Consumer Reports: Cold weather grilling tips

Just because it's cold outside doesn't mean you can't grill. Consumer Reports has some advice on how to brush up on your winter weather grilling game.

"Unless the weather outside is actually dangerous, there's really never a bad time to grill. And some of the things you can make on your grill, like brisket or ribs, are really nice cold-weather comfort foods," said Consumer Reports Home Editor Paul Hope.

But you can't just fire up your grill the same way you would in July, so here's a cold-weather grilling checklist from CR to get you through the winter.

First do an inspection. In addition to a fuel check, inspect the burners, jets and gas lines for any blockages that can restrict gas flow.

Since it's cold outside, easy access to the grill is key. But don't place it too close to your house. Keep it at least 10 feet away.

Then suit up safely.

"You want to make sure that you're bundled up but avoid any loose clothing like scarves because they can get caught in the flames," Hope said.

Choose a pair of warm gloves that allow full hand movements, so you can easily manipulate your grilling tools.

"One thing to keep in mind when you're grilling in cold weather is that everything is going to take longer. That means you need to leave extra time for the pre-heat and for cooking food," he said.

For a quicker clean-up, brush off the racks while the grill is still hot, especially if the grill will be sitting idle for the rest of the winter.

And having a meat thermometer on hand is always a good idea no matter the weather.

If you're ready for a new grill consider the CR recommended Even Embers GAS8560AS Grill. It earned an excellent rating for pre-heat performance so it'll fire up faster.

Also if you find the knobs or lid are frozen shut on your grill, move it to a warmer place only to defrost. To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, never grill in an enclosed space or under an alcove. And always have a fire extinguisher on hand whenever you grill.
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