How to Barbecue Pork: A Step by Step Guide: Step 4. Adjusting to Inclement Weather

It started to rain at 2:00, and it promises to rain all night.  This creates some challenges, but Herodotus’ Persian messengers had nothing on me.

The first and most serious challenge is the prospect that I will track wet footprints all over the house before our guests arrive.  I have addressed that challenge by (a) removing my tennis shoes and socks, (b) going upstairs and getting (1) a pair of Reefs and (2) a pair of Timberlands.  The plan is to wear the Reefs when I’m out in the rain and changing into the Timberlands as soon as I get under the cover of our screened porch.  The potential flaw in my plan, and it is a major one, is that I may not remember to change shoes back and forth.

The second challenge is maintaining the temperature of the grills in the face of the cooling effect of the rain.  I simply will open the vents all the way and, if necessary, briefly lift each grill lid from time to time to add oxygen, and thus increase heat.  A few drops of rain will enter through the vents, but that will, at worst, create a cool spot on the grill.  I can deal with that by shifting the meat as appropriate.

Snow and very cold weather present a challenge.   The heat from the grill dissipates significantly in cold weather.  If you are cooking a few butts to welcome in the New Year, as well you might, you probably want to use more coals and keep the vents open wider to maintain heat.

High winds present a challenge.   As a matter of fact the wind is picking up. The wind acts as a bellows on the coals when it enters through the vents.  Keep the vents almost completely closed.  When faced with both cooling rain and heating wind, pay attention to the temperature.  If it is cold and there is a high wind, dress warmly.

Hot and humid weather — the typical Washington weather on July 4 — presents a serious challenge because it is hot and humid: miserable.  What to do?  Go inside your air conditioned home, sit down on the couch, and think about the soldiers of our Revolution who had to march around in the summer wearing heavy wool uniforms, carrying their heavy equipment, and, standing shoulder to shoulder, facing British and Hessian bullets and bayonets.  And think what a wonderful country they created, a beacon to the world, and how lucky we are to live here.  Then get up off the couch and go outside and cook the damn pork.


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