Whether you live in a notoriously wet area, or have a long-awaited event to which the rain wasn’t invited (but showed up anyway), you may wonder whether you can use your pellet grill in less-than-perfect conditions.
So, can you use a pellet grill in the rain?
If you’re confident that you can keep the electrical components and wood pellets dry and are willing to risk damaging your grill if things don’t go according to plan, then you’ll be glad to know that it is possible.
However, it’s still best to be aware of all the necessary information before trying this out!
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Using Pellet Grills In The Rain: Things To Consider
Is It Worth It?
A pellet grill can be an excellent investment. It’s high cost, but also high reward!
With many models exceeding a thousand dollars, most people purchasing a pellet grill plan to get a lot of use from it.
With this high price tag, making sure your pellet grill lasts for years to come is a priority. Therefore, risking damage to use it in the rain is a chance many may choose not to take.
Manuals and Warranty Conditions
It’s important to understand the specifications of your particular grill and the conditions of your warranty.
Some pellet grills may be better suited for rain due to the protection of the components from the elements.
As for the warranty: Some grills may not be covered for water damage, as most will discourage use in the rain. Most grills are expected to be used during sunny summer days, after all- not during a rainstorm!
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How To Safely Power Pellet Grills In The Rain
If you choose to use your pellet grill while it’s raining, please be sure to take steps to ensure you are safe.
First, only consider this for a light drizzle. For a full-on rainstorm, it’s best to give it a miss and try again another day.
It goes without saying that if there’s any chance of thunder or lightning, just forget it!
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Outdoor Rated Extension Cord
Electricity and water simply do not mix, and pellet grills require electricity to work. The most important thing is to always keep yourself safe.
Make sure the extension cord you use is an outdoor-rated model. This will have special insulation that protects it from water, sunlight, and temperature shifts.
How To Shelter Pellet Grills From Rain
Keeping the pellet grill out of direct rain is essential. This will protect it from rust, stop the rain from cooling the grill, protect the electrical components, and keep the pellets dry.
The following options will help you grill in the rain without damaging your grill:
Grill Under Shelter
If you have a covered deck or patio in the backyard- fantastic!
Set up your grill far under the cover. Consider where the wind is coming from, and use the walls to block as much as possible.
Make sure that the sheltered area is well-ventilated. Avoid using a space like a shed or anything with four walls and a ceiling.
While it may seem ideal for protection from the weather, carbon monoxide can be fatal if it does not disperse properly.
You may be able to use your garage with proper ventilation. Make sure the garage door is fully open, as well as any windows.
Set up the grill as close to the open door as possible, and ensure you are not close to any flammable materials often stored in garages. Always have a fire extinguisher handy!
Purchase a Canopy
You can purchase a canopy or grill tent to provide cover for your grill- ideally one with at least one wall, and measuring at least 10 by 10 feet.
This will allow you to block the direction of the wind. Make sure to set it up properly for any sudden gusts, using metal stakes to stabilize the canopy into the ground.
And since canopies are portable: Not only will you have shelter in your backyard, but you can also take it with you when you bring your grill out to the tailgate.
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This solution doesn’t provide complete protection from the rain, as it is not intended to protect all the components.
However, insulated blankets can be helpful for keeping the temperatures stable during cold and rainy weather.
It’s handy when smoking something overnight when the temperatures are predicted to drop, and can be used in combination with a covered deck or canopy.
How To Cover Hopper And Control Panel From Rain
Even the best-rated pellet grills for weather conditions need protection from the rain, as the wood pellets will need to stay dry.
Covering the hopper is the best solution to keep pellets from getting wet. This can be done with a canopy, an insulated blanket, a towel, a cover- or even a trash bag in a pinch! You’ll also want to cover the control panel as well, even if it is labeled as weatherproof.
Caution and Risks Of Rain and Pellet Grills
Pellet grills are made of metal and, over time, will experience rust.
The more the grill is used in the rain or not kept dry during storage, the faster the rust will form. This is particularly true for any areas where the metal is exposed.
BBQ Wood Pellets And Rain Don’t Mix
Soaked wood pellets are useless as they can’t keep the fire going. They also expand when wet, and will clog the grill as a result.
Removing all of the wet pellets can be a long process; it requires taking apart the auger and cleaning it out thoroughly before putting it all back together again.
This is why storage of your pellet grill is also a big issue, as the wood pellets will soak up moisture. Even when covered, a grill sitting outdoors may pick up moisture over time.
This is why the grill needs to be stored in a garage or shed. Even then, you may still have an issue if you aren’t using the grill regularly!
Wood pellets will still slowly pick up some moisture from the air over time. Therefore, leaving the grill unused for many months at a time is not ideal.
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Tips for Grilling in the Rain
If you’ve decided the weather isn’t going to stop your plans, then here are some additional tips for grilling in the rain.
- Watch the Temperature
The rain can cool off the grill, making it challenging to keep its temperature right. Using an insulated blanket can help, but you will want to monitor the temperature closely.
Just make sure you aren’t lifting the lid too much, as this will only make it more difficult to keep the grill at an ideal temperature!
- Use an Umbrella
Having an umbrella can be helpful- but only if you have an extra pair of hands.
Even under a canopy, the direction of the winds can change on a dime, so having someone with that extra shield for you can make a big difference.
Another option is to grill under a patio umbrella. The size may not be ideal, but it may be enough to protect the hopper and the control panel in a light drizzle with no wind.
- Look Out for the Wind
Once you have your shelter set up, you’ll need to look out for changes in the conditions. The biggest issue is wind.
Things can shift quickly, and that canopy wall that was blocking the wind and rain when you set it up may no longer be doing its job.
By the time you check on the meat later, you may realize that the wind has been coming from a different direction and rain has been blowing in.
This could mean that your grill was not only getting wet, but also that the temperature hasn’t been stable- meaning a ruined long smoke session!
The longer you are grilling outside in less than ideal conditions, the more time you allow for things to go wrong.
To help, you can pre-cook your meats inside and then quickly finish them off on the grill. This way, you still get that smoked flavor and seared finish.
- Do Not Leave Unattended
Under these conditions, the temperate may not stay steady.
One of the main reasons people like pellet grills is they stay at a certain temperature. However, this may not be the case with wind and rain on the grill.
- Remove Wood Pellets Afterwards
If you have any suspicion that the wood pellets got wet, the best thing to do is to remove them from the hopper.
Store them away from the rest of the pellets! Then, in a few days, test them. A dry pellet will snap in half and have a shiny coating. If it doesn’t, throw them out.
- Keep the Lid Closed
Well, as much as possible, anyway.
This will help with the temperature changes, keep the rain out, and keep the humidity in- making the meat moist and juicy.
- Cook Everything All At Once
To avoid using the grill in the rain longer than needed, utilize the entire grill and cook your meat and vegetables all in one go.
- Gas Grill for Rain
If you have to grill but don’t want to damage your expensive pellet grill, it might be best to pull out the gas grill on those less-than-perfect days.
While you still need to protect a gas grill from the rain, it’s a much more straightforward issue to fix if something goes wrong.
While pellet grills can be used in the rain, it may not be worth the risk considering all the information discussed above.
Rather, save grilling for sunny days, where you’ll get the most enjoyment out of the experience anyway! Not only that, it’ll also likely expand the lifespan of your grill.
If you have a special occasion and feel that it can’t be postponed, always use your grill under appropriate cover to protect it from any direct rainfall. Invest in both a canopy and an insulated blanket.
Lastly, if you live in an area where there seems to always be at least some rain (such as the Pacific North-West) a pellet grill may not be the best investment for you.
Instead, a less expensive charcoal grill may be the better option due to the lack of electrical components and wood pellets.