Guide to Apartment Grilling
Just because you live in an apartment or condo doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the delicious taste of meals on the grill. Even if you don’t think you have the room or your community has restrictions on grilling, you have other options!
Read on to learn the benefits of grilling for those living in apartments and alternatives for apartment dwellers facing grill restrictions. From tips to safety rules, you’ll find everything you need to know in our guide to grilling in an apartment or condo.
Things to Consider When Apartment Grilling
While it’s tempting to get a grill for your balcony and get some burgers going right away, you have some things to consider. Keeping certain factors in mind will help you organize yourself and your balcony in a practical way.
1. How much space you have: The size of your balcony or patio will affect what size grill you can have. It also determines how much furniture you can put out there before your balcony gets too cramped. It’s crucial to find the right balance between fitting guests outside and creating an overcrowded space.
2. What you’re making: Cooking several racks of ribs, burgers and briskets is a bit tricky on a smaller grill. Keep the size of your grill in mind as you plan your menu. Determine the cooking times beforehand, so you will have everything done at the same time. You don’t want to keep hungry guests waiting!
3. If you’re entertaining guests: Parties affect what you’re making and how much space you have. The more people you invite, the more you’ll have to consider. Serve up hot dogs and hamburgers to save space on your grill while still feeding a crowd, or serve a mix of premade food alongside some grilled mains.
4. Where you have outdoor access: If your balcony is off your kitchen, your grilling job will be much easier. Even if there isn’t a direct path, you can still make apartment grilling simple. Make sure you have a clear walkway between your patio and kitchen, since you’ll have to transport your food between the two. Don’t block your door with furniture inside or outside, and have a door that opens smoothly. If you can’t open your door easily with one hand, it’s going to be harder to carry what you need outside.
5. What storage you have: Outdoor storage or space right by your balcony door can make your life easier when you’re grilling. If you don’t have a lot of space on your balcony, consider vertical storage. You can keep tools for your grill, a fire extinguisher and other necessities nearby with those solutions.
6. If your balcony is well-lit: Lighting isn’t essential to grilling, but it sure does help when you’re out there late at night. When you can see what you’re doing, you are a bit safer as well, so be sure to have adequate lighting outside. Use string lights for atmosphere and have a brighter patio light to help you see. You’ll be able to tell when your steak has the perfect char when you aren’t grilling in the dark.
7. What type of grill you want: Wherever you’ll be using your grill, be sure to choose the right one for you. You want something safe that will help you make perfect meals. Gas or propane grills have caused more house fires than charcoal varieties, so keep that in mind when deciding. Charcoal and wood pellet grills have a reputation for creating an impressive crust in contrast to their counterparts, so that may be an option to consider.
8. How much time you have: During the week, it may be challenging to set up your grill, heat the charcoal or pellets, cook your food and clean the grill. You may want to reserve cooking outside for weekends or nights when you have time for the prep and cleanup involved. No matter when you grill, it’ll be worth it!
All of the tips above apply to grilling in a condo or apartment, but you’ll also want to know the rules for grilling at an apartment or other rental properties. The restrictions where you live may influence:
- What type of grill you can get
- Where to put it
- What to do with fuel and starters for your grill
While the rules vary from place to place, it’s essential to be familiar with them.
Safety Rules for Grilling at an Apartment
No matter where you’re grilling, safety is vital. Take these steps in any setting to ensure you’re safe while grilling:
- Keep your grill clean to avoid flare-ups.
- Don’t let children or pets near the grill.
- Don’t put the grill under eaves or overhanging materials.
- Pay attention to the grill and don’t leave the area.
- Read your manual.
In addition to the steps you should take, you should also have specific tools on hand when you’re cooking. These tools keep you and others safe:
- Heat-protective gloves
- Heat-proof tools like stainless steel
- Longer tools for reaching toward the back of your grill
- A nearby fire extinguisher
- A spray bottle with water on hand to stop flare-ups
Make sure you follow these tips and have these devices to avoid any injuries or other mishaps while grilling. You should be careful when barbecuing at any location, but in an apartment, there are rules for grilling to ensure maximum safety.
Some apartments and condos don’t allow tenants to own grills. While this is unfortunate, it keeps you and other tenants safe. Be sure to check the rules of your building before you get a grill for your balcony, patio or other outdoor spaces.
Different states, cities and landlords have varying restrictions. In general, these safety guidelines for grilling in an apartment complex will keep you and others safe. Your community may enforce one or more of these rules:
- Grills on balconies must be at least 30 inches from the building.
- You can’t use a propane grill near a building with more than 20 tenants.
- There must be a fire extinguisher within 10 feet of the grill.
- You can only use a grill far from or nowhere near wooden structures.
- Restrictions are less strict on brick structures.
- You can only use gas and charcoal grills at least 15 feet from buildings.
- Electric grills are usually acceptable for balcony use.
Most locations enforce at least one of the guidelines above, but you should familiarize yourself with your local rules. These rules for grilling at an apartment may seem restrictive, but your protection should always be your priority. Besides, you can still have fun cooking with alternatives to apartment grilling!
Alternatives to Grilling in an Apartment
If your apartment complex has stricter rules, don’t despair. There are still plenty of ways you can get out and get grilling. Instead of grilling in your condo or apartment’s balcony, you could:
- Get an electric grill option.
- Kick up your stovetop with a grill pan.
- Use community grills if your rental property offers them.
- Head to a park where you may be able to bring your grill.
- Go tailgating with friends and a portable grill.
- Look out for barbecue events in your area.
Electric and indoor grill options may not get the same flavors of grilling with a charcoal, gas or pellet unit, but you still get the feel of grilling. If you crave the authenticity, head outdoors. Taking your grill to community areas that allow them means you get more space to bring your friends and family along.
If you feel determined to grill indoors — which gets you grilled goodness any season no matter where you live — consider investing in a grill pan. Cast-iron varieties are high-quality, and they’re easy to store in even the smallest of studios. Be sure you have adequate ventilation when cooking with high heat indoors, since it may produce smoke. Use smoked spices and flavorings — like salt, paprika or liquid smoke — to get a taste closer to grilled flavor.
If you can grill at your apartment, take advantage of that. Follow some tips for grilling in an apartment to keep everything running smoothly. You’re sure to serve up delicious meals easily.
Tips for Grilling in an Apartment
Grilling and entertaining in an apartment is easy if you follow the right tips. Keep this guide to grilling in an apartment in mind when it’s time to cook dinner or host a barbecue.
1. Give yourself some space: Avoid cluttering your balcony. Having a barbecue on your apartment balcony will take up some space, and you don’t want to navigate a maze of patio furniture while carrying a plate of grilled food. Choose smaller furniture or fewer pieces to prevent clutter. Use tables and chairs that fold up, which you can do to keep them out of the way. Get lighter furnishings you can easily move inside when it’s grilling time.
2. Entertain inside: Even if you have a bigger patio, you’ll have more room if guests stay inside. They can always come out when the grilling is over and it’s time to eat. The more people you have nearby while you’re trying to grill, the more unsafe your setup is.
3. Do prep work in your kitchen: Get everything you need ready to go before you head outside. Season meat, cut vegetables and get your sauce made before you step out to the grill. If you get everything done beforehand, you can minimize the back and forth.
4. Keep food and ingredients inside until you need them: If you don’t have a lot of workspace outside, store everything indoors until it’s time to hit the grill. You don’t want to rest a plate of uncooked food on your balcony as you prep your grill. One wrong bump, and your meal-to-be will end up on the ground below.
Cooking dinner for yourself is easier than cooking for friends and family, but with the tips above, you can easily throw a fun barbecue in your apartment. You’ll impress guests with the ability to produce a deliciously grilled meal from your balcony, patio or other outdoor spaces.
Benefits of Grilling for Apartment Dwellers
Grilling wherever and whenever you can comes with its advantages. It’s worth getting a grill to use at your apartment or other areas so you can do the following.
1. Meet neighbors: Host a barbecue for your fellow apartment dwellers! Whether you’re new to the building or want to meet your neighbors, grilling for a crowd is a great way to get to know new people. Your neighbors will appreciate the kind gesture, and you get to spend time and share delicious food with new friends. If you can’t use your balcony for cooking, you can still meet your neighbors at community grilling areas.
2. Get outside: Even if you’re just on your balcony, grilling lets you take advantage of the open air. Enjoy nicer weather, cooler evenings in the summer and the sights around you. Getting outside to grill is especially beneficial if you’re feeling cramped in your apartment and need an excuse to go out.
3. Improve the taste of food: Grilled food tastes better — it’s as simple as that. When you cook food over charcoal or wood pellets, you could even skip the usual spices or flavorings. Your food will be so flavorful that you won’t want to add anything to it, but we wouldn’t blame you if you did add some rubs or sauces!
4. Make healthier meals: If you’ve been loading your pans with oil to make fried food, you need to try grilling. Grilled food tastes delicious, and is healthier than fried food. Meat and vegetables can also maintain their nutrients when you cook them on a grill.
Try to make apartment grilling work for you, no matter where you’re cooking. You’ll love the results and how it lets you spend time with friends, family and neighbors. To get all these benefits, you’ll want to get the best grill for apartment dwellers.
Get the Best Grills for an Apartment Balcony at Grilla Grills
If you’re able to get a grill for your apartment, or if you want to suggest community grills to your landlord, go with Grilla Grills. We offer perfect portable grills for apartment dwellers who have little space for grilling. You can take these into communal areas or other locations that allow grills.
Check out the Chimp for a high-quality wood pellet grill. The Chimp is durable, versatile and portable. From tailgates to communal areas, the Chimp can go where you go. You’ll finally be able to get the smoky flavor you crave no matter where you live!
Looking for a kamado smoker? We have that, too! Get the Kong for the next time you crave an authentically smoked meal. With a durable construction and easy-to-move design, the Kong is also one of the best grills for an apartment balcony. It can even bake food — not just grill it — giving you more value in one unit.