Keep the barbecue fired up this winter

Now that winter’s almost upon us, most of you will be thinking it’s time to pack up the barbecue and head indoors.

Well, hold on. It’s not quite time for that yet.

Not only is it not snowing, raining or blowing a gale, but it’s not freezing cold either. In fact, think how cosy it’d be sitting on the porch with a group of friends, munching on barbecued meat skewers, sipping the odd glass of chardonnay and toasting yourselves in front of a couple of patio heaters.

A party indoors just doesn’t have the same carefree atmosphere that outdoors does. And, the food never quite tastes – or smells – the same. That’s why in winter in places such as northern Ontario and other Canadian states, householders regularly cook outdoors and then bring the food inside to eat. In fact we know of a number of families who cook their Christmas turkey on the barbecue!

If you are planning to cook outdoors this winter there’s a few tips it’d be good to keep in mind to ensure your party is as fun it’d be in the summer months. These include:


Keep warm

If the patio heaters are being hogged by someone else it doesn’t matter because you’ll have your sheepskin coat on together with the biggest chunkiest jumper that you can find on underneath, won’t you? Beanies are a good idea too but not scarves (too easy to catch fire).


Don’t stand in the direction the wind is blowing

Not unless you want your clothes to smell of barbecued food for the rest of the day that is!


Prepare food beforehand

It’s always possible it’ll start raining or an almighty gale will start up so it makes sense to have most of the food prepared already so that you’ll have to spend as little time as possible actually physically cooking it outside.


Give yourself extra cooking time

You have to allow more time for cooking meat in the winter than during the summer months. This is because, despite your shutting the hood on the grill, cold air is still getting in every time you open it (cold air hinders convection heat). As a result you’ll have to cook the same foods for longer (do a special calculation and take a timer with you to remind yourself).


Get help to carry the food to and from the grill

There’s far more hazards in winter such as snow and ice so it’s easier to fall. Worse still (for your guests) – the food will go down with you. This is disastrous if you’re trying to carry it all in one go.


Give your guests hot drinks to warm their hands and soul

Mulled wine is a great drink for warming you up – and it’s festive too. A hot toddy is another favourite (and no – it’s not just for soothing colds or sore throats). To make this, pour three fingers worth of whisky into a glass, add a drop of water and stir in a spoonful of honey. Add a cinnamon stick and remove before serving if preferred. For children or those of a non-alcoholic bent you can’t go wrong with hot chocolate and toasted marshmallows on top.


In case you’re wondering which fuel to use with your gas barbecue, there’s no problem with using propane gas as it doesn’t actually freeze. But why not try different flavoured wood chips for an extra taste sensation? We’re sure you won’t be disappointed.