Iva Carter
Published by Iva Carter
Last Updated On: August 31, 2022

As a dedicated carnivore, I have perfected my smoking techniques. But the weather is not always perfect, and now that I have an electric smoker, I needed to find out if I could use it while raining. I did the research, and here is what I have found.

Quick Summary

  • Electric smokers are made for outdoor use, but there are dangers in using them in heavy rain.
  • Electrocution, damage, and fire may occur if water seeps into the control box.
  • It is best to use a waterproof cover on your electric smoker and keep it on a dry surface.

Using an Electric Smoker in the Rain

A man holding an umbrella

Electric smokers are a great invention that allows people to enjoy smoking food without dealing with the hassle of using a pellet smoker.

The electric smokers on the market are designed for outdoor use, so you can use them even when there is light rain to get that smoky food taste.

But they are not waterproof.

And we all know that water plus electricity is a terrible combination, so there are some things to consider if you want to use your electric smoker while it's raining.

What Are the Risks?

A food smoker outside

The risks of using an electric smoker in rainy weather include electronic damage, water in the grease catcher, water in the top vent, and rusting.

1. Electronic Damage

Electronic damage is the biggest hazard of using an electric smoker in direct rain.

Water and electricity are a dangerous combination, and if the electronic components of the device get wet, it could cause a short circuit. This may damage the smoker and be an electrocution or fire hazard.

“Seven out of every 10 adults in the U.S. have a grill or smoker, which translates to a lot of tasty meals. But it also means there’s an increased risk of home fires”
- National Fire Protection Association

No one wants their electronics to be damaged due to water. But it is even more important to operate the device safely, so no one is killed or injured.

For this reason, you must ensure the control box is dry and free of water before and during the use of your smoker.

2. Water In the Grease Catcher

Water pouring down

Another risk of using an electric smoker in harsh weather is that water can get into the grease catcher.

The purpose of the grease catcher is to catch any fat or juices that drip from the food as it cooks.

This prevents the fat from dripping onto the heating element and causing a fire instead of smoke.

But if moisture gets into the grease catcher, it can quickly fill up with standing water and overflow.

It can cause the fat to splatter, making a mess and potentially causing a fire. It can also cause the heating element to rust.

This is exactly what happened to me on one occasion so I’ve learned this lesson the hard way.

3. Water in the Top Vent

One more danger of using this device in inclement weather conditions is that water can get into the upper vent.

The top vent allows smoke to escape, so the food doesn't become coated in creosote instead of new, clean smoke.

Also, it allows heat to flow upwards, so the food doesn't become overcooked.

If water gets into the upper vent, it can make it more difficult to temperature control the smoker and negatively impact the quality of smoke within the chamber. You may also overflow the water pan.

4. Rusting

The final risk for electric smoker users is rusting. Rust results from water and air oxidizing metal. While all smokers will eventually rust, it is important to prevent it as much as possible.

Rains can cause the metal parts of the grill to rust, which can weaken them and shorten the smoker's lifespan.

Ways to Minimize the Risks

Rain cover in the rain

Yes, there are ways to minimize the risks of using an electric smoker in the rain. These include covers, positioning, and control box maintenance.

1. Covering

One way to minimize the risks of cooking with an electric smoker in the rainy season is to cover it.

A cover will protect the device from the direct impact of the rain, and it will also help keep the smoker protected and water from getting into any of the vents or openings.

Like cover protection used to store a smoker when not in use, a rain cover should be waterproof and have a securing mechanism so that wind doesn't blow it off.

However, it should not tightly adhere to the device during use because of the temperature.

Instead, it should act more like a house roof or BBQ canopy, so you have room to operate under the cover and it never lets the electric smoker get wet.

2. Positioning

A tent inside a forest

Another way to reduce the concern of cooking with an electric smoker in the rain is to position it correctly.

If possible, try to place the device under an awning or other shelter.

This will help to protect it from the direct impact of the rain.

Just make sure there is plenty of ventilation. Smoke can displace oxygen, and it contains carbon monoxide.

Carbon monoxide can poison and kill people and pets [1].

If it is not possible to place the smoker under shelter, try to place it so that the wind blows the rain away from the device. This will help keep water from getting into any vents or openings.

3. Control Box Maintenance

The final way to minimize the risks of cooking with an electric smoker in the rain is to maintain the electrical box properly. This box contains the internal electronics of the device.

Most control boxes have a gasket or seal that helps to keep water out. Over time, these can degrade and allow water to enter the box. Inspect the gasket or seal regularly.

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FAQs

Can You Cook With an Electric Smoker That’s Been Rained On?

Yes, you can cook with an electric smoker that's been rained on. However, before doing so, ensure that the control box is dry. You should also wipe down the device and ensure no water is in the grease catcher or main drum.

So can you use an electric smoker in the rain? The short answer is that it is fine and you can use one that has been rained on. Just do it with care.

Does an Electric Smoker Work in the Snow?

Yes, an electric smoker works in the snow.

As long as the device is not exposed as much as possible to prevent frozen water from getting in the device and melting, using it should not pose a significant danger and does not matter.

Can You Use an Electric Smoker in the Garage?

No, you should not use an electric smoker in the garage. The lack of airflow within a garage can lead carbon monoxide to build up quickly.

Carbon monoxide is an odorless and colorless gas. If you are exposed after it builds up in a confined space like a garage, you can have brain, heart, and organ damage [2].

Can You Use a Wood Smoker in the Rain?

Yes, you can use a wood smoker in the rain. It still brings the risks of rusting and water collection, but using wood chips in the cooking process does not create the danger that electric smokers do.

Can You Use an Electric Smoker in the Rain?

You can use an electric smoker in the rain. The bottom line is that although electric smokers are designed to be used outdoors, that does not mean that you should use them in every condition.

When using an electric smoker in the rain, you must use safety precautions to keep yourself and your equipment safe.

If you want more information on how to assess the best cover to protect your grill in the rain, click here.


References:

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/co/faqs.htm
  2. https://www.healthline.com/health/carbon-monoxide-poisoning#complications

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