We're certain food smokers are eager to know if they can you smoke meat in the rain. The answer is, yes, you can!
While sunny days make perfect smoking sessions, weather conditions can be uncertain. Some think it may not be worth the time smoking in the rain. But don't call it off yet. To guarantee good smoke even in bad weather, read on to find out.
How Does Rain Affect Smoking Meat?
Smoking food brings out the best of its flavors, especially with meats. No wonder we've seen an increasing interest in it!
However, the ideal meat smoking session would not involve rain. Easier than you might think, there are just a few factors to be extra keen on to be able to smoke meat well:
It follows that the temperature drops when rain occurs. This can affect your smoker's temperature in a bad way. Cold temperatures would mean taking longer cooking times.
Make sure to secure the lid of your smokers properly. Smoking food needs constant temperature. If cooking takes longer than expected, it is best to manage guests' hunger.
If it is only light rain, there is no need to move your whole smoking or grilling set-up. Take cover under the shade of a patio umbrella. That should do the trick!
But if it starts pouring hard and an electric smoker is in use, we advise taking the electric smoker under something with much bigger coverage. Look out for exposed electrical cords.
Heavy rain and electricity sound like a call for disaster if not careful enough. This is a risk of electrocution and even ruining your electric smokers.
Those who wonder if you can smoke meat in the rain have also thought whether it's possible to smoke meat in the wind or not. The latter is more difficult to deal with.
This is because cool wind tends to lower the internal heat of your smoker. Again, increasing the cooking duration of food.
But if the wind blows directly towards the air vents of your grill or smoker, this increases its heat. It is like waving a fan to build up a fire inside the smoker's cooking chamber. If the temperature gets too high, one could risk burning and goodbye to great food!
How to Smoke When It’s Raining?
Think about how much rain to expect and match it with the size of the shade required. The bigger the shade, the better. Here are three of our suggestions:
#1: Find a Covered Area
There is ample space in anybody's home to shield from rain and wind. We recommend positioning under an extended roof, shaded porch, covered patio, or underneath a tall tree.
Also, consider ventilation. Yes, smoking indoors, like in a garage, will cover but not allow air to flow. It could cause suffocation or even risk fire.
#2: Smoking Canopy
A smoking canopy is a convenient and low-cost option for cooking undercover. There are a lot of styles and sizes to choose from, and they could suit any porch in your home.
Smoking canopies are great at protecting the smoker from rainy days and providing proper ventilation. They're easy to install and take down too.
#3: Smoking Gazebo
If your lifestyle involves smoking meats regularly, we suggest putting some cash in a BBQ gazebo. These gazebos are usually made of metal and thus are perfect for long-term use.
They don't easily break when exposed to rain and other elements. And, of course, they do a good job at protecting smokers and guests from rainy weather.
Tips on Smoking Meat in the Rain
The ultimate goal is to get the right temperature for a perfectly cooked piece of smoked meat! Check out these tips:
Tip #1: Use a Probe Thermometer
A good probe thermometer tells an accurate reading of the meat's internal temperatures. The meat should be cooked up to food standards for safe consumption.
Insert the probe thermometer into the thickest part of the meats. With wind involved, make sure not to overcook.
Tip #2: Open the Grill Less Frequently
We now know that it is inevitable that rain will cause a delay in the smoking process. So please be patient.
Only open the grill when needed to avoid moisture and low heat problems. If rain is accompanied by wind, close the lid at all times.
Once the smoker is lit, we want to keep smoke inside its chamber for better cooking time. This should be easier than if it were on an open-flame grill.
Tip #3: Find an Area That's Away from Direct Rain
If the smoker gets wet with rain, that's fine. A good wipe should be good. But if the meats get wet, you might as well finish the cooking in the oven.
Water leaking in the smoking meats is a big no-no! This can ruin the quality of your smoked meats. So stay in the shade!
Tip #4: Prepare the Best Cuts Earlier
Choose cuts with more connective tissues so the meat stays tender even with longer cooking times. It would be a shame to spend hours smoking only to get dry and chewy meats.
Tip #5: Season Meat With Milder Flavor
A milder flavor profile works better when we expect the temperature to fluctuate. An intense flavor can spoil the overall taste of the meat due to the longer period it cooks.
Can You Use a Smoker in the Wind?
Although keeping a consistent desired temperature is key to a good smoke, it is possible to smoke food in the wind. But it will require more precaution.
Whether it is an electric smoker, pellet smoker, or an insulated smoker in use, keep its vents out of the direct flow of the wind.
How to Cook With a Smoker in the Wind
When the wind is the enemy, the goal is to keep temperature fluctuations minimum. Keep the smoker away from the wind.
We suggest placing it around a corner or on a porch where the wind is out of the way of the fire.
Coordinate the wind direction  with the direction of the smoke. Especially if you are using a horizontal smoker, whether it is a pellet grill, offset smoker, or an electric smoker, so it's easier to control the vents. Insulated smokers will keep the smoke within their chambers better.
Lastly, check the temperatures from time to time, ensuring they are not all over the place.
Can You Use a Smoker in the Cold or During Winter?
Yes, you can, but temperature control can be difficult. Most smokers are designed to withstand rain.
However, snow may be too cold and heavy and can greatly change the internal temperature of the smoker. The sudden and constant changes in heat will cause the meats to cook unevenly.
As much as possible, take cover. Otherwise, move your smoking plans to a day with a better forecast.
How to Cook With a Smoker in the Cold or Winter
Stock up on fuel. The cold weather brings out more heat from the smoker, thus needing more fuel, wood, charcoal, and wood pellets to keep the fire lit for hours.
Invest in insulated smokers. Those made with ceramic are great at retaining your smoker's internal temperature throughout your smoke.
It doesn't always have to be bright and sunny to have a smoking session. You should enjoy smoking as long as the smoker is sheltered from direct rain, wind, snow, and consistent temperature!
Remember all the tips we've shown you, make use of some extra fuel, or even invest in an insulated smoker, and the battle with smoking in any weather can be won.