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Top 5 Winter Grilling Tips

Grilling at home increases along with record snow storms

With the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic states experiencing major weather storms, it's not unusual for consumers to stock their kitchens to eat at home versus dining out.

According to the Weber GrillWatch Survey, despite the deep snow and below-freezing temperatures, almost 50% of American grill owners report that winter weather conditions don't stop them from enjoying the taste of grilled, caramelized meats or poultry and seasonal vegetables and fruits.

When the hardest-hit areas of the country have been experiencing power outages, some residents have turned to their outdoor grill out of necessity.

Lisa Baron of Stafford, Va., was homebound with her family for more than two days because of impassable roads. "We had no power, and if we had not owned a grill, we wouldn't have been able to feed our kids warm meals,” she said. “It was a life-saver." Baron's husband, a federal government employee, was not called into work and their children’s school was closed after the extreme weather caused downed power lines and trees.

While the basic principles of grilling with gas remain the same in cold weather, there are some subtle adjustments to ensure grilling safety and that food is cooked properly. Here are the Top 5 Winter Weather Grilling Tips from outdoor grilling expert Jamie Purviance, author of the New York Times' best-selling cookbook Weber's Way to Grill:

1. Brush snow off of your grill before preheating. It can lower the temperature inside, adding to your cooking time.

2. Allow twice the time to preheat the grill as it normally takes during moderate weather — this means from the usual 10 to 15 minutes to 20 or 30.

3. Although it may be tempting with blowing snow, don't grill under an overhang or in a garage. Grilling in an enclosed space can trap deadly carbon monoxide. Keep the grill at least 5 feet away from flammable materials.

4. Increase the recipe's recommended grilling temperature, usually around 20% higher, to generate enough heat to properly cook food. Also, it is most important in wintertime to use a meat thermometer to ensure food is cooked thoroughly

5. Keep it simple. The best bets for cold weather grilling are foods that don't require much attention. Steaks, burgers or fish that need only one quick flip or large cuts of meat that can cook unattended without repeated basting work well. Multiple trips outside to the grill and the need to open and close the lid repeatedly are eliminated — the latter adding cooking time as precious heat escapes.

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