Can You Smoke Meat in the Rain?


gloomy grey rain
gloomy grey rain

Weather is unpredictable, unrelenting at times, and can certainly ruin a good backyard barbeque. It is no secret that rain can put a damper on even the best of garden parties, but when smoking, can rain cause your meat to suffer as well? 

Can you smoke meat in the rain? As long as the fire stays lit and the temperature does not vary too drastically, you can absolutely smoke meat in the rain. Make sure that your smoker is shut tight and you should have no problems. However, if the rain is too cold, it could prolong the cooking time due to temperature changes. 

If you look outside and see a complete downpour right before you start smoking, fear not. There are plenty of ways to make smoking in the rain manageable as long as you are willing to get a little wet in the process. Continue reading to learn how to smoke in the rain, the different ways to make smoking in nasty weather easier, and the kind of weather that can really make smoking tough. 

How to Smoke Meat in the Rain  

Weather can wreak absolute havoc on a meat smoking session. If you have ever smoked meat before, then you know that even the slightest gust of wind can take your smoker down fifty degrees. Now that may seem like no biggie, but smoking takes time and that includes getting your smoker up to the right temperatures. Wind can be an issue, but extreme cold can also cause your smoker to go off the rails. 

You know that wind and cool temps can cause your smoking session to be a bit bumpy, but what about rain? You would think that rain would be the end of your smoking pit dreams, however, this product of mother nature is not as hampering as some might believe. What is so great about smokers is that they are super insulated – you are trying to keep smoke in, not out, after all! This works in your favor when it is raining and you still need a brisket to do its thing. 

So, how do you smoke meat in the rain? To do this, you will light your smoker and shield the flame from incoming weather (wind, rain, etc.) via the smoker door or by adding additional protection. Then, minimize the number of times that you open the smoker to check your meat by using an external meat thermometer or another option that can extend outside of the smoker.

If you are experiencing a light or even medium rain, you first want to get your smoker lit. Since you are not dealing with an open flame, this is easy as pie. Simply get out to your smoker, get it heated, and let the smoke roll. If you are worried about this step because there may be wind accompanying the rain, simply grab an umbrella and shield your smoker in the direction in which the weather is coming from. A quick solution that could save you a bit of trouble! 

Rain is not a huge issue for your smoker, however, the amount of rain and rate of downpour that comes down is something to consider. Your smoker will do just fine with a light rain or even steady drizzle, but if you are experiencing some seriously drenching rain, this can throw off the maintained heat of your smoker and thus cause your dish to cook unevenly. If you see that your yard is flooding or your plants are starting to drown, your smoking session should end. 

3 Ways to Make Smoking in the Rain Easier 

Rain may not be a huge issue for smoking, but for those who want to ensure that smoking in the rain will give them no issues at all, there are some options out there to make this situation a bit easier. Your smoker may do just fine, but there are few people out there who want to spend their afternoon darting in and out of the rain while getting soaked as they see how their meats have progressed – talk about a bad hair day! 

A few options for making smoking in the rain easier include: 

  1. Use a Smoking Canopy 
  2. Use a Smoking Gazebo 
  3. Find an Area Around Your Home 

Smoking Canopy

Something that is relatively low cost and very easy to set up is a smoking canopy. There are so many different types of styles and sizes that can fit any area in your yard or on your porch. What is so great about a smoking canopy is that they will get the job done of protecting you and your smoker from the rain, but do not require a ton of upkeep and can be taken down for each different use if you don’t want it to stay up permanently. 

These are also safe to use as there are at least two walls open with most models that allow for proper ventilation when your smoker is going. No worries about smoking yourself out or anyone else with you under the canopy. You also avoid any sort of fire caused by improper ventilation. These little guys are cost effective, easy to set up, no problem to take down, and are safe as can be. All your rain avoiding needs can be met with this smart protectant.  

BBQ Gazebo 

If you are looking for something more long-term to house your smoker and keep it out of the rain, a smoking gazebo can be a really nice option that is a bit more aesthetically pleasing. This might sound like a lot of work and money, however, this area of smoking covers offers quite a bit of versatility. There are actually gazebo options that are metal rather than wood, which will typically last a bit longer and weather better when exposed to the elements. 

These metal options are relatively easy to assemble but are big enough to create a nice area for hanging out on those rainy days. If you would like a structure that has a bit more girth to it, there are plenty of wooden options out there that will fit the style you are looking for, the width and height you would like for your particular area, and range in price to fit the budget you are working with. You can go from basic to ornate with a wooden structure, so dream away! 

Find an Area Around Your Home 

This may seem like an obvious option, but many times we need ideas from others to see something we are missing. There is likely at least one area around your home that you can shield your smoker from the rain with, and this spot does not need to have a massive amount of cover. Look for spots that will give your smoker even just a bit of shielding like underneath a part of the house that has an extended roof, under a tall tree, or under a small covered porch. 

The biggest thing to remember with this is that your smoker needs ample ventilation. If there is plenty of room for ample air to flow in and out, then you are in a safe space to smoke. Never put your smoker in your garage or in an enclosed area, as there is no open airflow and this can lead to smoking out that room or even a fire. Although it may seem tempting to just move it to the garage for one use, it will only end in crazy amounts of smoke and coughing. 

What Kind of Weather Really Affects Your Smoking?

Rain is not that big of an issue when it comes to open smoking, however, snow can be a totally separate problem. Your smoker is well protected from rain in its design, as rain, if not too heavy, will not get into the smoker itself. However, when you have something as cold as snow continually hitting your smoker and potentially building up, the temperate change on the outside of the smoker can affect the temperature within. 

This change of temperature can cause the smoker’s internal temperature to drop and thus decrease and increase at dramatic rates causing your meat to cook very unevenly. Temperature control is one of the biggest aspects in ensuring that all your meats are properly cooked and snow can be a major problem in this area. If it is snowing and looks like it will be for the remainder of your smoking session, it is best that you find cover. 

If you cannot find cover, it would be wise to move your smoking plans to a day where the forecast does not include snow. I know this can be a major mood kill, but better to have a perfectly cooked piece of meat rather than one that has to be tossed due to poor smoking conditions. 

William Johnson

Will has loved smoking food in his free time for the last few years. Each major holiday or off-weekend, Will spends days testing and prepping new recipes for perfection.

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