If you’ve decided you don’t want to brave the weather to grill during winter, then it’s time to bid farewell to your grilling equipment and accessories until spring. But, just like you, it’s essential that your grill is properly insulated for the cold months ahead.
Winter Clean Up
It may be tempting to put your grill away after the last great cookout of the season without cleaning it, but resist that temptation. You and your grill will be happier if you make the effort to give it a good cleaning before storing it for the season.
Cleaning your grill doesn’t require anything fancy to get the job done. Invest in a simple wire cleaning brush and a green Scotch Brite pad for excellent results. A fellow Instagram user @grub.on.the.joe introduced me to these grill cleaning stones and they work amazingly well.
To start your clean, do a burn-off. Heat your grill to 700-750 degrees and leave it to burn at that temperature for two to three hours. (This is basically the same principle used in self-cleaning ovens.) Once the grill has burned hot for a few hours, allow it to cool down and then wipe the ash away. This will clean off the majority of debris left from your previous cooks. Use the brush, scouring pad, or the grill cleaning stones to clean off any remaining debris.
After the grill is cleaned, it’s time to oil. Cast iron grates and other metal surfaces can be prone to rusting. To avoid this, lightly coat any surface that could rust with cooking oil.
The best part of a winter-prep cleaning? Your grill is now ready to use the second the weather warms up!
If you live in warmer climates, your grill should be fine to leave outside during the winter. If, however, you live somewhere with snow, sleet, or ice in the forecast, you may want to move your grill into your garage or a covered area.
Can’t move the grill? Make sure it’s bundled up for the winter. Most grills either come with a grill cover or offer it as an aftermarket accessory. I recommend using a grill cover designed specifically for your grill, as they are usually custom sewn to be form-fitting.Important to note is that a cover can be the enemy if your grill isn’t completely clean and DRY before covering it for the winter. If you cover a wet grill, you may unwrap it in the spring and find it covered in mold due to the cover trapping in moisture.
Grillers who use propane tanks need to take care with winter storage. Never store a propane tank indoors. For more on the ins and outs on proper propane storage, check out this article.
If you use charcoal, storage can be extremely tricky. Once charcoal gets damp, even if you take pains to dry it out, it doesn’t work as well. Charcoal that was exposed to moisture becomes a challenge to light and will not get as hot as charcoal that’s never been damp. For this reason, I recommend using the remains of your charcoal in the burn-off and simply buying new charcoal in the spring.
Any excess charcoal can also be made into a handy stocking-stuffer for anyone on your naughty list!
Invest some time in prepping your grill and accessories for winter storage and you’ll be happy to unpack them in the spring. A little care will make for an easy start to the next grilling season.
If you’re interested in grilling throughout the season, check out my post on grilling in the cold. Otherwise, come back next week for my post on the best ways to transfer classic grill recipes to indoor cooking.