Not every holiday or backyard gathering presents the perfect weather for barbecue. You will have to deal with rain, wind, and cold, but don’t let that get between you and your smoker.
For all the harsh weather conditions: rain, wind, and cold, here are a few key tips to help you keep a consistent temperature and that beautiful thin smoke rolling — no matter the weather.
Smoking meat in the rain isn’t as difficult as you might think. Whether it’s a charcoal, gas, or pellet smoker, the goal is to insulate the meat from the outside and circulate the smoke within. But, no matter how much rain there is, I would always try to set it up under a cover, sheltered from the direct rain.
Smokers are specifically designed to keep the smoke inside the structure–which means that they keep everything else out, including rain and wind. Since you’re not dealing with an open flame, you WILL be able to light up your smoker but you’ll just need to take a few extra precautions.
If it’s really bucketing down, you might have to reconsider, unless you can smoke from under cover, otherwise consider firing up the indoor smoker instead. Some people will use a smoker in your garage with ventilation, but this is highly risky and we would advise against it.
If you’re in doubt, cooking undercover is the best option. You can use a porch, roof or canopy to cover your smoker and prevent the rain from ruining your barbecue. This makes it easier to light the fire, load up the smoker and check on your meat without potentially exposing your grill to the water. It’s also vitally important if you’re using a pellet grill, as you don’t want any moisture getting into your pellet hopper otherwise it can cause issues.
You can get an affordable canopy at your local hardware store, or easily online.
The MasterCanopy Grill Gazebo offers a convenient, attractive way to shield your smoker from the rain. Simply construct the gazebo over your smoker if there’s a chance of rain in the weather forecast. This canopy is made from sturdy polyester that you can easily wipe down if it gets dirty. The MasterCanopy Grill Gazebo also has LED lights that allow you to cook when it gets dark, which is amazing for those early morning starts.
Tips On How To Smoke Meat In The Rain
- Always find the most sheltered location, preferable under cover of direct rain.
- Open the grill as scarcely as possible, you don’t want any rain or extra moisture causing issues with the temperature or smoke.
- Utilize your temperature probes to check internal temperatures instead of opening the hood and using an instant read thermometer.
- If your smoker gets too wet, don’t panic. Water damage is almost always reversible with a good clean-out, but you might need to move your meat into the oven to finish it off!
Can You Smoke Meat In The Wind?
When it comes to keeping the temperature consistent, wind is your enemy, and can easily cause more trouble than rain. Although this is frustrating, you CAN smoke meat in the wind. So long as you take every precaution to keep your smoker, and the flame, out of the direct flow of the wind.
The wind can have various effects on the temperature depending on what type of smoker you are using. If you’re using a kettle smoker, you’re going to lose a lot more heat as the wind flows over the bowl and hood. If it’s shooting in the vent’s it may even stoke the fire which can also raise the temperature.
Other smokers are a lot more insulated, such as a quality made pellet grill, electric smoker, or a ceramic kamado-style cooker. Depending on the strength of the wind you may not have any effect with these smokers.
No matter what you’re using, to protect your smoker and keep the temperature as consistent as possible, try to place it in a shielded area like in a porch, garage, or ducking around a corner. Always monitor the temperature. If the wind is affecting it too much, you may need to reconsider your options.
How To Smoke Meat In The Wind
When smoking meat in the wind, focus as much as possible on minimizing temperature fluctuations. You can do this by following a few easy steps:
- Always place your smoker out of direct contact of the wind, ideally sheltered in a porch, veranda, garage, or tucked around a corner.
- Monitor your temperature more closely, just to be sure it’s not fluctuating too wildly.
- If you’re using a horizontal smoker, like an offset smoker or pellet grill, always line up the wind direction with the direction of the smoke. It’s much easier to control the vents and the temperature this way and it won’t mess with the smoking process.
- The more insulated your smoker is, the less the wind will affect the temperature. If you live in a notoriously windy area it could be a good investment to get your hands on more insulated smoker.
Can You Smoke Meat In The Cold?
Barbecue is a lifestyle, and I’ll be damned if I’ll let cold weather get in the way. You absolutely can smoke meat in the cold and there are some easy steps you can follow to keep the heat in, and the cold out.
When you start off, the temperature of your smoke will start lower, so you’ll need some extra heat for things to really get going and up to temp. The cold weather will also naturally draw more heat from your smoker. This means you will have to use more fuel to keep the temperature consistent.
For instance, if you’re using the charcoal snake method, you’ll want to add extra width to your snake, even if it’s only one or two charcoal briquettes wider. If you’re using a pellet grill, then your auger will just pull more wood into the burner to keep the temperature up, so make sure to stock up your hopper!
Although some smokers come heavily insulated already, if you’re having any issues you can always look to see if your grill brand supplies a thermal blanket. This helps by adding a thick layer between your grill and the cold air.
So, the outside temperature does affect smoking meat, but it’s a battle you can win so long as you are prepared.
Tips For Smoking Meat In Cold Weather
- Cold temperatures can also be accompanied by harsh winds, rain, or snow. So, at all times it’s always worthwhile to smoke in a sheltered or covered location.
- The cold weather draws out more heat from the smoker, so you’ll have to be prepared to use more fuel, whether you’re smoking with charcoal briquettes, lump charcoal, wood, or wood pellets.
- If you do a lot of cold-weather smoking, you could always invest in a specifically insulated smoker. Although there are a few different styles that are particularly insulated, a ceramic kamado style cooker is probably the most reliable. The Kamado Joe Jr. Charcoal Grill comes to mind.
Conclusion: Smoke No Matter The Weather
No matter the weather if you keep your smoker sheltered or under cover you’ll be laughing no matter the weather. Keep your smoker out of direct rain, tucked out of the wind, and keep your temperature consistent. Smoking against the rain, wind, or cold, is frustrating but it’s a battle we can win.