Whether you’re looking to make sure your outdoor kitchen fares well during the coldest months of the year while you let it rest until spring, or you’re determined not to let the winter keep you from cooking outdoors, these tips will keep your Hauppauge, NY outdoor kitchen winter-friendly this season.
Cover of any kind is a good idea through winter, be it to seal off your patio from the elements or protect your outdoor cooking equipment from being buried under snow. This covering can come in the form of permanent roof cover with vinyl windshields, or simple canvas covering for your countertops and grills. If you’re planning on using your outdoor kitchen during winter, however, you’ll want to seal it from the weather as much as possible, so consider some form of wind protection as well as roof cover. Cover will also seal in heat, making your patio and outdoor kitchen more comfortable to use during the colder months.
If you are a die-hard BBQ’er, burgers and hotdogs are probably not going to be on the winter menu. Instead, prepare for warming stews, hearty soups and maybe an occasional roast. Remember not to use charcoal grills in places without ventilation and also bear in mind that gas burns up quicker in the cold. You’ll also need more fuel for preheating than you would normally. To get more economical use of your gas, use cookware that retains heat like ceramic or cast iron. Of course, no one said you had to stand out in the cold while cooking outdoors. What about slow-cooking a leg of lamb in your outdoor smoker while enjoying the comfort of the indoors?
You may want to invest in a patio heater or two if you intend on having company while you cook, but bear in mind that as with your grill, a gas heater will burn up fuel faster, so plan accordingly. On the other hand, a fireplace attached to your outdoor kitchen can do wonders for heating. If your outdoor kitchen and patio have permanent cover with the addition of vinyl wind protection, an outdoor fireplace alone can often provide enough heat for both. With the help of effective heating, an outdoor kitchen or patio that is relatively closed during winter can even be comfortable enough to host an outdoor gathering.
Other things to remember
Even if you will be making occasional use of your outdoor kitchen this winter, there are still a few things to bear in mind. First, be sure to turn off the water supply to your outdoor kitchen for the winter and drain whatever is left in the pipes to prevent it from expanding and cracking your pipes. Any appliances that use water – such as fridges, dishwashers and icemakers – should also be disconnected and drained. To avoid rust forming, make sure that all equipment is clean and free of grease. Store all equipment under some form of cover, but allow for some ventilation to prevent trapped moisture from causing rust. It’s also advisable to unplug any electronic appliances.