Grilling on a fine summer day is one of my favorite things to do.
But the sunny season doesn’t last forever. And even a summer day can turn rainy all of a sudden — at least in some areas.
So how about just bringing the grill to the garage where it’s dry and you are protected from the chilly wind?
In short, I don’t recommend grilling in the garage because normally it’s not safe.
On the flip side, it’s not that simple. There are ways to safely use a grill, or even a smoker, in your garage.
Read on to find out how!
Why Grilling in the Garage Is Generally Not Safe
To begin with, why would you even want to grill in the garage?
Here are a few good reasons:
- Cold weather: Grilling in the garage during the winter might sound like a good option.
- Rain: You are planning to get the barbecue party on but it starts raining.
- The grill is there: Your grill is being stored in the garage so the easiest option to cook a few burgers could be to just start grilling right there.
A normal garage is not suitable for grilling simply because it’s not safe, and there are three main reasons why.
1. Carbon Monoxide
When you use a charcoal or gas grill, a toxic gas called carbon monoxide (CO) is formed when the fuel burns.
This gas is odorless and lethal so you definitely don’t want any of it in an indoor space. And it’s not just the people in the garage that might get exposed, it can easily spread all over the house through air vents and through small openings under the doors in the ceiling.
According to CDC, at least 430 people die in the US every year from accidental CO poisoning. So this risk is real and something that should be taken seriously!
2. Fire Hazard
It’s not uncommon to have flammable objects inside a garage — anything from motor oils, glues, and cleaning alcohol to old books and magazines might catch fire.
Or how about that plastic canister full of lawn mower fuel? It’s an explosion waiting to happen!
There are over 10,000 fires yearly in the US that are started by grilling or smoking and thousands of people visit in ER to be treated for thermal burns related to grilling.
Grilling outdoors on a stable and fire-safe platform with enough space around the grill is one of the best ways to avoid these accidents.
You will always have some smoke when grilling and probably don’t want to inhale too much of that. In addition, your clothes and the whole garage, or even parts of the house, will end up smelling like smoke.
Is There Any Way to Grill in the Garage Safely?
Ok, so can’t you just open the garage door and a window so the airflow through?
Well, that’s not going to be enough. The fire hazard will still be there, and some carbon dioxide and smoke might end up going into the house.
But there are a few ways that you can safely grill in the garage.
Use an Electric Grill
The easiest option is to use a smokeless electric grill that is designed for indoor use. Some might not consider this proper grilling at all, but I think it’s a decent option.
However, you still need to make sure that there are no flammable objects near the cooking area.
Modify Your Garage
I’m not an expert on making a garage safe for grilling — so these are just some ideas to consider. Also, it can be nearly impossible to make most garages suitable for grilling.
Here are some minimum safety measures to consider:
- Separate building: It’s best if your garage is a separate building from the main house. This will prevent any smoke or carbon dioxide from flowing into the living areas.
- Materials: The garage should be built from fireproof materials like tiles or cement. Also, all flammable materials should be removed, or at least kept far away from the grilling area.
- Air circulation: You will probably have to install a powerful range hood right on top of the grill. And the air should flow directly out from the range hood.
Here is an example of a solution that looks pretty solid to me:
Grilling in Garage FAQ
Can I use a smoker or pellet grill in the garage?
It’s not recommended to use a smoker or pellet grill in the garage because of the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, fire hazard, and smoke.
However, as explained above, it’s possible to modify your garage so it’s safe to cook barbecue inside.
Can I use a Blackstone griddle in the garage?
You should not use a propane gas griddle in the garage because it poses the same risks as grilling. But if you have an electric Blackstone griddle designed for cooking indoors, it’s ok to use it.
Can I store my grill in the garage?
Yes, the garage is probably one of the most common places to store a grill during the off-season. It keeps your grill dry and somewhat protected from dust and dirt.
But it’s not recommended to keep your propane tank in the garage or anywhere indoors unless you really pay attention to safety measures like ventilation and temperature control.