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BBQ Grills: Indoor vs. Outdoor Use

Barbeque grills are great for livening up any party, indoors or out. But your barbecuing experience actually depends on the type of grill you use - so you have to choose wisely. Additionally, the model you choose may significantly affect your safety, especially when it comes to deciding between an indoor and an outdoor unit.

Outdoor BBQ Grills: What You May Not Know

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There are three types of grills you can use outdoors:

  • Charcoal
  • Gas
  • Electric
The type you choose changes the way you experience your meats and veggies.

Charcoal BBQs

These feature a simple construction and easy portability because they don't need a plug to operate.

They use charcoal briquettes made from timber to add a smoky taste to your food. As a result, barbeque enthusiasts often prefer to use a charcoal barbecue grill to obtain a more natural "outdoors taste" that can't be achieved with any other type of BBQ.

Additionally, models that use charcoal have the capability tosear or even blacken cuts of meat, a feat also exclusive to this type of grill.

Gas Barbeques

This is another favorite of grilling enthusiasts. They are popular because they offer the most consistent heat. They rely on heat from natural gas, similar to gas stove ranges.

Unlike charcoal grills, gas barbeques don't have the ability to infuse the campfire taste into your food, making them more suitable for delicate foods.

Electric BBQs

Most barbeque beginners use them. These units are much safer than charcoal and gas barbeques, making them perfect for parties and get-togethers with children and pets.

The operating cost is usually much lower for electric units because they don't require the use of charcoal or the constant refilling of propane or natural gas.

For more information about the three different types, take a look at our BBQ grill comparison page.

Indoor Grilling

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Unlike outdoor barbecuing, indoor barbecuing limits your options significantly - but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy the taste of BBQ when you're stuck underneath a roof. When grilling indoors, you have to make sure to follow safety tips as well (see below). These barbecues are great for those who don't have yard space or those who want to celebrate when the weather is less than perfect.

The safest type to use indoors is an electric grill. Unlike charcoal and gas, electric BBQ grills don't emit large amounts of carbon monoxide. The two most popular styles of electric barbeques are:

  • Open grills
  • Folding contact units

Open Grills

These are single-sided and require you to flip the foods to make sure they're cooked, much like outdoor models. An open unit allows you to enjoy flavors closer to the ones produced by an outdoor grill.

Folding Contact Grills

On the other hand, folding contact models come with a top and bottom plate, so you can cook both sides of your meal at once. This is basically a style similar to that of a Panini press and is mostly used to make sandwiches. As a result, you don't get much of a smoky flavor, if at all.

Safety Tips

  • Never use a charcoal or gas BBQ grill indoors - that includes areas like your garage. These units produce large amounts of carbon monoxide that can adversely affect your health or - more likely - cause death.
  • Never leave them unattended - even if you're using an indoor grill. You will want to be able to control how cooked the meat is, as well as the amount of smoke generated.
  • Watch out for children - even if you're inside using an electric unit, there are safety hazards. The surface can get hot, and unsupervised children may end up with accidental burns. When outdoors, the same hazard applies, but children are even more prone getting hurt by the sharp edges on the barbeque itself.

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