Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Not even a Minnesota winter stops this grillmaster March 2, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
Tags: , , , ,

Everything’s in place. The meat is on the Weber grill and sticks have been cleared from the portable fire pit for extra coals.


IN THE DEEP OF WINTER—from double digit below zero temps to snowstorms—you’ll find Randy grilling. Only warm season lightning and downpours stop him from heaping charcoal into the Weber grill, striking a flame and cooking once the coals have greyed.


Beer and grilling go hand-in-hand. The beer of choice sits on the back steps.


I admire his tenacity and devotion to authentic grilling. He’s never considered converting to a gas grill. And he’s always ready to grill on weekends, no matter the season.


Preparing to add more coals as snow falls.


A foil sheet protects the extra coals from the snow.



On a recent Saturday, with a major winter storm predicted, Randy decided to grill pork ribs, a task which takes hours of close attention and dashing outdoors to add more coals and chunks of wood and whatever else he does to create flavorful smokey meats. He even mixes his own seasoning.


Randy adds hot coals to the grill.


I grabbed my camera and photographed him at work, just to show that he doesn’t let a Minnesota winter stop him from grilling. Many years ago he grilled a turkey for a family Christmas gathering when the temp was something like minus 20 degrees.


Heat rises from the plated ribs, obscuring my camera lens.


That’s dedicated. And maybe even a little over-the-top devoted. But, hey, who am I to suggest he take a break from grilling during the winter?


TELL ME: Do you grill? If yes, with charcoal or gas? And do (would) you grill year-round if you live (d) in Minnesota?

© Copyright 2018 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


31 Responses to “Not even a Minnesota winter stops this grillmaster”

  1. Beth Ann Says:

    Those ribs look AMAZING! I got Chris a new grill (gas) for his birthday in December and we haven’t even used it! Problem is that we just have not been home enough to I think but we do love grilling as well. Chris is not quite the grill master as Randy is because he does the gas grill but he manages to make some pretty tasty treats appear on our plates regardless. Good on Randy for battling the elements.

  2. Looks delicious! When I was in college, I grilled all year round for my housemates. In the middle of one of my grilling sessions, the temp dropped 20 – 25 degrees in half an hour and it began snowing. It didn’t stop until the next morning. This was at the end of April. We ended up with a foot of snow.

  3. Don Says:

    Shoot I missed the BBQ bet it was delicious! I’m with Randy, I use the grill most of the winter too and like Randy I too use a Weber grill and charcoal. I used a gas grill for awhile but it didn’t give the same flavors as charcoal/wood does, in fact when I used the gas grill I placed charcoal/wood on the burner to give it the added flavor I was missing. Eventually I replaced that grill with the tried and true Weber! Wow, Grain Belt Beer now that bring back memories of life in Minnesota!

    • I loved the flavor of the ribs. But I must admit that, unless the meat falls from the bones, I’m not a fan of ribs. Randy said he should have cooked the ribs longer.

      Kudos to you for being among the authentic grillers.

  4. Valerie Says:

    That’s nice that Randy does grilling all year round…less cooking for you!

    • That is one of the reasons I so value his love of grilling. I get a break from cooking on the weekends. He also does Sunday brunch. Not on the grill. But usually omelets and hashbrowns and fresh fruit. It beats any breakfast out, at least that I’ve had.

  5. Jackie Says:

    Yummy! I want to jump through my screen and tase those ribs, ha ha. I truly believe grilling on a charcoal grill is a true art. It involves patience and tenacity to bring that raw lump of meat to a juicy tender morsel. I tend to do the grilling, and my choice is gas grill because I dont feel I have the time or patience for charcoal. If I leave Rick to the task we usually have burnt overcooked food because he doesn’t check on it enough, especially if we have company and he starts talking. Ha! We have been know to pull our weber “Gas” grill up to the deck patio door during the winter, it’s close enough the we really dont even have to step outside. It’s quite convenient.

  6. We’re winter grillers…but only on the nicest winter days!

  7. Bernadette Says:

    I always associate grilling with summer. Does that maybe motivate Randy too to help get through those long Minnesota winters? Growing up on the farm in Minnesota, we struggled with a charcoal grill, never had time to really give it the attention it needed and It was only used in the summer. Mom was happy when she and Dad purchased a gas grill. Now when Minnesota family members visit us in Sacramento, CA, in the winter, we usually plan one meal on the grill — probably hamburgers — and they get their taste of summer.

    • How nice that you treat your Minnesota family to “summer on the grill” during the winter.

      My dad grilled some Sundays, using a charcoal grill. He enjoyed it. I think it was a welcome break on his day of rest, if you ever can really rest when you are a dairy farmer.

  8. Sue Ready Says:

    I remember a posting photo last year showing Randy’s tenacity to grill despite chilly weather, Kudos to him for his determination. A grilled meal is a savory treat!

  9. parkerozgood Says:

    Lookin Good! Grilling in the Snow always feels a bit more rewarding!

  10. Dan Traun Says:

    I use both. Gas for the no so serious stuff and charcoal for ribs and pork butt. Wood chips to smoke. Amazing. I’ve developed a wonderful dry rub over the years.

  11. chlost Says:

    We grill year round as well, but with gas. We don’t even own a charcoal grill any longer. But Husband is still a Weber fan. The gas grill has to be a Weber.

  12. Missy's Crafty Mess Says:

    Yum there is nothing better than food cooked over charcoals. My Step Dad grill all year around too.

  13. Oh, those ribs looks yummy. My Mike shares Randy’s love of grilling. Mike smokes meats a lot (and makes the best and most moist smoked turkey ever). Before we went on the road, Mike used to participate in BBQ contests and got to meet (and beat–in the rib category) his idol Myron Mixon and even Mo Cason. Randy’s ribs have made me very hungry!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.