Hosting A Successful Winter Barbecue In The Snow, A winter barbecue requires a good attitude, effective communication, and the usual excellent barbecued meal. Here are some ideas to ensure that everyone is well-prepared and has a great time.
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Planning A Winter Barbecue
When the time comes to host this winter party, make sure that everything is well planned, as there will probably be more guest movement than usual inside and outside.
- Set up the barbecue equipment well ahead of the events, perhaps placing the barbecue in the opening of a garage or in a sheltered part of a patio.
- Set up a serving table in a sheltered spot if actually serving the food outside. Make sure that it is just a few steps from the heat of the barbecue and that everyone is ready to eat as soon as the food is offered.
- Any organised activity like skating or kids’ outdoor winter games should take place at the beginning.
- Have extra scarves, mittens, hats, and socks on hand if people are actually going to be outside for at least part of the barbecue.
- Even if the plan is to be outside for the entire barbecue, there has to be a warming station, perhaps just in a large foyer with a powder room nearby, or inside a walk-out basement family room.
- If it suddenly turns blustery, be prepared to move everyone indoors except, of course, the cook.
- Make sure there is an inside host and an outside host. If a single is a host, assign certain duties to a friend who’s attending.
How To Host a Great Winter BBQ
Invitation to the Winter Barbecue
This winter party invitation, whether on the phone, via email, or with a more formal card in the mail, should contain the following information.
- Give the date, time, and location. If necessary, provide an alternate ‘snow date’, in case everything is planned to be outside and there’s a storm warning.
- Emphasise that it is, indeed, an outdoor barbecue in the snow.
- Give details about expectations. Is the entire event outside? Is it going to be cooked outside/eaten inside? Are the guests expected to stay outside all the time? Will they be assigned shifts outside to support the cook?
- Remind guests about appropriate clothing.
- Suggest that the guests might want to bring toboggans, skates, or sledges if there is a hill or rink nearby. This would be popular if children are invited. It is usually best, though, that outdoor sports are optional as some people are just not interested.
- Try to inject humour into the invitation to encourage those who are reluctant.
Winter Barbecue Menu
Simple, rib-sticking food is always appropriate for a winter barbecue. This could be large juicy hamburgers on toasted buns, slow-cooked ribs, various-sized steaks, or a large roast on a spit in the barbecue. A smoker barbecue would add even more tantalising aromas if there is one available.
If there are vegetarians or vegans on the guest list, explore the possibilities of vegetarian barbecued foods.
For vegetables, baked or scalloped potatoes and baked beans all hold the heat well if the meal is actually being served outside. Add a few salads, rolls, and desserts and the food is ready.
The most common foods grilled in the backyard are hamburgers, hotdogs, and chicken. Chicken can be grilled with any number of BBQ sauces depending on what you prefer. Chicken can also be marinated before cooking to add extra taste. Some people also grill salmon fillets and shrimp. Steaks and ribs are also very popular and can be seasoned to taste.
Vegetables are becoming more and more popular for summer cookouts. Corn has always been popular. It is often wrapped in tinfoil and deposited directly on the hot coals. Other vegetables can be grilled as well. They can be marinated and put into tin foil. They are then set next to the meat as it cooks. Adding water or extra marinade will steam the vegetables. Ribs and various roasts can be done in a slow cooker. They are often juicy and full of flavour.
Experiment with any food choice you may want to try. Barbequing is a great excuse to bring people together. Remember to keep your grill clean and follow all suggestions in your grill manual for proper use of your equipment. Always remember to keep things safe to ensure a great grilling experience.
Types of Grills
- Charcoal – Charcoal grills are inexpensive and use charcoal briquettes to provide heat. The briquettes are arranged at the bottom of the grill and lit. When they burn down they are still very hot, though no visible flame can be seen. A grill rack is then placed over the charcoal. It is not easy to control the heat on this type of grill but food moved to the outside of the grill will often receive less heat and will cook more slowly. These grills come with or without lids.
- Gas – Gas grills are probably the most common type of grill used today. This type of grill is usually ignited with the push of a button. The heat source is a gas that is contained within a tank and connected to the grill by a long tube. The heat produced by gas grills can be adjusted very easily, much like you would adjust the heat on your stovetop. Some models have lava stones or briquettes at the bottom of the grill to help add flavour to the cooking meat.
- Slow Cooker – This grill also uses charcoal as a heat source. The charcoal is located in a pan at the bottom of the grill. About a foot above the charcoal is a water pan. This pan is filled with water to help keep the food moist as it cooks. The food is then placed on a grill rack above the water pan. Food cooked on this type of grill takes a very long time to cook but is often worth the wait.
Though the terms grilling and barbequing are used interchangeably, they are two different things. Grilling is usually done over high heat and the outside of the meat is seared to lock in flavour. This technique is generally used for steaks.
Barbequing is cooking the meat at a lower heat. This is how chicken is often cooked on a grill. The chicken is cooked slowly and slathered with any number of BBQ sauces. Smoking is another form of slow cooking. This method relies on the natural flavours of wood or charcoal to flavour the meat.
You cannot cook on a grill without utensils. Most grill utensils look much like the ones you find in your kitchen. They are generally made of metal and wood and have a long handle to keep your skin from coming too close to the hot flame. A simple BBQ kit might contain a spatula, tongs, a sauce brush, and a two-pronged fork.
An important accessory to have is a meat thermometer. You should always make sure food is properly cooked before it is served to your family and your guests. If you are using a grill that requires charcoal you will need long matches to light the briquettes. Potholders are a good idea when dealing with hot food. Some people like to have an apron to protect their clothing from grease splatters and the various BBQ sauces they may be using.
Beverages for the Winter Barbecue
There are the usual coffee, tea, and hot chocolate. For a change, serve hot apple cider with cinnamon and, perhaps, a shot of rum. Check out the internet for ideas and create your own signature ‘winter barbecue hot cocktail’.
Grilling is a simple and tasty way to enjoy many of your favourite foods. Barbeques are a popular activity when friends and family get together. This form of cooking is so popular that three out of four homes have some type of barbeque grill. Grills have grown and changed over the years and so have some of the food choices.
A well-organised, successful winter barbecue is fun and definitely sets the standard for winter parties, especially in the February doldrums.