Grilling Under the Rain (5 Things You Can Do)

Timothy Woods
Published by Timothy Woods
Last Updated On: December 4, 2023

If you are a die-hard griller, you may not want to let a little rain prevent you from grilling outside.

While it is not wise to continue grilling in dangerous conditions, it is possible to continue cooking in the rain in some circumstances.

Some expert tips from our resident grill masters will give you some ideas on how to grill in the rain can be done safely.

Quick Summary

  • Grilling in a rainy weather is only possible if you have a charcoal grill with a closing lid.
  • Turn up the heat, use an umbrella, or move the charcoal grill undercover to shelter from the rain.
  • Electric grills should never be used in the rain.
  • Try out heavy duty grill covers that you can use to protect your grill from the extreme weathering outdoors.

Methods To Grill In The Rain

If you are determined to grill in the rain, the following ideas will help you accomplish the task with minimal risk to both you and the food on the gas grill.

The best method to grill in the rain will be decided by the severity of the rain and the tools you have on hand to make continuing grilling in the rain a worthwhile prospect.

1. Use An Umbrella To Grill In The Rain

Purple umbrella yellow background

If the rain is very light, it may not be a problem for the propane grill at all, providing the grill has a lid that can be closed.

The simplest solution to grill in the rain would be to use a handheld umbrella to protect you from getting wet in light rain. You can hold the umbrella to cover both you and the barbeque as you open the lid to check the food.

Watch out for floating embers that may be released when the propane grill is opened. These sparks can ignite nylon umbrellas even during a rainy day.

An umbrella is not a good idea if there is lightning during the inclement weather. The steel point of the umbrella can act as a conducting rod, attracting the lightning to that point.

2. Move The Grill Under the Grill Cover

The level of grill cover while grilling in the rain day will depend on the severity of the rain and windy weather. If the rain is light, you can move the grill under the overhang of your roof to gain some protection from the rain. It's best to look into a permanent covered grilling station for your outdoor grilling needs during inclement weather.

Look out for any open windows where smoke may gain access to your home and fill the house with smoke or the smell of smoke.

Another option is to move the propane grill onto a deck that has a cover or under a deck umbrella or awning, provided it is high enough not to sustain damage from heat or smoke.

An excellent place to position the grill on a deck is at the furthest end, away from open doors to your house or where guests are sitting.

This will allow the smoke to billow out of the deck covering rather than be trapped under the roof.

3. Turn The Heat Up When You Grill In The Rain And Inclement Weather

Fiery grill cooking steak

If it is not possible to move your grill undercover, it is still possible to close the lid and continue grilling.

However, the grill temperature will drop due to the cooling effects of the rain on the outside of the grill.

Open the vent air vents on the sides of the grill to feed air under the fire and intensify the heat. Add more charcoal to the fire to give the fire more fuel to burn.

This should compensate for the heat loss due to the rain, but you will need to monitor the internal temperature carefully to ensure the food does not burn.

4. Use A Remote Digital Thermometer When You Grill In The Rain

Many add-on grill thermometers are available for customizing your grill and keeping a watchful eye on the grill's inside temperature.

New models offer remote control monitoring, where the probe is in the grill, but the monitoring unit can be kept on your person so you can see the temperature without being at your grill.

New meat thermometers also offer this remote function where the probe is inserted in the meat, and the remote thermometer transmits the meat's temperature to the remote handheld display.

These two monitoring tools allow you to keep a close watch on the temperature of the grill and the meat without the need to stand outside in the rain!

5. Use A Tarp to Grill in the Rain

Tarp covering something

If you are an outdoors person, you can practice your bushcraft skills by rigging up a tarp to cover your grill and provide shelter for you from the rain.

A typical ridgeline tarp setup will provide a peek at the tarp roof and direct the smoke and carbon monoxide out either side of the tarp.

Be sure to erect the tarp at a comfortable height for you to stand under and to ensure it will not be damaged or set on fire from the heat of the grill or any errant embers!

A good height to erect the tarp for safety is generally considered a minimum of 6 feet above the grill level.

Is It Possible To Grill In The Rain?

The question of whether grilling in the rain is possible or not requires some clarification on the cold weather conditions and the type of grill you have and whether you have a chimney starter.

It is always better to play it safe and take the cooking inside or delay it till after the rain, even if it means building a fire again from scratch.

It should be noted upfront that if you have an electric grill, you should not grill in the rain under any circumstances all year round, even with hot dogs and with the lid closed.

Instead, unplug the electric grill, move it under the cover, remove the food, continue cooking indoors, or wait for the rain to pass before using the electric grill again.

Gas grills can be used to grill in the rain, provided you have a closing lid or cover on the grill. If the grill does not have a lid, the ran can extinguish the flame, which leaves raw, unburned gas escaping from the burn nozzles in the grill.

This can be problematic from the aspect of inhaling the gas and the potential fire hazard this problem poses.

Charcoal grills can be used to grill in the rain, providing they have a lid or cover with a chimney to allow heat, carbon monoxide, and smoke to escape while avoiding wet charcoal.

Keeping the lid closed will prevent the fire from going out and making the surroundings catch fire, but it will increase the temperature inside the grill, which may cause the food to burn during bad weather.

Also Read: Can I Leave My Weber Grill Outside?

Is It Dangerous To Grill In The Rain?

Heavy rain

Another aspect to consider when grilling in the rain day is the elements’ danger. Strong winds can kick up charcoal embers, igniting clothing or nearby flammable materials.

Strong wind and falling raindrops can cause ash to be disturbed in the bottom of the grill and coat your food with a layer of gritty ash. It applies even when you're grilling in the garage and the garage door is closed.

Lightning is probably the biggest and most severe danger when you grill in the rain. If the rain is accompanied by lightning, it is best to postpone your grilling until the storm has passed.

Some newer versions even come with an app to allow monitoring of the temperatures from your mobile phone.

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