View Full Version : The weather stinks, what now?

09-18-2010, 07:02 AM
Not being of competition ilk, I came up with a question today. My question, dealing with the weather, came up because it's raining like a madman out there right now. I know there are folks in the Menomonee Falls, WI. today getting ahnilated by rain.

My question after a paragraph of rambling on?

How does this type of weather effect a BBQ competition? Not necessarily the festival part, the actual cooking and judging of food.

More questions:

What's the worst weather you cooked in for a competition?

Ever have one get cancelled?

How much will wicked rain or wind alter your cooking methods?

Rich Parker
09-18-2010, 07:12 AM
I have only cooked in 5 competitions and have been rained on in all of them. The second to the last one took my canopy for a flight and this last one i had to move my cookers under the ez up.

I have learned a lot from fellow competitors how to keep things dry and how to keep my canopy from flying away. I cook on drums so the wind usually makes my cookers run hotter than normal. I just adjust my times and go with it.

Anchors Smokeshop
09-18-2010, 07:43 AM
It wouldn't be a competition without wind and rain. The best thing to do is make sure the canopies are securely tied down! Depending on what you're cooking your meat on, try to keep the smokers out of the wind and rain, as they can wreak havoc on cooking and temps.
Good luck and have fun.

Mrs. McFrankenboo
09-18-2010, 09:38 AM
We like to call them "war stories" because there is generally some type of weather at every competition we do. We're from AZ but we've dealt with freezing cold temps, hail, gale force winds, torrential rain, snow, etc. We prepare for everything from cold to hot at each comp. Depending on what kind of smokers you use, it can effect its ability to hold temps. A lot of people will use some sort of blanket type insulation thing to keep it warm.

09-18-2010, 02:02 PM
Worst weather this year for us had to be at Raytown. 3"+ rain came down sideways Saturday mid morning. The wind and rain had no effect on our insulated Superior Smokers which were protected by our canopy.

09-18-2010, 03:23 PM
Foul weather takes all of the fun out of an event for us.
And, since we seem to only gain "fun" by competing, (as opposed to cash),that makes weather a major irritation.

We spent 5 years fighting the weather and were ready to quit last year.
Then, Sherman was born.


Now, we can enjoy the weekends which is what it is all about.


09-18-2010, 07:32 PM
Zero to little affect on me and my Stump's Smokers. That said there was one contest where (what was deemed by the media the next day) a tornado came ripping through the contest site around 1AM Saturday morning. Huge wind, horizontal rain, and lots of lightning. Lasted about 15 minutes, then a steady rain for a couple hours.

09-18-2010, 08:01 PM
Worst weather this year for us had to be at Raytown. 3"+ rain came down sideways Saturday mid morning.

I judged that comp & I asked one of the reps (Mark) if water in the boxes would be considered a foriegn object :boxing:.

He was NOT amused :twisted:.

09-18-2010, 08:17 PM
I love cookin in the rain. Stumps Clone works great. Seriously when you make the committment for one of these contests you need to be prepared for anything..I believe we have cooked more in the rain in the last 2 years then we havent.

Smokin' Bad Habit
09-18-2010, 09:34 PM
we also cooked in raytown, terrible rain! just as we put our chicken on, our smoker is on a trailer so we had to stand in the down pour and grill....rain just washed the rub right away, my daughter was awesome she stood right next to me and held the umbrella over the smoke stack to keep the water out of the grill, we got our first ever call that weekend in ribs! 8th place...........hope we dont ever have a rain storm like that again while cooking!

09-19-2010, 08:39 AM
Besides Coz :-D, I don't think any of us really enjoy foul weather, but it is just part of competing. You have to be ready for just about anything because if it can happen, it will!

Unless the weather is violent (high winds, mostly), we just deal with it. If the forecast calls for rain I set up my cookers so I can access them without being in the rain, and if there is a possibility of high winds I tied the EZ-up down to the trailer and truck. I figure if the trailer or truck get blown around then I have bigger problems than worrying about the EZ-up. If the weather does get violent, you normally have some sort of warning (radar, tornado sirens, your eyes, etc.) so we take precautions. I'll normally roll up the awning on the trailer before the weather hits and if we're not cooking at the time I have even folded up the EZ-up and slid it under the trailer and put away anything small. Sometimes it hits without warning and that's when you see EZ-ups blown around, etc. Those are the worst and there really isn't much that you can do about those.

As far as the impact on cooking, except trying to keep the food out of the rain, it has no impact on us at all. The outside temp, wind or rain doesn't affect the FEC-100 at all and I just keep the exhaust vent on the Memphis Pro out of the rain and we're fine.

09-19-2010, 04:25 PM
Just one of those things you have to plan for...and often expect Jamie!

I think my most memorable weather experiance would have to be Elk Grove, IL last year.

Scotsmen almost had their MoHo tipped over, we lost our ez-up, and it was too wet to ever set up our tent...so we cooked that night, and the next 90+ degree day totally exposed. There were many teams that threw in the towell Friday night, but we weren't going to. Managed to pull a 5th place rib call out of that debacle!

The best thing about bad weather, in my opinion, is seeing the way folks come together after the storm to help one another out.

Lowell, MI this year was another weather surprise, weather guessers all said no chance of rain the whole weekend, but, sure enough, about the time rib turn in came around, the wind picked up, sky turned dark, and all of a sudden we had sideways rain, and winds that I'm guessing were 40-60mph, out of the blue!

BTW, congrats to the brethren who survived the weather and got calls at Menomenee!:clap2:

You just have to expect and prepare for the worst, and hope for the best!

BTW, our 20+ year old WSM held temp just fine in that Elk Grove fiasco....

Smoke'n Ice
09-19-2010, 06:38 PM
Cooked in seagul rain, rain, wind, mud, flowing water, hail, sleet, snow, 110 + temp and sand storm.

Only advice I can give is wash off the seagul rain; put your name on the ez up so who ever finds it can contact you; brush off as much sand as possible and hope the judges need a teeth whitening; elevate everything above the water; use lots of liquids in the heat. I'm not sure that beer counts as liquid, but I use it to pour on my head (the sheep chit like bud) and drink the good stuff (like the national beer of TEXAS, Shiner Bock).

It's just a hobby and no one takes a hobby seriously.:crazy:

I make it a rule that I do not judge unless I can't figure out a good excuse that is plausable.:decision:

09-19-2010, 06:48 PM
One of the worst I ever cooked was last March in West, Texas. Started raining in the morning about 6:00am and was 70* or so by 4:00pm it was 40* and dropping with snow flurries. I had 4" of water standing in my camp with winds 35-60mph. There were times where my pit would drop from 250* to 170* or so. I had one Caravan Canopy with zippered sides and the whole thing staked down with 8 -12" stakes and eight ratchet straps. Many cooks didn't make chicken turn in that day. All my food came out fine and I walked in Chicken and made my entry fee back. By Sunday morning everything had frooze from what I hear. Tony was there.

When you cook in foul weather you just do what you have to do and make it happen. You do have to be prepared though. Rubber boots. warm clothes, and determination.

09-19-2010, 08:27 PM
I have been challenged by the elements,
but have survived and prevailed.

(There once was a local, non-sanctioned contest, maybe a dozen or so teams, that was indeed canceled due to a potential hurricane).

Otherwise, just do it.

Big Ugly's BBQ
09-20-2010, 07:21 AM
Two of my more memorial cooks involved Tropical Storms, Hedgesville, WV '08 and Seaside Heights, NJ last year. In WV, I was lucky enough to have the high ground and moat around me. We have cinderblocks with quick-crete and a bolt to hold them down, so wind is not much of a problem. If the wind is real bad, the velcro on the top will go and the frame stays in place. Put up the sides, clipped the edges, so water channelled away from us and we were comfy and dry. Positioned the cookers so we would get wet, cover the guru controllers with a sandwich bag and duct tape and we got thru it. NJ was a mother, if it had not been for the parking lot we were set up on, we would have sunk. Remember mulch is your friend, check the weather report, and bring if necessary. Cheap but effective.

Those two, outside of getting snow at Chambersburg, were the more interesting ones we've cooked in.