Can You Have a Built-in Indoor Charcoal Grill?

July 29, 2022
Related Categories: 

Carbon Monoxide Risk Prevents Grilling with Charcoal Indoors

Whether the outdoors aren’t your thing or the aesthetic of an indoor grill simply appeals to you, the idea of an indoor grill is enticing. There are many styles of indoor grills on the market, but this raises a series of questions. One naturally worries about issues such as safety. Aside from safety, there are also the logistics of grilling indoors as opposed to using an outdoor grill.

Grilling Chicken on a Charcoal Grill - Learn Why This Can’t Be Accomplished Inside Your House (or even Your Garage)

Below, we’ll address the following topics:

  • Grilling safety
  • Types of fuel
  • Types of grills
  • What is a built-in indoor charcoal grill (and is it possible)

Is It Safe to Grill Indoors?

Nope. Generally, it is not safe to grill indoors unless you're using an electric grill. An indoor grill that uses combustion poses a safety hazard due to the risk of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Carbon monoxide is a gas that can be impossible to detect as it is colorless, odorless, and tasteless. You release carbon monoxide by burning substances such as gasoline, propane, charcoal, wood, or other fuels.

Charcoal Grills Belong Outside for Many Reasons Including the Risk of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon monoxide poisoning occurs when you produce CO in an enclosed space without proper ventilation. As a result, it gets trapped within the enclosed space and accumulates to toxic levels. When someone breathes in carbon monoxide, it can be deadly. Most grills operate by burning fuel, particularly propane gas or charcoal. Therefore, an indoor grill that requires burning anything for heat is generally dangerous as it can produce carbon monoxide within the home. This applies to pellet grills, smokers, and charcoal grills.

Aside from the health and safety risk of carbon monoxide, grilling indoors can also be a fire hazard. The roof or covering surface could easily catch fire. In short, grilling indoors is generally unsafe. Keep reading to see examples of certain indoor grills, though.

Are There Any Grills That Can Be Used Indoors?

There are a few exceptions to the rule that grilling indoors is dangerous. A smokeless grill provides a safe indoor grilling experience. These grills reduce smoke production in a few different ways.

First, a smokeless grill typically runs on infrared heat or electricity - as opposed to other fuels, these heating methods do not produce smoke or carbon monoxide. Second, many smokeless grills are built with a specific structure partnered with a drip tray. This structure works to reduce the amount of oil and food substances that might burn on the grill and create smoke.

Many indoor smokeless grills are created to be portable. A popular example is the George Foreman grill which offers a few options. They sell both smokeless grills and indoor/outdoor grills. Their smokeless grills reduce smoke by up to 85% compared to a regular grill. “All sizzle without the smoke,” they say.

George Foreman’s indoor/outdoor grills are portable domed electric grills. They come with removable grill stands that keep the grill sturdy when outdoors.

When transported indoors, these grills function as versatile kitchen appliances that allow you to do your indoor grilling on your kitchen counter. They also include a drip grill pan for drippage, easily adjustable temperature, and a domed lid. Perhaps best of all, they don't take up much cooking space.

Hamilton Beach is another indoor grill manufacturer. Their grills also are great as a countertop grill. Some models allow precise temperature control with a knob - others have digital interfaces to make cooking easy.

Many other brands also sell indoor grills or portable indoor/outdoor grills. Always do the proper research to ensure you are buying a safe grill. It should always have the recommended safety measures, whether that’s a smokeless feature or a drip tray.

Grilling With an Air Fryer? Really?

Another option that is available to grilling indoors is to use an air fryer. It seems like every day there are new combination units like the Ninja AG301 Foodi 6-in-1 Indoor Grill & 4 Quart Air Fryer.

Cooking Steak with the Ninja Foodi Air Fryer Grill Combo Comes with a Grill Grate for Cooking Steak Burgers, Chicken and More. The Grill Grate Will Even Leave a Grill Mark on Your Food

Can I Use a Charcoal Grill in an Apartment?

Using a charcoal grill indoors or in one’s home or apartment might be tempting. However, this is a bad idea. The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) warns consumers they should never burn charcoal indoors. This danger often arises in the winter when storms knock out power lines. Due to the cold, people sometimes unknowingly heat grills indoors, creating a safety hazard.

Whether due to winter scenarios like that or the simple temptation to grill food indoors, burning a charcoal grill inside one’s home can be hazardous and even life-threatening. The CPSC even warns not to bring a charcoal grill with freshly used coals indoors. Charcoal releases carbon monoxide until it is completely extinguished. So, avoid the temptation and always keep the charcoal grill outdoors.

Is There an Indoor Grill That Uses Charcoal?

Some charcoal grills are marketed as grills that are safe to use indoors. These grills say they can safely be burned indoors due to their unique structure, drip tray, or ventilation abilities. However, some user experiences may differ.

However, it would be wise to keep the charcoal grilling strictly outdoors despite these assertions of safety. As mentioned previously, burning charcoal indoors can be dangerous. Carbon monoxide poisoning is too much of a risk to simply ignore regardless of the temptation.

Restaurants and Indoor Charcoal Grills

There are some restaurants that may have indoor charcoal grills. Kopa makes indoor grills for restaurant use. Note that these should never be used in your home. Restaurants have to undergo strict requirements in order to insure proper installation, ventilation and specifications for the use of indoor grills. This is not something that is available for residential use.

What Is a Built-in Grill?

You can install a built-in grill either indoors or outdoors. Many of these built-in grills are professional-quality and expensive. Since they are built-in, these grills are unmovable and relatively permanent - this can be either a pro or a con depending on your perspective.

Typically an outdoor built-in grill is more popular than an indoor built-in grill. The outdoor atmosphere is part of the appeal of grilling for many people. Grilling outdoors is also generally seen as safer, even in the case of indoor-safe smokeless grills.

There are three different types of built-in grills: the gas grill, the charcoal grill, and finally, the electric grill. Each of these provides different factors to consider.

Whether you choose natural gas or propane, you should install the built-in gas grill outside since gas can produce carbon monoxide. Gas is the most affordable grilling fuel. Most portable outdoor grill carts that people own run on propane gas tanks. Propane gas grills burn from these tanks, which need replacement periodically. Natural gas grills, on the other hand, require a gas line run to function.

You can only install the built-in charcoal grill outside since charcoal produces carbon monoxide. Charcoal is fairly easy to grill with. It also produces the smoky flavor that people love to taste in grilled food. However, charcoal does take the longest to cook food out of these three options.

Finally, the electric grill works by running electricity lines from your house. Electric grills are typically the least popular. They do not produce the charred or smoky grill flavor that people love and tend to be more expensive. Electric grills cook the food relatively quickly, though.

Typically, the only built-in grills available to be installed indoors are electric for convenience.

Is There Such a Thing as a Built-in Indoor Charcoal Grill?

There are built-in outdoor charcoal grills and built-in indoor electric grills. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a built-in indoor charcoal grill - having a built-in indoor charcoal grill is not a safe option due to the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. However, a built-in outdoor charcoal grill can be a great addition to any household. It can add aesthetic value and spice up your outdoor barbecue parties.

Indoor Gas or Charcoal Grills are Reserved for Commercial Kitchens

The Fire Magic Legacy 24-inch Built-in Smoker Charcoal Grill is an example of a built-in outdoor charcoal grill. The grill has a 432-square-inch cooking surface. It is stainless steel with a “heavy-duty stainless smoker hood,” which has adjustable air shutters to control the temperature with. The built-in outdoor charcoal grill appeals to many as a stylish outdoor kitchen amenity.

Whether indoor or outdoor, built-in grills are often popular options for restaurants and grilling connoisseurs. Get one installed to bring out your inner grill chef.

The Best Cooking Area for a Charcoal Grill: Outside

So you can't have an indoor grill that is powered by charcoal. Take it outside.

In addition to built in outdoor charcoal grills, you can always consider a relatively inexpensive portable charcoal grill that you can place on your backyard patio. With outdoor grilling, carbon monoxide isn't a problem - and a portable grill with wheels allows you to position your grill out of the sun (or out of the reach of rain drops so you can stay dry while cooking).

Can You Put a Built-in Grill Against the House?

It would be inadvisable to put a built-in outdoor grill against the house. The CPSC recommends using any grill at least 10 feet away from the house or any building or structure that could catch fire. So, keep the built-in grill away from the side of the house to prevent fire hazards.

Built-in outdoor grills can be built into a patio or kitchen island on the patio, though. These outdoor kitchen islands containing the built-in grill can be beautifully done. Many of them are built out of either stone or brick and can match the design of the house or the patio beneath it.

There are many styles of built-in outdoor grills. Go for a rustic look if you like the classic, earthy feeling. Or, you could style your outdoor kitchen in a chic, contemporary fashion with granite tops and a minimalist appeal - try to match your built-in grill to the style of the rest of your patio, house, or outdoor kitchen for a consistent design.

Is a Built-in Grill Worth It?

Whether installing a built-in grill is worth it depends on your priorities. Installing a built-in grill can be expensive. Make sure you are committed and can afford it if you hope to install one. Despite the high cost, built-in grills are durable and need little maintenance compared to other cheaper grills.

The aesthetic of a built-in grill can also add a whole other dimension to your interior or exterior design, depending on its location. Built-in grills might be perfect for anyone who considers themselves a grilling connoisseur, hosts social events often, or simply loves the beautiful appeal of a built-in grill.

Frank Salvatore

Hey there - I'm Frank Salvatore. I created this site as a comprehensive kitchen resource. You'll find everything you need to know about everything in your kitchen. From appliances to utensils and layout - it is covered on this site!

About Me
Frank Salvatore
I created this site as a comprehensive kitchen resource. You'll find everything you need to know about everything in your kitchen. From appliances to utensils and layout - it is covered on this site!
Learn More About Me
Related Blog Posts
rocketarrow-downarrow-right linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram