Is it even a proper barbecue if the resident grill-master doesn't have an umbrella in hand? Can you call it summer in Ireland if you're not wearing sunglasses and a rain jacket?

However damp your al fresco dinner might be, it’s worth planning ahead so your next barbie isn’t a total washout.

Follow these tips to a slightly more waterproof BBQ experience…

Add more coal – the cooler and damper the weather, the longer it's going to take for your barbie to heat up (so get it on earlier than usual too), and also, the quicker it'll cool down – meaning you need to be bang on with your timings.

Go for gas – a gas barbecue is likely to be far more reliable in inclement weather.

Make sure your barbecue has a lid – and keep it closed as much as possible, to retain the heat, and repel the rain.

Don’t wear flip flops – rain + slippy shoes + fire + sharp barbecue utensils = call an ambulance now.

Weigh up the benefits of a gazebo – if it’s windy as well as rainy, a gazebo can be more worry than it’s worth. The threat of it flying over next door’s fence while you’re trying to serve up hot dogs isn’t the best look.

Grab an umbrella – but if you’re on cooking duty, get someone else to hold it, or those ribs are going to end up damp and most likely on the floor.

Have the oven on indoors – it’s best to have a back-up plan.

Think about what you’re cooking – life will be simpler, and dinner less disappointing, if what’s going on the barbie is just being finished off on it. Meats you can cook ahead (so your chicken is guaranteed to be cooked all the way through) that can just pick up a smokiness and flame-grilled taste with a few minutes on the barbecue, will literally save your bacon.

Wrap veg in tin foil – then stick them in amongst the coals; it’ll keep them waterproof, hot and will mean one less item to shift around the grill, so you can spend less time standing in the rain.

Appreciate the extra smoke – rain can induce more smouldering, but remember that, while all the smokiness is catching in your hair, it’s also making your food taste pretty excellent.

Never retire to the garage – barbecuing indoors – whether there’s a door open or not – is a major health and fire safety disaster in the making. Do. Not. Risk. It.