Check the Weather Before You Cookout!

Weather Talk

POSTED: Tuesday, March 25, 2014 - 12:31pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, March 25, 2014 - 12:34pm

A quick glance at the forecast can help you prepare for successful outdoor grilling!

I was eating some steak straight from a BBQ grill this weekend thinking about all the weather challenges there are when you are grilling outdoors. Most of us wait for a sunny, nice weather to fire up the grill. Those of us who love the outdoor grill taste all year long find ways to adapt and protect ourselves, our grills and most important the food from the elements.

I was putting my forecast together thinking about the outdoor grilling challenges we have this week and how to stay one up on the weather and still be a successful chef. In today’s “Weather Talk” I will take a look at the different weather challenges and how to prepare your grill and yourself to still have a tasty cook out!

Wind - First move you grill as much as you can out of the direct path of the wind. Get behind a wall or something to shelter you and the grill. Just remember to keep your grill away from anything that can catch fire. The most difficult first step is to get your charcoal lit. Now if you have a propane grill lighting the fire is easier, but you will have to use more propane gas in the wind. I am a grilling purist so I go with Charcoal briquettes. A starter chimney will help tremendously as you can put this somewhere sheltered. Watch the temperature of the barbecue on a windy day; you may have to take steps to cook a little bit hotter. The wind forces more oxygen into the fire making the charcoal burn faster as well. You will need extra charcoal.

Rain – Rain, especially a heavy downpour can cancel cookout out or barbecue plans, but with a covered area there's no reason not to grill. Many chef’s have an umbrella in one hand and you’re grilling tools in the other. You need to find a patio overhang or a place to tie up a tarp. Better yet, buy a pop up canopy; just make sure it is tied down secure from any strong out flow thunderstorm winds. You may have to take down the canopy for a bit until the winds subside. Make sure the over hang, tarp or other cover is at a safe height and that there is plenty of ventilation. The smoke has to travel out freely; we cannot choke out the chef!

Snow- The same precautions have to be taken as with rain fall. You will have to wear a heavier jacket and layers of clothing. Brush off the grill of any snow and ice. A good grilling glove or oven mitt helps as well! If you are cooking with a hood, you will have to open the vents a bit more to allow the air to flow through.

Cold – As I mentioned in the snow section, you have to be dressed in warm clothing, in layers. Do not however wear a scarf or anything that is hanging down, as it might catch on fire! We would not want that! It isn't going to be too difficult to cook in the cold. You will need to take some practical steps to ensure that the temperature of the barbecue is sufficiently high to be able to cook. If it is a very cold then chances are that cooking with the lid on the barbecue and the use of some extra charcoal will be enough. Opening the vents will encourage more heat in the barbecue so if you have been cooking “Low & Slow” with the vents closed half way. You need to open the vents up all the way during the warmer or hot summer months. Ken Kolman, Weber’s Grill Master, says,” Through freezing temperatures and high winds, your Weber grill still knows how to get the job done, so be patient even if it's taking a little longer in cold weather. Winter temperatures aside, it's always a good idea to use a meat thermometer to make sure you food is grilled properly and to perfection.”

Warmer, Dry days- Of which we have an abundance those days here in the desert! This type of weather is perfect for sitting with a “Low and Slow” pork shoulder. Because a large piece of meat will take time to defrost, assuming it is frozen, make sure it is taken out of the freezer in plenty of time. If the weather looks great and the meat won't defrost in time either buy something fresh or cook something different.

Hot- This is the most common outdoor grilling weather! The summer weather safety tips apply. Wear light colored clothing. Drink plenty of water! Yes even in between your other beverages of choice. Wear some sun protection or sun block all year long; reapply more often in the warmer months when you perspire more. Wear a hat. Find a shaded spot for yourself and grill if possible. Pop up tents work, patio roofs, etc.. Make sure you keep the “5 foot rule” Keep the grill at least 5 feet from anything that is combustible or can catch on fire. Make sure there is good ventilation.

We all have secret marinades, dry rub spices and family recipes that make our outdoor grilling special. In fact, invite me over some weekend so I can sample some! I love taste testing all food, especially when it is cooked over charcoal or an open flame outdoors! Now we know, if we check the weather forecast and prepare right we can have a successful BBQ or cookout meal all year long despite the weather!

Chuck DeBroder, Chief Meteorologist
KTSM, NewsChannel 9, NBC, El Paso, TX Chuck DeBroder NC9 @wxchuckNC9

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