Grilling is often thought of as a summer-only method of cooking. Sure, it plays an important role in summer activities (swimming and a cookout, anyone?), but that doesn't mean you have to put your grill up as soon as the leaves start to change color. Use your grill this fall to create mouthwatering autumn-inspired dishes and show your friends who the real grill master is.
The First Step When Switching Seasons -- Cleaning
When you transition from summer grilling to fall grilling, it's time to give the grill a good scrub down. Perhaps it's been too hot to properly clean your grill, but now that the weather is cooling off, there's no excuse not to give your grill a little TLC. Cleaning your grill in between seasons is important to the integrity of your food. Who wants a Thanksgiving turkey that tastes like last summer's barbecue chicken?
Pull your grates off and start soaking them in hot water and dish soap, ideally one that is designed to cut grease. Cover your heating elements and scrub underneath the hood and the sides. Scrub and rinse your grates, reassemble, and wipe down the outside.
Cooking Seasonal Dishes on the Grill
A hallmark of fall food is roasted meats and vegetables. Traditionally, this came from when the weather cooled off enough that roasting could be done in the oven without heating up the entire house -- usually something that couldn't be done in the summer without modern air conditioning. However, you can skip the oven altogether and use your grill to create delicious autumn comfort foods with just a few tweaks.
- Add an infrared rotisserie burner to your grill
- Add a secondary grill grate
- Employ an indirect heating technique
- Use a grill timer to get internal roast temperatures just right
There's not much you can't cook on a grill, including the Thanksgiving turkey! Forget fried turkey -- you've never had a juicier or more tender turkey than one slow cooked on a grill; with an infrared rotisserie burner, propane or natural gas heat.
Prepare for Inclement Weather by Protecting Your Grill
With fall comes unpredictable weather patterns. Prepare for these by always using a grill cover and keeping your grill covered when not in use. Exposure to rain and varying temps can all be hard on even the most durable looking grill. If possible, move your grill to the garage or under the carport. Many grills have wheels on one side that allow you to pick it up and wheel it to another location fairly easily. This can also protect your grill from high winds, whereas a grill cover won't do much in that case. Outdoor space heaters should also be moved to a protected location.
Get Your Outdoor Space Ready
Until it gets really cold, you can still use your outdoor space. If you use patio heaters, you can extend your grilling time even into the winter months. A grill with an automatic gas shut off timer can make it easier to grill without worrying about coming back out to turn off the grill.
Make sure you have ample lighting, since it gets dark earlier in the fall. Poor lighting can cause you to think your meat is cooked through even if it’s not, or you may overcook the meat. Make sure you can see what you're doing. If you live in an area with a mild autumns, make sure your space can accommodate friends with plenty of seating.
Whether you have a NG grill or LP grill, don't let changing seasons deter you from grilling foods you love. Grilling traditional fall roasts and root vegetables can add a new flavor profile to known favorites, taking your grilling game to a whole new level.