Cooking outdoors in the fall can be a wonderful way to enjoy the crisp weather and embrace the changing season, all while still being able to relish that tasty grilled and/or smoky flavor that most of us love. In Northeast Ohio and Erie, PA the cold weather is around for nearly half a year, or more, but cooking outdoors should not just be limited to the warmer months. You should be able to enjoy it all year round. We are going to review some of the best ways to keep cooking outdoors this fall and even into the winter season.
Tips to Keep Cooking Outdoors this Fall
If you love the tastes and flavors that come along with grilling and smoking, as much as most of us do, when the leaves start to fall, and pumpkins line the porches, you probably start to dread needing to cook inside more, due to the outdoor elements. The truth is, grilling and smoking doesn’t just have to be in the summer, there are some things you can do to be able to enjoy cooking outdoors this fall and all year round.
Here are some of the best ways to keep cooking outdoors during the fall:
- Choose the right equipment: Invest in a grill and/or smoker that is suitable for outdoor cooking in colder weather. A sturdy grill or smoker, a portable stove, or a fire pit can all be great options for cooking outdoors during this season. Be sure to purchase outdoor cooking equipment that is made to withstand lower temperatures. Litehouse Pools & Spas recommends pellet grills and products like the Big Green Egg.
- Clear the area: Make sure the area around your cooking device is clear of snow, ice, or any other potential hazards. If leaves are falling, try to have the grill or smoker in an area that is less likely to have debris fly into it.
- Prepare for temperature changes: Fall weather can be unpredictable, with fluctuating temperatures. Make sure you have appropriate clothing layers, including warm clothing and insulated gloves, to keep yourself comfortable while cooking outdoors. If it is snowing or raining, if you usually store your cooking utensils next to the grill or smoker, maybe take them indoors or put them in a place that won’t be impacted by the elements.
- Keep the area well-lit: If you want to keep cooking outdoors this fall, you need to be able to see. As the days get shorter, it’s essential to have sufficient lighting in your outdoor cooking area. Use portable lighting options or install permanent lighting fixtures to ensure proper visibility while cooking.
- Consider windbreaks: Fall can bring gusty winds, which can affect the heat distribution on your cooking device. Use windbreaks like screens, fences, or natural barriers to shield your cooking area from the wind. Outdoor kitchens are usually well protected from the autumn breezes, and can be really beneficial during this time of the year.
- Embrace slow cooking methods or fast meals: Fall is an excellent time for slow-cooked meals, and if you have a smoker, this is the perfect season to embrace it. Try using methods like smoking, braising, or roasting to create flavorful dishes that benefit from longer cooking times and gentle heat. Another option to keep cooking outdoors this fall and when you’re dealing with the cold and the elements, is choosing an efficient recipe with a speedy cooking time, to limit your time outdoors.
- Use cast iron cooking tools: When cooking outdoors in the colder weather, whether you’re using a grill, pizza oven, smoker, or cooking over a fire, try utilizing cast iron pots, pans, and utensils. Cast iron utensils are excellent for grilling meats and hearty vegetables because they build heat quickly and maintain the higher temperatures.
- Monitor temperatures: Keep a close eye on the food temperatures using a reliable thermometer. Cold weather can affect heat distribution, so it’s important to ensure your food is cooked to the right internal temperature.
- Use a lid: Keep the cooking device lid closed as much as possible to retain heat. Opening the lid frequently can cause temperature fluctuations and extend cooking times. Not to mention, you risk garnishing your tasty food with a leaf that is blowing by.
- Have extra fuel: Cold weather can increase fuel consumption, so it’s a good idea to have extra charcoal or propane on hand in case you need to replenish during cooking. Nothing is worse than running out of charcoal or gas in the middle of cooking your meal and not being able to finish it outdoors.
- Plan for quick transitions: Minimize the time spent outdoors by having all your tools, seasonings, and ingredients ready before you start cooking. This will help you work efficiently and reduce exposure to the cold.
- Have cozy seating arrangements: When it comes to cooking outdoors in the fall, many people forget that they may also be entertaining and need a place for their family and/or guests. Create a cozy and inviting atmosphere in your outdoor cooking area. Arrange comfortable seating, provide warm blankets, and consider adding some fall-themed decorations to make the space welcoming.
Cooking outdoors in the fall offers a unique blend of sensory experiences, seasonal ingredients, and festive traditions that make it a beloved activity for many. It allows people to embrace the beauty of the season while enjoying delicious food in a relaxed and cozy setting. While cooking outdoors in cold weather can be a challenge, with the right preparations and techniques, you can still enjoy delicious grilled or smoked food, all year round.
At Litehouse Pools & Spas we have a variety of grill, smoker, and other outdoor cooking device options, as well as utensils, seasonings, thermometers, and whatever else you may need to keep you cooking outdoors all year, even in colder weather. Shop online, in one of our stores, or contact us today.