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Grilling is typically a fun experience that brings people together to enjoy wild flavors of grilled burgers, chicken, steak and any other grilled food. Grilling at night means grilling in darkness. While this could be brought about by normal night and day hours, the winter season is also a reason why you may end up grilling in darkness.
During winter, darkness typically sets in earlier. Whatever the reason for the darkness it does not have to stop you from grilling. So, does grilling at night automatically result in uncooked food? Well, the answer is no. If anything grilling at night can be one of the most, fun activities especially due to the serenity of the night.
This article will look at the top 10 tips for grilling at night. It will also highlight how to choose the best grilling light and other grilling at night related questions.
- 1 Night Grilling Basics
- 2 Tip 1: Use a Grilling Light
- 3 Tip 2: Build a Permanent Grill Shelter
- 4 Tip 3: Use a Grilling Thermometer and App
- 5 Tip 4: Make Sure there is no Slip Zone
- 6 Tip 5: Have Extra Fuel
- 7 Tip 6: Put on Tight Clothes
- 8 Tip 7: Wear Grilling Gloves
- 9 Tip 8: Plan Your Night Before
- 10 Tip 9: Put Away All Glass Utensils
- 11 Tip 10: Separate the Raw Food from the Grilled Food
- 12 Misconceptions about Grill Lights
- 13 Safety Measures for Grilling
- 13.0.1 Grill outside and away from any Structures
- 13.0.2 Keep Your Grill Clean
- 13.0.3 Make Sure Your Grill Is Stable
- 13.0.4 Constantly Check for Propane Leaks on your Gas Grills
- 13.0.5 Be Careful with the Charcoal Starter Fluid
- 13.0.6 If the Flame Goes Out To Wait before You Relight
- 13.0.7 Stay around the Grill
- 13.0.8 Do Not Move a Lit Grill
- 13.0.9 Allow the Grill to cool down
- 13.0.10 Always Be Ready To Put Out the Fire
- 14 How to use a Charcoal Chimney Starter
- 15 What do you look for in a grilling Light?
- 16 Related Questions
Night Grilling Basics
While else grilling at night is fun, if done under poor conditions, the smoke from the grill and the darkness of the night may cause poor visibility that puts you at risk of accidents and uncooked food. This is why you need to be equipped with the top 10 tips for grilling at night
To start, if you want to grill at night then having grill light is inevitable. This is the most prominent tip for grilling at night. The sole purpose of a grill light is for visibility and the safety of your guests. You do not want to burn yourself in the process grilling that smoked chicken.
Besides, if you are looking to cook your food properly, you must keep an eye on both your food and the grilling equipment. Apart from using a grilling thermometer, it is possible to tell if your meat is cooked or not by seeing it. This emphasizes the need for a grill light.
There are many more benefits to using a grilling light, which we shall discuss extensively. Other than having a grilling light, other tips for grilling at night include, using grilling gloves, using a grilling thermometer, constructing a grilling shelter, and removing snow from the surface outside. Keep reading to find more tips for grilling at night ahead of your plans.
Tip 1: Use a Grilling Light
As mentioned above, this is the most crucial tip you should put into consideration. No matter the circumstances, do not grill your food in the dark. First, you should be able to see your food; this helps you flip and turn it at the right intervals.
Visibility is also important to help you regulate the temperatures of the grill for optimal cooking results and a wild taste.
Secondly, grilling is always a smoky procedure; therefore, if you grill in the dark you may not tell just how much smoke is enough. Imagine having an extremely burnt steak for a barbeque experience. It is not only embarrassing to your guests but also disappointing.
Therefore, to overcome the darkness barrier it is important to have a grilling light.
Most grilling lights are bought as an extra accessory just like other grilling equipment. However, in some cases, some grills come attached with a grilling light. Grilling lights come at different designs and prices depending on your needs. However, the most common types of grill lights are clip-ones like this (learn more).
These grill lights clip on to the handle or side of your grill. They emit low light and are usually battery-powered. If you are using a small charcoal grill, then this grill lights may come in handy when grilling at night. Battery-powered grill lights are also recommended if you are looking for a portable grill light. However, the downside to having this battery-powered grill lights is that they run out of power faster than other grill lights. Besides, the battery may corrode if the light is put away for too long.
On the other hand, for outdoor chefs, or if you intend to grill for long hours in the night, what you need is a high-powered grill light. Most highly powered grill lights are usually plugged-in to an outlet. They are also recommended if you need more light on your grill.
Tip 2: Build a Permanent Grill Shelter
Constructing a permanent grill shelter may be what you need if you constantly grill at night. A typical night is usually cold and it does not help that most grilling events extend late into the night. Having this grilling shelter (see Amazon) comes in handy if you have to stand and wait for your smoked meal.
Moreover, as stated earlier, winter may be the reason for the darkness. You want to make sure that you are safe from any weather changes during the night. When constricting a grilling shelter, you may customize it to have shelves for barware and beverages, lighting and benches for seating.
Other than that, be sure space is not too compact since you need air circulation. The shelter should be well spaced to avoid fires during flares. With a shelter, you can say goodbye to the extreme cold of the night while preparing your best meals.
Tip 3: Use a Grilling Thermometer and App
Your friends and family are gathered in the house and you are stuck outside in the night smoking their meal. It can get lonely sometimes, right? Apart from the occasional visits from your guests who are only checking to see if the food is ready, there isn’t much to do outside.
Do not worry, we have a solution for that; invest in a grilling thermometer with a smartphone App (learn more). A grilling thermometer is used for normal grilling to tell if the food is cooked properly. Therefore, when grilling at night, you can use a grilling thermometer to monitor the temperature of your food, as you stay warm in the house.
You must be wondering how you will tell the temperatures from the house. Well, technology has allowed us to monitor the temperature of your grilled food using a smartphone. The recent model of a grilling thermometer transmits real-time information via the cloud to your smartphone to alert you.
With this state of the art technology, you can enjoy the company if your guests and still prepare scrumptious grilled food.
Tip 4: Make Sure there is no Slip Zone
Even though grilling at night is fun, it presents many potential hazards. Therefore, if you are to enjoy your grilling night you have to make sure you get rid of any potential risks. Get rid of any extensions cutting across the floor because darkness increases the risk of tripping. Other than extensions, make sure you put away all garden statues or outdoor furniture that could cause one to trip.
If you are grilling in the dark because of the winter season, then you have to remove the snow before grilling. You will also have to remove any objects that may be covered in snow. This makes sure that neither you nor your guests can skid and possibly land on the grill.
Tip 5: Have Extra Fuel
Unlike daytime grilling, night grilling will require more fuel. If you are using propane then you will need more propane since it does not burn efficiently in cold temperatures.
Apart from propane, if your grill uses charcoal, you will also need more charcoal for your night grilling. Therefore, keep more fuel at the stand by so you do not have to cut short your grilling experience.
Tip 6: Put on Tight Clothes
Grilling at night is fun, but it should not be done at the expense of your safety and that of the people you love. Even though most nights are cold, be sure to put on tight clothes. Clothes that hang loosely can trail into flames. Therefore, put on fit clothes that you can move in comfortably when grilling. The issue of dressing applies to you as the cook and to your guests, especially children.
Tip 7: Wear Grilling Gloves
Normal winter gloves may keep you warm, but if you are grilling, they are the last thing you need on your hands. To start, winter gloves are made of easily flammable material and they can catch fire as you flip your food.
In place of winter gloves, put on a pair of grilling gloves like this (buy now). The purpose of grilling gloves is to protect you from burns. Grilling gloves are made from fire-resistant material. They, therefore, can withstand extremely high temperatures.
Apart from that, these gloves have long cuffs to protect both your hands and wrists and since they are built for durability, they hardly develop holes that can expose you to any danger.
Grilling gloves have a non-slip grip that allows you to handle utensils or hot food. You do not want your grilled bugger crushing on the dirty floor, do you?
If you are concerned about how to clean them, worry no more. The grilling gloves are dishwasher friendly and easy to clean.
Tip 8: Plan Your Night Before
Setting up a grill for an event of many people can be risky. The guests could have children who may touch the grill and cause accidents. These cases are common, especially at night since it is difficult to locate everyone. Therefore, if you are looking to grill at night, you want to make sure all is set up before your guests arrive.
When planning, put the grill away from a fence, building, or any other material that can catch fire. The recommended distance is about 1- feet away. Moreover, place the extra fuel or any other flammable fuel away from the grill. This prevents the occurrence of fire emergencies.
Tip 9: Put Away All Glass Utensils
Avoid using any glass during grilling or cooking. The visibility at night is quite low and the smoke from grilling makes it even harder. It is very easy for one to crush into a wine glass or any other glass made utensil.
Still on dishes, make sure you place the napkins, plates, and cups in a strategic position for guests to help themselves. This prevents the guests especially children from approaching the grill in search of utensils. Remember grilling is done best when it is only you next to the grill; it reduces confusion and the risk of unpredicted accidents
Tip 10: Separate the Raw Food from the Grilled Food
The last tip and equally significant is that you should keep away already cooked food from raw food. Raw food contains bacteria that may cause food poisoning. If the cooked food is exposed to the raw food, you risk food poisoning for you and your dear guests
If you have been toying with the idea of grilling at night, it is about time you invite your grilling gang for night experience. Use the above tips for an easy time cooking to ensure the safety of you and your guests.
Misconceptions about Grill Lights
Lighting up your grilling space at night is unavoidable. However, the point of lighting is not just to see, but to see clearly. The following are common misconceptions about lighting your grill space at night or in darkness
Using Indoor Lighting to Grill
The argument on using light from inside the house by grilling on the driveway has remained unsettled for a long time. However, if your safety is your priority, grilling on the driveway is a bad idea. The point of having a grill light is not just to see, but to see clearly and keep you from accidents.
The light from your home or the one on your backyard is not enough. If you plan to grill at night, then you should consider purchasing a grilling light. In addition, if you are grilling from your backyard, a floodlight with strong lighting power could equally function.
The point of concern is using a string light with which you can tell the temperature dials on the grill and any other parts of the grill.
You Can Use a Lamp for Lighting
Using a lamp to light your grilling spaces is a bad idea and a safety hazard. A lamp is not built to withstand the high temperatures from the grill; using one exposes you to the risk of a bulb exploding.
Additionally, the light from the bulb is not sufficient to meet your grilling needs. What about a shop lamp? Using a shop lamp is as dangerous as using any other lamp for that matter. Where will you hang it? Due to its low lighting capacity, it has to be hung close to light up your grilling space properly.
Picture this, you have your shop lamp hang in close and you are busy grilling your chicken. Flare-ups during grilling are not alien. As such, a flare-up happens and the plastic part of the lamp catches fire.
Before you notice, everyone is screaming and fire has engulfed the wall close by. Is using a lamp worth your life or loss of property? Do not use a lamp for lighting, if you cannot afford a grill light, it is recommended you just stick to grilling during the day.
You Can Grill Using a Flashlight
This may seem like a good idea but it is hectic, almost impossible and therefore a false idea. First, notice that grilling requires the use of both hands for the process of flipping and turning your food. A flashlight is used by holding, therefore it is impossible to balance a flashlight in your hand as you lift the grilling lid or regulate temperatures.
There is a lot of balancing required which results in a stress full cooking experience. It is possible to have your flashlight crush on the grill since your hands are busy and occupied. Other than that, if you are looking to cook for long, then a flashlight will not serve the purpose of lighting. Grilling with your flashlight is unprofessional and extremely dangerous.
Safety Measures for Grilling
Observing safety during grilling is not only done when grilling at night but also during the day. Keeping you and your guests safe should be a priority during the day and at night. The following are safety measures you should consider when grilling at any time of the day.
Grill outside and away from any Structures
As mentioned above, flares are normal during grilling. However, they can lead to fire hazards if they catch any structures such as tree branches fences or walls. Therefore, you have to make sure that you grill outside in an open space away from any structures.
The idea of grilling in your patio or terrace is also not so safe. The safest place is an open space, it allows proper air circulation and flares cannot leave a fire trail on anything.
Keep Your Grill Clean
Make a habit of cleaning the buildup of grease and food remains from your grill. Dirty grills are a risk of food poisoning and excessive smoking on your food. Cleaning your grill is also a step toward increasing its lifetime. If you are using a charcoal grill, wait for the charcoal pieces to cool then dispose of them.
Make Sure Your Grill Is Stable
Before grilling, place your grill on a flat surface and make sure, it cannot topple on one side. You can ensure the stability of your grill by using a grill mat that protects your deck.
Constantly Check for Propane Leaks on your Gas Grills
If you have not used your gas grill for a long time, jumping right into the barbecue party is not a good idea. First, check the gas hose for any propane leaks. The easiest way to detect a propane leak is by having the smell of gas near the grill. Besides, when a flame does not produce light, it could be because of a propane leak.
You can also check for a propane leak by applying a light soap and water solution to the hose then turning on the gas. If there is a leak, the solution will bubble.
Be Careful with the Charcoal Starter Fluid
If you have a charcoal grill, then you might be using starter fluid. However, during grilling, in case the fire starts to go out, do not add starter fluid or any other flammable fluid. It could lead to a fire hazard.
Moreover, in place of a fluid starter, you may consider using a charcoal chimney starter. The charcoal chimney starter uses newspaper to start the fire.
If the Flame Goes Out To Wait before You Relight
If you are using a gas grill and the fire goes out, wait for at least five minutes before trying to re-light the fire. This reduces the risk of explosion.
Stay around the Grill
Grilling events are naturally happy places that bring family and fiend together. As such, children are not left out. So, make sure you are around the grill to keep the curious children away from playing with the grill since it can lead to a terrific accident
Do Not Move a Lit Grill
Plan the location of the grill before the grilling event. This prevents the need to move the grill when it is lit. Disturbing propane or any other fuel powering the grill can lead to an explosion.
Allow the Grill to cool down
A grill takes almost one hour to cool down. Avoid disturbing it, moving a hot grill could lead to explosions
Always Be Ready To Put Out the Fire
Keep a fire extinguisher close by to put out any fires that may occur. In case you do not have fire extinguisher you can have a bucket of sand next to the grill to help put out the fire.
To control grease fire, always have baking powder close to your hand. Whatever means you use to put out grilling fire do not use water. Water accelerates the fire rather than putting it out.
How to use a Charcoal Chimney Starter
As mentioned above, using a charcoal chimney starter to start up your gill is safer than using starter fluid. The following is a simple procedure for using a charcoal chimney starter
Step 1: Fill the chimney with an appropriate amount of charcoal preferably 100 for a standard chimney
Step 2: Following the instruction on the Chimney, add one or two sheets of newspaper
Step3: Light the newspapers in several spots and allow them to burn in the chimney chamber. As the newspaper burns, it lights up the edges of the charcoal
Step 4: Peep through the vent to see if the charcoal has lit up and to confirm if it has started turning grey. If the charcoal has not started turning grey, burn another sheet of newspaper and repeat the procedure until the charcoal begins to burn grey.
Step 5: After about10 minutes, you will see the coal begin to glow through the vents and flames will begin to rise over the top layer of the colas.
Step6: Pour the cola out and wait until it covered in ash to spear it on the grill.
To fasten the rate at which the newspaper burns you can pour cooking oil on it before lighting it up. The whole process takes about 15- 20 minutes.
What do you look for in a grilling Light?
The grilling market is flooded with grill equipment of all design including grill lights. As such, you should choose a grill light based on your needs. That said though, there are several basic features to look out for when purchasing a grill light.
Purchase a cordless grill light
The point of having a cordless grill light is removing the chances of on trip hazard. Since you are grilling at night, you want to make sure that no cords are running across the floor that could make your or your guest trip. The best way to do this is by using a cordless grill light.
Purchase an LED light
Modern LED lights are extremely bright yet they consume very little power. As such, they are energy efficient and provide good visibility for your smoking experience. Other than that, if you are looking to grill for long hours into the night, then the LED grill lights will be helpful.
Purchase a clip –one’s grill light
It is almost impossible to hold on to a grill light and still flip your smoking chicken. The thing is grilling requires both your hand to attend to your food. Therefore, the best option is to purchase a grill light that can clip to your grill.
For even better results, purchase a clip –one that has a long neck, preferably of 15 inches. This will help in moving the grill light to a position of your choice. It also means you will not have to clip and re-clip it if you need the light in a different location. With a long neck clip-on grill light, your work is made easier.
Can the grill lights be affected by rain?
Yes, a grill light can be affected by rain. That is why, when purchasing a grill light you should look out for a UL approved grill. It is suitable for outdoor use since it built and designed as waterproof. As such, it cannot be affected by rains. Since we do not have control over the weather, it is recommended that you purchase this UL approved grill light. You had better be safe than sorry.