Everyone loves to grill, but not everyone has the perfect weather for grilling year-round. You can’t always predict the weather, and that’s okay. Don’t grill in dangerous storms or hurricanes. However, you can learn to grill in inclement weather of sorts, but you’ll need to learn some tricks to succeed. Here’s a rundown on cooking in windy weather.
Cooking with Gas Grills in the Wind
When you’re grilling outdoors, it’s important to note that wind affects gas and charcoal grills alike, but for different reasons. Wind can give you difficulty with a gas burner if it is not angled correctly. Check to make sure it is perpendicular to the flow of the gas through the burner tubes, away from the wind.
How to light a gas grill in the wind: Don’t lift the lid. Instead, look at the match-light hole if you’re not sure if the flames are working. In serious wind, you need to be vigilant in checking the burners. Try to shield the grill itself from the wind as much as possible. If the burners do go out, you need to shut the gas valves off immediately. Open the gas lid and let the smell dissipate for as long as possible, then wait a few minutes to re-ignite the grill.
A gas grill will usually already have its own windscreen, so there’s nothing you can do to protect it except try to angle it away from the wind while you’re cooking.
Charcoal Grilling in the Wind
Charcoal grills, even with the lids on, will usually need more fuel added during windy weather. Smoke just escapes more than other fuel sources, so you may have to add charcoal to it repeatedly to keep it going. This happens with campfires, too, and while it’s an annoyance it’s also just a fact of life with outdoor grilling. When you’re grilling, you should always keep the grill vents open.
Be mindful of your surroundings and don’t grill when there’s been super-dry weather and it’s windy at the same time. Enjoy your barbecuing, but don’t unnecessary risks. A grill blown over by wind could cause a disaster in today’s climate. Make sure you know what you’re doing and practice fire safety at all times while you’re grilling.
A gas grill or electric grill is really the best kind of grill to use in windy conditions. The electric grill, of course, is something you can also take inside to use in poor weather.
Taking Care of Your Grill in the Wind
If you’ve invested in a grill but you need to leave it outdoors for whatever reason, you want to keep it protected from the elements. Put blocks around your grill wheels to prevent any movement. You can use items from your garage such as heavy bricks or cans of cement on both sides of the wheels to hold it in place. Then grab some sandbags, too, to use on the outside of the grill cover.
A grill cover is a necessary purchase. You can secure a grill cover by using the ties to tie it down to something stable, such as the poles or slats on your deck. You can also tie it around the heavy objects that are anchoring your grill. By anchoring your grill to the deck, you’ll be able to keep it in place during any weather conditions.
If you need to keep your grill in places while you’re grilling, it’s recommended that you use long bungee cords to tie your entire grill to something that is anchored, such as a deck or pole. Keep your grill tied at least 3 feet from a building for fire prevention. Use bricks or sandbag to wedge the grill in place while you’re grilling in the wind.
BBQ Grill Windscreens
Did you know that you could also buy windscreens for your grill? People worry a lot about wind blowing a gas grill over and wonder how to secure their grill from the wind. Well, anchoring your grill down is fine when you’re not using it often. But if you want to actually supervise the activity on the grill, you’ll need to get a grill wind block to help buffer the wind while you’re flipping burgers, etc.
If you anchor your grill, that will keep it from blowing away. But a grill wind cover is what stops the wind from making your flames go out. They are a necessary accessory in the Northwest US, which is plagued with a lot of wind.
A lot of grill masters prefer to make their own custom windscreen, and there are plenty of online forums where you can learn how to do this yourself. (Weber’s online forum is here.)
The wind can be an annoying obstacle, but with the right tools, you can overcome it. Just make sure that you always put safety first.
Summing it Up
People have cooked with fire for centuries, in all sorts of nasty weather, including the rain and severe cold. The truth is that humans enjoy our meat served piping hot, and we love the taste of fresh barbecue. A little wind, rain or sleet isn’t going to change how much we love that barbecue flavor.
We have other instructional articles here to help you learn how to grill in the elements. Of course, there’s always the option of buying a hybrid grill or electric grill and using them instead of the traditional charcoal grill.