Can You Grill in the Rain Without Settling for Soggy Results?

Jim Bob – A long-time contributor to GrillBabyGrill. Jim has had a lifelong relationship with the art of grilling, passed on from his father and grandfather to him.
can you grill in the rain

Planning the perfect outdoor grilling menu for family and friends is one of the best things to look forward to any time of year. Unfortunately, the weather is capricious and can change suddenly and quickly, but that doesn’t mean you should let it affect your grilling plans. With a little preparation and a positive attitude, you can get the job done and serve up a tasty meal.

Can You Grill in The Rain?

When asking can you grill in the rain, the answer is a resounding yes. Of course, you will need to take a few additional steps, but in the end, these will be minor and well worth the effort. 

While grilling requires heat, rain has a way of putting a damper on that. There are ways to counteract this, however. Just be sure to avoid bringing your grill inside or too close to combustible furnishings, such as outdoor chair pillows. 

Also, avoid using an electric grill in the rain. Your propane or charcoal grill will be safe to use as long as you follow these guidelines.

1. Find an Accessible Location or Cover

If your grill is sitting out in the open, you will first need to assess your options for moving it to a protected location. By moving it to a covered area on a patio, deck, or porch, you will not only keep it out of a direct downpour but enable your grill to maintain a higher temperature. Rain creates a cooler environment, which affects the heat efficiency of your grill.

Ensure any canopy or roof is somewhere around 9’ high to avoid burning or charring. Even when raining, fires can start quickly.

If no covered location is available, it’s time to be inventive. Bring out the patio umbrella if you must. Although the rain will still get in on all sides, the umbrella will protect the grill. Just be sure to tie down the umbrella so it doesn’t get whisked away with a powerful gust of wind.

A retractable awning is another fantastic option for covering you and your grill as the rain comes down. If all else fails, consider constructing a flame-resistant or retardant tarp cover over a section of your yard, tying it off to the surrounding trees or posts.

2. Monitor the Wind

While grilling in the rain brings its complications, wind can cause additional safety issues. Not only can the wind blow over patio umbrellas and tarps, but it can also take your grill along with it if the gusts are strong enough. Wind can also dissipate more heat from your grill every time you lift the lid.

Monitor the wind, and if you see it is picking up, move your grill or create a shield to shelter in place. Try putting up a temporary plywood wall or another type of stable wind block.

3. Reduce Grilling Time

One way to grill in the rain is to reduce cooking time outdoors. Instead, pre-cook at least some of the food inside. One way to accomplish this is to reverse sear your steaks or burgers. Place them on a pan, then cook in the oven on low until they reach 120°F internally. Remove and layer on a hot grill to sear, creating a grilled look and taste. You can pre-cook almost anything this way, from chicken to vegetables.

Another way to reduce grilling time is to wrap foods, especially vegetables, in aluminum foil and place them on the grill. This way, even if you open the top frequently, the foil will keep the heat in.

Grilling in the rain is hampered by the way it lowers the temperature in the surrounding air. This slows your cooking time. If you are using a charcoal grill, once you started the fire you will most likely need to add more charcoal to maintain high heat.

4. Utilize a Remote Thermometer

No one likes getting wet continuously, so consider using a remote thermometer when grilling in the rain. This way, you can stay dry inside while monitoring the food that’s grilling outside. If you don’t currently have one of these useful tools, consider buying one to keep on hand for rainy days or limit the number of times you need to check on your food. 

A remote thermometer allows for checking the internal temperature of a grill without continually opening the lid. A probe is inserted inside the grill or in your food, providing temperature information to an electronic display. Some thermometers come with Wi-Fi capabilities, allowing you to check on your grill’s status from your smartphone.

5. Change the Menu

While you and your family may have your heart set on those steaks or burgers, standing out in the rain to sear them to perfection may be more than you can bear. With rain lessening the heat level in your grill, you may be out there a while or even miscalculate how long they need to stay on the grill.

Instead, consider changing the menu to something requiring lower and slower indirect heating and grilling. Place a roast, brisket, or a rack of ribs on the grill and let it be. You’ll stay dry longer inside and will avoid constantly lifting and lowering the grill top to flip the meat or check on its doneness. The internal temperatures will stay consistent longer, creating a perfectly cooked meal. It may just take a little longer.

6. Plan for Next Time

If grilling is one of your passions or you just like to have the ability to grill whenever you want, then consider planning before the next rainstorm comes your way. A few ways to do this include:

Collect recipes perfect for those rainy grilling days, with directions on pre-cooking indoors and finishing up on the grill.
Purchase a remote thermometer and learn how to use it to the best of its capabilities.
Keep patio umbrellas and ropes in good shape and know how to set them up quickly.
Create a grilling station by enclosing a section of your patio, or create an outdoor kitchen complete with grill and permanent cover.
Build a gazebo or other type shelter to move your grill to during rain or hot weather.
Jim Bob

Jim Bob

The Takeaway

Now, when wondering can you grill in the rain, you’ll know the answer and can head out there and grill with confidence.