The 10 Safest, Non-Toxic Outdoor Grills and BBQs in 2024

best non-toxic outdoor grills

05/11/2024

Konstantina Antoniadou

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Eager to find the most non-toxic outdoor grill for BBQing in 2024? The SKL team did all the research and ranked 10 of the healthiest grills to buy based on their materials, surfaces, and coatings.

We all love those summer BBQs, the sizzle of the grill, the get-togethers. However, as you’re flipping those burgers and that smoke starts billowing up, you might unknowingly come in contact with some compounds like polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and heterocyclic amines (HCAs). Yikes.

In this educational nontoxic grilling guide, we will cover the risks of using grills and BBQs plus the safest options on the market. There’s a lot to unpack here!

non toxic grills and bbqs

What makes grilling unhealthy?

First and foremost, there’s the huge issue of smoke. As you fire up the grill, you’re releasing compounds like polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and heterocyclic amines (HCAs) into the air. These are formed when fat from your food drips onto the hot grill grates or coals and then vaporizes. 

Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention points out that “High heat when cooking meat and other foods will form PAHs”. Breathing in this smoke can irritate your respiratory system and, over time, may increase your risk of certain cancers.

Many studies have shown associations between exposure to PAHs and various types of cancer, including lung, skin, bladder, and gastrointestinal cancers.

Heterocyclic Amines

Similar to PAHs, HCAs are considered carcinogenic. Research has linked high levels of HCA consumption to an increased risk of cancer, particularly colorectal, pancreatic, and prostate cancers. 

Then there’s the char. That crispy, brown layer on your grilled meat might look and taste great, but it’s also a hotspot for more PAHs and HCAs. The longer your food cooks at high temperatures, the more of these compounds can form.  

When meat, poultry, or other foods are exposed to high heat, especially over an open flame, the sugars, proteins, and fats present in them undergo a process called pyrolysis.

This process creates a variety of compounds, including, you guessed it, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and heterocyclic amines (HCAs), which we discussed earlier.

Acrylamide

Last, but definitely not least, there is Acrylamide. While this substance is usually associated with high-temperature cooking methods like frying and baking, it can sometimes form when grilling starchy foods like potatoes or bread at high temperatures.

This too is a probable human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). In fact, it’s been linked to an increased risk of certain cancers, including kidney, endometrial, and ovarian cancers.

Like PAHs and HCAs, acrylamide forms through a chemical reaction known as the Maillard reaction, which occurs when sugars and amino acids in food are heated together at high temperatures.

So, even if you buy one of the very best non-toxic outdoor grills and BBQs, keep in mind that you might come in contact with these compounds. In other words, 100% nontoxic grilling is not possible!

What is the least toxic way to grill?

  • Keep your grill clean – Make sure to clean your grill thoroughly after each use to remove any leftover food particles and grease buildup to help prevent flare-ups and reduce the formation of harmful compounds during subsequent grilling sessions.
  • Preheat carefully – Allow your grill to preheat properly before cooking to ensure even heat distribution and reduce the risk of charring. Sure, this process takes time but it can help minimize the formation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and heterocyclic amines (HCAs).
  • Use moderate temperatures while grilling – As many experts suggest, avoid cooking your food at excessively high temperatures, as this can lead to increased formation of PAHs and HCAs. 
  • Flip frequently – Flip your food regularly while grilling to evenly cook even the food and prevent charring. 
  • Marinate all meats –  Marinating your meats before grilling not only adds flavor but also helps create a protective barrier that reduces the formation of PAHs and HCAs. Amazing right? Choose marinades containing ingredients like citrus juices, vinegar, and herbs for added antioxidant benefits.
  • Trim excess fat – Trim excess fat from meats before grilling to minimize flare-ups and reduce the production of smoke, which can contain harmful compounds. Leaner cuts of meat also tend to produce fewer PAHs and HCAs during cooking.
  • Avoid overcooking – I can’t stress this enough! Cook your food to the recommended internal temperatures because overcooked or charred food is more likely to contain higher levels of harmful compounds.

The Least and Most Non-toxic Types of Outdoor Barbecue Grills

Before you add one of the best non-toxic outdoor grills and BBQs to your cart, let’s explain the many different options to help you find the healthiest grill to buy in 2024.

Charcoal Grill

This is the least eco-friendly and most toxic grill type! This grilling method releases a whole bunch of harmful compounds into the air, like polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and heterocyclic amines (HCAs).

These are all known to be carcinogenic, meaning they can increase your risk of certain cancers if you’re breathing them in or munching down on charred meats too often.

Plus, all that smoke can irritate your lungs and give you some serious respiratory woes. Not to mention that once you’re done grilling, you’re left with a pile of ash that’s not exactly biodegradable.

Natural Gas & Propane Grill

Gas and propane grills are the most common and loved option in the USA  – quick, easy, and oh-so-satisfying. Just fire ’em up, and you’re good to go. Plus, they’re usually pretty efficient and don’t produce as much smoke or mess as charcoal grills.  

You can find propane tanks pretty much everywhere, including the grocery store. I get mine from the local supermarket. 

To have a natural gas grill, you’ll need a gas connection. That’s no issue if you are at your backward. I love this method too because it doesn’t require us to keep refilling the tanks.

Electric Grill 

If you’re short on outdoor space or live in an apartment, an electric grill might be your new best friend. They’re compact and easy to use, and you don’t have to worry about dealing with messy charcoal or propane tanks.

Just plug in your non-toxic electric grill and you’re ready to grill. Sure, you might not get that smoky flavor you crave, but sometimes convenience trumps everything else.

Wood Pellet Grill

Wood pellet grills use real wood pellets to give your food that authentic smoky flavor, without all the hassle of charcoal. Plus, they’re super versatile – you can smoke, grill, bake, roast, you name it.

They come packed with an array of features, such as timers, temperature settings, and even digital control panels. Granted, these non-toxic outdoor grills are a bit pricier than some other options, but if you’re serious about your BBQ game, it might be worth the investment.

Kebab Grill

Kebab grills are perfect for skewering up all your favorite meats and veggies and are usually pretty compact and easy to use, so you can whip up a kebab feast with minimal effort. As the meats, veggies, and fruits cook together on the skewers, they mingle and swap flavors.

But keep in mind that this non toxic BBQ grill is primarily designed for skewered foods and may not accommodate larger cuts of meat or alternative grilling methods.

Smokers

If you’re all about that low and slow life, a smoker might be calling your name. Smokers are perfect for infusing your food with that mouthwatering smoky flavor and getting it super tender and juicy.

Plus, they’re the safest option when it comes to grilling since you’re not cooking over direct heat. Also, while smokers are best known for their prowess in producing mouthwatering barbecue classics like brisket, ribs, and pulled pork, they’re also incredibly versatile.

You can use them to smoke a wide range of meats, poultry, seafood, and even vegetables, allowing you to explore endless flavor combinations and culinary creations. This is by far one of the safest and most environmentally friendly grills to use

The Best Surfaces for Grills and BBQs

If you want to pick the healthiest outdoor grill or BBQ, make sure to stay away from ALL types of coatings. There’s no such thing as a safe grill & bbq “coating”. Any non-stick coatings are immediately unsafe. 

  • Stainless Steel (No Coatings): Stainless steel is tough as nails, and resistant to rust, corrosion, and scratches. This means your grill grates will last for ages without showing signs of wear and tear. What’s more, its stainless steel surfaces are a breeze to clean – just give ’em a scrub with a grill brush or some soapy water, and you’re good to go. For all these reasons, we also prefer this material for our non-toxic flatware and cookware sets.
  • Cast Iron (No Coatings): Cast iron grates hold onto heat and offer even cooking and beautiful grill marks on your food. When properly seasoned, cast iron becomes naturally non-stick, making it easy to flip burgers and veggies without worrying about them sticking. Last, but not least, it imparts a subtle smoky flavor to your food, enhancing its overall deliciousness.  
  • Carbon Steel (No Coatings): Carbon steel is a great option for the best non-toxic outdoor grills because it offers the best of both worlds – it’s lightweight and easy to handle, yet incredibly durable and long-lasting. Plus, carbon steel can handle high temperatures with ease, making it perfect for searing steaks and achieving that coveted char.
  • Porcelain: While not the absolute best option for nontoxic grilling, porcelain surfaces are OK to use. The porcelain coating acts as a protective barrier against rust and corrosion, prolonging the lifespan of your grill grates. Also, porcelain-coated grill grates are smooth and non-porous, making them easy to clean with a quick wipe-down after each use.

Now that you have all the information laid out, let’s jump into the list of nontoxic BBQ grill options to buy in 2024.  


The 10 Safest Non-Toxic Outdoor Grills and BBQs in 2024:


1. Char-Broil – Electric Grill

stainless steel grill

Let’s start with a highly-reviewed, non-toxic electric grill without a non-stick coating. 

Char-Broil uses top-tier, TRU-infrared cooking technology to prevent those flare-ups and deliver juicy, flavorful food every time. 

The heat from the coil transfers seamlessly to the grate, which helps vaporize drippings and sends that mouthwatering flavor straight back into your grub.

The steel grates are porcelain-coated to resist rust and offer enough space to sizzle up to 12 burgers, 6 chicken breasts, or 4 steaks at once.

Plus, there’s a handy warming rack for cooking with indirect heat or keeping your food toasty while you finish up the rest of the meal. 

In addition, this non toxic BBQ grill is equipped with a control knob – Clockwise for hotter temps, and counterclockwise for cooler cooking. 

Price: $249.99

Materials: Stainless steel, alloy steel, porcelain-coated steel | Handle: Rubber | Frame: Aluminum, alloy steel

Dimensions: 24.4″D x 25.2″W x 38.2″H

Notable Features: Electric | Integrated control knob | Lid-mounted temperature gauge | Infrared cooking | Removable warming rack

Location/Shipping: United States, ships worldwide


2. Blackstone – Gas Grill

non toxic bbq grill

The Blackstone 1853 is an environmentally friendly grill that uses propane to allow for restaurant-style cooking right in our backyard or campsite. 

Unlike other outdoor grills that require us to bring a ton of extras, this one is equipped with a side shelf for your cutting board and a handy garbage bag holder. Plus, the lower shelf provides easy storage for all your food and utensils.

And thanks to the fold-up legs and four industrial-strength caster wheels and side handles, you can easily wheel this griddle around your yard or transport it from your backyard to the campsite. 

Take advantage of the black powder-coated steel frame and cold-rolled steel 470 square-inch cooking surface to make everything from eggs and pancakes to quesadillas, grilled cheese, steak, potatoes, and even teppanyaki-style foods.

Price: $399.99

Materials: Alloy steel | Frame: Alloy steel

Dimensions: 44.5″D x 19.5″W x 33.5″H

Notable Features: 30-day return guarantee | Gas | Side shelf & Garbage bag holder | Shelf for storage & utensils | Wheels | Battery-powered push button ignition

Location/Shipping: United States


3. Ozark Trail – Portable Camping Grill

best non toxic bbq grill

The Ozark Trail 10 is one of the most affordable, non-toxic outdoor grills, tailor-made for camping trips and hiking excursions. 

When the grilling’s done, simply collapse the grill for compact storage. You can throw it in your backpack or car trunk! 

Impressively, despite its small size, this charcoal grill packs a serious punch when it comes to heat. 

Its design creates a significant amount of direct, radiant heat, allowing you to cook meat and veggies quickly and efficiently. 

Additionally, with enough space to grill for two persons, it’s the perfect companion for intimate outdoor meals under the stars. The grill is made from high-quality and food-grade steel.

Price: $18.55

Materials: High-quality, food-grade steel

Dimensions: 10.00″L x 10.00″W x 9.75″H Inches

Notable Features: Lifting handle | 2 grates | Portable & lightweight

Location/Shipping: United States


4. Char-Broiler – Portable Gas Grill

electric grill without non stick coating

This Char-Boil 190 is the healthiest grill to buy if you prefer propane gas grills. 

You can take it everywhere with you. Whether you’re tailgating, camping, or hitting the beach, you will be able to enjoy burgers, brats, steaks, skewers, and so many more delicious meals. 

Just push the button to create a spark at the burner and light the grill in seconds.

What’s more, thanks to the durable porcelain coating on these cooking grates, this non toxic BBQ grill is rust-resistant but also easy to clean.

The entire construction is made of quality steel construction which means that it will last you for years.

Price: $54.99

Materials: Grate: Porcelain Coated Wire | Burner: Stainless steel | Heat Tent: Aluminized Steel | Lid: Aluminum

Dimensions: 190 square inches of cooking space

Notable Features: 90-days warranty | Gas | Convective cooking system | Portable LP cylinder | Electric igniter

Location/Shipping: United States, ships worldwide


5. Grill Boss – Outdoor Barbeque

healthiest grill to buy

The Grill Boss non-toxic outdoor barbeque deserves a spot in your backyard lineup. 

The four burners, make this propane gas grill ideal for grilling everything from juicy steaks to crispy veggies and classic hot dogs.

For reference, you can cook 34 burgers, 27 pancakes, or 13 steaks at a time.

It also has some amazing features. With a turn of a button, you’ll be able to activate a whopping 48,000 BTU of grilling power. 

Plus, with a side-mounted 187-square-inch warming rack adding an extra 12,000 BTU, you’ll have plenty of space to keep your buns toasty while you cook up a storm on the main grill.

To top it all off, the dual side shelves provide ample space for spices, plates, and tongs, and weighing in at just 61.73 pounds, it’s easy to move around your backyard or patio.

Price: $260.39

Materials: Stainless steel | Handel: Stainless steel | Frame: Carbon Steel

Dimensions: 24.37″D x 57.09″W x 46.34″H

Notable Features: Gas | Warming rack | Push & turn ignition | Dual side shelves

Location/Shipping: Worldwide


6. Char-Griller – Grill & Smoker

healthiest outdoor grill

Char-Griller’s barrel-style charcoal BBQ grill & smoker with cast iron cooking grates is the ultimate grill for feeding a hungry crowd at your next backyard bash. 

Whether you’re hosting a family reunion or a neighborhood cookout, it has got you covered with a whopping 1060 square inches of cooking space! 

The construction is super sturdy which I absolutely love. Standing at 50 inches in height and weighing 116 pounds, it’s made from heavy-duty steel and powder-coated for durability.

Another great thing about this non toxic BBQ grill is that you can easily adjust the fire grate to control heat levels, and use the warming rack to keep food toasty while you finish up the rest of the meal. 

And it has shelves! Front and side shelves hold your tools, spices, and sauces within easy reach, while the lower shelf beneath the grill provides storage space for unused charcoal.

Price: Out of stock

Materials: Steel | Outer: ‎Alloy steel | Inner: Stainless steel, cast iron

Dimensions: 49″D x 29″W x 50″H

Notable Features: Adjustable fire grate | Bottom storage shelf | Warming rack | Stay cool wooden handle | Wheels | Front & side shelves with barbecue grill tool storage hooks

Location/Shipping: Worldwide


7. Masterbuilt – Portable Charcoal Grill

nontoxic grilling

If you want to freely move your environmentally friendly grill around the yard or, better yet, take it with you in your next outdoor adventure, the Masterbuilt portable charcoal grill is a great option. 

It features a quick collapse cart that’s foldable and removable for ultimate portability. Don’t let its compact size fool you. 

It can easily hold 1.5 lbs of briquettes or 1 lb of small lump charcoal, which will give you up to 4 hours of grilling without the need for constant refueling. 

You can sear, smoke, or slow-cook just about anything. Simply adjust the temperature from 250-500°F to cook anything from eggs to juicy steaks with ease. 

Price: $219.99 (Grill Only) | $329.99 (Grill With Cart)

Materials: Metal

Dimensions: 18.7″D x 44.5″W x 36.1″H

Notable Features: Electrically powered (Cord Set/Batteries) | Adjustable cooking temperature dial | Versatile temperature range | Lockable lid | Portable

Location/Shipping: Worldwide


8. Megamaster

environmentally friendly grill

For a stainless steel grill that gets the job done, look no further than the Megamaster

The compact design and foldable legs, make this grill portable and easy to carry around at all times. 

Simply fold away the legs and lock the durable stainless steel lid for secure transport to your next adventure. 

With two stainless steel burners delivering a combined 16,000 BTUs of grilling power, you’ll have all the firepower you need to cook up mouthwatering meals on the fly. 

Plus, you’ll have 199 square inches of cooking space to grill for your crew, whether you’re cooking up burgers, hot dogs, or grilled veggies.

Price: $279

Materials: Stainless steel | Handle: Stainless steel | Frame: Stainless steel

Dimensions: ‎20.27″D x 19.13″W x 15.87″H

Notable Features: 1-year warranty | Gas | Push & turn ignition system | Exceptional heat retention | Distribute heat evenly | Foldable legs

Location/Shipping: United States


9. Char-Griller – Kamado Charcoal Grill

best non-toxic outdoor grills

This Char-Griller non-toxic outdoor grill with 306 square inches of cast iron grill space allows you to easily sear meat with high heat or enjoy a low and slow roast. 

A great feature we don’t see very often is the triple-walled 22 gauge steel that makes this grill sturdy and durable. 

The powder-coated exterior finish and porcelain-coated steel interior add an extra layer of safety! 

Additionally, it is equipped with top and bottom adjustable dampers that maintain even airflow into and out of the grill.

The kamado design makes it fuel-efficient, so you’ll use less charcoal while still achieving perfect results every time.

Price: $329.99

Materials: Stainless steel | Frame: Alloy steel

Dimensions: 45″D x 31″W x 47″H

Notable Features: Easy heat control | Large locking wheels | Grill space | Adjustable top damper | Bottom damper & ash pan | Folding side shelf | Removable warming rack

Location/Shipping: United States


10. Kamado Joe

non toxic outdoor grills and bbqs

If you are not a BBQ pro, this Kamado Joe non-toxic outdoor grill will take all the guesswork out of the equation. 

This premium 18-inch ceramic grill comes with a cast iron cart, and locking wheels for sturdy, hassle-free cooking. 

Now, on the features! The divide & conquer flexible cooking system is designed to help you cook different foods in different styles at different temperatures—all at the same time.

What’s more, the patented kontrol tower top vent will help maintain consistent airflow for precise temperature management, whether you’re smoking low and slow or searing at high heat. It’s super spacious too! 

To put this into perspective, you can cook 13 burgers, 4 chickens, or 2 pork butts at a time. 

Price: $1999

Materials: Aluminum, cast iron, ceramic | Frame: Aluminum

Dimensions: 18″D x 18.11″W x 36″H

Notable Features: Tool holder | Adjustable air vent | Heat-resistant handle | Folding side table | Heavy duty | Locking caster

Location/Shipping: United States, ships to Canada


What’s the best way to clean a grill?

Before cleaning, turn on your grill and let it heat up for 10-15 minutes to help loosen any stuck-on food particles and make them easier to remove.

Once the grill is heated, use a grill brush or scraper to scrub the grates thoroughly. Brush in a back-and-forth motion to remove any residue or debris. For stubborn residue, you can use a ball of aluminum foil or a grill stone to help loosen it.

After cleaning the grates, remove them from the grill and clean the interior surfaces with a grill brush or scraper – including the burner tubes, heat deflectors, and any other areas where grease and debris may accumulate.

If you prefer a natural cleaning method (which you should!), make a paste using equal parts vinegar and baking soda. Apply the paste to the grill grates and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. Then, scrub the grates with a brush or sponge and rinse thoroughly with water.

Alternatively, you can mix equal parts water and citrus juice (such as lemon or orange) in a spray bottle. Spray the solution onto the grill grates and let it sit for a few minutes. Scrub the grates with a brush or sponge and rinse with water.

How do I properly season a grill?

First, you’ll have to thoroughly clean your grill. Once the grates are clean, preheat your grill to a high temperature to help burn off any remaining residue and open up the pores of the metal for better absorption of the seasoning.

Using a brush or a folded paper towel, apply a thin layer of cooking oil (such as vegetable oil or canola oil) to the surface of the grill grates. Be sure to coat the entire surface, including the top and bottom of the grates.

Then, allow the grill to continue heating with the oil on the grates until it starts to smoke. This indicates that the oil is burning off impurities and forming a protective layer on the grates.

Depending on the condition of your grill and how often you use it, you may need to repeat the seasoning process several times to build up a good layer of seasoning.  

Once the grates have cooled down, use a clean cloth or paper towel to wipe off any excess oil. 

How can I prevent my food from sticking to the grill grates?

Make sure your grill is preheated to the appropriate temperature before adding food. A hot grill helps to create a non-stick surface and sear the food quickly, reducing the chances of sticking.

Before grilling, clean the grates thoroughly with a wire brush to remove any debris or leftover residue. After cleaning, lightly oil the grates with a high-heat cooking oil, such as vegetable or canola oil, using a paper towel or grill-safe brush to create a barrier between the food and the grates and prevent sticking. 

Another way to prevent sticking is to lightly oil the food itself before placing it on the grill. Brush or spray a thin layer of oil onto both sides of the food, especially if it’s lean or has a tendency to stick, such as fish or vegetables.

Avoid moving or flipping food too soon after placing it on the grill. Let it cook undisturbed for a few minutes to allow it to sear and develop a non-stick surface before flipping.

If you’re grilling multiple batches of food, clean the grates between each batch to remove any residue that may cause sticking. Use a wire brush or grill scraper to clean the grates while they’re still hot.


This was your full guide to non-toxic outdoor grills & BBQs!

When it comes to choosing the safest, non-toxic outdoor grills and BBQs, stainless steel, cast iron, and ceramic surfaces are the best options.

When we’re grillin’ up a storm, the fat and juices from our food drip down onto those hot coals or flames, creating smoke and flare-ups. Now, this might add some flavor to our grub, but it also leads to the production of harmful compounds like polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and heterocyclic amines (HCAs) that have been linked to some serious health issues, including cancer.

Luckily, there are ways to reduce these risks and still enjoy your favorite BBQ meals. Keepin’ an eye on your cookin’ time, marinating your meats, and avoidin’ charrin’ ’em to a crisp can all help minimize the formation of these harmful compounds. 

For more non-toxic cooking options, check out the Best Non-Toxic Cookware Brands the top-rated Non-Toxic Steamers, and the healthiest Non-Toxic Cutting Boards.

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