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I’ve never been one to let the weather get in the way of a good time. In fact, I have a pretty intricate setup for grilling in the rain that gets the job done through light and medium showers.
But electric smokers are a little bit of a different story. Anytime you’re working with electronics, plugs, and circuit boards you have to be extra careful when you start to talk about working in the rain.
In this article, we’ll dive into the question of whether or not it’s viable – or even safe – to use an electric smoker in the rain.
Electric Smoker in the Rain – Overview
Ideally your smoker should be stored under some sort of awning or under the cover of a roof – but not everybody’s patio can accommodate this. Electric smokers take up room, and many of us are short on patio space!
There truly isn’t a straightforward, black and white answer as to whether or not you can use an electric smoker in the rain. But there are definitely a few guidelines you can follow.
The thing to keep in mind here is that not all rain and wet is created equal. With that in mind, it’s really important to pay attention to your forecast and weather conditions before you attempt to use your electric smoker.
If your smoking session is going to be mostly dry with a few quick spells of mist or light rain, you’re probably going to be fine.
But, if there appears to be any extended stretch of consistent rain – or small periods of heavy rain, you should definitely take some precautions.
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If there’s absolutely no way you can reschedule your cookout and you need to put your smoked meats on the smoker while it’s raining, there are a few things you can do. Albeit, you’ll need a few extra pieces of equipment to do it right.
From a high level, you’ll want to put up a grill gazebo or some sort of shelter that will block rain from hitting your smoker. But you also don’t want the tent or shelter to be so close to the smoker that it will receive smoke damage during the cooking process.
There are actually tents designed specifically for grilling that are fire retardant and have tiered roofs to provide extra ventilation. These types of tents are perfect for both covering your electric smoker in the rain – and they can also provide shade for the summer months too.
If you’re going to be smoking in light to medium pouring rain, this is a perfect way to protect your smoker.
Now, if the rain is coming down sideways or there are monsoon levels of water coming out of the sky there’s not really a good way to use your smoker in the rain. You’re better off calling it off and waiting for some better weather.
(And if you thought using an electric smoker in the garage was a good idea, read this first)
Can You Use an Electric Smoker That’s Been Rained On?
Maybe it’s not raining at the moment but you forgot to properly store your smoker after the last use and it’s been rained on in between. Can you use it still?
The short answer is yes, probably. The issue with your smoker getting wet isn’t the smoker itself, it’s the control box that houses all of your cookers internal electronics.
If your smoker was well made, there should be a plethora of gaskets and protective resins that are designed to keep water out. So in theory you should be fine with a little bit of rain – but you don’t really want to put that theory to the test. You never know when a gasket will fail or when protective resins weren’t applied properly.
So most times, you can use your electric smoker just like normal after it’s been rained on. But you can’t rely on continued performance if you’re consistently letting your electric smoker get wet. Eventually, you’re going to try to turn it on and receive an unpleasant surprise of a ruined smoker.
Take Safety Precautions
Any time we’re talking about food, rain, and electricity, my spidey senses just start to go off. You don’t want to unnecessarily put yourself in a dangerous situation – be it around electricity or one where your smoker doesn’t safely cook your food.
The first and biggest safety precaution you can make is just to simply make sure you store your electric smoker properly. Ideally you should invest in a smoker cover (most manufacturers sell covers designed to fit each of their individual products).
At a minimum you should have a place set aside that’s indoors or never gets wet where you store your electric smoker while not in use. Simply doing this will save you tons of headache and money in the long run.
And if you are going to use your electric smoker in the rain, invest in a BBQ canopy or build some form of shelter that blocks the rain from hitting your smoker. A tiny bit of wet is probably fine, but you really don’t want to make a habit out of letting your electric smoker get rained on.
At the end of the day, it’s impossible to give a definitive answer as to whether or not it’s a good idea to use an electric smoker in the rain. Each unit is constructed differently and may or may not stand up to getting rained on.
What I can give a definitive answer on though is proper care and precaution will lead to safe cooking and delicious food. Don’t push it if it’s raining too hard. Store your smoker in a dry space with a cover on. Use a BBQ canopy to block rain if you absolutely have to use an electric smoker in the rain. A BBQ canopy is also just a great accessory to have around – they’re versatile and provide value in both rainy and sunny conditions.
Follow those guidelines, and you’ll be in good shape!