Monday, January 21, 2008

Cold Weather Outdoor Cooking

Many outdoor cooks close and cover up their grills and smokers for the winter months. They do all their cooking inside and force themselves to forget the great taste of outdoor-cooked food for long stretches of time.

Those who love to cook outdoors and enjoy eating grilled, smoked, or barbecued foods do not like to quit doing so just because it is cold outside. Outdoor cooking is not a passion that can be turned on and off because of the weather. It is a year-round love of some of the best-tasting food there is anywhere.

Fortunately, there are many ways to get around this dilemma of being left out in the cold when cooking outdoors in the winter.

Grilling is a process of cooking food quickly over an open flame. The operative word is "quickly" as this allows you to cook the food without having to spend a long time outside.

With a gas grill, where you control the heat, you can cook a steak or hamburger in just a few minutes. Because of the constant high heat, you will not be forced to stay outside in the elements for long stretches of time. And if the weather is really bad, you can time your cooking and be there to flip the meat or get it off the grill.

Other outdoor cooking methods work even better in the cold weather. A smoker, by its very nature, is designed to cook food at very low temperatures for long periods of time. In any environment, once you get the fire right, you basically put the meat in the smoker and forget about it for several hours. While you are inside, the meat is slowly cooking outside just the way it is supposed to.

Barbecue cooking works in a similar way, as well. It is cooked slow and over an indirect fire, although not usually as slow-cooked as in a smoker. Therefore, it pretty much cooks itself once you get the fire just right. With barbecue, it is usually better to leave it alone. The meat will be less likely to dry out and the fire will stay at more of a constant temperature.

Start getting into the mindset that cooking outside is not just a summer event. You will soon discover that the food actually benefits from being left alone, and you will be able to enjoy the great tastes of outdoor cooking all year and under just about any weather condition.

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