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Can You Leave a Smoker in the Rain?

can you leave a smoker in the rain

Part of what makes the summer season so enjoyable is getting to cook a meal outdoors. When you eat your first meal cooked on a smoker, it’s extra enjoyable because you know that summer is officially here. However, a lot of people wonder if they can leave a smoker in the rain.

Smokers are designed so they can withstand being left in light rain or even handle a water spill. If they are left out in light rain for a short period there shouldn’t be an issue, but smokers aren’t waterproof. When smokers are exposed to heavy amounts of water they become at risk of malfunctioning. 

Once you’re aware that heavy rain could lead to damage you can take the steps to prevent it from occurring. An unexpected rain shower doesn’t mean you have to cancel your barbeque plans. It just means you need to take extra steps to keep the smoker safe. Keep reading to learn more about how to keep your smoker safe in rain.

Can You Use Electric Smokers In The Rain?

Electricity and water have never been friends, which is why you shouldn’t use an electric smoker in the rain. This could be very dangerous because the smoker depends on its electric cord to be connected to a wall outlet. You don’t want to get any water in the electrical outlet, or else there will be problems.

If you are determined to still use a smoker in the rain, it’s a better idea to invest in a charcoal grill or an offset smoker. There won’t be as great of a risk as there is with electric smokers. However, it’s important to remember that the rain will affect the smoker’s temperature. You’ll have to take extra steps to make sure your cooking isn’t affected.

How Do I Protect My Smoker From Rain?

One of the main reasons you will want to protect the smoker from rain is because rain can lead to rusting. When the smoker is exposed to heavier amounts of moisture it is at risk of more rust. To avoid this you should use a good quality cover for your smoker.

Since moisture also affects the cooking temperature, using a cover to prevent it will keep your smoker at the ideal temperature. It’s important to invest in a high-quality cover because just the smallest drop of water can offset the temperature of a smoker.

How Do You Keep a Smoker Dry?

You should always have a cover for your smoker to protect it from rain, but it doesn’t hurt to take extra steps to keep a smoker dry. One very easy way to keep a smoker dry is to use a patio umbrella. If you have an old patio umbrella, it can be used to help shield the smoker from rain. Just make sure the umbrella has a sturdy base.

Some people even use canopies or pop-up tent shelters as a means to keep the smoker dry when it’s raining. Before starting, you will want to make sure everything is set up properly and is sturdy in case a big gust of wind comes through. With the right size of canopy, you can still enjoy using a smoker in the rain.

We recommend covering your smoker with a heavy-duty waterproof outdoor cover like this one when it is not in use, especially if you live in an area that sees a lot of rain.

Don’t Get the Wood Chips or Charcoal Wet

Whatever you choose to use in your smoker should be dry or else you will have a lot of problems getting things started. This is because once wood chips or charcoal becomes wet, they are pretty much useless. Moisture and firestarters don’t get along well, which is why you should never store them outdoors or on your patio.

Many people have a separate room or closet that they are able to store wood chips or charcoal. It’s not a good idea to store them in a shed or covered patio because the moisture will still affect them. This is why it’s better to store them inside a house or garage. 

How to Use a Smoker When It’s Raining

Your biggest challenge when using a smoker in the rain is maintaining the right temperature. Even with a cover, this will be more work than on a nice sunny day. However, that smoked meat is definitely worth the trouble. 

When you’re using a smoker in the rain you will need to set it at maximum temperature. You will need to build a really hot right to protect the food from any raindrops or moisture. Most smokers can reach up to 1000 F. While that’s an intense temperature for cooking, it won’t actually be that high because the rain reduces the temperature. 

Keep the Lid Closed

You can set a smoker as high as it will go, but as soon as the moisture from the rain settles over it the temperature inside will start to decrease. It’s also important that the lid remains closed when it’s raining. The last thing you want when you’re cooking is to have raindrops hit burning wood chips or charcoal.

Use a Remote Thermometer

Investing in a remote thermometer for a smoker is essential. These thermometers are kept on the outside of the unit so you will always know what the internal temperature is without having to open the lid to see. With one of these thermometers, you can limit the number of times you need to open the lid.

Dry the Following Day

If you use a smoker when it rains, you’ll need to dry it off to prevent oxidation. However, you won’t want to dry it right away. If you try to dry off the smoker after you’ve eaten (or even a few hours after) it will still be too hot and you could get injured. To be safe, always leave this cleanup job for the next day.

Smokers can retain their heat for quite a long time, this is why it’s best to wait around 24 hours to dry it off. You can use either an old rag or paper towels to wipe down the interior and exterior of the smoker. This will help you dry up any lingering moisture and prevent oxidation.

Final Thoughts

There’s nothing to jolt a panic in you like realizing that it has started to rain and you’ve left your smoker outdoors. A little bit of water shouldn’t harm it, but just to be on the safe side it should be wiped down so the moisture doesn’t cause rusting.

If an unexpected rainfall hit when you were planning to use your smoker, you can still use it as long as you take proper steps to keep the smoker dry. You should never use your smoker in the rain if you don’t have a good quality cover for it. A cover is necessary to keep the smoker dry and help maintain its internal temperature. 

Those who like to use their smoker at every given opportunity can benefit from investing in an outdoor canopy to stay dry and covered while cooking. It’s important that you take every step you can to ensure your smoker stays dry if you plan to use it while raining. Even though it may be raining, you don’t have to cancel dinner. 

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