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How To Grill When It's Windy

Your food is prepped, you’re stocked up on gas, and you’re ready to grill. Impact-Site-Verification: 793020855

But then you take a look outside — the trees are moving, leaves are blowing, and that calm day of cooking you had planned seems impossible now.

But is it?

Grilling in windy conditions is doable, but it presents some challenges and safety risks that require a bit more know-how than cooking outdoors in calm weather.

That’s where we come in!

In this article, we’ll explain how wind affects gas grills and give you everything you need to know on how to grill when it’s windy. We’ll give you plenty of tips and tricks to safely and successfully grill on a windy day.

That includes strategically positioning your grill, using tools like cinderblocks and wind guards, and even learning how windy is too windy for a day of grilling.

After reading this article, grilling on a windy day will be a breeze!

Can You Grill When It’s Windy?

Yes, you can indeed grill when it’s windy, but it might present some challenges due to the effects of the wind on the grill’s heat distribution and flame stability. And by windy, we mean breezy, not a storm complete with thunder and heavy rain.

It just gets a little more challenging since the breeze can impact your fire and airflow. But with a few tricks and safety precautions, it is doable!

How Wind Affects Gas Grills

Preheating Takes Longer | Cooking Takes Longer | Uneven Cooking | The Flame May Be Blown Out | Flare-Ups and Grease Fires Are More Likely

Thankfully, since gas grills have a consistent fuel source, they’re less likely to be impacted by wind than charcoal grills. But a breezy day can impact your gas grill in a few different ways.

The wind has the potential to cause the temperature to drop, creating a challenge to sustain a steady temperature for the food on the grill.

Below we’ll explore all the ways that wind affects gas grills.

It Will Take Longer to Preheat Your Gas Grill

Wind can cause your grill to take longer to heat up since it’ll lose some heat along with the breeze.

Wind can affect your gas grill’s preheating time because it tends to dissipate heat. When you’re trying to preheat your grill, the wind can carry away some of the heat being produced, causing the grill to take longer to reach the desired temperature.

This effect is particularly noticeable in strong wind conditions or if the grill is not shielded from the wind.

Cooking May Take Longer Due to Uneven Heat

Windy conditions can create uneven heat across the surface of the grill, depending on its intensity and the direction it’s coming from.

Cooking takes longer on a gas grill on windy days due to the wind’s cooling effect. When the wind blows, it can disperse the heat output of the grill, making it harder to maintain a consistent, high temperature.

These fluctuations in temperature mean that your food may not cook as quickly as it would on a non-windy day. So, plan on extra cooking time so that your food is properly and thoroughly cooked.

Uneven Cooking

Windy conditions can lead to uneven cooking on a gas grill because the wind can cause fluctuation in heat distribution.

When gusts of wind sweep across your grill, they can unevenly distribute heat, leading to the formation of “hot” and “cool” zones. This can result in certain sections of your food cooking more rapidly than others, culminating in food that’s inconsistently cooked.

To prevent this, it’s important to monitor your food closely and move it around on the grill if necessary, to ensure even cooking.

The Flame May Be Blown Out

A strong breeze may even be enough to blow your grill’s flame out entirely, regardless of the flow of fuel you have going.

It’s important to keep an eye on the flames while cooking in windy conditions. If the flame is blown out, gas can build up which can lead to a dangerous situation. More on that below.

Flare-Ups and Grease Fires Are More Likely

Wind can also cause flare-ups and grease fires by blowing around your flame and any fat or drippings coming from your food, so be cautious.

It’s a good idea to keep a fire extinguisher nearby on windy days (you should have one close to your grill anyway) if a flare-up gets out of control.

When Is It Too Windy to Grill?

Even with safety precautions, there is definitely a point where it’s just too windy to grill.

First, consider the wind speed — anything above 25 miles per hour would be considered a strong wind that can cause issues during grilling.

You’ll also want to consider the food you’re planning on cooking as well. With the heat loss and uneven cooking that windy conditions can cause, you’re better off cooking something that cooks quickly, like burgers or sausages, instead of food that requires a low and consistent cook, like brisket or whole poultry.

Tips for Using Gas Grills on Windy Days

Angling Your Gas Grill | Find a Sheltered Spot | Setting a Guard | Using a Windscreen | Securing Your Grill From the Wind | Preheat Your Grill for a Longer Time | Use the Indirect Cooking Method | Keep the Lid Closed | Adjusting the Temperature | Cook Smaller or Thinner Cuts of meat

If you’ve decided that the wind isn’t too bad and you’re ready to brave the challenge in the name of great tasting barbecue, there are a few tips you can use to fight back against the breeze and have a great day of grilling.

In this section, we offer a series of tips designed specifically for using gas grills in windy conditions. With these pointers, you can mitigate the effects of the wind on your grill, maintain a consistent cooking temperature, and help make sure your food is evenly cooked, regardless of the weather.

Angling Your Gas Grill

One trick to help minimize the wind’s impact on your grilling is to position the grill so the wind doesn’t disrupt the flow of gas. Angle your grill so the wind hits the side of it instead of coming directly at the burners from behind.

This tip works best if you’re able to position your grill so there’s a 90° angle between the side of the grill and the wind direction.

Find a Sheltered Spot

If you can set your grill up in a spot where it’ll be sheltered from the wind, like next to a wall or fence, behind a building, or on a patio, you’ll have an easier time dealing with the wind’s effects.

This allows the grill to maintain a more consistent temperature, which aids in even cooking. A sheltered spot also helps to keep the flame stable, preventing it from being blown out by strong gusts of wind.

Remember, though, that safety should always come first. Even in a sheltered spot, your grill should be outdoors and in a well-ventilated area to avoid the buildup of harmful gases.

Setting a Guard

If you don’t have a building or wall to grill near, you can try using a shield or guard.

These are sturdy covers or boards that you can hang or place around your grill to prevent the wind from blowing out the flame or reducing the heat.

Just make sure not to put any flammable material too close to the grill and leave plenty of ventilation for grilling safely.

Using a Windscreen

You can also use a windscreen to deflect some of the wind from your grill. You can get pre-made versions that unfold to surround your cooking surface or create your own using aluminum foil.

Securing Your Grill From the Wind

We’ve mentioned how wind can impact your flame and heat retention, but it can even move the grill around if it gets windy enough!

To avoid this, secure your grill using sandbags or cinderblocks across its crossbars so it’s weighed down and less likely to tip or wobble.

If you have a smaller, lightweight grill, you can use bungee cords to secure the grill to something stationary, like a deck railing or fence.

Preheat Your Grill for a Longer Time

Windy conditions can cause your grill to lose more heat than usual. The gusts of wind can carry away some of the heat, making the grill take longer to reach the desired temperature.

By allowing extra time for preheating, you can make sure you are at the correct cooking temperature before dropping food on.

Use the Indirect Cooking Method

Using indirect heat, where you only use the burners on half of your grill and place your food on the cooler half, can also be an effective method of grilling in windy conditions.

Indirect cooking gives you more control over the grill’s temperature and can help prevent flare-ups since the wind won’t be able to blow your food or its drippings directly down onto the flame.

For more information on indirect heat cooking, you can check out this guide: What Is Indirect Grilling – Why and How to Grill With Indirect Heat

Keep the Lid Closed as Much as Possible

Another way to shield your flame and food from the wind is to keep the lid closed as much as you can.

The lid acts as a barrier to the wind, preventing it from carrying away the heat and causing temperature fluctuations. By keeping the lid closed you help trap that essential heat inside the grill, leading to a more consistent and efficient cooking process.

Adjusting the Temperature

If you’re noticing that your grill isn’t running as hot as it usually does, try increasing the gas flow and temperature to compensate for the heat loss.

Cooking with larger flames can also help reduce the risk of the wind blowing them out.

Cook Smaller or Thinner Cuts of Meat

Cooking smaller or thinner cuts of meat on a gas grill on windy days can be beneficial because these cuts typically require less time to cook.

Given that wind can make it difficult to maintain a consistently high temperature, and most likely extend cooking times, choosing smaller or thinner cuts can help cut down this effect.

These types of cuts will cook faster, reducing the overall time they’re exposed to the variable temperatures caused by the wind.

Gas Grill Safety in Windy Conditions

Dress Appropriately | Use Longer Utensils | Know the Direction of the Wind | Do a Quick Equipment Check | Avoid Flammable Objects | Stay by the Grill | Check the Burners Regularly | What to Do if the Gas Burners Go Out? | Keep a Fire Extinguisher Nearby

Grilling in windy conditions brings a unique set of challenges. The best piece of advice when grilling on a windy day is to put your safety first. After all, you’re dealing with an open flame and unpredictable breezes, so the risk of something going wrong is definitely present.

Wind can potentially interfere with the operation of your gas grill in ways that require careful attention and additional precautions.

Here are a few safety tips to ensure your breezy day of grilling doesn’t turn into something more serious.

Dress Appropriately for Safety and Comfort

Protect yourself by wearing properly fitting clothing. Avoid loose clothing that could potentially catch on the grill or come into contact with the flame. If you wear an apron, be sure the strings are tied back securely!

As for comfort, windy conditions often come with lower temperatures or sudden gusts that can make the grilling less enjoyable if you’re not dressed for the weather. Wear layers that can be added or removed as needed, or choose clothing that shields you from the wind.

You should also consider wearing heat-resistant gloves to protect your hands when handling hot utensils or adjusting grill settings.

Use Longer Utensils

Longer utensils allow you to put some distance between yourself and the grill’s flames, reducing the risk of getting burnt by sudden flare-ups that can occur when the wind stokes the flames.

They also provide better control over your food, allowing you to quickly and safely move it around on the grill for even cooking despite wind-caused temperature fluctuations.

Know the Direction of the Wind

Knowing the direction of the wind when grilling on windy days is helpful for several reasons.

  • It helps you position your grill in a way that minimizes the impact of the wind on your flames and temperature control.
  • Knowing the wind direction can assist in smoke management. Smoke will typically follow the wind direction, so you can position yourself upwind to avoid having smoke blowing in your face and away from the house while you’re grilling.
  • Understanding wind direction can help prevent the flame from being blown out. If you’re aware of where the wind is coming from, you can take extra measures to protect the flame, like creating wind barriers or adjusting the grill’s lid.

Knowing the direction the wind is blowing can lead to a safer, more successful grilling session.

Do a Quick Equipment Check

Before you fire up your grill, give it a quick look to make sure there aren’t any issues like gas leaks or temperature knob malfunctions.

Here are a few other things to check before firing up your gas grill on a windy day.

  • Gas Connection: Windy conditions could potentially disturb the gas connection. Before starting, check to make sure that all connections are secure and the gas supply is stable.
  • Stability: High winds could potentially knock over lighter grills or items placed on them. Checking the stability of your grill and securing any loose items can prevent accidents.
  • Grill Lid: Check to make sure the grill lid is secure and won’t slam shut or fly open due to gusts of wind.

If your grill uses propane, you should also check that you have enough gas to fuel the higher temperatures needed to grill in the wind.

Keep the Grill Away From Flammable Objects

Wind and flames are not a good combination, especially if you’re grilling close to something flammable, like an overhang or a tree.

It’s always smart to keep your grill at least 10 feet from flammable surfaces, but that advice is especially important on a windy day where one surprise gust can cause a flare-up.

Stay by the Grill

Whatever you do, don’t leave your grill unattended in the wind.

Staying by the grill when grilling on windy days is important for a few key reasons:

  • Flame Control: Windy conditions can cause the flame on a gas grill to become unstable or even blow out. By staying near the grill, you can quickly adjust the flame as needed and ensure it remains lit.
  • Temperature Monitoring: The wind can cause the temperature inside the grill to fluctuate, which might impact the cooking process. Being close by allows you to frequently check and adjust the temperature to maintain optimal cooking conditions.
  • Food Quality: Frequent checks ensure your food cooks evenly and is not overcooked or undercooked due to changing conditions.
  • Safety: Staying close to your grill can help prevent safety issues. For instance, a gust of wind could knock over a grill or other objects near it, causing a potential fire hazard. Being nearby allows you to react quickly and address such problems promptly.

All it takes is an extra strong gust to cause a flare-up or even tip your grill over if you aren’t careful.

Check the Burners Regularly

Checking your burners regularly during grilling is a great way to make sure they’re functioning safely and haven’t been blown out by the wind.

To do this, use the match-light hole on your grill — this will give you a view inside without having to open up the hood and risk heat loss or a flare-up.

If the wind blows the flame out on an unattended gas grill, it can lead to a dangerous situation.

The gas supply is not automatically cut off on most grills when the flame goes out. As a result, gas continues to flow and starts to accumulate in the grill and the surrounding area. This accumulation of gas can create a risk of explosion or fire if a spark or another ignition source is introduced.

Finally, if the grill is in an enclosed or poorly ventilated area, the buildup of gas can lead to a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

What to Do if the Gas Burners Go Out?

If your burners do go out, don’t worry! All you need to do is immediately turn your gas valves off and open the lid. Give the grill five minutes to air out before turning the gas valves back on and relighting it.

Here are the steps you should take:

  • Turn Off the Gas: First, immediately turn off the control knobs and the propane tank. This will stop more gas from being released.
  • Ventilate: Open the grill lid to ventilate and disperse any accumulated gas.
  • Wait: Allow at least 5 minutes for any remaining gas to clear out before attempting to relight the grill. This waiting period allows any residual gas to dissipate, reducing the risk of a flash fire.
  • Check the Grill: Before relighting, check your grill to see if you can identify any issues that caused the burners to go out. This could be anything from a strong gust of wind to a problem with the burners themselves.
  • Relight the Grill: Following your grill’s manufacturer’s instructions, carefully relight the burners.
  • Stay Vigilant: Stay nearby once you’ve restarted the grill, keeping an eye on the burners making sure they don’t go out again.

Remember, safety should always be your primary concern when grilling, but especially so when grilling in windy conditions.

Keep a Fire Extinguisher Nearby

Wind can be an unpredictable opponent when grilling. Even if you take all the necessary precautions, accidents can still happen, so be sure to have a fire extinguisher nearby. This should be the norm when you grill, especially when windy.

For more gas grill safety tips, check out this article here: Gas Grill Safety

Best Tools for Grilling in Windy Conditions

Grilling in the wind calls for a few extra tools to keep everyone safe and your grill running efficiently.

Keep cinder blocks, sandbags, or bungee cords on hand to keep your grill stable on especially windy days. Buy or create a wind guard or shield to protect your flame from sudden gusts, and consider investing in heavy-duty and long-handled tools or brushes to avoid cheaper, lighter versions from flying away.

If you plan on grilling smaller items, a grill mat is also a great choice. These are placed on top of the food to keep smaller pieces, like vegetables and shrimp, from being overwhelmed by wind-caused flare-ups.

You’ll also want to invest in a grill cover that can protect your grill from the elements when you’re not cooking.

How Wind Affects Gas Grills FAQ

Grilling on windy days can be a scary roadblock preventing a fun day of barbecuing.

If you still have questions about grilling in the wind, don’t panic!

We’ve got you covered with these common questions asked about how wind affects gas grills.

Is It Bad to Grill on a Windy Day?

No, it’s not inherently bad to grill on a windy day, but it can present challenges such as heat loss, flame instability, and uneven cooking. However, with proper precautions like finding a sheltered spot, using longer utensils, and monitoring your grill closely, you can successfully grill even on windy days.

How Do You Use a Gas Grill on a Windy Day?

To use a gas grill on a windy day, find a sheltered spot to reduce wind impact, preheat your grill for a longer time, keep the lid closed as much as possible, and consider cooking smaller cuts of meat. Always focus on safety by doing an equipment check and staying by the grill.

How Do I Stop Wind From Blowing Out My Gas Grill?

To prevent wind from blowing out your gas grill, position it in a sheltered location. Angle your grill so the wind hits the side of it. Keep the lid closed as much as possible to protect the flame, and monitor the grill continuously. If the flame goes out, turn off the gas and ventilate before relighting.

Final Thoughts on Our How Wind Affects Gas Grills Guide

A windy day doesn’t necessarily mean you have to put the brakes on your barbecue!

Just remember: by windy, we’re not talking about a thunderstorm or anything above 25 miles per hour. If that’s the case, keep your cooking inside for the day.

If the wind is lighter, you can use the tips, tricks, and safety precautions in this article to still have a great day of grilling. From strategic positioning of your grill to utilizing wind guards and adjusting your temperatures as needed, you’ll be well-equipped to handle any breezy barbecue session.

So, don’t let the wind dampen your grilling spirits — get out there and cook while enjoying the breeze in your hair!

If you’ve had any experiences with grilling on windy days, positive or negative, don’t hesitate to share them in the comments below. Let’s keep the conversation going!

Cheers,

Pat G.

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DisclosureAt The Grilling Life, I am committed to researching and writing thoughtful, informative and editorially independent reviews of the best products for your outdoor cooking needs.  If you like what I do, you can support me through my chosen links, which earn me a commission.  This allows me to continue sharing with you my love for all things barbecue.  Your support is truly appreciated.

Patrick Ginise

A backyard warrior, certified carnivore, lover of good whiskey, grill master and I’m Living The Grilling Life!

I have a passion for cooking with live fire and smoke, no matter the weather. I’m a real person just like you, who loves outdoor cooking and BBQ. Food, fun, and time spent with family and friends are what it’s all about! It is my mission to take my passion and knowledge for outdoor cooking and all things BBQ and share this expertise in techniques and grilling equipment with you. In other words, Living The Grilling Life!

I have personally tested over 150+ Grills and Smokers and hundreds of grilling thermometers, temperature controllers, grill brushes, grilling tools, fire starters, and other BBQ products.