The clocks have gone back. The nights are dark, and it’s getting colder by the day. But why should that stop you from barbecuing?
Just because winter’s here, it doesn’t mean that you can’t host a warming BBQ for your nearest and dearest. It’s all about changing your mindset and trying something new for the festive season. Sounds good right? Perhaps you are a little unsure of where to start. That’s why Big K is here. We’ve put together some top tips for hosting a perfect winter BBQ that will leave your guests feeling full of tasty food and winter cheer.
1. Reposition your barbecue
During winter, one of the main obstacles stopping enthusiastic grillers is the imagined freeze factor. Whoever’s grilling outside might get seriously chilly. A simple repositioning of your barbecue could work wonders for warmth. Why not position your barbecue closer to the back door so you have to take fewer steps from the house? Don’t forget to take the wind direction into account and make sure you find a place in the garden that protects you from any unwelcome draughts.
If you’ve got the room, the best bet is to cook as close to the house or another structure as possible to give yourself some extra protection. However, make sure you avoid porches, gazebos or anything covered that could present a fire hazard or trap unwanted smoke.
2. Wrap up warm
Whether it’s just you or your entire party outside, you’ll need to make sure you keep warm and toasty. We recommend a big coat, hat and fingerless gloves to make it easy to cook on the barbecue. Thick socks and neck protection will help, although make sure you keep your scarf tucked into your coat!
If your guests are braving it and joining you outside, consider getting a fire pit and filling it with seasoned hardwood logs to keep everyone toasty. A patio heater is also a good option to kick out some extra warmth. Provide some blankets in case people want some additional cosiness and comfort in the elements. With these simple steps you’ll have transformed your BBQ from chilly to cosy in no time.
3. Get the barbecue going in advance
Ever found it hard to get out of bed on a frozen winter morning? Low temperatures affect your barbecue in the same way, meaning that when it’s colder, it’ll take longer for your barbecue to get going. Make sure you plan enough time to get the barbecue started and use a long-lasting fuel such as Big K’s Dura Restaurant Grade Charcoal. They should be ready to cook on within 30 minutes, but it might take a bit longer in the colder months.
4. Pop the lid on
It’s great to show off your bangers and burgers sizzling away on the barbecue in the summer. But in the winter, it’s a whole different ball game. Make sure you keep the lid on your barbecue to keep all the heat inside – but don’t forget to check on it every now and again!
5. Keep it simple
It’s best to keep the food simple when you’re holding a winter BBQ. Go for sausages, burgers and vegetables on skewers, because these foods will cook quickly without much fuss. If you want to do jacket potatoes, whack them in the oven first then pop them on the barbecue at the end so you don’t stand outside freezing while you wait for them to cook.
Simply prep everything inside and bring it out when you’re ready to cook, reducing the amount of time you have to brace the cold.
6. Use the right equipment
When you’re barbecuing in the winter, use cookware that traps as much heat as possible. Ceramic cookware is ideal for keeping your food warm and ready to eat, whether you are serving inside or outside. Need an additional place to keep your winter spread warm? You can pop all your cooked food into a preheated cast iron pan. Just make sure that you take the food off the barbecue a little earlier, because it will keep cooking in the pan for a while afterwards.
7. Provide hot drinks
A great way to keep guests warm while they wait for their grub is to offer them hot drinks. Try some hot chocolate, tea, coffee and even hot cider or mulled wine to keep everyone happy. A particular favourite is hot chocolate with a shot of Bailey’s, cream and marshmallows!
8. If all else fails, head inside
Yes, it’s not what you want to hear – but sometimes your guests just won’t be able to keep warm if the temperature really plummets. When the food’s cooked, head inside to enjoy the fruits of your labours – and keep everyone happy. You can always venture out again later to toast marshmallows around the barbecue!
Even if the weather’s cold, you can still enjoy a cracking BBQ. It’s all about preparation – just make sure all the food is ready to go, guests can keep warm and there are plenty of hot drinks, and everyone will be happy!
The BBQ world is packed full of fantastic recipes for winter warming foods. We think these lamb burgers from the Fabulous Baker Brothers will go down a treat with their spicy kick.
Spicy lamb burgers
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1.5kg lamb mince
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- 1 tbsp coriander
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 tbsp cinammon
- 1 tbsp turmeric
- Pinch of grove cloves
- 1 preserved lemon, chopped
- Bunch of mint – leaves picked and chopped
- Salt and pepper
- 8 flatbreads, relish, chargrilled vegetables and rocket leaves to serve
- Heat the olive oil in a pan and add the onion and garlic. When golden, remove from the heat. In a large bowl, mix the lamb mince with the onion and garlic, spices, preserved lemon, mint and seasoning. Divide into 8 balls then shape into burgers. Chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before grilling – half an hour is the perfect time needed to get your barbecue going.
- Place the burgers on the barbecue and grill on each side for 3 minutes for a medium burger; adjust the grill time depending on your guests’ preference.
- Meanwhile, grill the flatbreads, spoon on some relish and add rocket. Add the grilled vegetables, squash it all together and serve.
For extra ideas, take a look at the recipes on the recipe section of our site. There are plenty of options that are perfect for winter barbecuing and getting your guests’ taste buds sizzling!