You may feel comfortable wearing shorts well into winter, but that doesn’t mean your grill shares your “summer is an attitude” vibe.

Considering grilling outside all winter? It’s possible, but there may come a time when you question whether it’s just too cold to suit up, venture outdoors, and fire up the grill.

Cold temperatures impact how well your grill can perform, so when the mercury drops, there will be days you can’t barbecue even if the sun is shining. And while it’s not common, it is possible for the temperature to drop so low that grilling becomes physically dangerous or even impossible.

So how do you know when it’s too cold to grill? In this post, we will explore:

  • How cold is too cold for propane?
  • When is it too cold to grill outside?
  • Tips for grilling in the cold

Let’s get cooking.

How Cold Is Too Cold For Propane?

Propane freezes and can no longer turn from a liquid into a gas at -44F (-42C), making it impossible to light your grill when temperatures drop this low. Even if you wanted to, you shouldn’t be outside grilling if it’s that cold anyway—in temperatures below minus 40, you can get frostbite in less than 10 minutes.

When Is It Too Cold To Grill Outside?

Just because it’s below freezing doesn’t mean you can’t grill if you take the right precautions, but there are a few instances in which it might actually be too cold to grill outside:

  • It might be too cold to grill outside if the grill is frozen shut and the knobs are frozen in place. Don’t try to force anything to turn or open because this could cause damage to the parts. If you’re keen to grill and temperatures are cold but safe, you can melt the ice by using a hairdryer or dousing it with warm water.
  • It’s probably too cold to grill outside if it isn’t safe to be outdoors without risking frostbite.
  • It’s definitely too cold to grill if it’s below -40 and the propane won’t light.

Tips For Grilling In The Cold

Determined to grill through the winter months? Try these tips to make the process as painless as possible:

  • Do not let snow accumulate on or around your grill—keep it protected with a good grill cover, and clear freshly fallen snow before it accumulates too much to move
  • Safely insulate your grill with a grill jacket to improve performance and reduce fuel costs
  • Have extra fuel on hand—you will burn through it more quickly in the cold
  • Let your grill preheat for twice the time you normally do—cold air means it will take longer to get up to temperature
  • Dress appropriately for the weather in items you don’t mind getting smoky
  • Wear grill safe gloves instead of winter gloves
  • Plan your meals around items that grill up fast, such as seafood or burgers
  • Consider cast-iron grates for colder months—they hold the heat better than other types of grates
  • Resist the temptation to grill in your garage—it isn’t safe under any circumstances
  • Use internal thermometers to keep an eye on how hot it is inside, as external temperature gauges are less reliable in the cold
  • Keep the grill lid closed as much as possible to reduce heat loss
  • Avoid grilling on windy days


It’s too cold to grill outside if you can’t be outside safely without risking frostbite, and it’s definitely too cold to grill outside if it’s below -40 and your propane can’t ignite. Instead of risking injury and wasting fuel, keep an eye on the forecast and save your best BBQ recipes for warmer days to come

Get ready for winter grilling