Charcoal Grill On A Wood Deck

Can I Use Charcoal Grill On A Wood Deck? (Answered)

First of all, it’s important for us to understand that using a charcoal grill on a wood deck can be dangerous. However, that doesn’t mean you cannot use your charcoal grill on a wood deck. It can be done by keeping some precautions in mind.

Now I would like to come to the real question that is asked by many people: is it safe to grill on a wooden deck? If yes, how is it possible? I’ve already mentioned above that you can do it by following some safety practices, and you’ll need to be extra careful.

In this article, I’ll tell you some methods that can be used to reduce the risk of using a charcoal grill on a wood deck and provide some guidance to help you make an informed decision.

Keep The Grill Away From Your House

The first step is to try to place your grill in a safe spot away from your home including your deck and any other combustible materials. But this does not mean that you should put the grill under a shed or a tree and start using it. This can cause a spark, which can lead to big damage.

Manufacturers recommended the grill should be at least 3 feet away from your house but the Consumer Product Safety Commission tells us 10 feet would be better. It also depends on the area of ​​your home and the more you stay away from the walls of the house, it’ll be better for you.

If you are grilling on your lawn, it is obvious that there will be greenery. And due to the sunlight, the greenery turns into dry bushes. You should clean the backyard thoroughly before starting grilling.

Always Use A Grill Mat

If you are cooking on a wooden deck, a sturdy fireproof mat is the best way to reduce the risk. It acts as a protective barrier between your grill and the ground or deck. When a hot ember falls on the ground from the grill, it will not touch the deck because of the mat.

If fats or oils from your food drip onto the grill’s flames, they can ignite and cause sudden bursts of fire. A grill mat acts as a shield, preventing these flare-ups and keeping you and your surroundings safe.

Grill mats are available in different shapes and sizes, so you will easily find a mat according to the size of your grill. But here I would like to recommend that you never buy a cheap mat because it can’t protect as well as a good one. So spend a little more money and buy a good quality mat because a cheap mat can damage your precious wooden deck.

And remember that the grill you are buying should be fireproof and also a little heavy so that it does not move in the wind.

Keep Your Grill Clean and Free of Grease

It is very important to clean the grill regularly because dirt on the grill can cause a fire. According to the research of the National Fire Protection Association (2014-2018 report), most grill fires are caused by not keeping the grill clean.

Removing grease is also important because its flammability can further fuel the fire. I would recommend that you clean your grill after every use. To remove most of the grease, place a drip or water pan below your food. This is important if you’re grilling fatty meats like ribs, pork shoulder, or butt, which may build up and catch fire.

Have a Fire Extinguisher Nearby

No matter how expert you are, you must have a fire extinguisher or baking soda nearby when grilling, because anything can go wrong. Never keep the fire extinguisher out of your sight because it is a proven fact that when you look for something when you need it, you cannot find it. And make sure it should be fully charged.

If there is not an available fire extinguisher near you. You can also use baking soda to smother the fire. I can say with certainty that every home kitchen will have baking soda. But it can only help put out a small fire. 

Remember that a jar of baking soda should also be nearby with you. Do not use any other powder in place of baking soda in a hurry, which can further ignite the fire.

Never use Lighter Fluid when Lighting Charcoal

You can use the lighter fluid to ignite the grill but never use it on the occasion when you think you need to be extra careful. Now discussing charcoal grill on a wooden deck, my advice would be not to use fluid when lighting charcoal. When you light your grill with lighter fluid, the flame will rise very quickly, which can be risky.

A chimney starter can be a safe option while lighting a charcoal grill.

Use two-zone Cooking

Two-zone indirect grilling is a popular effective method that can be used to avoid flares up while cooking. This method uses two distinct heat zones on your charcoal grill that are hot and cold. The direct heat zone (hot) is where the coals are arranged, providing heat for grilling. The indirect heat zone (cold) has little to no coals.

If the fire suddenly flares up while grilling, you can quickly flip your food from a hot zone to a cool zone. After moving the side, wait a few times and when the fire is the same as before, change the side.

Be Mindful about the Weather

You may have done grilling on rainy days or light snow, but understanding the weather is very important for you. But when the wind is blowing heavily and you are thinking about grilling on a charcoal grill, I would call it madness. You can stop your grilling plan while the wind is heavy.

While charcoal is safe in your grill, flaming charcoal can be thrown onto the wooden deck by strong winds and start an explosive fire that can spread quickly. So be careful.

Don’t Leave The Grill Unattended

Leaving your grill unattended can be very dangerous. It can be especially dangerous if there are children or pets around. They could accidentally knock over or touch the hot grill, causing burns or other accidents. So, stay attentive while grilling to minimize the risk of accidents, fires, and injuries.

Close Grill Vents When Finished

Once your grilling is completely finished, it’s your turn to close all air vents. Shutting off the air vents will stop the supply of oxygen which will also cause the coal to go out. Use your grill’s sweeping system if it has, once it has cooled. 

At least wait for 24 hours before bagging up the charcoal and stay away from the house because it may contain some burning ash which can cause reignite fire.

Final Words

It might be an exciting and enjoyable experience to grill on a wood deck or patio, but it’s important to think about safety first and take the essential precautions. By following the guidelines, such as using a fire-resistant mat, maintaining proper cleaning, and being mindful of sparks and heat, you can confidently enjoy delicious food without compromising the integrity of your deck.


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