People living in apartments and condos are rarely allowed to grill with an open flame on their deck. By and large, this is a safety issue that also ties in with the building owner’s insurance, as well as a resident’s apartment insurance.
In the past, this left a lot of apartment dwellers feeling frustrated to scratch the inevitable itch for grilled food. Some landlords and apartment managers are thoughtful enough to provide some type of commons area or outdoor pavilion, that meets all the pertinent fire codes, where tenants can use their charcoal or gas grill. Of course, this also meant that you needed to rent a garage or storage space to keep your grill.
If you ever wanted to use it, you had to drag it across the parking lot. Then grill your food and either eat it in the commons area or leave it sit, to cool down while you went back to your apartment to eat. In the end, the overall inconvenience of this process made it frustrating.
Today grill and home appliance manufacturers are well-aware of a large number of people living in multi-family buildings, apartments, condos, and townhomes who want to enjoy the flavor of grilled food, yet don’t have a feasible way to safely cook over an open flame.
Of course, where there’s a “Demand” there will be a “Supply.” In fact, once you spend some time exploring the market, you will find that people living in apartments are even a little spoiled with choices for indoor grills and “Smokeless” cooking appliances.
Are There Grills That Are Truly 100% Smokeless?
The word “Smokeless” is admittedly a bit of a marketing term used to tout the convenience of an indoor electric grill. Many of these units will still produce a small amount of smoke. Yet not enough to be banned by your apartment manager or void your renter’s insurance.
Still, if you crank just about any cooking appliance up to its highest and place a fatty piece of meat or something with a lot of sloppy marinade on it, you can still get enough smoke to trip a smoke detector. So, it’s always wise to use a “Smokeless” grill near some type of ventilation, whether it’s out on the patio, near the vented range hood, or something near an open window.
Though there are a few units that use specially designed internal vacuums, filters or fans to essentially capture smoke and render it inert. Many of these meet CSA safety codes, or at the very least they won’t leave your apartment kitchen smelling like last night’s dinner for the entire next day.
The Indoor Electric Griddles And Appliances
One of the common complaints that come up with these “Smokeless” indoor grills is that they tend to be on the small side. At best you can maybe cook for yourself and a significant other. There really isn’t enough total square inches of cooking space to grill up a meal for a family of four. At least not without having to work in batches.
This leaves a lot of apartment and condo dwellers looking for the next step up. This typically comes in the form of an indoor electric grill many of these can also pull double duty as a sandwich maker, panini press, griddle or even a waffle maker. You simply switch the hinges or replace a cooking plate to your preferred setting.
Not only can they replicate grilled food for lunch and supper, but a few of them can also handle breakfast. Just remember, if you are cavalier and something starts to burn, you could still set off a smoke detector. So, all the same, proper ventilation rules still apply.
These days table side grilling and things like shabu shabu hot pot cooking are becoming very popular. It’s a great way for people to get together for an interesting meal with a little bit of an Asian flair. Yet they can also be used for things like fondue or making your own Korean barbecue.
The Best Indoor/Outdoor Electric Grills
While many of these indoor griddles and countertop appliances are versatile, they still tend to be a little bit on the small side. Not to mention that you are still indoors, yet perhaps craving the desire to get outside to cook on the deck or patio.
This is where indoor/outdoor electric grills come into play. Most offer the kind of square inches you need to cook for a family of four or more. A few come with detachable bases. This means you can use it inside when you want to cook on the kitchen counter or at the table. If you are a little bit worried about a piece of meat getting too smokey, you can simply bring the electric grill back outside.
There are a few things to remember about these. First of all, check the fine print in your lease agreement as well as your renter’s insurance policy. Most will allow you to use these electric grills without any complaint, but there are a few landlords, apartment managers, and insurance adjusters who are sticklers. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
You also need to double-check the wattage of the electric grill and compare it to the amperage rating of the circuit breaker it will be connected to. Almost all electric grills will work on a standard 110 Volt electric outlet, but if that grill is on a 15 Amp circuit breaker, the wattage draw of an electric grill could flip the breaker. Especially if there are other devices running on it.
A 15 Amp circuit breaker can only handle a maximum of 1,800 watts at any given time. However, a 20 Amp circuit breaker can handle up to 2,400 watts. To tell, you only need to look in your breaker panel. Each breaker should have the amperage rating printed or stamped on it.