Many people grill in an apartment, usually in the balcony or outdoor (or semi-outdoor) area that is well ventilated. The main considerations are whether your building/condo has any restrictions with regard to fuel type and if the smoke will potentially bother your neighbors.
If you live in a HDB flat, apartment or condo and would like to grill, gas or electric grills tend to be the preferred options as charcoal will put out a ton of smoke when it comes in contact with grease. If you love grilling but you live in an apartment, there are several factors that you should consider so that you can narrow down your choice of grills.
Things to consider when grilling in an apartment
There are plenty of people that cook on their balcony,
Given that it’s usually well-ventilated, it is not uncommon for households to utilize their the balcony to cook or as a dining room especially for communal dining activities such as hotpot or Korean tabletop BBQ.
However as many families also use the balcony to dry their laundry, it’s important that you be considerate when cooking or grilling. Consider using a fan to propel the smell and smoke further out so it doesn’t go straight up into your neighbours’ units.
Generally, the smoke that is produced when using a gas or electric grill is not much more significant than cooking on a frying pan on high heat. So long as you’re not using a charcoal grill, chances are, your neighbors will just be smelling the great aromas of your cooking. However, if you use a charcoal grill, then the smoke produced will usually cause neighbors to complain or be unhappy.
Safety when grilling on the balcony
As mentioned above, the fumes that are created when cooking on a gas grill is mainly caused by grease/fats from your meats. When heated to the ‘smoke point’, the oil will start to break down and produce smoke. Hence to reduce the amount of smoke, simply reduce the amount of oil that is used or cook less fatty meats.
Regular cleaning of your grill to remove excess oil in the cookbox/drip tray will also significantly reduce the amount of smoke produced when your grill is heated up. More importantly, it’ll minimize the chances of the residual grease in the grill catching on fire which will cause black smoke to be emitted.
If a grease fire does happen due to excess grease, do not panic, do not throw water into the grill. Simply disconnect the gas regulator and keep the lid shut. This will prevent excess oxygen from being added to the already raging fire. Once the grease is burnt off, the fire will subside.