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Jul 14, 2014 09:50 PM

Has anybody installed a charcoal grill in their kitchen?

Do you ever actually use it? Did you add a chimney or will just having it under the hood be good enough?

I love grilling and since I'm installing a new kitchen I always knew that I was going to have a grill. At first I had just planed to do a gas and lava rock job o since this will mainly be for just adding a grilled component to meals (I have two charcoal grills outside for big cookouts), but I figured that it'd be nice to have the option to add the real lump charcoal flavor to the meat.

Unfortunately I haven't been able to find any good info by googling, mainly a lot of people saying OMG charcoal inside, you'll DIE!!!! Which is completely unhelpful. I mean, come on, I burn wood in my fireplace all the time (which only has natural convection ventilation) and I can't imagine that burning charcoal would put out that much more carbon monoxide.

The idea will be to have it at the same hight as the stove grates, I'm wondering if there should be any sort of raised lateral shied to keep sparks from jumping around to other parts of the cooking area? Charcoal only really sparks when first lit so maybe I could have just put a mesh cover over it until it gets going.

If there is already a thread about this then feel free to just send me over there, I did a search but didn't find anything

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  1. This really doesn't sound like a good idea.

    1. You raise a safety issue.

      Each year we read of deaths of individuals and even families using a charcoal grill inside a home or even a camper.

      It does not matter what the use was, the fact is that charcoal consumes a large amount of oxygen in any confined space, ventilated or not. That can lead to a lethal condition called anoxic encephalopathy, or brain tissue damage and death. why would you risk that ?

      A word of strong caution: DON'T.

      4 Replies
      1. re: SWISSAIRE

        Yet burning wood in fireplaces is ok? Most lump charcoal IS wood (just wood which has been precooked in a low oxygen environment)

        1. re: Pwizduo

          A fireplace or wood stove have serious venting to OUTSIDE and create a draft (right term?) to pull smoke and gasses to the OUTSIDE.

          1. re: kseiverd

            Right term. That said, he may consider talking to someone who designs\builds fireplaces. The venting should not be too different. I know I've seen setups designed for grilling inside a fireplace at one time or another.

            1. re: kseiverd

              Completely unlike a kitchen extractor. I was planing to have mine ducted into the bedroom.

        2. but Pwizduo isn't suggesting setting up an hibachi on the counter. properly installed and built in from scratch with an external oxygen feed source and a properly vented hood a charcoal grill would probably be safe. I too am skeptical, yet since it's not a retrofit it should be able to be done.

          if you trust your contractor (and I hope you do) ask if they have people they would trust in their own home and get quotes and references, short of that a local store that specializes in fireplaces and custom grills might be someone to call for sources as well as you're not the first to want or desire this.

          another call would be to your local building code enforcement and your insurance agent to see if they have issues, and if so, get the gas/lava rock thing toss a few chips on and save the full on charcoal grill for summer.

          10 Replies
          1. re: hill food

            " Probably " in this case doesn't cut the mustard. And no one has mentioned the word Hibachi.

            You need to talk to a local fire department inspector.

            I doubt if bringing charcoal inside an occupied structure for cooking would be allowed or recommended. The simple, safe, and probably legal solution is to cook with charcoal outside.

            And stating it will be oxygen supplied ? Are you serious ?
            Oxygen around flame sources is flammable, if not explosive.

            This idea goes from bad to worse.

            1. re: SWISSAIRE

              Ok, so this is not in someones home, but it is enclosed. I've eaten there on more than one occasion and am still here to talk about it.

              These are large stainless steel Weber Kettles with charcoal. There is no question it can be done safely, the question is, who knows how to do it safely, so that you have the proper amount of oxygen coming in and enough CO going out. Obviously you would need fireproof surroundings to get this past a building inspector.

              I wouldn't call this foolish, I'd call it expensive, very expensive, and a bit of an engineering challange. It certianly isn't common and to me that's the bug in the ointment, it's going to be difficult to find someone who can do this properly.

              I'd love to have one of those SS Weber Kettles for outside.

              1. re: SWISSAIRE

                It wouldn't be supplied by pure oxygen obviously but rather by that mix of 78% Nitrogen 21% oxygen which supplies my oven, my stove top burners, my water heater, etc.

                1. re: Pwizduo

                  Correct, you're just going to need more "fresh air" than you do for your oven and stove top burners since the coals will suck up a lot of oxygen. It isn't too much different than having a high output vent hood, you need "make-up air" so it doesn't suck air from places you don't want, like your furnace. In this case you will need "make-up" air just to maintain the necessary oxygen level in your environment. Not a big deal, I wouldn't think, but you have to find someone that knows what they are doing so everything is in a reasonable balance.

                  1. re: mikie

                    Here's an extreme story. An architect friend of our designed a home some years ago that had a (custom, of course) range hood that was something like fifteen feet long! It sucked so much air out of the house that they had to design a separate and custom ventilation system for the kitchen.

                    1. re: c oliver

                      Along similar lines, an acquaintance of ours had their kitchen remolded and used a professional Kitchen Designer. The kitchen is gigantic and has a granite island that's about two full slabs. Range top on one end and seating on the other. They didn't want a hood hanging down over the range top to obstruct the view, so the designer told them he would just mount a vent in the cieling above the range top. The amount of cfms required to pull grease and steam from the range top was really high, don't recall what she said it was. Anyway, it sucked all the hot air out of the house in the winter and all the cold air out of the house in the summer. This was because of the high output necessary given the location of about 5 or 6 feet above the range top. They were going to install some sort of hood, I'm not sure what they ended up with. Poor design, even by a professional, can cost you a bundle in the long run.

                      1. re: mikie

                        From the other things I heard about this "compound" price truly was no object. And as 'they' say "nature abhors a vacuum." Fireplaces are bad for that and other reasons.

                        1. re: c oliver

                          I think the big problem with the whole "sucking the air out of the house" is that it pulls the air through the duct work and out due to the - pressure in the kitchen. My new place on the other hand doesn't have any sort of central HVAC, just individual single zone split units in each room as well as radiators. Since the radiators are just ducted steam and the boiler is actually accessed from the outside I'm not worried about pilot lights being extinguished.

                      2. re: c oliver

                        I remember photographing a grand private dinner at a restaurant once, they made pretty little salads with pansies on top for one course. As the waiters exited the kitchen, the door opened and the exhaust fans over the grill sucked so much air that a bunch of the pansies were drawn off the salads and back into the kitchen.

                  2. re: SWISSAIRE

                    SWISS - 1. re: 'hibachi' some concerns sounded like an unconsidered grill was intended to be just plunked.
                    2. 'oxygen' was used as a shortcut for saying "a mixture of 21% oxygen, 78% nitrogen, and approximately 1% other trace gases, primarily argon; to simplify calculations this last 1% is usually treated as if it were nitrogen"

                2. Carbon Monoxide (result of burning anything) WILL kill you!

                  1. I was just looking at wood burning grills the other day and they had an image of one of their grills that they installed inside someone's home. So its definitely not unheard of. But I would make sure that a fire extinguisher is close by.

                    ooohhh...and as im typing this, I just noticed they sell a wood grill which you can install in your fireplace whenever you want. The bonus is wood will give more smokiness than charcoal. So if you only plan to use it occasionally, maybe this will be an acceptable compromise.

                    First photo is an indoor enclosure in the kitchen, Second photo is of the grill in the fireplace.

                    Here is a link to the fireplace grill:

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: GOJIRA

                      I was always interested in this for our fireplace:


                      which I first saw in Michael Chiarello's Napa style catalog years ago. Similar idea to the one you pictured.

                      1. re: GOJIRA

                        This is a work of beauty! My dad (an iron worker) made us two pieces for our current wood burning fireplaces. We purposely put out fireplace higher (about 12" higher than the counter) in a corner of our dinette/kitchen area (open concept). He made us a very heavy duty large grill and we use fire bricks to adjust the height. We put chestnuts on steel pans cook steaks, beans in Tuscan crocks, etc. The smell is to die for and it is a huge conversation piece since it is visible from all areas of the house. We have been known to use the wood fireplace in our great room for smores for a large party (dad made a special stand for that too). Wood is amazingly flavourful. We have also made cedar planked salmon on there. We just place the soaked cedar plank on a disposable aluminum baking sheet and then pull the sheet near the end of cooking to make the cedar last longer.