Charcoal is a favorite cooking fuel for grilling enthusiasts. It can get much hotter than gas, allowing for the perfect sear with all of the chemical reactions that impart great flavor.
While charcoal is typically used outdoors, you might be wondering, can I burn charcoal indoors?
Let’s take a look and find out.
Charcoal Produces Toxic Gases
Can you burn charcoal indoors? In most cases, the answer is no. Charcoal produces carbon monoxide which is toxic and deadly to humans and pets in relatively low quantities.
Even with doors and windows open, there might not be enough ventilation to remove dangerous gases.
The toxins are odorless and typically don’t irritate people, so it can be hard to detect when carbon monoxide reaches dangerous levels.
You can in some cases use a small charcoal grill in a semi-enclosed area like a covered outdoor kitchen or a sunroom or conservatory that opens up into your yard or deck.
- The Grillerette Pro is a small charcoal grill that can be used in a semi-enclosed environment with plenty of ventilation. What it does is it blocks grease from spilling on the charcoal, which creates a 90% reduction in smoke.
- The Primst Multifunctional Charcoal Grill is a Korean-style grill that is perfect for tabletop cooking with a group of friends. Made out of anti-rust stainless steel material it has two ventilation holes on the side to get different flame sizes.
While you should never use charcoal in fully enclosed areas of your home, your indoor/outdoor flow areas could be ideal for charcoal cooking.
Never use a full-sized charcoal grill, as this could produce excess levels of dangerous gas. Never use a charcoal grill in an unventilated space, especially near combustible objects.
For your safety, keep a fire extinguisher on hand. Putting out charcoal can be difficult and pouring water over the grill can produce dangerous amounts of steam. This First Alert Aerosol Spray is affordable and should be kept nearby any time that you’re grilling.
Carbon monoxide and other toxins may still build up in semi-enclosed spaces. Installing an affordable detector like this Kidde Carbon Monoxide Alarm will give you peace of mind.
The Bottom Line: Can I Burn Charcoal Indoors?
You should only burn charcoal indoors in very specific situations. Generally, charcoal use in a kitchen, dining room, or anywhere else in the main areas of the home is dangerous.
Only use a small grill in spaces that open up to your yard. Use a carbon monoxide detector and if you aren’t sure if there’s adequate ventilation, take the grill outside to be safe. Never use a large charcoal grill indoors.
Charcoal cooking is convenient and results in great flavor, but you should always consider the safety of yourself, your family, and your friends first.