You might believe grilling in the rain is ineffective, but it can be just as effective as grilling on sunny days. However, your food might easily become mushy or burnt if it isn’t done correctly.

It will be quite difficult to light your grill while it is raining. Furthermore, all the moisture clings to grills after each usage and rusts faster in wet weather conditions. To avoid these issues and any other issues created by rain while grilling, follow these seven guidelines on how to grill properly in the rain.

What you need

When it comes to grilling in the rain, there are a few things that will make life a lot simpler. The goal is to improve your setup and atmosphere so that you may spend as little time as possible in the rain and reduce the rain’s impact on your grilling.

It’s a good idea to have the following equipment, regardless matter how extreme your setup is:

  • A raincoat is essential. It may seem self-evident, but you’ll need a raincoat to stay dry and comfy. You’ll get your clothes wet if you don’t have some form of the rain-repellent outer layer, which can be uncomfortable.
  • Shoes with a non-slip sole. Make sure you wear shoes with high traction and can handle slick conditions. Remember that you’ll be carrying grilling gear and food around with you the entire time. The last thing you want to happen is to slip and fall on a damp surface while balancing items in your hand or walking through a door.
  • Make use of a grill caddy. I don’t use them while it’s dry outside, but I believe they’re near-essential for grilling in the rain. It just makes life easier and assists you in staying organized.

Grilling suggestions for rainy days

bbq grill in the rain

There are many methods to barbecue in the rain, but these are the greatest suggestions I can make:

Plan it out

If you’re planning to barbecue while it’s pouring or forecasted to rain, some planning can help you avoid a bad grilling experience. Prepare to start early and cook at a higher temperature. 

Make that purchase if it means you’ll need extra charcoal or another gas canister on standby. Make meal selections that allow you to grill smaller chunks of meat and packets or bits of fruit.

Invest in a patio umbrella

Getting a patio umbrella is probably the easiest and best for light rain. They’re reasonably priced and, in general, make a terrific addition to any backyard or patio! However, there are a few factors to keep in mind. 

If you’re dealing with wind, you’ll want to acquire a sturdy base or use weights to anchor the umbrella. Also, ensure that your umbrella is positioned to block rain from your grill while avoiding direct contact with smoke. You don’t want your umbrella to be damaged by frequent smoking!

Place the grill in a shaded area

It’s never a good idea to put your charcoal barbecue in an open area of your patio or outdoor living space where it will be directly exposed to the rain. Charcoal grills of high quality can handle a tiny amount of dampness. On the other side, excessive moisture might cause them to corrode. As a result, you should store your grill in a covered area where it will not be exposed to the elements. 

You can also promote a greater cooking temperature by placing your grill beneath a covered area. Rain will lower the cooking temperature of your grill if it falls on top of it. It won’t necessarily put out the fire, especially if the lid is closed, but it will certainly make the inside of your grill cooler. If the cooking temperature dips too low, you may struggle to grill tasty food with a seared, crisp surface.

So, if it’s raining, where can you put your grill? If your patio has a cover or canopy, you can use it to shelter your barbecue from the rain. As a result, the roof or canopy must be at least 9 feet tall. The heat from your grill may singe or burn it if it’s lower.

You may also shelter your grill from the rain by placing it behind a tall tree. Trees with big, dense foliage naturally block the rain. Although little rain may fall over your grill, it should not be enough to degrade its function.

Utilize a grill mat

Use a barbeque grill mat to protect your grill from rain by absorbing water and preventing it from gathering or overflowing onto your grilling coals. If your mat has a huge puddle of water, clean it with a paper towel before placing food on the cooking grate.

Ensure that the mat you use is large enough to accommodate your food. This will prevent unintended consequences, such as bits of your meat falling through the cracks, during grilling.

Make use of a charcoal grill that is portable

If you can’t find a suitable grill pad, you should utilize a portable charcoal barbecue instead. Portable grills are simple to install and disassemble, allowing you to move them inside if it rains.

Your food will be cooked in no time with just the correct amount of tinder, an organic fuel source, or even standard lighter fluid.

There are throwaway containers on the market that contain pre-soaked wood chips. So, after the coals are lit, they take less than 5 minutes to get hot enough to cook on.

Charcoal or cooking wood should be kept dry at all times

It’ll be difficult to fire your grill if you’re using damp charcoal or cooking wood. Some pitmasters keep their charcoal or cooking wood out in the open, especially if they expect to barbecue soon. This isn’t usually an issue, but if it rains, your charcoal or cooking wood can become wet, and wet charcoal or cooking wood can be difficult to light.

You should store your fuel source in a dry environment regardless of whatever type you want to utilize. Don’t simply leave your charcoal or cooking wood out on the terrace. Moisture in the air or humidity will soak your patio, even if it is covered. Instead, keep your charcoal or cooking wood inside your house or garage and take it out when you’re ready to cook.

Changing your wood chips regularly is a good idea

If you’re using a portable charcoal barbecue, switch out the wood chips frequently. Even if the coals are still burning and emit a lot of heat, it’s still vital to swap out your wood chips to keep them from turning to ash.

When wood chips reach their maximum temperature setting, they begin to smoke or glow red-hot, emitting an unpleasant flavor. This will significantly impact the flavor of your meal, so attempt to replace any old ones with fresh ones before grilling anything.

Allow 10 to 15 minutes for your grill to heat up before cooking

Allow a charcoal grill to sit and warm up in the open air for ten to fifteen minutes after it has been exposed to wet weather conditions such as rain. This is because the temperature inside the grill will be frigid, and the cold will seep into your food after a few minutes of sitting. You’ll have to cook them for longer until they’re fully cooked.

Food preparation first before lighting up the grill

The ease with which your matches light up can be affected by rainy days. If possible, prepare your food before attempting to light the grill. Place them in a convenient location to access when cooking so you don’t have to go through damp grass or mud to collect what you need from your grill’s storage area.

Fuel up a fire

The higher the fire temperature, the better it will be shielded from the rain’s cooling effects. Grills may easily achieve temperatures of over 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit on the inside. Grilled meats will create a charred surface at this temperature, trapping their fluids. 

Unfortunately, rain might cause your grill’s internal temperature to drop. The internal temperature of your grill will drop when moisture settles on it. Here are some pointers on how to start a fire in the rain:

  • When it comes to charcoal, lump charcoal is preferable to charcoal briquettes.
  • Use kiln-dried firewood instead of fresh or air-dried firewood while cooking.
  • A substantial amount of charcoal or cooking wood should be added.
  • Before adding charcoal or cooking wood to your grill, ensure it’s completely dry.
  • Light with tinder and kindling in the bottom center of your charcoal or cooking wood.
  • Open the dampers to allow more air to flow through your grill.
  • If the temperature of your grill begins to drop, add extra charcoal or cooking wood.

Maintain the cleanliness of your grill

Cleanliness is key to grilling. Rainwater includes natural pollutants that can clog your pores and inhibit heat exchange between coals and wood chips during cooking time, so clean your grill before each usage, even if it’s still hot.

If you have a grill mat, clean it with a paper towel before storing it. Simply avoid wiping your surface with the same motion as you would for wiping tables, as this will damage it.

Make use of gas grills

If you don’t like using charcoal barbecues, you might want to explore utilizing gas grills instead. Gas-fueled grills are a fantastic option for charcoal grills because they don’t produce as much smoke or ash, which might influence the taste of your food when cooked in wet weather.

You won’t have to worry about electricity with this barbecue because everything is regulated electronically. When cooking in damp weather, the machine will maintain its temperature on its own so that you won’t need matches.

It’s simple to see why gas barbeque grills are so popular nowadays, with all of these advantages provided by gas-powered grilling equipment.

Reduce your time in the rain by precooking

Why not precook your supper indoors while it’s still raining? The reverse searing approach works great for burgers and steaks. Simply bake them in a low oven until they reach 120 degrees Fahrenheit, then finish scorching them on the grill.

The steak will be a beautiful medium-rare, with a great sear from the grill, and no one will know you weren’t standing out in the rain the entire time. If you know it’s going to rain, switch to the meat that can be cooked slowly and thoroughly, such as brisket, whole chicken, or pig butt.

This eliminates the need to check fast-cooking meals like steak and hamburgers constantly. It’s no pleasure having to babysit those in the rain while missing out on all the social events and the football game.

Wrap the vegetables in foil with the remaining ingredients if you’re serving them. You can start them in the oven or leave them on the grill to cook low and slow. Even if you open the lid frequently, the foil will maintain the heat and flavor inside.

Look out for the wind

It’s time to build a windbreak if the wind is flipping your burgers for you. Patio umbrellas and BBQ canopies do not protect from the wind. If the wind is blowing in the wrong direction, even covered grilling stations and awnings won’t help.

A sheet of plywood or similar material can be used to create a rudimentary wall or wind block to stop the wind. Simply ensure that it is stable enough not to fall on someone or the grill.

Temperature control

Wind and rain will drop the grill’s temperature the same way that blowing on a hot scoop of soup cools it down. If you’re using charcoal, start earlier and add more to keep the temperature consistent. Because charcoal absorbs moisture, it is more difficult to fire.

Strong gusts of wind can cause the burners on gas grills to blow out. If this happens, turn off the gas and open the lid for a few minutes to let the gas out before relighting. During adverse weather, a remote wireless thermometer will be an invaluable tool. You can keep an eye on the grill and the food while being warm and dry. 

This method works great for low- and slow-smoking, but you’ll need to inspect your food every couple of minutes for high-heat grilling to avoid burning. Keep an eye on your vents to check which way they’re pointing. Is there any wind or rain directly blowing onto any of them? Make sure they are closed or that your grill is turned in a different direction.

Grilling in the rain has its advantages

Believe it or not, many foods taste better when cooked at high heat and humidity. Keep in mind that the humidity will make anything you’re cooking juicy and delicious and that cooking with the lid down provides grillers a higher chance of getting everything done and avoiding food poisoning. 

Safety considerations

Unrecognizable shot of a man barbecuing chicken and sausage outside in the rain

Never grill in your garage

It’s not a good idea. It’s quite hazardous. Carbon monoxide not only has the potential to kill you, but it will also inflict irreversible smoke damage to your walls, lowering the value of your home.

Using an electronic smoker in the garage is bad enough, but using a grill with a flame is far worse. It’s not a good idea.

Allowing rain to fall on your food, flame, or coals is not a good idea

You don’t want the rain to contaminate your food with chemicals, but you also don’t want the rain to splatter ashes and other particles from your grill all over it. If you can’t block rain from falling directly on your food, you should figure out a way to do so before grilling in the rain.


There may be power cords as well as fire depending on your grill. While many patios have covered outlets for safe power access, if you’re putting extension cords out to power your pellet smoker’s hopper, make sure to use one long cord rather than numerous connections that could get wet.

Don’t get too comfortable

It’s crucial to remember that wet days can be cool, and working with fire on a cold day can make you forget about the grill’s dangers. According to grilling expert Steven Raichlen, winter and cold-weather grillers are more likely to burn themselves. Remember that fire is dangerous regardless of the weather. 

Prepare to remain on-site

There are far worse grilling disasters than a wet day, so be prepared to use your grill regardless of the weather. Unattended grills can create catastrophic flames if left unattended. Maintain vigilance and cover your grill’s lid.

Make sure to keep food dry while transporting it to the dining area

Rain can make your food soggy, causing it to lose heat and flavor. When you have to barbecue, here are several techniques to keep your food safe from the rain:

Tinfoil-wrap the food

Tinfoil insulates heat while also protecting against the weather. Wrapping veggies in tinfoil to cook them and then leaving them in the wrap to carry to the table is a good idea. When it comes to meats, set them on a dish and cover them with a piece of tin foil to keep them warm and ready for dinner once they’ve been cooked.

Have a food transport team set up

If the distance between your grill and the table is significant, have two persons work as the food transport team. One member will be in charge of carrying the food plates, while the other will protect them with an umbrella. This will relieve a single person of the duty of transporting the food and keeping it dry, resulting in a more effective and efficient method.

You’ll be a better cook if you prepare for rain

Rain is unavoidable if you like to grill and smoke outside. Preparation can go a long way!  Doing so holds a higher chance for success. Here are some suggestions for grilling on a wet day:

  • Use additional charcoal and start your fire earlier.
  • Prepare for rain from above and wind from the side by building a shelter.
  • As much as possible, keep the lid closed.
  • Reduce the time you spend standing in the rain using a remote thermometer.
  • Keep a watch on gas burners to ensure they don’t go out unexpectedly.
  • Use the reverse-searing procedure to prepare the meat.
  • Wrap vegetables in foil and grill them all at once. They’ll keep heat and moisture in.

Things to NOT do

Grilling in your garage is never a good idea. It will quickly fill up with smoke, which could enter the house. On the other hand, smoke contains carbon monoxide and other poisonous substances that might kill you.

Not to mention that you have a fire in your garage, where you most likely have a lawnmower and an extra gas tank with some gas left. All it takes is one spark from popping coal to ruin your life.

As I previously stated, don’t put it there if the garage door, overhang, or tarp is less than 6 feet taller than the grill. It’s best if it doesn’t pour directly on the meal or the coals. Rain will not only soak the meal and cool the coals but also project ash all over your food due to the wind and heavy drips.


Before you start grilling, follow all the safety measures, regardless of the type of grill equipment you use. Remove any flammable things from near your grill, and make sure there are no open flames or lighted cigarettes in the area where you’ll be cooking.

Above all, stay careful, and remember that it’s always better to be cautious than sorry when it comes to situations like this. Happy grilling!