Is it Safe to Grill in the Garage? – Why it’s a Bad Idea

Grilling on a BBQ grill gives you flavors and a remarkable sear that makes grilled foods taste delicious. When the weather isn’t looking so nice, it’s tempting to try grilling with a standard BBQ grill inside your garage. Here are the exact reasons why this is a bigger mistake than you might think at first.

Why you Can’t Grill in the Garage (on Most Grills)

Many people do not have a fancy outdoor patio that’s covered, so, when the weather is bad, some get the idea to just grill inside their garage. But, as said, this is a bad idea for various reasons. Simply opening the garage door so the smoke can get out doesn’t cut it either. Here are possible dangers that many unsuspecting barbecue lovers never consider.

Excessive smoke

If your BBQ grill is using charcoal or wood, there is obviously going to be a good amount of smoke.

Many people don’t realize that smoke is also tends to linger on the walls and on the roof of your garage. It can build up and become dangerous to breathe. Also, moisture vapor that’s emitted when cooking something on a grill combines with smoke and will bond with these vapor molecules creating a deadly concoction.

Garage Fire Dangers

All it takes is a little bit before a grill small grill fire gets out of control, and when that happens you definitely don’t want to be indoors.

Not everyone keeps their garage tidy and is often a place where old newspapers, rags, and random cardboard boxes are stacked. Many garages are also unfinished, so the rafters of a garage will dry out faster than unexposed wooden beams. Needless to say, your garage is a place where combustible items are exposed. All it takes is one or two lone cinders that are carried up into the air to land on something and catch fire.

Cinders in the grill are the biggest hazard since they can also ignite collections of dust or fiber and burst into open flame. Even overly dry wood or wood that has pockets of sap that pop can send these burning embers flying in any direction. It only takes a few seconds before a small fire erupts into a bigger one if these cinders are given the right conditions.

Carbon monoxide danger

Carbon monoxide gas is an unseen colorless and odorless gas that comes from anything combustible. It’s the reason that so many people never get a chance to escape from a house fire since the gas is strong enough to knock them out within minutes. It also takes less than an hour to feel the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. Within a confined space such as a garage, large amounts of carbon monoxide gas can build up even if the garage door is wide open.

It doesn’t matter if your grill is using wood, charcoal, or gas, since carbon monoxide comes from all three of these fuels. You might not pass out, but the risks of getting a bad headache, becoming dizzy, or starting to have chest pains. The symptoms are also similar to flu-like ones that start after one hour of being exposed to carbon monoxide.

Increased Risk of a Grease Fire

Cooking with meats such as pork, beef, or chicken can often get pretty greasy depending on the fat content of your meat. Even flipping a burger has a certain amount of grease that crackles and flares up when you flip it on a BBQ grill. If there’s one hidden danger that all BBQ pros know, it’s the combustion that comes from flipping over hot flames or coals that will make flames leap upward at least a foot or two.

Since you can’t see how fire rises into the air outside, a flame that rises up continues to burn until the fuel it burns up is totally spent. This is another reason why grilling in a garage is a fire danger since the flame can eventually reach into your garage roof. Anything that can burn up there including spider webs, sawdust, or flammable items can quickly catch fire as a result.

Can You Grill in the Garage With a Gas Grill?

At first glance the most dangerous thing is using something like a charcoal grill in the garage, but can you use a gas grill? Unfortunately you cannot. First of all there is the fire hazard thing, when you’re dealing with an open fire inside there’s always a fire hazard.

But gas grills also produces carbon monoxide, and when all that gas is locked inside the garage there’s an increase chance of carbon monoxide poisoning. This applies even if the garage door is open.

Also, the propane or gas tanks can sometimes leak. Especially older gas tanks with a lot of wear and tear. Even if it’s only a small leakage gas will build up and cause difficulty in breathing. The gas is of course also more flammable which increases the likelihood of a fire breaking loose.

Why you Can Grill in a Garage Using an Electric Grill

Hamilton Beach Electric Indoor Searing Grill

If you really need to grill indoors there is one option available. I know that this may not be the most ideal option if you’re a barbecue lover and want that rough grilled taste but it’s better than nothing at least. The alternative to using wood fuels or gas BBQ grills is using an electric grill instead.

An electric grill is basically just a toaster on steroids. Electric grills produce enough that you can actually grill meat. It can easily be used indoors as there is no smoke or fire involved. Sure you may not get the best barbecue in the world, but it’s better than setting fire to your garage or destroying you lungs from particle pollution.

Convenience with no risk

Electric grills have passed a UL Listing which means there is no risk of them becoming a fire hazard. They have all gone through product testing to also make sure that you aren’t in any immediate danger. The surface on an electric grill is designed to heat up very quickly within minutes which means you have less time waiting around to start grilling.

No excessive smoke or fumes

An electric grill doesn’t use any open flames, which helps to keep the risk of smoke to a bare minimum. There will be some moisture evaporation and even an occasional splatter of cooking, but nothing as wild and unpredictable as a fuel-fired BBQ grill. Because there is no source of combustion, there is no threat of carbon monoxide fumes either. All you get is the smell of the food that you’re cooking.

Temperatures are safe to work indoors

The benefit of electric grills is working around temperatures that aren’t going to go above 650 degrees Fahrenheit. This is more than enough heat needed to cook most barbecue items. Even the models that feature grilling grates, you can still achieve those attractive sear marks using an electric grill. Many of the newest models can replicate the look and texture but don’t have that smoky flavor.

To get that smoky flavor, you can easily smoke your foods using a portable smoking gun that adds this flavor to any finished grilled dish in minutes.

Works fine indoors in any weather

Another nice part about portable electric grills is the convenience of grilling indoors without having to take it outside. You can grill in your garage safely on days that aren’t dependent on the weather. It might be an advantage to use your electric grill under the shade of your garage when it’s too sunny or too windy to grill outside. Because the heat source is concentrated within these appliances, it’s possible to grill foods in any weather all year long.

Final thoughts

Grilling in the garage is a bad idea. The buildup of smoke and carbon monoxide can poison you give you trouble breathing. Also, the smoke itself will sit itself in the walls, on the ceiling and so on, which is gives of a almost permanent bad smell as well an unhealthy breathing environment. There’s also the likelihood of fire. Grilling inside with regular outdoors grills is simply has too many dangers should be avoided. The best alternative in bad weather is, in my opinion, to get some sort of roof over your outdoor terrace, use an electric grill or simply skip BBQ-day.

Thanks for Reading!

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