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How To Successfully Grill in the Rain

How To Successfully Grill in the Rain

Picture this: you invite guests over for a backyard barbeque to eat good food and enjoy great company. You set up the buffet with side dishes like pulled pork nachos with pimento cheese sauce, baked beans, and macaroni salad. The meat is marinating, the veggies are prepped, and you’re blowing up inflatables for the pool. 

Then you feel a splash of water hit your face — it’s starting to rain. 

Mother Nature has a sense of humor, but you can still grill in the rain. Just move the party indoors and grab your umbrella.

Many people change their dinner plans when the weather turns wet. After all, grilling requires fire, and water is fire’s kryptonite. However, you don’t need to wait until the sun comes out to whip up something delicious on the grill. 

Read on to learn how to master the art of grilling in the rain. 

Everything You Need To Know To Successfully Grill in the Rain 

Before we dive into the best ways to grill in the rain, let’s talk about safety.

Safety First

Regardless of the weather, the first thing to consider when grilling is whether you can do so safely. While inclement weather brings challenges, it isn’t dangerous to be outside unless you’re in a hurricane or severe weather.

Electric grills can also be unsafe in the rain. Rain and electricity don’t mix, and using electric grills when it’s raining can get you electrocuted. Gas, charcoal, and pellet grills are safe to use in rainy weather. Just make sure your grill has a lid.  

Can You Grill Indoors?

First of all, never use live fire inside. It’s a safety hazard, so don’t even try it. 

You should never, under any circumstances, bring your grill into the house (or even the garage) and try to work with it there. Besides the risk from potential sparks, charcoal and gas grills can also produce large amounts of carbon monoxide that can be extremely dangerous. 

What you can do inside is use a grill pan to create grill marks on your meats and veggies—just know that the process works a bit differently. 

Then, it depends on what kind of kitchen you have. If you have a microwave above your stove, don’t try grilling there. If you have a hood with ventilation, you might have a little more luck.

You can also try grilling underneath an open structure like a pergola or a pavilion if you’re working with live fire—just remember that safety always comes first. 

Things You’ll Need To Grill in the Rain

If you only get a few raindrops here and there, you can use a patio umbrella to keep you dry. 

If torrential downpours are the norm, something more permanent like a canopy or a retractable awning is best—or even a structure like a pagoda or grill gazebo. Make sure it’s heat resistant, and you’ll be good to grill.

Here are a few other items that help with grilling in the rain:

  • A raincoat or poncho. To prevent getting drenched, a raincoat or poncho is key. 
  • Non-slip shoes. Put on a pair of comfortable shoes with good grip that can handle slick surfaces. The last thing you want is to slip on a wet surface while balancing a heavy tray of food. 
  • A wireless meat thermometer. This gadget will help you monitor meat temperatures from the comfort of your home (aka out of the rain). 

Tips for Grilling in the Rain

Let’s explore a few tips and tricks for grilling in the rain.

Tip #1: Bring on the Heat 

Rainy weather means more than soggy shoes and wet pants; it also means the temperature of your grill will drop quickly because it’s likely cooler outside than it would be in sunny weather. 

Add more charcoal, pump up the gas, and try to minimize the number of times you open the grill. A significant amount of heat will escape every single time the lid is removed. While we’re focusing on grilling here, know that the same reasoning applies to smoking. 

If you have an uninsulated machine like a Weber Kettle, those lower temps will likely mean you need to use more fuel. Be consistent with monitoring your temperature to ensure it never drops too low. 

Pro Tip: Start the fire earlier than usual if you’re using a charcoal grill. Charcoal needs to reach certain temperatures to cook your food. Because charcoal gets hotter the longer it burns, lighting your fire sooner will give the charcoal time to heat up. 

Tip #2: The Wind Is Not Your Friend 

The wind can be problematic for grilling. Unfortunately, when there’s rain, there’s usually wind. 

Set something up to block the wind. This could be a few pieces of plywood or a tarp — just make sure it’s secure enough that it won’t blow away. If you’re using a tarp, make sure it’s far enough away from the grill to avoid increasing the risk of fire. 

Tip #3: Take It Easy 

Just because it’s raining doesn’t mean you have to rush. As long as you are prepared, you can take all the time you need on the grill. Whether you’re grilling drool-worthy ribs smothered in Hot Smoky Barbeque Sauce or making baby back ribs paired with the best Carolina BBQ Sauce on the planet, these things take time.

Masterpieces like grilled meat take time, especially in the rain. Be patient, keep the lid closed, and do your best to keep the grill hot. 

That said, choose your meat wisely when you’re grilling in the rain. The process is supposed to be fun, and standing in the rain is usually not a particularly good time. You may not want to cook a brisket on a rainy day because you’ll be standing out there for hours. 

Tip #4: Designate a Food Transport Squad 

If you have a long distance from grill to table, enlist a few buddies to act as the food transport squad. One friend will carry the plates of food while the other shields them with a large umbrella. Nothing is worse than taking the time to grill, only for the meat to get soaking wet when you’re trying to bring it inside

A Final Word 

All it takes is good planning, protection from the rain, a wind block, and some patience to grill in the rain successfully. 

If you want to wow your friends at the next BBQ, take your dishes up a notch with Lillie’s Q.

Serving up Southern BBQ that’s true to regional traditions while still creating unique, reimagined flavors is an art form. With hard work, dedication, and years of experience, our Chef Charlie McKenna has mastered BBQ and cultivated it into something extraordinary using his passion and commitment to the craft. 

Whether you’re looking to bump up the flavor with unique sauces or an out-of-this-world rub, you can count on Lillie’s Q — rain or shine. And if the weather proves too difficult, you can always serve your guests some of our ready-made barbeque


Electric Grill | Safety | Tips | Barbecue | HPBA

Grilling safety | NFPA 

What is a hurricane? | NOAA 

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