The weather has been getting cooler here in Wisconsin, and it’s time to admit that winter really is coming! Not to worry, pellet grilling is something you can do year round, even here in the Wisconsin tundra. Before the temperatures get uncomfortably cold, there are a few things you can do to set yourself up for success for using the pellet grill in cold weather.
Deep Clean your Pellet Grill
Deep clean it now, and hopefully luck is on your side and you won’t have to do it again until spring hits! When the temperatures here in the Midwest get down to 45 degrees or so, that’s about the time we start planning our deep clean.
Wondering how to clean a pellet grill? Pretty easy! The first step is to vacuum everything out of the hopper. Keep in mind when vacuuming the pellet grill that you probably won’t want to use that vacuum for anything else afterward! A favorite hack is to go to your local thrift store and buy a cheap dust buster or shop vac, and keep that as your designated pellet grill vacuum.
Vacuum out the hopper and throughout the rest of the pellet grill. Remember everything needs to be completely cooled before vacuuming – never vacuum out anything hot! Cleaning out the firepot will help your pellet grill continue to run as efficiently as possible.
Scrape down the inside of your grill. Get rid of any built-up grease or food particles. Wipe everything down with a soft cloth.
Next, check that the vents are all open. This keeps oxygen moving through efficiently. Clear out any blockages. If you’re having issues with your grill not working as it should, this is a good place to check. You wouldn’t believe the number of times problems have been caused from bugs or even spider webs blocking the exhaust stack!
Protect From Bugs and Varmint
If you’re further south than us Wisconsinites, you don’t have to worry so much about the uncomfortably cold weather for cleaning your grill, but you do need to worry about the bugs and critters that don’t like the cooler temperatures that will be coming your way. Those bugs and spiders will want somewhere more protected to hang out as the weather changes down south, and your pellet grill fits the bill. Bugs create lots of headaches, and prevention is the best medicine!
There are a few options here. One is to spray bug repellent along the base of your pellet grill on the ground. Try to create a bug repellant barrier they won’t want to cross to get to your pellet grill! You can also spray some cardboard heavily with bug repellant, and put it out near the grill. You’ll want to do these things before the freezing temperatures move in.
Have your Supplies Ready
Be sure you have all the accessories and supplies you need! There’s no reason you can’t pellet grill when it’s cold or freezing, but you will want to minimize the time YOU have to spend out in the cold. Be sure you have all your favorite pellet flavors on hand and organized, so you aren’t scrambling to find what you need. Bulk Mix and Match will set you up with 7, 10, or 15 bags of 100% Hardwood Pellets, and the bulk price includes the cost of shipping.
Consider getting a High Temperature Pellet Grill Lid Gasket. It is very inexpensive, but will help seal the edge of the grill lid to the body. It’s a budget solution to increased performance, efficiency and heat in your grill – great for winter and the cold outdoor temperatures.
Comfort Food on the Pellet Grill
Try some new recipes on the pellet grill this winter! Colder temperatures are all about comfort food. Try smoking some of your favorite appetizers and side dishes and desserts. One of our favorites is Smoked Mac and Cheese – creamy, cheesy, smoky pasta – all things comfort food in one dish! Try this recipe for your main course or just a side.
What other things do you do to get ready for winter pellet grilling? We love hearing your ideas and hacks. Cheers to another season of pellet grilling with Cookinpellets!