Even here in Florida, the weather doesn’t always cooperate with us. If it rains and you’ve planned a barbecue, the next place you’ll probably think to grill is in your garage.
As tempting as that sounds, using a gas, propane, or charcoal grill in the garage can be very dangerous. Using the wrong type of grill indoors puts you and your family at higher risk of smoke inhalation or fire.
No burger is worth your family’s safety.
However, with some pre-planning and the right equipment, you can grill in the garage safely.
This article will look at the different types of grills you can safely use inside a garage and ways to keep your garage safe during and after grilling.
What Types of Grills Can You Use in the Garage?
Even a small grill or smoker poses a fire risk when moved into your garage.
Leaving your garage door open doesn’t matter as much as you think.
In this section, we’ll cover all the different types of grills and whether you can use them in your garage.
1. Gas Grills
Gas grills are a favorite with most homeowners. They use propane or natural gas as fuel, featuring burners that heat up rapidly and distribute heat evenly. This makes them super convenient, efficient, and versatile.
When it comes to garage grilling, gas grills are not safe.
They produce carbon monoxide, a dangerous gas that can build up quickly in enclosed spaces. Plus, they can also be a fire hazard.
2. Charcoal Grills
For more traditional, charcoal grills are the way to go. They use charcoal briquettes as fuel, generating high heat and smoke levels.
While that gives your food a rich, smokey flavor, that also means you can’t use them to grill in the garage.
Like gas grills, charcoal grills are not safe to use in a garage due to the significant amount of carbon monoxide they produce, not to mention the fire risk they pose. Even if you have a carbon monoxide detector in your garage, it may not be enough.
3. Pellet Grills
Pellet grills are a unique type of grill that uses wood pellets as fuel. They feature an electric auger that feeds the pellets into a firebox, allowing you to produce both high heat and low smoke, depending on your preferences.
Pellet grills are not recommended for use in the garage. Like their charcoal and gas counterparts, they produce carbon monoxide, which can be dangerous in an enclosed space.
4. Electric Grills
Electric grills are a safe and convenient grilling option for indoor use. They use electricity as their power source and feature heating elements that cook food.
While they may not give your food the same char or smoky flavor as other types of grills, they don’t produce dangerous fumes. That makes electric grills safe to use in a garage, provided you have a well-ventilated space and a suitable electrical outlet.
5. Flat Top Grills
Flat-top grills feature a flat metal surface that cooks food by direct contact. They’re easy to clean, versatile, and fast, but they may not give your food the classic grill marks or smoky flavor that other grills can. When it comes to garage use, like electric grills, they can be safe to use in a garage with good ventilation.
6. Kamado Grills
Kamado grills are egg-shaped ceramic cookers that use charcoal as fuel. Their tight-fitting lid traps heat and moisture, producing both high heat for searing and low heat for smoking. They’re incredibly durable, efficient, and versatile but can be heavy, pricey, and tricky to temperature control. Because they use charcoal fuel, Kamado grills are unsafe for the garage.
7. Infrared Grills
Infrared grills use propane or natural gas as fuel and have infrared burners that emit intense heat. This means the same rules apply to infrared grills as to gas grills. They produce carbon monoxide and can be a fire hazard, so keep these grills outside.
8. Portable Grills
Portable grills are small, lightweight versions of other types of grills that can easily be transported and set up anywhere.
Whether portable grills are safe to use in your garage depends on the fuel type.
For example, a portable electric grill can be safely used in a garage. In contrast, a portable gas or charcoal grill should not be used due to the carbon monoxide risk and potential fire hazard.
Should You Store Propane Tanks in Your Garage?
Like other fuel types, propane is highly flammable and potentially explosive.
We strongly recommend not storing propane tanks indoors (like in your garage).
Although tanks are designed to be robust and leak-resistant, accidents can still occur. The risk increases if the tank is knocked over or damaged.
A small leak can lead to gas build-up in an enclosed space like a garage. This could lead to an explosion if it comes into contact with a heat source or spark.
Even if your garage is well-ventilated, storing propane tanks outdoors is safer. A good outdoor spot is a well-ventilated area that’s out of direct sunlight. Always store tanks upright and ensure they’re stable to prevent a fall.
Check Out These Alternatives to Garage Grilling
Grilling in the garage might sound like a solid plan, especially when the weather isn’t playing ball. But hold up!
Using a grill in the garage can be seriously risky, with problems like carbon monoxide poisoning and fire hazards. So, it’s always better to look for a safer alternative.
Let’s dive into a few options:
First up, the no-brainer: grilling in the open air. It’s the safest way to get you that authentic grill experience. The catch? You’ll need the weather to cooperate and a suitable space. If it’s too windy, rainy, or sunny, you might need extra gear to protect your food and grill.
Indoor Electric Grill or Stovetop
Can’t grill outside? No worries. An indoor electric grill or stovetop can come to the rescue. It’s safe, handy, and won’t fill your house with smoke. You might not get the same smoky flavor as you would outdoors, but it’s a decent trade-off. Just remember to keep your kitchen ventilated and clean up any grease to keep smells at bay.
Grill Canopy or Patio Umbrella
Consider a grill canopy or patio umbrella if you’re after a cost-effective solution. They provide shade and help with ventilation while grilling, and you can set it up anywhere there’s enough room and a flat surface. The one drawback is that they might struggle in strong winds or heavy rain.
Outdoor Kitchen or Fire Pit
If you’re a serious griller and have space to spare, why not go all out with an outdoor kitchen or fire pit? It’s the ultimate grilling setup with lots of features. Plus, it can add a dash of luxury to your outdoor space. The downside is the cost and maintenance. And don’t forget, you’ll probably need to get some permits or approvals sorted before you start building.
A dedicated outdoor kitchen is a great option, especially if you have a rooftop deck on your garage.
Safety Rules for Grilling Inside a Garage
You’re likely familiar with basic safety precautions for flame grills, but you should take certain precautions when electric grilling.
Good Grilling Habits
As with outdoor grilling, it’s crucial to develop safe habits when indoor grilling. Keep these safety measures in place every time you grill.
Never leave your grill unattended, especially when grilling in the garage. The potential for a fire to get out of hand is much higher indoors, even with an electric grill.
Batch grilling, simply grilling smaller quantities of food, helps prevent flare-ups by minimizing drippings.
Most importantly, clean your grill after every use. Keeping your grill clean is the best way to reduce fire risk.
Prepare Your Garage Before Grilling
When choosing a grill, you can’t ignore your garage space. To make your electric grilling as safe as possible, consider the size and placement of your grill inside your garage.
Select an electric grill that won’t be too big for your garage. The right-sized grill will help the cooking smoke and fumes adequately vent away from your home.
Planning where to place your grill is equally important.
Ensure you clear the flammable materials area and place the grill on a flame-resistant surface. Think about how you’ll access your grill and remove any obstacles or tripping hazards that might cause injury.
Ensure you plug your electric grill into a surge-protected outlet without an extension cord. Using an extension cord introduces an unnecessary fire risk for any heat source.
Shut Down Checklist
Place a personal shut-down checklist on the wall near your grill. This list will help you double-check your process when you turn off and clean your grill.
Accidentally leaving your grill on, whether you choose to grill indoors or outside, can easily cause a fire.
My checklist helps me confirm that I have turned my grill off and unplugged it as a double precaution.
While I hope you never need to deal with a grill-related fire, preparing for one helps you stay safe.
Keep a hand-held fire extinguisher near your grill, away from the heat. Practice using your fire extinguisher, too, so you know how to operate it in a high-stress situation.
If you don’t have a fire extinguisher handy, another trick is to keep baking soda nearby to extinguish small flames.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is it safe to grill in a garage with the door open?
Though keeping the door open will help with ventilation, flame grills still present a fire hazard when grilling in the garage. It is not safe to use a natural gas, propane, charcoal grill, or pellet grill in the garage.
Is it safe to store a grill in your garage?
Once it has cooled off and has been cleaned, any grill can be stored in your garage to keep it safe from the elements. Ensure solid fuel sources like charcoal and wood pellets are stored at a safe temperature away from flammable substances. Never store propane tanks indoors.
Does a propane grill give off carbon monoxide?
Yes. Both charcoal and propane grills produce carbon monoxide.
How do you ventilate a garage for grilling?
You can ventilate a garage for grilling by opening the doors and windows, using a fan or a range hood, and keeping the grill away from the walls and ceiling. You should also check the carbon monoxide levels in the garage and install a smoke detector and a fire extinguisher for safety.
What type of grill is best for indoor use?
The best type of grill for indoor use is an electric grill, as it does not produce smoke or fumes that can be harmful. Electric grills are convenient, safe, and suitable for small spaces. However, they may not have the same flavor or texture as propane or charcoal grills.
Can you grill in the garage with a propane grill?
You should not grill in the garage with a propane grill, as it can pose a fire hazard and a carbon monoxide risk. Propane grills can leak gas, ignite flammable materials, and produce toxic fumes that can accumulate in the garage. Even with the door open, grilling in the garage with a propane grill is unsafe or recommended.
Can you grill in the garage with a charcoal grill?
You should not grill in the garage with a charcoal grill, as it can produce high heat and smoke that can damage your garage and your health. Charcoal grills can start fires, create sparks, and emit carbon monoxide and other pollutants that can build up in the garage. Even with the door open, grilling in the garage with a charcoal grill is unsafe or recommended.
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