Rain and the WSM

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Alan Bosch

The temperature here in the nether regions of Western NYS has been hovering in the mid-80's the last two days - perfect weather, no clouds, blue sky, moderate winds. Perfect for firing up the WSM for the first time in a few months.

My five year old son has made it known that he wants me to make some ribs this weekend. I've promised so there's no going back. Trouble is, weather reports for the weekend are saying rain - lots of rain - all weekend.

I can't fire up the WSM in the garage - that's unsafe. No other shelter available, really, other than my wind screen. Does rain really affect the performance of the smoker like wind does? Has anyone run their WSM in a steady rain? Any tips?

Thanks for any advise. It's good to be back...

Peace. Out.

I can not recall where I read this, but it's not my original idea.
This will get you by, but it's not pretty.

6' Step ladder
6x6 Blue poly tarp
The WSM fits snugly under the legs of the ladder, when opened. Drape the poly tarp over the ladder leaving enough room for air to enter into the cooker. Lash the poly to the ladder with elastic tie downs. This nice thing about this is that the ladder moves easily for getting at the cooker. Good Luck.

I've never started the WSM in the rain (I have the same questions you do about that), but I have had a couple of times where it started raining after I had already started cooking. The rain didn't have much effect on the cooking process; I think wind is really all you have to worry about.

I did try to fashion a little 'umbrella' out of aluminum foil one time when the rain was getting heavy. I was trying to keep the water from getting into the smoker (and onto the food) through the vent on the top. I made a long strip of foil and looped it over the handle, then tried to shape it into a little shelf to sit a couple of inches over the vent. It didn't work well - the slightest wind would push it away from the vent. Eventually I gave up. The food turned out fine, so I guess I didn't need to worry about it. The only problem was that my wife didn't like having to stand in the rain holding an umbrella over the WSM while I unloaded the food. (Luckily, she forgave me once she ate some of it.)
Hi Alan,
When it rains, I put the WSM just outside the garage but under the overhang of the roof. I do keep the garage door open though. Sure, the garage can get smokey...but it smells great and usually the smoke goes the other way, not in to the garage. I even do this with my Klose pit and Cookshack smoker. Keeps everything dry and safe. You could also do the same thing if you have a carport. I imagine you could also do this on a front or back porch as well.
I live in the Seattle area and we cook in the rain often, it's just not a problem, now the wind is a different matter.
If you can get some kind of a cover great but rain should not stop you from cooking.
Hi Alan!

I too have smoked in the rain more than once! I used to do what Rocky mentioned...just put it into the OPEN garage door as close to the rain as possible..works all the time.

More of my problem has been once I start cooking. Last year at the Michigan State cook-off, it rained harder and longer than I have seen in a long time! Sent the WSM down by 75?!! I am talking GUSHING water for a good 45 minutes. No wind and very hot. I would never make excuses, but.......

That is really the only problem I have encountered with rain, and I consider it a fluke of nature.

So, Alan , Cook away!
Thanks, everyone, for all your responses. I went home last evening and tried a variation of Jim Morrissey's ladder suggestion. Here what I did...

I found the old blue tarp I've been using as an awing when I take the kids camping in my VW Bus. The tarp is 12 x 12 or 8 x 12. I set up two six foot step ladders and draped the tarp over the ladders. Then I adjusted the ladders out to the edges of the tarp and put the WSM between them. I staked the back of the tarp to the ground with some tent stakes and the front with rope and tent stakes. The result looks like a lean-to, offering enough shelter for smoker, cook, and various and sundry smoking accessories - beer, Kingsford, Polder, etc. Not pretty, to be sure, but it'll work. More importantly, it gets the smoker out of the garage and away from the house. (Just my paranoia...)

Thanks again for your suggestions.

Peace. Out.

Alan Bosch
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