At the end of this article, you will know various methods to circumvent the difficulties posed by grilling in the rain.
Many people who grill consistently may have come across the situation under discussion here, but most beginners are likely to approach their grilling journey as though the weather would always be sunny and accommodative.
If you have such a mindset while cultivating an outdoor hobby, it would only serve you right when the weather finally turns on you. Luckily for you, though, you have us here to help you navigate how to grill in the rain when the weather does turn on you.
Grilling in the rain shouldn’t be as complicated as you think; it’s all a measure of applying the right preventive measures or methodology before you start grilling and the right adaptive measures when the sky throws some extra water at you.
By the end of this article, your question “can you grill in the rain?” should have been transformed to “what is rain?”.
Picking a grilling equipment
Top of our list of preventive measures for grilling in the rain is to skip the electric grills. They can be very convenient and easy to manage compared to gas grills or charcoal grills, but if your grill is corded and requires connection to a power source for its function, you should see where I’m going.
Electric grills are widely praised for their ability to provide an ultra-convenient grilling experience, but when rain is in the air, limit its use to the insides of a shelter.
Rather than the electric grill, it would help if you tried out a charcoal grill. These might be more difficult to light and keep running in the rain, but it doesn’t bring any additional safety hazards and you can also enjoy the wood flavor from your fuel.
Finding a better place
Preventive measure number 2 involves grilling in a place less likely to be affected by direct contact with rain. If you have any alternative to grilling outdoors, you should probably consider it but be careful not to use a charcoal grill in a stuffy room.
If there are no indoor environments adequate enough to support the use of a charcoal grill, the following steps should start to come in handy.
Our first tip would be to consider investing in a tent. It might seem like too much of a financial strain to escape from a bit of rain, but you should consider not having the space and resources to make this a reality.
Not just because of the grilling alone though it would help with that when rain is falling. A tent would also provide a relaxation spot for you to enjoy cool weather outside of the direct protection of your home. It could even serve in hot weather as well (with the right modifications). This is too much of a versatile option for you to discard as a financial strain.
You might not even have to purchase one if you already possess a camping tent; that could simply be repurposed to facilitate your outdoor cooking.
A patio umbrella
An alternative to a tent is the use of an umbrella. It might not provide the same protective range as a full-sized canopy, but it could protect from rain provided strong winds don’t accompany the rain.
Generally, the sizes of patio umbrellas are such that they accommodate the use of a freestanding grill. Most would even allow enough space for individuals to stand by and monitor the grilling within their protection. According to most reviews, these PURPLE LEAF Rectangular Patio Umbrella and Warmally BBQ Patio Shelter Canopy are some of the best around.
As such, there might be no need even to be holding a smaller umbrella while checking your food, but there would be a need for a windbreak or extra covering if the wind is too strong. Without this extra side protection, the wind could scatter your ashes, whip your fire from side to side, and generally affect the uniformity of heat supply in the grill.
A permanent covered grill station
This is different from your typical use and pack tent. A permanent grilling station is intended to be permanent. This could come in the form of a structure reserved explicitly for grilling and is protected to deal with varying weather conditions.
In most situations, such a specialized enclosure caters to committed Pitmasters. As such, it might be too much of an investment for a casual, only when guests are in outdoor cook. The true appeal of such a grill station would be a complete protection it would afford, the relative lack of prep time, and the extra protection from wind-aided fires that it would bring.
A BBQ canopy
Canopies offer a bigger enclosure than tents and, consequently, more space as well. One factor you should be taking into consideration, if the canopy best appeals to you, is the material from which your canopy would be made.
Materials used in canopies meant for grilling should be durable, sturdy, and fire-resistant. The cost would rise due to these specifications, but just like tents (and even more than tents), a canopy could be used as a shelter to enjoy the weather outside of the comforts of a house.
If the canopy is to possess open sides, a shield or windbreak might come in handy in nullifying the effects of winds.
Pre-cooking all ingredients
This is an adaptive measure for grilling in the rain that minimizes the amount of time spent in the cold. Basically, you pre-cook your ingredients (or, in some cases, the food itself) indoors and finish with grilling to impart more flavor (or a final searing effect to the surface of your meat).
This would save you back and forth trips in what is most likely to be unforgiving weather. An alternative is to use fast cooking ingredients when grilling in the rain. This is because, with fast-cooking ingredients, prep time and the cooking time are much reduced. As such, you could find yourself spending fewer hours in the rain.
Getting ready a grill
The process of getting a grill ready for cooking is simple; you just preheat it. Generally speaking, this preheating process favors the rapid buildup of heat within the grill, allowing for more thorough cooking when you get down to your grilling properly.
This process would be affected by colder than typical weather, and, as such, you should be prepared to devote a longer period of time to preheating your grill and use more fuel if needed. Regardless of the type of grill being used, don’t dismiss the preheating stage.
Build a hot fire
A hotter fire would serve to protect your grill temperature from the cooling effects of the weather. However, too hot a temperature could affect your cooking as well. So use a thermometer and strive to monitor the internal temperature of your grill to know when you are already approaching too-hot range.
However, the process of lighting a grill in the rain could be more complicated, thanks to the higher humidity. If the gas grill’s auto-ignition fails to spark, have a lighter or matches on hand. A chimney starter will do the trick if charcoal or wood fuel fails to ignite because of humidity.
Either way, provided you follow our advice, your grill would be started. Note that the charcoal used in a charcoal grill should be dry.
Keep the lid closed
Another adaptive measure is to keep the lid of your grill closed. This isn’t just for when the weather is cold, though. Usually, if you open the lid of a grill too frequently while cooking (for whatever reason), it allows heat to escape. When heat escapes, your grill would need to build heat back up to optimum cooking temperature again, thus, extending cooking time.
This problem would be exacerbated by the coolness of the weather that accompanies rainfall, such as the cooling effect of the weather on grill temperatures would be potentiated by heat loss from opening the lid too much.
So, keep the lid closed as much as possible to minimize loss of heat and the time you’d spend tending a grill in the rain.
In line with the preheating, lighting a hotter fire, and keeping the grill’s lid closed, you must also monitor the temperatures. It stands to reason that if the grill gets cooler in the cold and cooking temperature reduces, you wouldn’t really know, except you have a thermometer to monitor the grill’s internal temperature.
However, the internal temperature of the grill is not the same as the internal temperature of the meat you’re cooking. Both are important to ensure that your cooking results are as good as possible and that different specific thermometers for both would be needed. A meat thermometer that provides an instant-read and would do wonders for monitoring the internal temperature of the meat. According to this release by the Minnesota Department of Health, it is more important to consider the internal temperature of meats mean for their safety.
Drying a grill when finished
This can be called a post-operation measure. The vast majority of metals do not go well with water, and chances are your grill is not made from one of the few that do go well with water. After grilling in the rain, spend some more time taking care of the grill and drying it up as.
This treatment could extend the lifespan of your grill by preventing corrosion of its parts. However, you have to understand that a freshly used grill is most likely to be too hot to touch in a lot of the places that matter, and so you should probably wait a few hours until it’s cool.
Furthermore, the heat could dry the water out to an extent, leaving you only to wipe off whatever moisture is left.
The truth is that outdoor cooking is fun and is widely regarded as a sort of manly culinary art. Another truth that is less accepted by many is the fact that no matter how perfect the weather may be, it would catch up to you one day, and the sooner you plan for it, the better prepared you’d be when it happens.
Having said that, though, while thinking of how to grill in the rain, the specifics of your situation should be considered before you decide on a single solution or combination of solutions. Such specifics may include the amount of space you have, the yearly weather profile of your region, your budget, and how much rain you could reasonably expect.
If all these influences your decision correctly, grilling in the rain wouldn’t be a problem.