling in the winter, however, and that’s that no one else is using their equipment.  When our friends retired their grills for the season, they donated / loaned some of their equipment to us, so we now have a smaller, secondary grill we use for heating up our side dish while the proverbial “big meat” roasts on the main grill.

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