Are BBQ Gas Grills Safe to Use? Which Surface is Best?

June 24, 2010 · 14 comments

gas grill

Today I’ve got another question for you from a reader. Kim asks:

“We are looking for a new gas BBQ grill. In fact we bought one last night and were planning on picking it up tonight. We chose one with a cast iron grill to avoid having the porcelain painted grill and all those toxins in our food. My husband just called me and said he was thinking and he is pretty sure the entire inside of the BBQ is painted! This cant be safe, right? We can upgrade to the all stainless steel BBQ for a few hundred more…we don’t want to spend the extra money if it is a non-issue, but I have a feeling that the stainless steel one is the only safe way to go. Any thoughts? And I guess I am wondering too if it is safe to even cook food on a gas BBQ! Thanks in advance!”

My reply:

“Hmmmm, this is a good question….I don’t know the answer so I’ll do what I always do, I’ll post it and ask my super smart readers!”

We’ve got a gas grill that we use fairly often in the summer and believe it or not, I hadn’t thought much yet about whether or not the interior is safe to cook with.  I can’t wait to hear from those of you who might know more about this!

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  • { 14 comments… read them below or add one }

    1 Julie June 24, 2010 at 9:03 am

    We are saving our pennies to purchase “The Green Egg” kettle type barbeque. It is ceramic, uses charcoal and wood shavings and makes the best grilled and smoked food. It looks like a green egg, hence the name. I vote for this one.

    Reply

    2 Julie June 24, 2010 at 9:07 am

    I did a little research and came up with this article:
    http://www.menshealth.com/bbq/articles/The_Healthiest_Grill.php
    This article favors gas over charcoal.
    I still like the Green Egg type grill.

    Reply

    3 Primal Toad June 24, 2010 at 9:16 am

    I have no idea what the answer is to this question, but we just got a new gas grill so I am hoping that is the one as the article states. Would love to hear from other readers that know a little bit more about this.

    Reply

    4 karen June 24, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    I always have read gas is better than charcoal, but wondering as well about the casing of the gas grills. Many have an aluminum casing, even though the actual cooking surface is stainless or cast iron. Wouldn’t the heating of the aluminum contaminate the food above it?? thanks

    Reply

    5 Kelly Cook June 24, 2010 at 10:25 pm

    People cooked food over an open wood flame for how many years before cancer was an issue? Is the really the cooking method that’s at fault? I don’t know the answer to this either, butI have a personal dislike of propane, so I use charcoal.

    Reply

    6 KitchenKop June 24, 2010 at 11:03 pm

    The only thing I know that’s really bad about charcoal is the icky lighting fluid that goes on the coals to get them going – all those chemicals flaming up on the food can’t be good……?

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    7 Lenetta @ Nettacow June 26, 2010 at 7:21 pm

    I got my hubs one of those chimney starters for father’s day… bonus is that the charcoal heats up more quickly! I still way prefer my gas grill, but he hasn’t hooked it up for me yet this year. I think he’s trying to tell me something. :>)

    Reply

    8 Kim June 25, 2010 at 9:27 am

    Thanks for Posting this Kelly. I am surprised to see there is no real answer here though. I cant find anything online about the safety of these BBQs, only that the general consensus is that gas is safer than charcoal. I am still wondering about the actual inside of the unit. Once heated, it is poisoning our food? Hoping someone knows something!

    Reply

    9 vanessa June 26, 2010 at 1:21 am

    What about appliances like the George Foreman Grill? They’re coated with Teflon, right? See, I just bought one because my (vegan) roommates don’t want meat cooked in the house, so I figured I could get a little grill and use it outside. Now I’m wondering what kind of residues will end up in my nice organic, grass-fed meat! If anyone has any info regarding this I’d really appreciate it!

    Reply

    10 Kelly the Kitchen Kop June 26, 2010 at 7:33 am

    Vanessa, watch for a post on this very soon!
    Kelly

    Reply

    11 DeAnn Malcolm June 26, 2010 at 7:28 am

    I found this article. Read the comments, too. More people are recommending, “The Green Egg” on there as well. http://www.thedailygreen.com/green-homes/latest/green-grilling-bbq-460519

    Reply

    12 Heather H. June 30, 2010 at 10:57 am

    I’m online researching gas vs charcoal grills, and what is an appropriate material, because we’re buying our first grill this summer. I ran into your blog, and am loving it! I too have a great source of organic and grass fed meat and am not interested in ruining in by lurking grill poisons….

    I would love to hear from a couple of experts on this one, it seems that there is very little information out there. It seems that a fire pit, with a cast iron pan over it would be the only safe option as far as i can tell so far.

    Reply

    13 Ian May 22, 2012 at 2:06 am

    I’ve been searching for an answer to this very question when I came across this blog. I can’t find a clear answer either. My guess is that the enamel is only as safe as the ingredients it’s made of, and what those ingredients turn into at high temperatures, which probably varies from one manufacturer to another. Without an expert, it’s virtually impossible to be sure. The safest bet is to just go with stainless steel. No more wondering.

    Reply

    14 Ian May 22, 2012 at 2:27 am

    One other comment regarding charcoal vs gas. Gas for convenience. Charcoal for flavor. Personally, I like charcoal because I BBQ for recreation. When I want convenience, I have a stove. One word of advice, if you use charcoal, don’t actually use charcoal – use wood. Charcoal can contain coal and other chemicals. If the bag contains wood, it will say something about ‘natural ingredients’ on the bag.

    Reply

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