Just because the temperature has dropped doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye to your BBQ grill or smoker. In fact, cooking on your Weber, Traeger, Camp Chef, or Masterbuilt in the colder months is the best way to really see what your grill or smoker can do!
The early pioneers of this vast country cooked their food almost entirely in the great outdoors throughout the year. Native Americans too roasted and cooked wild game, venison, bison, and caribou outdoors in heat or cold, sharing their techniques with the early settlers.
Grilling and smoking your favorite dishes in subzero temperatures isn’t as difficult as you might expect. With the considerable advantage of today’s superior technology, your grill or smoker can perform just as well in the cold as it does in summer.
Now can capture the thrill of roasting, searing, and grilling your favorite cuts of meat all year long! Fall or winter, adequate preparation and the right grilling tools are the key to pulling off any BBQ recipe. If this is your first time firing up your grill in the cold, this page is for you!
Follow this handy guide to learn in detail how to prepare and execute a sumptuous, seasoned meal on your charcoal, gas, pellet grill or electric smoker in cold weather.
Fuel Consumption: Due to the colder weather, it takes more fuel to achieve the desired internal cooking temperature.
Lack of Insulation: Heat escapes from your grill or smoker at a faster rate in cold weather, making it difficult to generate enough radiant heat inside the cooking chamber to cook your meat thoroughly.
Preheating: Colder temperatures can leave your grill or smoker so frigid that preheating takes twice as long.
Damp Fuel: Stored improperly in your garage, shed, etc, wood fuel in particular can become damp during winter or fall. The added moisture means it will take longer to burn and to produce smoke. Burning wet wood can also produce harmful byproducts 
Windy Conditions: Maintaining a consistent internal cooking temperature is made more difficult in windy, cold outdoor conditions. Gusty winds can wreak havoc with your charcoal, gas or pellet grill. As gusts of wind whip through the cooking chamber, they can easily put out a pilot light, blow embers into your food, or even knock your grill over!
Slippery Conditions: A thin layer of ice hidden beneath the snow could send you to the hospital with serious burns and broken bones!
Food Storage: Food must be stored quickly or it loses heat rapidly once removed from the grill or smoker. Traveling even a short distance from your balcony to the indoors will mean covering your food to seal in heat so you can serve it ready right off your grill.
Thermal BBQ Gloves
Keep hands warm and fingers safe from blowing flames. Quality BBQ gloves that reach up to just below your elbows offer the most protection, but may not be as easy to maneuver in. Hand gloves with wrist protection will give you more dexterity. Suede, leather, or heat resistant silicone gloves are all good options.
Cold Weather Jacket
Not for you - for your grill! A thermal cold weather jacket for your grill will provide adequate insulation to keep the internal temperature more consistent. Leading brands like Weber, Masterbuilt and Traeger offer cold weather jackets designed specifically for use with the brand.
You can also use a welding blanket, for example, or make your own insulation box to serve as both windshield and insulation.
Wireless Digital Thermometer
Maintaining a consistent internal cooking temperature in cold weather can be a real challenge. With a wireless digital thermometer, you can have an accurate temperature reading in seconds. The temperature can be monitored remotely via an app that downloads to your phone, so you can adjust the heat in your smoker or grill as needed.
Invest in a quality pair of stainless steel, locking BBQ tongs. You’ll need them to turn over meat, remove food from the grill or add. A meat fork and spatula are also must-haves when grilling in cold weather.
Sealed Food Storage Bins
Once your food is ready to remove from the grill or smoker, the cold weather can quickly drain them of warmth. Who wants to eat a cold steak? To keep your food from cooling too rapidly, be sure to have adequate food storage on hand.
Ceramic cookware absorbs and retains heat longer than plastic or other types of cookware. It’s also completely BPA-free. Transferring your food off the grill to ceramic cookware will preserve their warmth much longer. A heated cast iron skillet on hand is also a good way to quickly transfer food from the cold outdoors to indoors.
When it comes to grilling in cold weather, keeping dry, fueled insulated and safe should be your top 4 priorities. Whether you prefer gas, charcoal, pellets, or an electric smoker, these essential cold weather grilling tips will apply:
Weber Tips For Grilling In The Winter
Tips For Gas Grills In Cold Weather
Charcoal Grills In Cold Weather
Pellet Grills In Cold Weather
Electric Smokers In Cold Weather
Smoked brisket, thick juicy burgers or grilled salmon, you can enjoy your favorite BBQ recipes even in cold weather. Don’t let the fall season and dropping temperatures put an end to your reign on the grill!
If this is your first time venturing into the cold weather grilling experience, start with a BBQ recipe you know well. Prep your food as usual, and be sure to have extra fuel on hand.
While you can expect your charcoal, gas, pellet grill or electric smoker to take longer in cold weather, you can still achieve the same savory results in winter. Exercise patience and prep your BBQ grill in advance to save time.
Shielding an insulation will be critical to maintaining a consistent cooking temperature. A cold weather jacket, welding jacket, or DIY insulation box will keep the wind out and heat in.
With the right grilling utensils, preparation and a clear unobstructed outdoor space to work in, your smoker or grill can perform just as well in winter as in summer!
William Clay is a BBQ enthusiast dedicated to sharing his grilling (and overall cooking) expertise with FireFoodChef's readers.