Grillin’ in the Rain
April 7, 2014
It’s officially Spring and that means a ton of seasonal rain showers. But do you think a little rain is going to keep a serious outdoor cook from firing up the grill? HECK NO! If postal workers can get the mail delivered in any weather, then we can surely turn out some mouthwatering grilled dishes. Here are a few quick tips to help get the job done despite the weather.
Bring the heat
Rain doesn’t only mean soggy pants and shoes, it also means that the temperature of your grill will drop as quickly as the rain itself. In addition to adding a little extra fuel to the fire in the form of a couple handfuls of extra charcoal briquets, try to minimize the number of times you open and close the grill as significant heat will escape every time the lid is removed.
Duck for cover
Unless you’re a pro at managing an umbrella, a set of tongs and the grill lid with only two hands, finding a more permanent form of cover can make grilling in the rain a whole lot more effective and efficient. A patio umbrella with a weighted base (the kind that usually come with your patio set) or a fire resistant pop-up canopy are perfect sources of protection from the rain, ensuring you and your grill stay as dry as possible.
Where there’s rain, there’s usually wind. Just like snow or rain hitting the grill, large gusts of wind can cause extreme drops in grill temperature so consider investing in a couple pieces of plywood that can easily be fashioned in to a windbreak. Also bear in mind that if you are using a pop-up canopy as shelter from the rain, the wind can easily set it sailing so invest in four five gallon plastic paint buckets that can be filled with water and racket strapped to the corners of the canopy.
Don’t be so direct
As previously noted, rain and wind can have dramatic affects on the temperature of your grill, meaning that getting the perfect sear on a steak is much more difficult during rough weather. When preparing to grill in the rain, consider cuts of meat that are well suited for lower and slower indirect grilling such as a rack of ribs or a chuck roast or a long simmering dish like gumbo or chili. Not only do these allow you to stay warm and dry inside as they cook, the elimination of the constant opening and closing of the grill that is required when flipping chicken or burgers also helps maintain a constant internal grill temperature.
It’s a Temp Job
Once you’ve got your grill up to temperature, a nice rain proof cover and wind break in place, and your low-and-slow dish cooking away, consider investing in a quality dual probe thermometer such as this one offered by Thermoworks that will allow you to not only keep an eye on the internal temperature of your meat as well as the correct temperature of the grill without opening the lid.
- Clint Cantwell, Grilling.com Editor