Imagine inviting all your friends and family over for a barbecue. Just as you’re about to bring out the marinade and fire up the grill, mother nature drops by uninvited and starts to rain on your parade. You have a decision to make: to grill or not to grill? Take the party inside and crank up the oven, or get an umbrella and get grilling? The main question, however, is: Can you grill in the rain?
Let’s find out!
Can You Grill in the Rain?
The short answer to this question is – yes, you can! Your barbecue plans don’t wash out with a few sprinkles of rain. Believe it or not, most people prefer grilling in the rain, especially in hot and dry summers. Undoubtedly, it’s more challenging to grill during severe rainstorms, but if you take a few basic precautions and are well-equipped, the barbecue must go on.
Benefits of Grilling in the Rain
While most people wait for a warm sunny day to bring out the grill, those living in warmer areas aren’t too fond. An overcast or rainy day is what they consider barbecue weather inside. Here are some benefits of grilling in the rain:
- While grilling in the rain, you’ll be keeping the lid of your gas or charcoal smoker closed, increasing the meat flavor.
- In cooler weather, you can easily lower your grill or smoker at low-and-slow temperaturesby naturally limiting the heat.
- Rain increases humidity, keepingthe meat moist as it cooks, preventing it from drying out.
Safety Considerations for Grilling in the Rain
Just because you can grill in the rain doesn’t mean you should compromise on safety. Here are some safety considerations for grilling in the rain:
1. Don’t Use an Electric Grill
First and foremost, never use an electric grill outside when it’s raining. You can use it indoors if you have no other option. Why? Because electricity and rain don’t mix.
2. Place Grill Under a Covered Area
Secondly, never place your charcoal grill in an open area, directly exposing it to rain. Moisture leads to rust, so you should keep it in a dry, covered area.
3. Never Take a Gas or Charcoal Grill Indoors
Using a charcoal grill indoors can lead to life-threatening poisoning. Due to lack of ventilation, charcoal doesn’t fully react with air (incomplete combustion) and leads to carbon monoxide formation.
4. Lightning and Thunder
While you can grill in the rain, it’s never a good idea to do so during a thunderstorm or torrential downpour. If you must, you’ll need a proper, fixed, and covered grill system, preferably 10 ft away from the rain.
How to Grill in the Rain
While most people know that they can grill in the rain, they don’t know the best ways to go about it. Sure, you can put on a raincoat and use the grill lid. But there are more innovative ways to shelter yourself and your grill in the rain. Here’s what you need to grill in the rain, the right way:
1. Patio or Barbecue Umbrella
A patio umbrella is the least expensive solution to grilling in the rain. Look for the biggest one you can find, and remember to tie or weigh it down, so it doesn’t fly away during heavy winds. Some sand and anchors should do the trick. If you don’t mind holding an umbrella while you grill, you can buy a barbecue umbrella. These are made out of heat resistant materials.
2. BBQ Canopy
A BBQ canopy is a small shelter made from a canopy draped over a metal frame. Usually, it’s only large enough to cover a grill, but you can find one that can cover a small seating or dining area.
3. A Retractable Awning
A retractable awning makes a great addition to any deck, yard, or patio. They’re not just for providing shade during hot summer days. You can also use them to keep snow and rain off you during a barbecue.
4. Tarp Tent
If you have an inner Boy Scout, all you need is a tarp tent to cover most of your yard or patio during the rain; it might even add a camping-like feel to your barbecue. However, you’ll need a flame-resistant tarp. You cannot use plastic or a sheet because it’ll easily melt or catch fire. To avoid any safety risk, suspend the tarp at least 6-8 feet above the grill.
5. A Permanent Rain-Proof Grilling Station
If you cook outside regularly, you can avoid all temporary measures and invest in a covered grilling station. This solution is the most expensive one, but it can add value to your home when done right. However, you’ll need to consult with a professional designer to plan and install your needs and work on your ideas.
Additional Tips for Grilling in the Rain
If you love cooking and grilling outside, you can use some of these additional tips to grill successfully:
- If you’re working with charcoal, start your fire earlier, and use more charcoal.
- Pre-cook meat on your kitchen stove, and finalize it on your grill to save time.
- Use foil to wrap veggies and grill them together with the meat. You can even throw them directly on the coal, and the foil will protect them from burning.
- Cover all the cooked food and take it indoors if you can.
Our Final Thoughts
No matter where you live, you’re bound to encounter bad weather now and then. The good news is that you still fire up the grill and cook some delicious barbecue even if it’s raining outside. All you need is some planning and equipment to grill all-year-round.
So, can you grill in the rain? Yes, as long as you’re truly dedicated to it.