Grilling in the Cold: How to Enjoy BBQ in the UK Winter

Large metal barbecue grill covered in snow

We get it, when winter arrives many BBQ enthusiasts pack away their grills and resign themselves to months of indoor cooking. But it doesn't have to be that way!

With a little preparation and the right techniques, you can continue to enjoy delicious grilled dishes throughout the colder months.

Here are some tips on how to keep your BBQ fired up all winter long.


Choose the Right Grill

Not all grills are created equal, and some are better suited for winter grilling than others. If you're serious about BBQ in the UK winter, you need a grill built using quality materials. Something that’s sturdy and built for proper temperature management as well as being able to withstand the ever changing UK winter weather.

In our opinion you can’t get much better than Cactus Jack, Franklin, Masterbuilt and PK Grills for versatility, quality materials and longevity. Plus they all come with purpose built covers to add that extra layer of protection.


Manage Heat Retention

Managing heat retention is critical. If you don’t do it properly then you risk reduced energy efficiency, extending your cooking time, poor flavour development and food safety.

Start off by making sure the seals of your grills are intact and if they’re not then reseal with tape like this for your ceramics or this for your kettles and bullet smokers.

If that’s all good then your fire management might need some help. That’s where a firebasket can come in handy. This keeps your coals together and elevated off the smoker floor for clean, consistent burning and air flow. We’ve got some great options for bullet smokers and offset smokers.

If you’re running a ceramic then you’ll want this heat control gadget. It works by regulating the air getting to your coals all via the top vent, while your bottom vents are closed off.


Find Shelter

Winter weather in the UK can be unpredictable, so it's a good idea to set up your BBQ in a sheltered area. A covered patio, gazebo, or even a makeshift windbreak can help shield your grill from rain, snow, and strong winds.

If you’re super keen then think about building a dedicated grilling shack. We’ve got some great advice on this coming up from our own experience.

Any shelter will make the cooking process more comfortable and efficient, not just for the grill but for you too.


Stock Up on Fuel

Cold weather can increase the fuel consumption of your BBQ, so make sure you have enough propane or charcoal on hand.

It's a good idea to keep an extra supply in case of unexpected shortages. Pre-warm your propane tanks by storing them in a warm place before use to prevent them from freezing.


Maintain Your Grill

Regular maintenance is crucial for winter grilling. Keep your grill clean, especially the burners and vents, to ensure proper airflow and heat distribution.

We know it isn’t the most fun part of the grilling process but a well-maintained grill is more efficient and less likely to have issues during cold weather.


Dress Warmly

Don't forget to dress warmly when grilling in the winter. Layer up, wear a hat and keep your hands warm with gloves. Cold weather can sap your energy, so staying comfortable will make the grilling experience more enjoyable.


Plan Winter-Friendly Recipes

Consider adjusting your menu to include dishes that are well-suited for winter grilling. Hearty items like roasts, stews, and root vegetables can be prepared on the BBQ. Smoking and slow-cooking techniques can also help you create delicious winter dishes.


Keep an Eye on Cooking Times

In colder weather, cooking times may vary compared to summer grilling.

Use a reliable meat thermometer to ensure your food reaches the desired internal temperature. You can’t beat a Thermapen for this!

Cooking times may be longer, so be patient and plan accordingly.


Warm-Up the Grill

Preheat your grill for a bit longer than usual to compensate for the cold ambient temperature. This will help you maintain a consistent cooking temperature and prevent your food from sticking to the grates.


With the right equipment, preparation and mindset, you can continue to enjoy the wonderful meaty goodness only a great grill can bring throughout the winter months.

So embrace the chilly weather, experiment with winter-friendly recipes and invite friends and family to share in the warmth of delicious grilled meals.

Winter grilling can be a rewarding and memorable experience that keeps your BBQ skills sharp all year round.