Can you cook with an electric grill on a balcony?
August 7, 2012 12:42 PM   Subscribe

Can I keep it electric when cooking on my balcony?

We're getting into a condo, and while it's pretty nice there are no fires allowed. We can have an electric grill on the balcony though. Anyone have experience with this kind of setup or recommendations for equipment? Any way to surmount heat loss from wind? Ideally we'd be able to grill + rotisserie as well as do some light smoking (of food that is). Space is not really an issue.
posted by RobotVoodooPower to Home & Garden (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I've got a tabletop grill that I've used both indoors and out, similar to this (except that it goes on a table, doesn't come with legs).

I personally wouldn't trust those kinda legs (but I'm paranoid), but to avoid wind loss (how far up? how much wind?) of heat, maybe some kind of shielding? Even as simple as an L shaped piece of wood.

We generally grill on a countertop or outdoor table with a large wooden cutting board underneath it (so we don't scorch the finish), and keep a timer going to refresh the water enough.
posted by tilde at 12:48 PM on August 7, 2012

Electric grills are so underpowered that the better ones are already designed to reflect heat within the grill and avoid wind losses. You can definitely smoke on one (though watch out for large amounts of smoke attracting concern from neighbors), but high-heat grilling might be problematic. No way I'd try to sear a steak on an electric grill.
posted by WasabiFlux at 12:55 PM on August 7, 2012

When I was a kid my family rented a cabin on a lake in Michigan, and two older guys who lived there were smoking fish inside of an old refrigerator with wire shelves, the heat and smoke provided by an electric skillet full of wood chips sitting on the bottom. I think the sample they gave me was my first smoked fish. Tasty.
posted by jon1270 at 12:59 PM on August 7, 2012

Best answer: Amazon offers a wide range of electric grills with very high customer ratings.

If you're at all interested in smoking food, I highly recommend the Bradley electric smoker.
posted by donovan at 1:04 PM on August 7, 2012

Be sure smoking is allowed. I know at least one place I lived did allow grills (gas-only) but specifically said you can't do anything that generates a lot of smoke.
posted by primethyme at 1:47 PM on August 7, 2012

Best answer: My dad bought me the Weber Q140 for my birthday to use on my apartment balcony and I've found that it's fantastic so far. I bought a rectangular metal mesh table to set it on, and it's been a great setup. I'm kind of a grilling novice so I can't yet speak to searing steak, but I did get some really great grill marks on the first kielbasa I cooked on it.
posted by alynnk at 2:00 PM on August 7, 2012

Best answer: I've actually heard better things about electric smokers than electric grills. Since smoking doesn't require as much heat, they work quite well.

Another thing to consider that's fun is to take an electric skillet outside. It's a great way to do fish, meatballs, or other smelly foods without getting a lot of cooking odors in your house, and it gets you outside and provides the fun outdoor-cooking part of grilling, but with a greater diversity of food options. I actually prefer hamburgers and steaks done in a skillet anyway, so I'm a big fan of this.
posted by Kadin2048 at 4:05 PM on August 7, 2012

Best answer: As part of a smoking setup, it should do the trick.

As for grilling; you're slightly better off using the stovetops with a great cast iron skillet indoors - unless you have a seriously hairy-awesome electric grill. Or something that's able to put out more btu than the one on top of your inside stove.

Depends on what effect you're trying to achieve.
posted by porpoise at 9:27 PM on August 7, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks folks, gave me a lot to think about. There's usually a breeze around here, so I guess we'll have to first determine if the neighbors mind delicious meat smoke blowing into their unit for hours. I was hoping to do something like a whole chicken or ribs, but maybe a skillet is good enough. Thanks!
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 8:09 AM on August 8, 2012

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