GrillJunkie – Addiction to Grilling-What Fires YOU Up?

Blog Page

Top 10 Valentines Day Recipes

Grill Junkie Staff 2 Comments

Top 10 Valentines Day Recipes

Romance meets the grill? If you’re looking to spice things up a bit, we have you covered. The GrillJunkie team has fired up the grills and cranked out our Top 10 Valentines Day Recipes! Instead of going out with the crowd this Valentine’s Day, enjoy a restaurant-quality meal in the comfort of your own home.  Now let’s look at this in perspective. Most holidays involve making large feasts for many people. Lots of grilling, lots of food, for lots of people. However, Valentine’s Chili heartDay is unique as it revolves around a small intimate meal for two people. We challenge our brethren GrillJunkie men to fire up the grill and produce something special for that woman in their lives. And vice versa for those girl grilling addicts. As grilling, BBQ and food addicts, we believe a way to a person’s heart is truly through their stomach. We’ve gathered the Top 10 Valentines Day Recipes that we believe she might like. Let’s take a look down this list of Valentine Day’s most popular recipes and then you tell us who is doing the cooking, and for whom. What Fires YOU Up?


Top 10 Valentines Day Recipes

1. Grilled Oysters with Jalapeno Butter

Since Oysters are an aphrodisiac, adding butter and smoky goodness from the grill make them even more sensual! There’s not too much to grilling oysters. This recipe basically calls for you to preheat the grill to medium/medium high and get the grill hot. Carefully place the oysters on and shut the lid, then grill the oysters until they pop open. As the first ones open up, place them on the top basket/warming area of the grill so they stay warm but don’t remain over the direct heat.grilled oysters

To Grill the Oysters:

Preheat the grill to medium/medium high. Carefully place your oysters on the grill surface grate and shut the lid. Grill the oysters until they pop open. As the first ones open up, place them on the top basket/warming area of the grill so they stay warm but don’t stay on the direct heat.

Jalapeno Butter Sauce

  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1-2 minced jalapenos, depending on how much heat is desired
  • sea salt/pepper

Sauté the onions in the butter. Add the wine and simmer for 7-10 minutes, letting some of the liquid reduce down. Add the jalapenos and garlic, simmer a little longer. Pour sauce on top of the opened oysters. Enjoy!!

2. Cast-Iron Cowboy Steak

This is an ideal, if not the best way to cook a thick, juicy bone-in steak restaurant-style without smoking up the house. Use your grill to heat the cast-iron skillet; the skillet surface area promotes a more assertive flavor and better sear than grill grates, yielding a steak with the proper steak house crust.


  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (1 1/2- to 2-lb.) bone-in rib-eye or porterhouse steak (about 2 inches thick)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 8 fresh herb sprigs (such as thyme, rosemary, and oregano)
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

valentines day recipes,cast-iron cowboy steakPreparation
1. Preheat grill to 400° to 450° (high) heat. Heat a 12-inch cast-iron skillet on grill, covered with grill lid, 15 minutes. Sprinkle salt and pepper generously over steak.

2. Add oil to skillet. (Oil should smoke.) Using tongs, place steak in skillet, and cook on grill, without grill lid, 10 minutes or until dark brown and crusty. Turn steak on fatty edge in skillet, holding upright with tongs, and cook 2 minutes. Place steak, uncooked side down, in skillet. Cook on grill, covered with grill lid, 8 to 10 minutes or to desired degree of doneness. (We recommend an internal temperature of 120° to 125° for medium-rare; temperature will rise as steak rests.)

3. Add butter, herbs, and garlic to side of skillet, and cook 2 to 3 minutes or until butter foams. Tilt skillet slightly, and spoon butter mixture over steak 20 times (being careful not to splatter). Transfer steak, herbs, and garlic to a platter; let stand for 5 to 10 minutes. When cutting, be sure to slice against the grain.

3. Filet Mignon and Grilled Lobster Tails

valentines day recipes,filet mignon,GrillJunkieAlso known as Surf and Turf, this is a go to item for a Top 10 Valentines Day Recipe list! It is a great way to impress a new Valentine or to show how much you truly care. Let’s begin with the Filet Mignon as it requires a bit of marinating time and prep work. Grilled filet mignon is both delicious and tender. This recipe calls for dried herbs though you can substitute with fresh herbs instead. If you are going to do so, double the amount that the recipe requires.

Filet Mignon

  • 4 filet mignon, about 1 & 1/2 inches thick
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon marjoram
  • 1 teaspoon sea or kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Prep Time: 15 minutes – Cook Time: 10 minutes – Total Time: 25 minutes – Yield: Serves 4


Heat olive oil and garlic in a small soup pan or covered microwave safe bowl for 50-60 seconds. Remove and allow to cool. Add herbs and stir. Place filet mignon into a shallow glass dish. Pour herb mixture over and turn steaks to coat. Cover and let marinate for 1-4 hours in the refrigerator. Preheat grill for high heat. Remove steaks from refrigerator, remove excess oil, and season with salt and pepper. Place on grill and cook for 5-6 minutes per side, or cook to desired doneness.

Now let’s tackle the Lobster. This grilled lobster is perfect for any occasion. If you don’t have a lot of experience grilling shellfish, then will be easy recipe is for you.

Grilled Lobster Tailsvalentines day recipes,grilled lobster,GrillJunkie

  • 6 lobster tails
  • 1/4 cup olive oil or melted butter
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill
  • 1 teaspoon sea or kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Prep Time: 12 minutes – Cook Time: 7 minutes – Total Time: 19 minutes – Yield: Serves 3 to 6


Preheat grill for medium-high heat. Cut lobster tails in half lengthwise, exposing the flesh. Combine remaining ingredients in small mixing bowl. Brush mixture onto flesh side of lobster tails. Place lobster onto the grill and cook for 5-7 minutes, depending on the size of the lobster tail, it may need to cook longer. Make sure to turn once during cooking process. Remove from heat and serve. A couple of glasses of a good shiraz and add some grilled asparagus and some grilled potatoes to round out the meal.

4. Grilled Salmon on Cedar Plank with Cucumber Sauce

Cedar_Plank_Grilled_Salmon_RecipeNot as fancy as Surf and Turf, but they will still really appreciate that you cooked this Grilled Salmon on Cedar Plank with Cucumber Sauce. As part of our Top 10 Valentines Day Recipes, this is our GrillJunkie recipe for making memorable Cedar Plank Grilled Salmon, adapted from our friends over at Fire & Flavor. If you’re not familiar with cedar plank salmon, it’s time to get familiar with this simple yet ancient cooking technique.

Grilling fresh fish on a wood cedar plank, and other appropriate wood species creates the difference between a mediocre cookout and an incredible backyard cooking memory. The three keys to the recipe are the choice of fish to be grilled, the quality of the cedar plank and the ancient American Indian art of wood plank cooking! A decent Sauvignon Blanc to go with the fish. Some tasty corn bread. Add some Black Bean Mango Salsa to round out the meal.

5. Heart Shaped Burgers

Come on burger lovers, you’ve got to put in a little effort. How about you add a twist on those great hamburgers you grill, shape them like hearts.  Add some fries. Grab a beer, but make sure you leave one for yourvalentines day recipes,heart shaped burgers,GrillJunkie Valentine. There is nothing more American, tempting and satisfying than a perfectly prepared, grilled, seared and stacked hamburger! And as part of our Top 10 Valentines Day Recipes list, there’s nothing more heart-warming! The team here at GrillJunkie is constantly tweaking and evolving all of our grilling recipes, and one our favorite categories is the incomparable Burger.

Evolving our burger recipe repertoire is one of our favorite pastimes. In addition to the 365 plus recipes that we’ve published in our Burger-a-Day Cookbook, we love to prepare and share our free on-line recipes with our readers. This one is a keeper. In between our hectic Grilling Product Reviews schedule, we put pen to paper and spatula to grill and are proud to share our Mesquite-Smoked Cheeseburgers with Chipotle Salsa grilled burger recipe. We hope you enjoy it. Read More →

BBQ in New England – Bentley’s Famous

BBQ in New England – Bentley’s Famous BBQ

Hello New England! Do you crave for BBQ in New England? Rarely does the GrillJunkie team boast about local or regional BBQ events, restaurants, road side dives or caterers. In fact we’re kind of snobs when it comes to our grilling and BBQ preferences. However, GrillJunkie has found a hidden gem in your own back yard! Bentley’s Famous BBQ, Pig Roast & Lobstah Bakes , yes good ol’ New England Lobstah Bakes!!! What we love most, is the fact that Bentley’s has carved out it’s own niche within the region and more importantly it’s style…one we would define as New England Style BBQ.bentleys famous bbq,bbq in New England bentleys famous bbq,bbq in new england

Brandon Saldoni, owner & chef, attended training from KCBS (Kansas City Barbecue Society) – World Championship Pit Masters, & classes by Malcolm Reed from “Killer Hogs” & the world’s most decorated pitmastah, Jared Huizenga of “Insane Swine”. Brandon fires up the 4 most popular regions of BBQ styles, North Carolina, Kansas City Style, Tex-Mex & Tennessee Dry Rub. He also personally created a New England Style BBQ where all meats are smoked using Applewood and Hickory for 8 to 10 hours, and are hand rubbed with a combination of Pure Maple Sugar, Garlic Powder, and some Secret Spices that they would not reveal! Therein lies the intrigue, and that secret reveals itself in insanely delicious BBQ! We encourage you to let Bentley’s Famous BBQ, Pig Roast & Lobstah Bakes serve you at your next special event.

They bring their own smokers on site and prepare, smoke and serve their meats directly off the smoker on to your plate!!! We love that home town touch. Their friendly and professional staff was on site for two hours of serving time and completely set up the buffet with table, table linen and chafing dishes. After the meal, their staff will clean up and remove the buffet. Now that’s service! Just in case you need a second opinion, check out the write up from the Lowell Sun on Bentley’s Famous BBQ!


bbq in new england BBQ in New England –

Brandon at Work

Here’s what we liked most about Brandon’s New England style BBQ and the way he runs Bentley’s Famous BBQ:

  • Choice & Variety  – Choice is a wonderful thing. We’d never want to stifle the creativity of your event or our chefs; therefore our menus offer a wide variety and choice. All options delicious, all options at a fair value. 
  • “Yum” Factor – We love food. We mean, “we LOVE food”. And we’d like to share that love with you and your guests. That’s why our talented chefs prepare only the freshest and most authentic food with the best flavors. Quality is the name of the game.
  • Integrity – We’re an honest bunch that knows the value of a dollar and the value of your time, and our own. When we work with you, we work within your budget, expecting to exceed all expectations. It’s business with integrity.BBQ
  • Hard Work – Done Right Service that anticipates guests’ needs and real professionalism are important to us, and we’re sure they’re important to you. We work hard to earn your business and take pride in satisfying all of your needs.
  • Impress Your Guests – It’s our responsibility to throw events that are consistently engaging, interactive, and fun, and we take that challenge very seriously. Your friends, family, or business associates will appreciate your unique event and the unforgettable Bentley’s experience. You’ll be able to expect some hearty thanks.
  • Establish Connections – Bentley’s brand connects people. Not only are we familiar and comfortable, we’re synonymous with warm, friendly hospitality and a good time. We give your guests something unique to talk about.
  • Our Passion – means Your Satisfaction. We care mightily about what we do and how we do it. Our commitment to our values and to you is unwavering to ensure your absolute satisfaction. We deal in happiness– and we like to spread it as much, and as often, as possible.

grilled_lobsterBBQ Event Types

Weddings, Formal or Casual, Large or Small
Engagement parties
Family and School Reunions
School Picnics
Graduation Parties
Anniversaries of all kinds
Birthdays, Pig Roasts and more!

BBQ smokers are ideal for the low and slow cooking method

Don’t wait! Book your next special event now by contacting Brandon at Bentley’s Famous BBQ Pig Roast & Lobstah Bakes: (508) 406-8658. Award Winning foods along with family friendly, quality service. Enjoy!!!

Please let Brandon know that you saw his write up and review on GrillJunkie.


Grill Junkie logo


What are your thoughts on this GrillJunkie blog post? What Fires You Up? We welcome your comments, healthy debate, and the inevitable disagreement. Leave a reply or comment. It’s OK. Bring it on!


Top 10 Super Bowl Recipes

Top 10 Super Bowl Recipes

Are you ready for some Super Bowl Recipes? The GrillJunkie team has had the grills fired up all week in preparation for the Big Game, and we’ve pulled together our Top 10 Super Bowl Recipes. It is no secret that Super Bowl Sunday is the biggest game day of the year, but were you aware that it is also the seventh largest grilling day of the year as well as the biggest outdoor cooking day of the winter months. For those of you who may be under 12 inches of snow, click here for our BBQ in Winter Tips! Riding the trend that outdoor cooking is no longer just a summer activity, millions of sports fans will be firing up their grills and smokers for this year’s match up. Our beloved American pastime, grilling, is a fast and easy way to cook up delicious food without having to miss the game or making a big fuss.

grilling tips, tailgating, game day grilling hacks,GrilljunkieAs a relief to the host and/or cook who will be doing most of the grilling, the best part of grilling up your Super Bowl food is that you can do most of the work ahead of time. Many grilled foods benefit from being marinated, so with some preparation you can load up the refrigerator with a ton of food and get it on the grill for a quick cook on game day. Plan ahead and, unlike last year, you’ll be watching the game instead of cooking.

Whether you’re hosting a small crowd or a big rowdy bunch over to watch the game, it is always best to pick as many foods that can be customized by your guests while also having a few of your main specialties. This way everyone is happy. Things like appetizers, personal pizzas, Patty Melts / Sandwiches, Meatballs, and hamburgers are perfect and maybe even some grilled desserts! Make sure you have plenty of toppings, dips and dressings to offer variety for your guests. This will keep everyone well feed and happy throughout the whole game. The secret to successfully pulling off Game Day at your place is to prepare as much as you can in advance.

Consistently create superior tasting food with the Digital Electric Smoker with SmartChef(TM) Technology! Shop Char-Broil!


Our Top 10 Super Bowl Recipes

These Top 10 Super Bowl Recipes are the GrillJunkie team’s choices for the big game. Of course, true barbecue such as Brisket and Pulled Pork are always great options. While most people will be dishing up favorite appetizers, you can go the extra yard by dishing up BBQ Ribs, Pulled Pork or Beef Brisket. Barbecue can be kept warm and makes great finger food that fills you up. We’re sure your Super Bowl guests will appreciate the effort.

Super Bowl Recipes 1 – Grilled Steak Chili

What’s a Super Bowl game, or a regular season football game for that matter, without a warm and hearty bowl of chili? The cooler air of winter makes the GrillJunkie dream of comfort foods and

Finally, a warm, richly textured bowl of chili with java and dark chocolate depth and overtones.

Finally, a warm, richly textured bowl of chili with java and dark chocolate depth and overtones.

memorable times with friends and family. As food lovers we were in our glory during October due to the fact that the month has the honor of being National Chili month, and we could work on perfecting our Grilled Steak Chili recipes. OK, the month is over but our desire to make and consume some deliciously warm chili will certainly last deep into the coming months! There’s nothing quite like the aroma, texture and taste of a great bowl of hearty and soul warming chili, especially on Game Day!

While there are thousands of variations, one of our favorite chili recipes includes hearty grilled steak, spicy jalapeños, or chipotle and two extra special ingredients…coffee and dark chili chocolate. Chocolate gives the chili additional depth of flavor and the added chili within the chocolate introduces a indescribable earthy overtone, while coffee is the perfect ingredient to round out the dish by adding a hint of complementary bitterness. In fact the bitterness of coffee will help bring out the sweetness of the meat. Now, lets dig into the results of our tinkering with and perfecting our Grilled Steak Chili recipes.

Super Bowl Recipes 2 – Jalapeño Poppers

Jalapeno Popper and football go hand in hand. Be warned however that these are extraordinary and not your average Jalapeño Poppers. Inspired by the gang at, this recipe is actually made for the oven as the bacon can make the grill flare up. If you make these on the grill put them on the upper bread grate OR put them on indirect heat. Unlike fried poppers, these are grilled and the fat cooks out of the bacon so they aren’t as bad for you as they could be. Unlike other recipes that call for you to roll the bacon INSIDE the pepper, these have a 1-1-1 Arrange your poppers on your oven rack over a baking pan lined in foil. bacon/cheese/pepper ratio! Yum! Even people who don’t like spicy food have tried these at my house and have gone back for seconds. Not necessarily classified as  “healthy” yet good for the soul and healthier than traditional jalapeno poppers that have been put in a fryer!


All you need for these poppers are:

  • jalapenos
  • cream cheese or neaufchatel cheese
  • one pound pack of bacon

Because you need a way to “suspend” the poppers on a rack to let the bacon cook and have the fat cook off, actually take one of the racks out of the oven and put it on top of a 9″ X 13″ pan that is covered with tin foil (cuts down on the mess!). So, remember to take the rack out before you:


  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Now, prepare the peppers. Cut the stem off the peppers and with a knife, scrape all of the chilis and inside portion out of the inside of the peppers. (Leaving the seeds will make them even hotter, which is okay, but you need room inside to stuff your cream cheese.) For the really large peppers, chop them in half.
  3. Now stuff the peppers with cream cheese. For the peppers you have cut in half, you will need to wrap the bacon around the top and bottom of the pepper so that the cream cheese cannot fall out. The peppers will be suspended in the oven so that the bacon can cook down… For the peppers that have only been cut where the stem was removed, simply stuff with cream cheese and the bacon only has to cover the top. You will cut each piece of bacon in halves of thirds to be the right size for the peppers. If the peppers you use are REALLY big, this will vary… If you do not cut the large peppers in half, they will be HOTTER. This makes the pepper to cheese to bacon ratio off and makes the experience much hotter, which is not a bad thing… just warning you!
  4. Arrange your poppers on your oven rack over a baking pan lined in foil.
  5. After stuffing the pepper with cream cheese, then wrapping it with bacon in the right way so that the cheese can’t fall out of the bottom, you will then secure it with a toothpick or a skewer that has been cut in half. This is what will suspend the poppers on the over rack so they cook evenly.
  6. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, or until bacon is beginning to get crispy and the cream cheese is bubbling.

Super Bowl Recipes 3 – Stout Patty Melt

Inspired by Derrick Riches, grilling and BBQ expert at, this patty melt contains a bit of stout beer in both the ground beef patties and the sauteed onions, giving it a rich beefy flavor. He recommends using a marbled rye for this recipe. If you are unable to find Cippolini onions, any sweet onion will do.


  • 2 pounds ground beef, preferably lean
  • 1/3 cup stout beer
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon onion powderDSC_6689
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1-2 loaves marbled rye, 3/4-inch slices
  • 12 slices Swiss cheese

For sauteed onions:

  • 3 large Cippolini onions cut into thin rings
  • 1/4 cup stout beer
  • 1 1/3 cups beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder (mild chili powder also works)


To prepare onions: heat olive oil in large skillet. Add onion slices and saute for 3 minutes. Once onions become slightly opaque, add beer and cook for 30 seconds. Add broth, soy sauce, salt, black pepper, and chili powder. Allow onions to simmer on medium-low for 30-35 minutes until liquid has absorbed and onions are soft. You can make ahead of time and reheat once patties are cooked.

Preheat grill for medium-high heat.

Place ground beef into a large bowl. Add 1/3 cup of stout beer, salt, Worcestershire sauce, onion powder, garlic powder, and black pepper to meat. Combine well, but do not over mix. Form into 6-7 oblong patties, a little bigger that the length and width of marbled rye slices. Place patties onto grill and cook for 5-6 minutes per side. Toward the end of cooking, add 2 Swiss cheese slices to each patty and cook until cheese has melted. Remove from heat and arrange onto toasted rye bread. Top with sauteed onions and remaining bread halves. Read More →

BBQ in Winter – Tips for Die Hard Grillers

BBQ in Winter: Tips for the Die Hard

Hey gang. Don’t believe it when someone tells you that you can’t BBQ in Winter! Chances are it’s cold out there no matter where you may be reading this blog post. It’s winter, get used to it!  We’re writing this post from the Florida office in the middle of January and its 34° F outside. So we get it. Is it colder in Wisconsin? We’re sure it is.

BBQ in Winter GrillJunkie

But we’re all faced with the same dilemma. Do we throw in the towel, hang up our tongs and retire our grills for the season? No! We are Americans, and proud to be American Made…..grilling and BBQ is in our blood, no matter the season. Instead of staring out the window with big puppy dog eyes as we look at our BBQ smokers and grills, let’s remember our pioneering heritage and make a pact to buck up, look Mother Nature in the eye, put our BBQ gear back on and respectfully tell her she can’t keep us away from our passion: Grilling, BBQin’ and spending time with friends and family.

As John Belushi’s Bluto from Animal House, states in the inspirational pep talk to his fraternal brethren:

“Hey! What’s all this laying around stuff? Why are you all still laying around here for? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no! And it ain’t over now. ‘Cause when the goin’ gets tough…The tough get goin’! Who’s with me? Let’s go!”

SAVE 15% on all outdoor gear and apparel at! Use coupon code AV15 at checkout. Coupon Code: AV15

Now that we’ve fired you up a bit, here are a few winter grilling tips that the GrillJunkie team has learned and shared over the years. Below you will find our tips, techniques and overall advice for Grilling in Cold Weather and firing up the BBQ in Winter. What we provide is advice for both, acknowledging that there is a great difference between the two techniques, Grilling vs. BBQ, that widens even deeper in the winter months. No matter What Fires You Up, the advice still applies.America flag

BBQ in Winter: The Prime Directive

Keep your BBQ hot enough to smoke, no matter how cold it is. Smoking in cold temperatures presents several challenges. When operating a charcoal, gas or wood fired backyard smoker, weather is always something you need to pay very close attention to. When temperatures are very low you need to be especially careful. Reaching and maintaining ideal smoking temperatures can be difficult at best, and very hard if the wind is blowing. Metal smokers are particularly challenging because the metal acts to conduct the heat quickly away from your BBQ, grill or smoker.

  • Temperature: The first thing to imagine is the temperature difference. On a nice warm summer day you might find that your smoker, sitting in the sun, has an internal temperature around 100° F. without a fire in it. Open the lid to get things ready and maybe it cools down to 85° F. If your target temperature is 225 degrees F. then you need a fire that will increase in smoker temperature by 125-145° F. If, on the other hand it is a cold, overcast day the internal temperature of your smoker could be 35° F, meaning you need to increase the temperature by 190° F. This is near twice the temperature difference. This means that you will have to have better temperature control, a hotter fire, and more fuel than usual on hand.

  • Wind: Now we need to take into account the wind. The most important thing about wind is the direction relative to your smoker. Some Cleaning stainless steel grills GrillJunkiesmokers, like the large offset smokers have a definite airflow path. Air comes into the smoker through the firebox and moves across the cooking chamber and out the stack. If the wind is blowing in this direction the increased airflow will burn your fuel faster and can cause high temperature spikes. This means keeping the vents closed down more than normal. If the wind is going in the other direction it can stop the airflow entirely and keep the heat out of your cooking chamber. It is best to let the wind add to the airflow and not stop it so if possible position your smoker so that the wind is blowing in the direction of the natural smoker airflow. It is very important to keep an eye on the wind as well as your smoking temperature.
  • Precipitation: Of course it’s very difficult to smoke in heavy rain but cold weather also brings the occasional unanticipated light rain or snow. When water hits your smoker it is going to evaporate. Evaporation pulls heat from your smoker. If, during the course of a smoke you find some rain or snow falling it is time to open up the vents, getting things stoking, and bring up the temperature to offset this heat loss. Keep a close eye on it and you should be okay.

BBQ in Winter: Strategies and Safety

Safety is Job #1 when grillingOf course, the ideal smoking environment is a warm and calm one. But we’re talking atypical, cold winter conditions here that require some good old ingenuity. Anything you can do to provide this environment will help you maintain good temperatures and have a successful barbecue. By positioning your smoker in a sheltered (but not enclosed) space you can reduce the effects of wind.

Some people have gone so far as to build wind breaks to set around their smokers to keep the wind away. This can be a good strategy but make sure you are not putting flammable material in close proximity to your smoker. Wind can make sparks jump a good distance.

We also know people who have used insulation materials to hold the heat in their smokers. Not recommended but if you must, be sure to use flame resistant materials. Some water heater blankets and furnace insulation works great. Cut it to fit around your smoker and you can hold in a great deal of the heat generated in your smoker. Just make sure you don’t cover up the vents. Okay, instead of diving into an unorganized banter, we’ve listed a few BBQ and Grilling Tips. 6 in fact. Read on!

6 Cold Weather Barbecue & Grilling Tips

Winter Grilling Tip 1. Find a Good Spot

If possible, place your grill or smoker where there’s as much protection from the wind as possible. We take our grills or smokers up as close to the test kitchen gable wall as possible without getting too close to the siding on the non-windy side or hit the corner of the rear deck with two sides providing some wind blockage. Do be safe though. NEVER grill or smoke in an enclosed porch area or in the house. If you don’t burn down the house, the fumes will do you in. And just think of the embarrassment as the fire department arrives, and there you are with your tongs still in hand wearing your “World’s Best BBQ’r” apron.

Winter Grilling Tip 2. Fuel Up!

Winter Grilling tips GrillJunkieCold temperatures will impact the heat in the grill especially those made with thinner metals. Ceramics like the Big Green Egg and cast like the PK outdoor cooker have more insulation so owners of these products will experience fewer issues with keeping the temperatures up. However, not all of us are so lucky, so be sure to compensate for heat loss. A general rule of thumb is to consider the amount of fuel we’d typically use in the summer and add about half of that amount for cold weather grilling or smoking.

For instance, if the GrillJunkie team would use about 30 chunks of charcoal on a typical meal, then we would increase our load to 45 chunks in cold weather. On gas, it’s a bit more difficult to measure, but be sure to have a full tank and a full spare as grill-warm up times are longer in cold weather. Typically we’ve found that we are using 35-50% more fuel when grilling in the winter months. One interesting thing about cold temperatures is that you can actually see how much gas you have. The lower part of the propane tank with gas will cover with a thin coat of ice, clearly marking the level. With organic fuels such as wood chunks, charcoal, lump hardwood or even pellets it’s a matter of experimenting and experience. Again, up your fuel on hand by 35-50%.

Winter Grilling Tip 3: Adjust for Warm Up

Homemade steak sauce complements a nicely grilled steak.

It stands to reason that it will take longer to warm up a grill or barbecue smoker when it’s cold outside. And, the grill pre-heating and warm up is very important. Foods stick on cold grates. Also, if you like a sear, you won’t get that if your grates are not hot.  With charcoal, fire up the coals (a chimney starter is a huge help) and then put the lid on the grill with the vents open. This keeps the fire going but allows the grill to get hot. With gas, turn it on and put down the lid and watch the temperature gauge. Or, plan on approximately 15 to 20 minutes of pre-heating rather than the warmer weather rule of thumb of 10 minutes.

Winter Grilling Tip 4: Real Quick or Real Slow

If we’re grilling or smoking food in cold weather, either for a family meal or Grilling Product Review, we tend to go for foods that grill up quick. Fish, brats, and hot dogs are real quick. We will do hamburgers and steaks but go thinner than usual if doing them while standing out in the severe cold, and Weber Smokey Mountaingrilling does require close attention. Barbecue (or smoking), on the other hand, is low and slow. It may get a bit cold on the set up – getting the fire right and the smoker up to temperature. But, after that, if you have a good quality smoker like the Weber Smokey Mountain Bullet, then maintenance is low. You just run in and out every couple or few hours and make sure everything is cranking along.

Winter Grilling Tip 5: Offset or Low Heat

When we grill in cold weather, we offset the charcoal which is simply having hot coals on only one side of the charcoal grill or heat one side or portion of the gas grill to high and the other side to low.  What this does is allow for some variation in cooking times on the food. If one steak gets done quicker, we shift it to the cooler area to rest and stay warm while we finish off other steaks or vegetables. If doing this, then slightly under-cook items, since they will continue to cook along a bit on the cooler side.

Turn Fire Into Electricity with the BioLite CampStove. New Customers receive $10 off your first order. Shop Now.

Winter Grilling Tip 6. Keeping Things Warm

Another tip is that we will have a cast iron pan with a lid warmed up – either on the grill or inside. Cast iron really holds the heat well, although we do recommend a good grill glove if working with cast iron. As foods are coming off the grill, like hamburgers for example, we just put them in the warmed cast iron pan and put the lid back on. Again, we cook a little less done than we want in the end as the burgers or other foods will continue to cook a bit more in the warm cast iron holding pan. Those are the cold weather grilling and smoking tips that come to mind. Feel free to add your own. We’re always learning and sharing, so chances are we didn’t think of everything, but those ideas will hopefully get you out in the cold and grilling up some good dinners for yourself and/or the family. Man up!

BBQ in Winter: Let’s Wrap it Up

BBQ in winter weather GrillJunkieIf the weather is bad you have a few options to fire up some good barbecue. We’ve pulled 20 hour smoke-a-thons in sub-zero temperatures with great success. The secret to operating a charcoal or wood burning smoker is vigilance. When the weather is bad you have to be extra vigilant, but it is certainly doable. Simply because the thermometer has dropped doesn’t mean you need to forget the smoker or grill. After all, the best cure for the winter blues is a great barbecue.

It has been COLD here, indeed, and if you didn’t catch this in the opening paragraph, we are writing this blog from the Florida office at 33° F, so cold is cold.  But, we are GrillJunkie brethren, we’re addicted and we’ve got charcoal smoke in our veins. Going a day or two without barbecue or grilled food, is just not bearable. Nor should it be tolerated. So, fire up those grills, kick the snow off those smokers and get out there! Your family and friends are counting on you.



What are your thoughts on this GrillJunkie blog post? What Fires YOU Up? We welcome your comments, healthy debate, and the inevitable disagreement. Leave a reply orAmerica flag comment. It’s OK. Bring it on!


Italian Grilling Recipes

italian grilling recipesItalian Grilling Recipes – Abbondanza

The GrillJunkie team fired up a few unique Italian Grilling Recipes for our readers. We think of it as Italy Meets the Grill! Beyond pasta and pizza, Italian food is perfect for the grill. Italian Grilling is not only part of our Grilling Around the World posts but also claims status among our Healthy Grilling series. Just a sampling of our Italian Grilling Recipes include steaks, Chicken Parmigiana, Eggplant Parmigiana and so much more!

Like most of the world’s great cooking traditions, Italian cooking is steeped in history and starts with the most basic of cooking essentials…fire. We know what you may be envisioning, pasta boiling on the stove, rich tomato sauces and lots of cheese. The thing about pasta and tomato sauces is that those were things that were actually imported to Italy and not at the root of its traditions. To truly get to the heart of Italian food, starting out at the grill is an absolute must! By introducing some great cuts of meat, poultry, vegetables and of course sausage you’ll be off to a great start experiencing the Italian Grilling scene. We are excited to serve up a few of our favorite Italian Grilling Recipes!

As grilling addicts, when we think of Italian food we often think of steaks. A well kept secret is that for generations Italians have been raising some of the best beef in the world. Chianina cattle are an ancient breed raised in Tuscany and from which we get the legendary Tuscan Steaks. This beef is full of flavor and generally considered some of the best in the world.

Not easy to find in a larger grocery store but that should stop you from grilling up a traditional Italian italian grilling recipessteak. The secret is to keep it very simple and to season the steak with a little lemon juice before you grill it. Then serve the steak with a little drizzle of olive oil and some salt and pepper. The lemon juice will add a little flavor but also help keep the meat tender.

Italian Grilling – Pizza and Beyond

Now we know that the one Italian dish people think of most often is Pizza. We are also fully aware of the fact that the pizza served in Italy isn’t anything like what you find in most any other part of the world. See our post on the History of Pizza! For one thing, authentic Italian pizza is a toasted flat bread without a lot of toppings. While you will find them served with olive oil drizzled over top they are not dripping in grease the way most fast food pizzas are.

KettlePizza_ReviewThe secret to a great pizza is intense direct heat from both above and below the pizza. The kind of heat you get from your grill, not your oven. See our Review of the KettlePizza, a grilling tool designed specifically for making awesome pizza on the outdoor grill. Make pizzas small and with a thin crust. Top them with whatever you like and grill them long enough for the crust to get brown and crunch and for the cheese (if you have any) to melt. No more than that. I promise these will be the best pizzas you have ever had. A few of our favorite grilled pizza recipes are Roasted Tomato, Garlic and Basil and our famous Grilled Pizza Dessert with Honey, Berries and Mascarpone! Read More →