Timothy Woods
Published by Timothy Woods
Last Updated On: April 21, 2022

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 grilling in the rain can be done safely.

Quick Summary

  • Grilling in the rain is only possible if you have a grill with a closing lid.
  • Turn up the heat, use an umbrella, or move the grill undercover to shelter from the rain.
  • Remote thermometers allow you to monitor the grill and meat temperature!
  • Electric grills should never be used in the rain!

Methods To Grill In The Rain

If you are determined to grill with a bit of rain coming down, the following ideas will help you accomplish the task with minimal risk to both you and the food on the grill.

The best method to use 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 grill at all, providing the grill has a lid that can be closed.

The simplest solution 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 grill is opened. These sparks can ignite nylon umbrellas.

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

2. Move The Grill Under Cover

The level of cover you need from the rain will depend on the severity of the rain and wind. If the rain is light, you can move the grill under the overhang of your roof to gain some protection from the rain.

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 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 Grilling In The Rain

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's internal 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 Grilling 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 it transmits the meat's internal 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 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 weather conditions and the type of grill you have. 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. Instead, unplug the grill, move it undercover, remove the food, continue cooking indoors, or wait for the rain to pass.

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 and smoke to escape. This will prevent the fire from going out, but it will increase the temperature inside the grill, which may cause the food to burn.

Is It Dangerous To Grill In The Rain?

Heavy rain

Another aspect to consider about grilling in the rain 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.

Lightning is probably the biggest and most severe danger to grilling 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.

Conclusion

While a bit of rain may make some people pack up their grill and head indoors, many don't want to have their outdoor cooking plans thwarted by a little adverse weather.

The grilling-in-the-rain tips that our master grillers have offered are sure to give you some options to keep your meat sizzling on the grill despite a sudden downpour!

We all know that grills are heavy and cannot be easily moved. Most of the time, they are left in our backyards exposed to the sun and rain. Here are heavy duty grill covers that you can use to protect your grill from the extreme weathering outdoors.

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