So, you have friends coming over to watch the big game and, of course, eat some barbecue! The beers are in the cooler. Your favorite cuts of meat have been gently marinating all night. Your grill is as clean as a whistle, and you’re ready to show everybody your pitmaster skills.
But, as you’re about to fire up the Traeger, the unimaginable happens! The heavens open up! It’s raining on your parade…So, what do you do? Do you call off your big day or carry on like a trooper? Can you still use your Traeger in the rain?
Here’s how to tackle the washout!
Yes, you can use a Traeger grill when it is raining. However, it’s far from ideal and really depends on how heavy the rain is, how long it’s going to last and how exposed your grill is to the elements. If it’s just a light summer shower and your grill is somewhat sheltered – you’ll probably be OK. However, using your Traeger under heavy rain is a no-go as it poses both a safety risk to your person and a risk of damage to the grill!
Table of Contents
- Can You Use A Traeger in Heavy Rain?
- What Can I Do If it Begins to Rain When I’m Using the Traeger Grill?
- My Final Thoughts
- Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Use A Traeger in Heavy Rain?
Traeger grills should never be used in heavy rain. Using a Traeger grill in heavy rain carries two main risks: a safety risk to your person and a risk of damage to the grill itself.
Risk of Electrocution
Traeger grills are electrically powered. They need to be connected to a 120V AC power socket (if you’re in the US) to ignite and function. And unless you’ve lived under a rock your entire life, you’ll know that water and electricity make for a very dangerous combination!
Water is a conductor of electricity. If it gets into the electrical systems of the grill (e.g., the control panel, augur motor, fan motor, thermocouple, hot rod, etc.), it can cause the electricity to “leak” onto the metal body of the grill – which also happens to be another conductor.
The grill would become like a live wire, and touching it would be like sticking wet fingers into the socket! Needless to say, this would be an extremely hazardous situation. You could get electrocuted. Among other things, electrocution can cause cardiac arrest. Plus, you can get very badly burned.
Thankfully, most modern homes have safety systems built into their electrical systems. One such system is called an RCBO (an acronym for Residual Current Breaker with Over-current). An RCBO will detect a “leaking” current and shut off power to the home, and by extension, to the grill, before the leak is strong enough to cause electrocution. However, not all homes are equipped with RCBOs, so don’t push your luck!
Risk of Damage to The Grill
Even if you don’t get hurt when using a Traeger grill in heavy rain, the appliance can be damaged. Though they are water-resistant to a certain extent (very minimally, though), Traegers are not water-proof nor designed to be soaked. Moreover, with time the water resistance can deteriorate, and water is even more likely to seep into the electrics.
Water can cause short circuits in electrical systems. This means that the electricity can bypass certain components to follow the path of least resistance and basically go places it’s not supposed to go.
Electronics, in particular, are very sensitive. Short circuits can easily “fry” electronic components and circuit boards. If that happens, you’ll either have to replace most, if not all, of the electrical components (at a substantial cost) OR ditch your grill entirely.
Heavy rain can cause water to get into the pellet hopper. If this happens, the wood pellets inside the hopper and the augur will soak up this water. Not only will the pellets then fail to burn correctly (you might find it hard to ignite the grill), but they may also swell up and cause an augur jam.
Swollen pellets quickly break down and form a mass of damp sawdust in the augur. At first, the wet sawdust has the consistency of a thick mush. But when it dries, it becomes solid and hard – forming a block. If this happens, you have a real problem on your hands!
First, the swollen sawdust can warp the augur out of shape. A warped augur or deformed augur tube won’t function properly and will need to be replaced or repaired.
But, if that wasn’t bad enough, swollen pellets can cause a dreaded augur jam. An augur jam is exactly what it sounds like: the swollen pellets prevent the augur from spinning.
If you’re lucky, a resettable fuse will blow as the augur motor draws too much current when forcing the pellet mush through the augur tube. Power will be cut to the motor before any damage is done. But you’ll still have to disassemble the augur to remove the clog.
However, augur jams sometimes cause the augur motor to burn out before the fuse has time to protect the component. In this case, your motor is toast! It will need to be replaced, which can be quite costly. A high price to pay for a rainy day BBQ if you ask me…
Water causes oxidation, and parts of your grill will rust if exposed to rain. This won’t happen immediately, but eventually, the rain will take its toll on your beloved Traeger.
Of course, different people will have different definitions of light and heavy rain, so this can be a somewhat subjective rule.
If you intend to use a Traeger grill in the rain, you should seek some outdoor shelter, like a pergola or a gazebo. It goes without saying that the shelter should be well-ventilated and pose no risk of catching fire.
What Can I Do If it Begins to Rain When I’m Using the Traeger Grill?
Carry On Like A Trooper
It is impossible to predict the weather accurately. If it begins to drizzle lightly and your grill is somewhat sheltered, your best option is to continue cooking.
Just make sure that your power cable isn’t lying in a puddle and that the power socket, hopper, and control panel aren’t getting soaked.
Pull The Plug On The Entire Operation!
However, if the shower lasts more than a few minutes or if the skies really open up, then the safest thing to do is probably to unplug the grill and seek shelter.
The pellets in the firepot will continue to burn, but no new pellets will be fed into it, and the hotrod will start to cool. Eventually, the fire will go out, and your food will stop cooking.
Never Reheat Partially Cooked Food
Never try to continue cooking partially cooked food that has been left to cool. Partially cooked food is a prime breeding ground for bacteria.
If you partially cook meat (i.e., heat it up but not to a point where the temperature is high enough to kill bacteria), bacteria will instead proliferate. Then, when you resume cooking, the food will contain very high amounts of bacteria and/or may already have begun fouling. Either scenario could make you extremely ill.
Don’t Try To Move The Grill
Under no circumstances should you attempt to transport the grill once it has been turned on. It will be extremely hot, potentially burning you. Instead, preferably leave the grill where it is.
Don’t Try To Cover Cooking Chamber or Chimney
Never attempt to cover the grill once it has started cooking, especially the cooking chamber or the chimney. You could get badly burned, and the cover will likely go on fire or melt onto your grill.
However, you could try temporarily shielding the hopper (under which sits the control panel) with a sheet of cardboard or a doormat to prevent it from getting drenched.
Invest in Outdoor Shelter
If you grill regularly, you should consider investing in an outdoor shelter. Just opt for one that is not enclosed.
You can keep the Traeger grill under the shelter and move it into the sun on days with gorgeous weather.
Buy A Cover For Storage
You might also want to buy a waterproof grill cover, which will protect the device from rain when it is not in use.
My Final Thoughts
Traeger grills are best used on a warm day when you can comfortably cook outside without worrying about safety hazards or potential damage to your appliance.
Unfortunately, the weather can sometimes thwart even the best thought-out plans. So, the knowledge that a Traeger grill can be used in light rain is useful.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Use a Traeger in The Snow?
As is the case for rain, using a Trager grill in the snow is not advisable. Read below to understand whether or not it’s possible to use your grill in the snow still.
Can You Use a Traeger if The Ground Is Covered in Snow?
If the ground is covered in snow, but it’s not actually snowing (i.e., snow isn’t falling), you’ll likely be able to use the grill.
However, you must ensure your power cable isn’t covered in snow or ice or bathing in meltwater. If the sheathing were damaged, the snow, ice, or water would come into contact with the live wires inside. This could pose a risk of electrocution, and the grill could also be at risk of irreparable damage.
Can You Use a Traeger if Snow Is Falling From The Sky?
If snow is actually falling from the sky, it’s best not to use the grill at all.
Snow would melt when it hits the grill, and if it’s snowing heavily, it could even build up on parts of the device. The meltwater would eventually seep into the electrics and other parts of the grill and pose a similar risk as when it rains.
Can You Use a Traeger if It’s Cold Outside?
If it’s very cold outside (just above or even below freezing temperature) and there’s a high degree of humidity in the air, then your grill may be hard and slow to start.
Even if you do get the grill to ignite, it is unlikely to reach the set temperature or may take a long time to do so.
Can You Use a Traeger in The Wind?
It’s possible to use a Traeger grill in light to moderate winds. Of course, you don’t want to be out grilling in a hurricane. But except for a handful of total idiots, perhaps, I think that idea wouldn’t occur to most people.
Fortunately, Traeger grills will not be overly affected by light to moderate winds. Unless you’re grilling with the lid open or the wind blows into the fan intake port or down the chimney.
Ideally, you should try to orient your grill, so it’s not catching the wind directly or shelter it if possible.
Another side effect of using a Traeger grill in windy conditions is that the temperature may fluctuate quite a bit as the grill controller constantly has to adjust the grill settings to either increase or lower the temperature, so it reaches its set point.
Can You Use a Traeger in a Thunderstorm?
You should never consider using a Traeger grill, or any other kind of grill, during a thunderstorm. This is extremely dangerous, so you should refrain from doing it at all costs.
A lightning strike could kill you, as the strike will likely cause a cardiac arrest. Even if you survive, you could experience serious long-term effects, such as seizures.
Also, thunderstorms are often accompanied by heavy winds, which could cause objects to be blown around and potentially hit you, injure you and potentially even kill you.
Can You Use a Traeger Grill in A Garage?
No, you should not use a grill in a garage. This is because these enclosed spaces are not sufficiently ventilated and also constitute fire hazards.
Even if you have optimal ventilation and safety features, it is not advised to use a Traeger grill in a garage.
Can Traeger Grills Be Kept Outside in the Winter?
A Traeger grill can be kept outside during the winter if it is covered from top to bottom with a specially designed, sturdy waterproof cover that fully protects it from the elements.
The grill should be on stable ground and sheltered from strong winds and potential flying or falling debris.
However, if you live in a particularly cold and damp area, you should aim to move the grill indoors over the winter months.