Cooking outdoors is a popular summer activity, but what happens when it rains? Can you grill in the rain? The answer is yes! Don’t let ruin your outdoor grilling plans. You just need to take a few precautions. Let’s discuss how to grill in the rain and some of the best tips for keeping your food dry and you and your grill safe.
Table of Contents
- Start with protecting you
- Protect the grill
- Keep your food dry
- How to grill in the rain using a gas grill
- How to grill in the rain using a charcoal grill
- How to grill in the rain using cooking wood
- Does charcoal light when wet?
- Can you use lighter fluid in the rain?
- Must-read related posts
Start with protecting you
You’ll want to take personal protective measures when grilling in the rain. Make sure you’re wearing adequate clothing to keep dry and warm. A raincoat and waterproof shoes are highly recommended. To stay even dryer in rainy weather, consider if you can grill under an awning or on a covered patio.
Have a good idea of the type of rain you’re expecting. Showers or light rain are one thing, but downpours or (worse) thunderstorms are another. Check your local forecast to time your grilling appropriately on a rainy day. The least amount of rain you have to deal with, the better.
If you’re surprised by a thunderstorm, stop grilling immediately and move indoors until the storm passes.
Protect the grill
Most quality grills can stand a modest amount of rain, but cheaper grills may be prone to rust if used in the rain too often. If you have a cast iron or stainless steel grill, you shouldn’t have to worry too much. But if your grill is made of porcelain-coated steel (particularly one that has knicks where the coating has been removed), it’s best to take extra care. Those knicks in the coating easily rust in the rain.
If you often find yourself grilling in the rain and have no permanent cover, a Grill Gazebo canopy tent is an easy way to protect your grill (and yourself) from the elements.
If you must grill in the rain, try to position your grill, so it’s as sheltered from the rain as possible. If possible, put it under an awning or on a covered patio. If not, try to angle it, so the wind and rain are blowing away from the grill. This will help keep some of the rain from hitting the grill directly.
You can also buy a weather-resistant or waterproof grill cover to protect your grill from the rain. Be sure to get one that’s sized correctly for your grill and has good ventilation, so it doesn’t trap moisture underneath.
And, of course, if you’re grilling all the time, no matter the weather, a permanently covered grilling station may ultimately be your best option.
Keep your food dry
The key to grilling in the rain is to keep your food dry. It should come as no surprise: wet food just doesn’t taste as good as dry food, and it’s more likely to stick to the grill.
To keep your food dry, start by keeping it in a covered container until you’re ready to put it on the grill. If you’re using marinades or wet rubs, apply them before leaving the kitchen, so you have less time with the food facing the elements.
Once your food is on the grill, keep the lid closed as much as possible to keep your food and (in the case of charcoal grills) your charcoal dry. If you’re grilling smaller items like vegetables or burgers, you can also put a foil pan over them to help keep them dry. Just note: closing the lid will impact your cooking temperature and cooking time. Plan to monitor your grilling closely.
How to grill in the rain using a gas grill
Gas grilling in the rain is very simple once your grill is protected from the elements and you’ve taken precautions for yourself and your food. Light your grill and let it preheat as you would on a sunny day. Then, cook your food as usual.
How to grill in the rain using a charcoal grill
Lighting a charcoal grill in the rain can be tricky, but it’s not impossible. You’ll want to protect the charcoal from getting wet. One of the best ways to do this is to use a chimney starter. This is a metal cylinder with a handle that you fill with charcoal. A grate in the bottom allows air to flow up and ignite the charcoal from bottom to top (the driest charcoal at the bottom lights first.)
The chimney starter can be lit with newspaper added to the bottom of the chimney, but in the rain, that may not be your best option. A better option is to use lighter cubes. These tiny white cubes take the place of newspaper and handle rain better.
Once the charcoal is lit, pour it into your grill and cook as usual. Keep the charcoal grill covered as much as possible while cooking so that your food stays dry and your charcoal stays lit.
If no chimney starter is handy, you can opt for using a grill torch, particularly if the rain is light or you and your grill are covered.
How to grill in the rain using cooking wood
Cooking wood is a great way to add flavor to your food, and grilling in the rain is no exception. You’ll want to take the same precautions as you would with a gas or charcoal grill. Make sure your cooking wood is covered and dry before using it. Wet wood won’t light easily and will produce a lot of smoke.
You can use a grill torch or a chimney starter to light your cooking wood. If using a grill torch, be very careful to keep the flames away from the tarp covering your grill. If using a chimney starter, follow the same instructions as you would for lighting charcoal.
Once your cooking wood is lit, add it to your grill and cook as usual. Keep the grill covered as much as possible so that the wood stays lit and your food stays dry.
Does charcoal light when wet?
No, charcoal does not light when wet. In fact, wet charcoal may even break down, crumbling to the point of unusability (particularly cheaper charcoal brands.) This is why it’s important to take measures to keep your charcoal dry when grilling in the rain.
One way to keep your charcoal dry is to use a weatherproof storage container. This can be anything from a resealable plastic bag to a covered metal container. You’ll want to make sure the container is big enough to fit all the charcoal you need for your grill, plus some extra in case you need to relight the fire.
–> Learn More: Know Your BBQ Fuel – Three Types Of Charcoal
Can you use lighter fluid in the rain?
Yes, you can use lighter fluid in the rain. However, it’s important to keep the can of lighter fluid dry and away from any flames. If possible, soak your charcoal in advance with lighter fluid so it will be easier to light when you’re ready to grill.
Must-read related posts
- Six Tips To Stop Food From Sticking On Grill Grates: Save yourself some time at the end of your meal.
- Cleaning Grill Grates: Learn the dos and don’ts for when you need to do that cleaning.
- Charcoal Vs. Gas Grill: How do they compare?