Small Apartment Balconies: Outdoor Grilling
The warm weather has finally arrived, and your thoughts turn to baseball, the beach, gardening...and outdoor grilling! The only problem is you live in an upper floor apartment unit with a balcony for your outdoor "patio". If fire codes in your area permit balcony grilling, then your small apartment balcony can easily be turned into an area for outdoor grilling when the weather permits. For a town or city that has ordinances against open flame grilling on balconies, an electric grill can work just as well. One with high heat will grill your food perfectly outdoors, with the advantage that it's more portable and lightweight. This is definitely something positive if you have a small space balcony. Plus, there's no charcoal or lighter fluid to contend with. No propane to worry about either. A powerful electric grill can sear steaks just like a charcoal or propane grill can, with much less clean up involved, too.
Using a small tabletop grill? Check out portable grill stands for your small apartment balcony. Many portable grill shelves and stands either fold up when not in use, or come with wheels to make bringing them out on the balcony easy. Some brands of grills have specific stands that work with them; for others, you can choose from a variety of stands for your tabletop grill. Stands with space for grilling tools are very useful; the tools can be stored on the stand, making them accessible when needed. Some electric grills even come complete with carts. When buying a freestanding grill that doesn't need a grill stand, keep in mind the amount of space on your balcony. There are smaller gas grills on wheels which can easily be moved on and off the balcony. Some of this type are made by Weber. If you would prefer to leave your grill out on the balcony year round, invest in a good all weather grill cover or tarp to protect your grill from the elements.
No matter how small your balcony, you'll want some sort of seating nearby when grilling unless you are comfortable standing up the whole time. If you plan on eating outdoors right after grilling, a small cafe type table and chairs could work on a small apartment balcony.
Whatever type you buy, again it's important to make sure the fire department ordinances in your area allow the type you choose to be used on a balcony. Then it's time to research the various makes and models to see what would work best for you. Following the laws, and knowing what to buy will allow you to have some great cook outs right on your balcony each year.