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Yes, You Can Grill in the Winter

Imagine it is the middle of February and you are in Fargo, N.D., or another chilly spot. Can you feel the cold air on your skin?

You want a reminder of spring and summer, so you decide you would like to grill something for yourself and/or your family.

Is grilling in the winter OK? Is the temperature too cold to grill? With cold weather approaching, you may be hesitant to bring out the grill.

Grilling season does not have to stop when the summer weather ends. Grilling can be enjoyed year-round, whether you do it outside or inside.

When we think of classic American activities during the summer, grilling is definitely high on that list. Many Fourth of July celebrations include a grill with someone dishing food for everyone else at the celebration. These activities can go year-round with a couple of changes.

A charcoal or gas grill should be used only outside and away from anything flammable, and in a well-ventilated area. However, electric grills, such as a George Foreman grill, can be used indoors if you want to stay out of the cold.

You may be tempted to grill inside your garage, but this is a dangerous idea. Doing this can increase the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and starting a fire.

Cold weather brings snow and ice, so you should clear an open path to your grill. Make sure to scoop away any snow and chip away the ice so you do not trip. Scoop away the snow and ice from your grill to help it stay at a high enough temperature.

Your grill will have to work extra hard to keep the inside of the hood at a high enough temperature. You should have extra fuel to use, whether this is another propane cylinder or extra briquettes to fuel your charcoal grill.

How much extra grilling time do you think you will need to cook your food in cold weather? Be prepared to add an extra five to 10 minutes to your cooking time. The cold air will get inside the hood. If the weather is really windy, this can make the hood cool faster.

When you finish grilling, keep your grill covered so the snow and ice do not damage anything.

Grilling indoors requires an electric grill, such as a George Foreman grill. These pose no risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, but the cord can pose a fire risk, just as with any electrical appliance. When using an electric grill, make sure it is on a solid and steady surface and that the grill is level.

Remember these tips while you are grilling during the winter and the summer:

  • Keep children and pets 3 feet away from the grill.
  • Keep your grill clean.
  • Never use lighter fluid on hot coals.
  • Do not lean over the grill when igniting or cooking.
  • Never leave the grill unattended when cooking.
  • Keep your grill away from anything that is combustible.

See www.ag.ndsu.edu/food/food-preparation and click on “Grilling” to learn more about safety and discover recipes to try.


Hunter Olson, NDSU Extension Dietetic Intern

Reviewed by Julie Garden-Robinson, Food and Nutrition Specialist

Filed under: fca newsletter

Sponsored in part by the Sanford Health Foundation.

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