Get Out and 'Wintercue' This Season

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Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association Shares Answers to Your Cold Weather Grilling Questions

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This season, an estimated 43% of grill or smoker owners will fire up the barbecue at least once a month* to add some smoky flavor to their winter fare.

The weather is chilling; time to start grilling! Whether braving blizzards or brushing frost off the grill or smoker, there’s no reason not to barbecue in winter. To join the 61% of North American grill owners who barbecue all year long,* the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association suggests the following tips from the pros to help heat things up during the coldest months.

This season, an estimated 43% of grill or smoker owners will fire up the barbecue at least once a month* to add some smoky flavor to their winter fare. It’s the perfect time to bundle up, check the fuel supply, and get ready for a winter of grilling with these eight answers to your most common “Wintercue” questions:

1. What is the best benefit of winter grilling? “Flavor and color are by far the best in winter. Smoking or grilling in colder temperatures produces a much richer smoke ring and adds flavor to meats.” – Jayna Todisco, champion pitmaster for A Mazie Q, http://www.facebook.com/amazieq

2. Do cooler temps change cooking time? Heat escapes more quickly when it’s cold, especially when the grill lid is lifted. Plan to add 25 percent more cooking time to compensate for cold temperatures and always use a reliable food thermometer to check for doneness.

3. What is one winter grilling essential? “For those wanting to hit the cold and fire up the grill, it’s important to wear a warm hat to keep your noggin from the cold. A warm head helps keep the whole body a little warmer and protects the ears from Jack Frost.” – Ted Reader, “Godfather of the Grill,” award-winning barbecue chef, http://www.tedreader.com

4. What’s the best way to protect the grill from the elements? “Invest in a good grill cover to keep rain, wet leaves, and ice from gunking up the equipment. Always keep fuel stored in a dry area or storage bin.” – Robb Walsh, barbecue expert and cookbook author, http://zenbbq.com

5. What is the best way to combat winter winds? “With heavy winds and cold, fires can be more volatile. Be sure to close the dampers on the grill more than normal to ensure consistent heat throughout.” – Jayna Todisco, champion pitmaster for A Mazie Q, http://www.facebook.com/amazieq
“Wind is half the battle, especially in colder temps. Cut a full sheet of plywood in half and construct a homemade wind block for the smoker or grill.” – Steve Coddington, award-winning pitmaster, http://www.woodpilebbqshack.com

6. How does cold weather impact grill temperature? “It will take longer to heat the grill in cold temperatures. Be sure to allow more time for the grill or smoker to heat up. The cooker will also require more fuel so keep plenty of dry wood, charcoal, propane, or pellets on hand.” – Matt Pittman, barbecue pitmaster, http://www.meatchurch.com

7. When going low and slow on a smoker, what is the optimal attire? “During the wicked winter months, throw on a pair of long johns to stay warm and toasty. This will allow for longer exposure to the cold and more time tending to the flame.” – Ted Reader, “Godfather of the Grill,” award-wining barbecue chef, http://www.tedreader.com

8. Can the same fuel be used year-round? All fuel types can be used anytime during the year. Always store charcoal and wood chips in a cool, dry place, such as a garage, basement, or air-tight container. Be prepared with extra fuel as cooking will typically take longer, requiring more fuel than in warmer weather.

To learn more about winter barbecuing and discover favorite cold weather recipes, visit http://www.WinterBarbecuing.com, HPBA’s website dedicated to celebrating and inspiring backyard barbecuing during the coldest months.

(*Source: 2015 HPBA Barbecue Lifestyle, Usage & Attitude Survey)

About Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA)

Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA), based in Arlington, Va., is the North American industry association for manufacturers, retailers, distributors, representatives, service firms, and allied associates for all types of hearth, patio, and barbecue appliances, fuels, and accessories. The association provides professional member services and industry support in education, research, government relations, marketing, advertising, and consumer education.

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Eric Davis
Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association
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