You’ve planned your day around grilling with the perfect conditions for a delicious meal, but nature has other plans. After preparing all of your supplies and ingredients to grill, you hear the gusts of wind starting to pick up. What do you do? First, don’t panic. You can still grill with windy conditions; it just takes some additional precautionary preparations to make sure it doesn’t blow out your grill, coat your food in embers, or cause it to cook unevenly.
The best methods to prevent wind from blowing out your barbecue are to keep the vents open on your grill, position the grill perpendicular to the wind, and use a grill lid or some form of cover to shield your barbecue as much as possible from the wind. The type of grill you’re using can also affect what precautionary steps you take.
Grilling during windy conditions is an issue many barbecue fanatics face, which is why, in this article, we’ve listed some of the best tips and tricks for protecting your savory meats and keeping the heat going when these challenging gusts occur. You’ll learn different tools and techniques to use that will prevent your grill from blowing out and how different types of grills can affect which tactics you use.
How Do You Grill With Windy Conditions?
A nice, refreshing breeze can be a blessing when you’re barbecuing on a hot summer’s day, but sometimes nature isn’t always this kind when you decide you want to grill a succulent meal. High winds are a common weather condition in most regions at one point or another, and they can easily ruin any grilling experience, especially if you’re constantly fighting to keep your equipment lit.
Fortunately, you don’t always have to take your cooking inside when these conditions occur. There are plenty of tips and tricks you can use to stop the wind from blowing out your barbecue.
The tips we recommend the most for keeping your grill lit during windy conditions are:
- Choose the right grill
- After your grill’s position in relation to the wind
- Provide sources of coverage or a shielding barrier
- Keep your vents open
- Monitor your fuel levels more frequently
Each of these steps will make barbecuing in windy conditions much easier and are more likely to guarantee a safe cooking environment and a quick, even cooking of your food. Let’s discuss each tip in a little more detail.
Choosing the Right Grill
The most common grill choices for barbecuing are gas or charcoal grills. While you can, use both in windy conditions, one is going to be much more challenging than the other.
If you have both grill types in your possession and you realize the conditions outside are a bit windy, we recommend opting for a gas grill over a charcoal grill. Gas grills are much easier to keep lit than charcoal grills because they rely on burners that are constantly fueled and easier to maintain than burning coals.
It is also easier to keep a gas or electric grill covered and shielded from high winds than charcoal grills which usually require the user to completely remove the lid to baste, flip, and move what’s being barbecued inside.
Best Grill Positioning in Relation to Winds
This tip is more for gas grill users, but it could benefit charcoal grill users depending on their environment and their grill’s design.
As we mentioned previously, gas grills use a series of burners to provide a source of heat for barbecuing, and these are the components you want to keep lit. One of the best ways to do this is to position your gas grill so that it is perpendicular to the direction of the wind.
This will help ensure the wind does not disrupt the gas flow through the burners, making it easier for your grill to maintain its flames. Avid grillers will also recommend you keep an eye on the match light hole to make sure your grill is still lit, rather than constantly opening the lid and exposing your grill’s contents and its burners to the wind.
Provide Sources of Coverage
Arguably the most important piece of advice we can give you for barbecuing in windy conditions is to keep your sources of heat (ex. burners and charcoal) as shielded as possible. You can do this using various tools and even by adding structures around your grilling area.
The most obvious source of coverage you can provide your gas and charcoal grills is a lid. Most come with this feature already equipped, but it’s important to keep your grill’s lid on as much as possible when it’s windy, so you don’t let out necessary heat and potentially blow out any flames.
A great way to supplement your lid’s protection, especially when you need to remove your grill’s lid for basting and flipping purposes, is to place a stainless steel or aluminum wind or splatter shield around it. This will provide an additional barrier between your grill’s heat sources and the raging winds.
The last way you can help cover your grill better and shield it from windy conditions is by installing a permanent roof structure or gazebo in your outdoor cooking space. This is undoubtedly a more extensive and costly measure to take, but if you enjoy grilling outside frequently and high winds are not uncommon where you live, having one of these structures will help to shield your entire cooking area, grill included.
Keep Vents Open
Using a charcoal grill will always be more challenging than a gas or electric grill, but one tip grillers have found increases their cooking success in windy conditions is to keep the charcoal grill’s vents open.
Some people assume opening the vents would be counterproductive to keeping their charcoal grill lit, but in fact, it will help release smoke that would otherwise build up inside the grill and suffocate your flames.
In order for your charcoal to burn, it’s going to need as much oxygen as possible, so keeping the vents open is absolutely essential here.
Increase Fuel Monitoring
The last tip we have for keeping your barbecue lit in windy conditions is to check your fuel levels more frequently.
Winds, especially high winds, will make it more difficult for your grills to sustain optimal temperatures for cooking, and, as a result, they’re likely to blow through their fuel sources faster in order to compensate for these challenging conditions.
Because of this, you might find your grills are gone out, not because the wind blew them out, but because they ran out of fuel faster than you had anticipated. Therefore, we recommend keeping a closer eye on your grill’s fuel sources when cooking in windy conditions. Remember to use the vents or match light hole to check for this rather than constantly removing the lid, as this will release heat that is essential to keeping the grill lit.
Grilling in windy conditions can pose a challenge, especially when it comes to keeping your grill lit, but you can still cook the barbecue of your dreams using the tips we’ve mentioned here. Of course, it is important to keep in mind that sometimes, the challenge is too great, and it is much safer to grill inside.
This is particularly the case when cooking in exceptionally high winds in a dry region, as this could make your grill a fire hazard to you and your environment. So, make sure you assess the weather conditions before adamantly braving the winds.