I know its winter time and for many that usually means it’s time to cover the grill or smoker and wait for warmer weather. For some hardcore outdoor chefs, the winter can still be a rewarding time to have a backyard barbecue. Here are some tips that will ensure a successful barbecue for the winter.

Before any cooking, you always want to make sure the grill is clean, and the grates are free from rust and old food debris. You should do this any time of the year. Rust and old food can make you very sick.If you have a gas grill or smoker, you can do it quickly by heating up the grill on high for about ten minutes. Then use a wire brush for removing the build-up or rust. Be sure to keep your brush clean as well. Most people do much less cooking in the winter, and a grill that sits is much more likely to corrode, so it’s essential to clean your grill after each use. This will ensure many seasons out of your grill or smoker.

Now that the grill is ready we can start talking about the food. If you are cooking a cut of meat, it is essential to remove it from the fridge and let it get to room temperature just before cooking. This will ensure even cooking temperatures and most importantly a very tender and juicy meal in the end. When it’s cold outside, and you try to cook a steak that still cold from you fridge it’s very likely that it will turn out very tough.

It is especially important during the winter to bring your cuts of meat to ambient room temperature before putting your meat on a smoker. Depending on the ambient outside temperature, it may be all you can do to keep the smoker to temperature. So be sure you enough wood for smoking. You will require more than you usually wood during the warmer months.

If you are having trouble keeping your smoker temperature up, you should try to position it, so it’s in the sun. Also turn your smoker damper (lower one) into the breeze. This allows the moving air to circulate the heat from the firebox into the cooking chamber. This also keeps your firebox temperature up. This convection air is ideal for high tasting meats. It is possible that the weather is too cold and windy. You will need to use your better judgment and determine your needs during inclement weather.