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While a lot of people would think twice about smoking meat in the rain or bad weather, there are a few dedicated pit masters that will not let the weather change their plans. Living here in Northern California, our winters consist of a lot of cold and rainy days.
My love for smoked BBQ and my unwillingness to wait until summer forced me to tackle the weather and smoke in the cold rain. But even in the cold rain, I am able to put out great tasting meat.
Can You Smoke Meat In The Rain?
Yes, you can smoke meat in the rain. Rain can make it difficult to maintain a constant temperature, however, by being diligent, making adjustments to the heat source and taking steps to prevent heat loss, smoking in the rain can be just as easy as smoking on a sunny day.
While smoking meat in the rain may seem like daunting task, fortunately for you there are a lot of different ways you can counteract the effects of rain allowing you to carry on with your smoking plans!
How To Smoke Meat in The Rain
Smoking meat in the rain is really all about how well you can control your temperature; therefore, it is essential that you understand how your smoker works and the effect that rain, snow, and other weather has on your smoker.
Much like how your body cools itself when it gets too hot through the production of sweat, when rain hits the outside of your smoker it will drop the internal temperature. I will not bore you with the science behind this process in this post, so to keep it simple, all you need to know is that rain will decrease the internal temperature of your smoker.
The more rain that hits the surface of your smoker the more heat it will lose. Likewise, the less rain that touches the outside of your smoker the less heat it will lose. Opening your vents to allow for more heat will counter this cooling effect.
Unfortunately for us, rain can be very inconsistent. It might be pouring one minute and the next just a light drizzle thus you will have to be diligent about adjusting your vents.
This past weekend I battled with varying levels of rain my entire 10-hour smoke. A heavy patch of rain would come through and would start to bring my smoker temps down. I had to open my vents to raise the smoker temps back up. Then the rain would lighten up a bit and you could see my smoker’s temperature start to rise above my desired temp, so I had to close my vents a little to prevent my smoker from getting too hot.
This was a constant back and forth battle that required me to closely monitor my smoker’s temps but in the end my pork butt turned out wonderful.
Now while smoking meat in the rain does require more work to maintain a constant temperature, it does not have to be hard. By using a bluetooth BBQ thermometer, you can monitor you smoker’s temperature from your phone and even set alerts when the temperature drops below or above a set temperature.
I would highly recommend one of these to any smoker but especially those who want to smoke meat in the rain. It really does make monitoring your temperatures extremely easy and is well worth the money. Plus, it keeps you out of the rain more!
Additionally, using the methods below to create shelter for your smoker will make it that much easier to smoke meat in the rain.
How To Make Smoking Meat in The Rain Easier?
As I mentioned earlier in this post, smoking meat successfully in the rain requires you being able to maintain your smoker’s temps. The easiest way to do this in poor weather is create shelter for your smoker protecting it from the elements.
*Never use your smoker indoors or in your garage as this is extremely dangerous and potentially life threatening. Not only does your smoker release carbon dioxide, but using a smoker indoors is a fire hazard. Use the below methods instead to create shelter for your smoker.
The best way but also not the most practical way to protect your smoker from the elements, is by putting in a permanent shelter. This offers the best protection from the rain and other elements.
Some of the most common permanent structures include:
- Awning/retractable awning
- Smoker hut/ gazebo
- Patio cover
Again, if you choose to use one of these methods make sure there is proper ventilation. Never smoke in an enclosed space.
While these methods can be expensive, if you are handy, it would be easy to build a small shelter for your smoker. Creating a wood insulated box to sit your smoker in can be an affordable way to offer up some weather protection.
If you cannot or do not want to permanently install a shelter for your smoker, then next best thing would be to use a temporary shelter. Something that will keep the rain and wind off your smoker.
Some of the most common temporary shelters include:
- EZ up tent
The last time I smoked in the rain, I draped a tarp 5 feet above the smoker to direct water away. By keeping the water off my smoker, I had a much easier time maintaining my desired temperature.
Smoking Meat In The Rain Without Shelter?
While having a shelter would make smoking meat in the rain much easier there are a few other options out there.
Finishing in the oven:
Meat can only take on so much smoke before becoming bitter. Likewise, many people choose to wrap their meat once it has reached the stall. Either way once the meat Is done taking on the smoke flavor, you can transfer the meat to the oven (provided your oven will bake low enough) to finish cooking. This is truly a set it and forget it method.
An extremely effective way to smoke in poor weather, is to use a smoker blanket. These heavy duty coats can withstand high temperatures and add a layer of insulation to you smoker. This helps keep the elements out and the heat in.
A cheaper alternative to the smoker blanket is to drape a welding blanket over your smoker. Like smoker blankets, welding blankets can withstand high heat and help add a layer of insulation to your smoker.
If you really want to not worry about keeping your temp’s constant, then you should invest in a blower system. These systems hook up to your smoker’s vent and controls the air flow automatically to hold a constant temperature. Just make sure there is enough fuel to keep the fire going.
Does Smoking In The Rain Use More Fuel?
Smoking meat in the rain, snow, or windy conditions will use more fuel than normal. These weather conditions are going to take more heat away from you smoker causing you to burn through more fuel. You might have to add more fuel to keep the fire going later in your smoke.
Does Smoking In The Rain Take Longer?
Yes, smoking in poor weather conditions can prolong your cook. If your temperature is drastically changing due to the weather conditions, it can take longer for your meat to reach the desired temperature; however, if you are able to keep your temperature fairly constant using any of the methods above, you shouldn’t see much change in the cooking times.
Do not let smoking in the rain deter you from making and awesome meal. Try to reduce the effects of the rain and wind using any of the methods mentioned above and be diligent in checking your temperatures and your meat will turn out just as good as any other smoke. Best of luck!