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Jul 7, 2011 02:13 PM

BBQ Smoke Etiquette

Hi Everyone,

I recently moved into a new apartment. I have a Big Green Egg BBQ and love to use it. I live in a townhouse style apartment with a small back patio. My neighbor's patio and living room is adjacent to mine and I am concerned about the amount of smoke that my BBQ is creating. The only location where my BBQ will fit is about 6ft from their living room door. My question is this: being that I live in an apartment, do I need to be concerned with my BBQ creating too much smoke and annoying the neighbors or should I just keep cooking on it until someone actually complains? Any advice you can offer about proper apartment BBQing etiquette would be very much appreciated! Thanks!

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  1. Invite the neighbors over for dinner and see what they have to say.

    1. As much as I love BBQ and the smell of it cooking, I don't want someone else's grill 6 feet away from my door. That is pretty darn close. My suggestion is to let him know when you are going to use it and perhaps invite him over for some or take a plate to him.

      1. i would also check your local fire may not be legal to have it so close to the building...
        before they do get annoyed and maybe report you....

        i also live in a apartment... the only grill we can have near or on our lanai is an electric one...

        the complex has gas grills we can use ...

        2 Replies
        1. re: srsone

          srsone is right on the mark. more and more places are prohibiting bbq/grilles except in designated locations in multi-family housing. in many places it is a violation of local laws and others simply a violation of the house rules. But the rules are often not just 'petty neighbors', but are required by the insurance carrier.

          Believe it or not I have seen people put bricks down on top of a wood deck, and then build a fire directly on the brick, not even in a metal pan. They were very skeptical that hot embers could settle down between the bricks and catch the deck on fire.

          1. re: srsone

            I agree - absolutely check your lease and local fire codes. I know it is against the North Carolina state fire code to have a grill on patios or decks of multifamily dwellings, or within a certain distance (10 feet, I think) from combustible material, including most landscaping materials. I have a feeling the same or similar applies in many places, if not by law then at least according to rental agreements.

          2. answer depends on how often they leave the door/windows open.

            1. I would certainly talk to the neighbors before they complain. If they have an open window or door and you are getting ready to light up, give them a warning. (And the suggestion to invite them over for a cookout are spot-on.)

              2 Replies
              1. re: pikawicca

                The fire issue is pretty neglible with a BGE - I say that because I have a Kamado, and we can put our hands on the outside of it without burning or even feeling very hot. But the smoke is another question. The birds eat from thier feeder thru it, and so do the hummingbirds, so it shouldn't be too bad for the neighbors, but that having been said, my son had neighbors who smoked cigarettes in the apt beneath him, and he had to keep his sliding door and windows closed as the smoke came right up into his apt, and he was allergic to it, always has been.
                I would talk to the neighbors, and perhaps cook them a pulled pork roast just for putting up with it.

                1. re: Nanzi

                  In our city, if there is a combustible substance used (wood/charcoal/gas) it can't be on a balcony, within 5 feet of a building or within 15 feet of an awning. So, even if the fire issue is negligible, it is still worth looking into the city's fire codes.

                  Still, I'd be pretty unhappy about someone bbqing that close to my door.... unless I got some of the spoils!