Barbecues aren't just for the summer months. As long as you heat your patio, wrap up warm and guard your grill against the cold, you can banish the winter blues and enjoy al fresco eats all year round. Beat the chill
First things first – if you're going to be spending any amount of time outdoors, and inviting friends and family to do the same, you need to make sure your outdoor space is a comfortable temperature. While the BBQ itself will help matters, you should also think about:
Prepare the BBQ
- Patio heaters – a worthwhile investment that opens up year-round outdoor dining and entertaining
- Rugging up – make sure your guests know to dress for the occasion, taking care to tuck in any loose or hanging articles
It's not just your guests that need to be protected against the cold, but your equipment too. BBQs need extra care and attention in the winter months, and you should be sure to:
- Check the gas tanks – whether you're using propane or natural gas, make sure the tanks are full to avoid a last-minute dash for refills
- Warm the grill – allow a few more minutes for heating up than you would in the summer before throwing on the meat
- Close the lid – prevent cold air from affecting the quality of your cooking by keeping the lid closed as much as possible.
You don't have to abandon your BBQ favourites just because it's winter, but making a few seasonal changes will help to set the right tone for your winter feast. You should also favour food that takes less time to cook or can be prepared indoors. Why not try:
- Salmon – fish doesn't require the vigilance of meat, and dressed salmon fillets wrapped in foil grill in just 20 minutes
- Spicy chicken – soaking overnight in a chilli marinade gives grilled chicken extra bite
- Rib eye steaks – quick to prepare and bursting with hearty flavour
- Lamb shoulder – an affordable cut that's quick to grill, best served with herbs
- Pizza – it may not be a summer BBQ staple, but with all the preparation taking place indoors, vegetable and cooked meat pizzas just need to be heated on the grill
- Winter vegetables – make your side salads and garnish from seasonal root vegetables rather than leaves.
Wine is to winter as beer is to summer, and your guests are more likely to appreciate a bottle of red than an iced pitcher. Other winter-friendly drinks include:
- Cranberry Martini – easy to stir up from fresh cranberries, sugar and water
- Autumn Sangria – put a twist on the classic cocktail with a splash of Kentucky bourbon and a healthy dose of citrus fruits
- Mulled wine – you won't even notice the cold with this ultimate winter warmer.
If you feel it's not a BBQ without beer, don't forget your stubby holders. They aren't just useful for keeping your beer cold – they'll also save your fingers!