Grilling In The Rain (Safety Tips & Rust Prevention)

 It can be disappointing to see clouds darken and the weather turns gloomy on your much-awaited backyard barbecue day.

Or even worse, rain suddenly pours without warning as just as you’ve fired up the grill. Rather than cancel the festivities, you may be asking — Can I grill in the rain?

 Thankfully, the answer is yes! While you may need to adjust, there’s no reason to let the rain ruin your outdoor cooking plans.

 In this article, you’ll learn about important safety tips when using the grill in the rain, ways to prevent rust, and what happens if your grill gets wet.

Can You Grill in the Rain? 

Rainy weather may not be ideal, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy grilling in the rain. It would be best if you made certain adjustments regarding your safety and comfort. This can help you cook delicious food — just as you would if the weather was hot and sunny.   

Regardless if you’re a beginner griller or a bonafide grilling master, here are important things to consider as you grill in the rain. 

Proper Grilling Attire 

Grilling while its raining will not be the most comfortable experience. It can also expose you to potential safety hazards, especially with strong winds and heavy rain. 

Therefore, wearing the proper attire for grilling in the rain is important. This includes a waterproof jacket or coat and non-slip shoes. This is so you won’t get sick from the rain or have accidents such as slipping on wet ground. 

Having someone assist while cooking in inclement weather may also be convenient. This person can hold an umbrella that protects you from the rain and your grill and food. 

Temperature and Cooking Times

When it rains, it also brings about cold weather conditions. This means that the lower the temperature, the longer the grill time you will need. 

First, preheating your charcoal or propane grill will take longer. You may need to add more charcoal briquettes or wood pellets for charcoal grills. Ensure they also don’t get wet, as wet charcoal absorbs moisture, making them impossible to light. You may need to crank the gas for propane grills to increase the heat. 

To account for the longer cooking times, it’s best to fire up the grill earlier than usual. This is so you can still serve your food to family and friends on time. 

Minimize Exposure to the Rain

For your safety and comfort, there are ways to avoid grilling in the rain for longer than you need to. 

First, you can use a wireless remote thermometer. Once the food is on the grill, you can temporarily leave the grill unattended. However, you’re still monitoring the cooking process from the comfort and safety of your living room or dining area. 

This also means keeping the lid closed, ensuring better heat retention, and preventing the food inside from getting wet.   

However, if you’re cooking in high heat, you may still need to go back and forth to check on the grill. 

Consider most of the cooking inside the house for more efficient use of the grill in the rain. You can pre-cook your meats and veggies in your oven and wrap them in aluminum foil to ensure that even cooking keeps food moist and juicy. 

After, you can sear them on the grill. So even if you did most of the cooking indoors, finishing it on the grill will still give that delicious, smoky flavor. Even better, you didn’t spend all afternoon getting soaked in the rain. 

Can You Use a Gas Grill in the Rain? 

A charcoal grill, pellet grill, propane grill, or gas grill can all be used in the rain.

Since they are designed for outdoor use, manufacturers use durable materials such as stainless steel to ensure that grills can withstand natural elements such as UV rays and rain. For you, this means that you can enjoy using your gas grill all year round. 

However, the same cannot be said for using electric grills in the rain. This is because you need to connect to a power source to heat an electric grill. 

As we all know, electricity and water do not mix and can create a hazardous situation for everyone in your home. If the outlet or cord becomes wet, it can cause an electrical shock that can be fatal. 

So while using an electric grill can have many advantages, the safest way is to unplug and keep them in storage during rainy and inclement weather. 

It’s much better to use a propane gas grill. However, remember that you must still protect the propane tank from the rain. Cold weather might cause the gas tank to lose pressure, while rain exposure may cause the bottom to rust.   

Should I Cover My Outdoor Grill in the Rain? 

Having a permanent covered grilling station is the best solution for grilling in the rain. A pergola or gazebo will cover your outdoor grill from the rain. However, not everyone has space in their backyard for such a structure. 

An alternative would be to place a tarp awning or overhang on your patio. This still provides enough coverage when using your grill in the rain. Make sure to have at least 6 feet distance between the surface of the grill and your awning. This is to avoid inhaling carbon monoxide released by most BBQ grills. 

While your garage may seem like a good place for grilling during a rainy day, we strongly discourage using the grill indoors. Leaving the garage door open for ventilation is not enough.

This is because most garages are connected to the house. So there’s a high chance that carbon monoxide gas escapes into the house and increases the risk of poisoning. 

You can make do with a handy umbrella if a permanent or temporary structure is not doable. Just make sure to keep the lid closed while cooking to maintain the internal grill temperature. This is especially useful for those interested in low and slow cooking

Apart from overhead protection from the rain, you can also set up a tarp sideways during windy weather. This is so your food won’t fly every way during strong winds.   

Ensuring your grill is covered during bad weather is important, even when unused. Grill covers prevent rust and any other potential damage that may arise during extreme weather conditions. 

What Happens if a Gas Grill Gets Wet? 

As a responsible grill owner, protecting your grill from rusting is vital to protect your grill from rusting. So that even if your grill gets wet during unexpected rain showers, you’ll know how to prevent damage and extend the longevity of your outdoor grill. 

After enjoying outdoor grilling in the rain, take some time to inspect your grill for any damage that the rain may have caused.

Do not immediately put on the grill cover, as leftover moisture can cause metal components to rust and become discolored. It can also lead to mold and mildew growth, a serious health hazard. 

When making a wet grill dry, first, you can ensure it has been completely turned off. This prevents liquid gas from contacting the ignition source, which can create a fire hazard. 

Take apart all the removable components and let them dry. This is also an excellent opportunity to clean the grill and prepare for the next backyard barbecue.

You can first submerge the grill grates in warm, soapy water, then brush them before letting them dry. You can use a paper towel or dry cloth to clean leftover residue near the burners.  

 Once all the components have dried, you can safely store your outdoor grill without the risk of rust buildup. 

These added steps might seem cumbersome, especially after a tiring day on the grill station. And while your grill may survive one or two rain showers, keep in mind that rust and other damage will eventually show.

So if you’ve invested in the best outdoor grill, it’s only right to invest in these rust prevention strategies to help maintain its looks and functionality. 

Can I Use An Electric Grill in the Rain?

The obvious answer for many is no because electrical appliances can’t get wet. However, you can use your electric grill in the rain with caution!

You can avoid accidents by ensuring the power cord is safely covered or not completely exposed to the rain. Like other wet grills, you have to dry the electric grill after you use it thoroughly. And if you’re leaving the grill outdoors, you should definitely use a grill cover.

Also, check if there are no exposed wires or frayed cables. You may not notice this right off the bat, so it’s worth the extra look before grilling when it’s wet outside.

What’s the Best Grill to Use in the Rain?

If you live in an area where it always rains, or it just happens to be the rainy season, but you want to fire up your grill, choosing the grill to use in the rain can be tricky.

However, the best overall is a gas grill or propane grill. To begin with, propane tanks are not recommended to be used indoors. And since it’s covered, the heat source will be protected from the rain.

The next best grill to use is a charcoal grill. This goes with saying that if you use a charcoal grill in the rain, it’s best to place it under an umbrella or any cover. Coal will eventually die when wet.

Traeger grills and pellet grills can also be used in the rain if you want to smoke meat. The pellets that power the grill as put in a storage box, so these won’t get wet easily.

But these grills are often electric-powered. Hence, it is best to power them safely by ensuring the main electrical cord is not exposed to rain. If you plan to use an extension cord, ensure it doesn’t get wet, too.

Do note that when you grill in the rain, it will take longer cooking the food inside because the external temperature is cooler. At the same time, you have to keep the lid closed to maintain the internal temperature.

How to Safely Grill in the Rain

 Knowing that you can use the grill in the rain is not enough. That’s why we’ve included safety tips to make the less-than-ideal conditions safer and more comfortable for you.

You’re also now aware of the importance of rust-prevention strategies in maintaining the appearance and functionality of your outdoor grill.

With all these valuable tips combined, light rain will never derail your weekend barbecue plans forward.

You may even find that grilling in the rain can enhance the juiciness and smokiness of your food — from simple hot dogs to filet mignon. As such, using the grill in the rain can offer a different — albeit still fun — experience. 

Remember that if weather conditions turn worse or more extreme, it’s always best to err on the side of caution. Seek safety indoors, and don’t feel bad about rescheduling your outdoor barbecue.

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