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Ron Shewchuk Home > Let's Barbecue! > News releases > December 6, 2004
December 6, 2004

Secrets of Winter Grilling from
“Nanook of the Pork”

Canadian barbecue champion gives some chilly tips to hardy backyard cooks

Bestselling cookbook author and barbecue champion Ron “Rockin’ Ronnie” Shewchuk says cooking outdoors in the winter is a classic Canadian pastime. The author of Barbecue Secrets (Whitecap Books) shares his top ten tips for making winter grilling safer and easier in the December edition of Toro magazine.

“Every weekend, no matter what the weather, an army of backyard cooks walks precariously across icy patios to toss the Saturday-night steaks onto a grill,” writes Shewchuk. “We do it for speed. We do it for convenience. We do it because, dammit, we just love to grill.”

Here are Rockin’ Ronnie’s winter grilling tips:

  1. For God’s sake, don’t grill indoors. The fumes can kill you. The garage may be outside the house, but it’s not the outdoors.

  2. Position your grill out of the wind to conserve heat.

  3. Brush the snow off to speed preheating and to avoid creating a dangerous skating rink under your grill.

  4. Close the cover and don’t check too often. If you’re lookin’, you ain’t cookin’.

  5. Cook things that only need one or two turns, or do larger roasts that don’t require much tending.

  6. Choose a BBQ with higher BTUs (50,000 plus is ideal) to help you get up to grilling temperature faster. Also look for a grill with a cast-iron cooking grate, which retains heat better than porcelain-coated steel.

  7. At around minus 20, knobs freeze ... Handle gently to avoid snapping them off.

  8. Get a good outdoor-rated patio light so you can see whether your meat is burning. You can also get nifty battery-powered lights that attach to the handles of your grill cover.

  9. Get a good meat thermometer and cook to internal temperature rather than time.

  10. Heat your serving plate so your meat stays warm when you take it off.

For the entire article, pick up a copy of Toro on the newsstand or visit For more information about Ron Shewchuk, including sample recipes from his cookbook, Barbecue Secrets, visit For an interview, call Shewchuk directly at 604-929-6451.

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