Aluminum: Is It Safe To Use For A BBQ?

by Joost Nusselder | Last Updated:  June 4, 2022

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You might have concerns about the safety of aluminum when used in a BBQ, but is it REALLY warranted?

The main concern with using aluminum with your BBQ is the high amount of aluminum oxide, a known carcinogen. But it only melts at temperatures of 1,220°F, which your grill of smoker will never reach. It may slightly increase the aluminum content in your food, but nothing to worry about.

In this article, I’ll dive into the safety of aluminum in BBQs and discuss whether you should use aluminum foil or pans on your grill. Plus some tips to be extra safe and protect yourself from aluminum poisoning.

Aluminum on a bbq

Can You Use Aluminum Parts in Your BBQ?

The Short Answer

The short answer is a resounding YES! You can use aluminum parts in your BBQ, and you can even buy an aluminum charcoal grill if you want to get fancy.

Why Aluminum?

Aluminum is a great choice for BBQ parts because it:

  • Heats more evenly
  • Food doesn’t tend to burn
  • Grates don’t rust

What Aluminum Parts Are Available?

There are lots of aluminum parts you can use to upgrade your BBQ. Here are some of the most popular options:

  • Aluminum cooking grates and BBQ griddles
  • Aluminum grill liners (these are great for keeping your grate clean or covering up a dirty one!)
  • Cast aluminum (easier to clean than stainless steel)

Ready to Get Grilling?

If you’re ready to get grilling, aluminum parts are a great way to upgrade your BBQ game. Plus, you can use aluminum foil bags for easy cooking – just throw in your veggies, seal it up, and place it on the grill. Easy peasy! So what are you waiting for? Get grilling!

How To Use Aluminum Foil On A Charcoal Grill

The Benefits

  • Looking for ways to make your life easier? Aluminum foil on a charcoal grill is the way to go!
  • Clean-up is a breeze, no more scrubbing for hours.
  • Keeps your food tasting delicious and free from aluminum.

The Drawbacks

  • Combining high temperatures and acidic marinades can cause aluminum to leak into your food.
  • Not worth risking your health to save time and effort.

The Bottom Line

  • Aluminum foil can be used safely on a charcoal grill, but it’s best to avoid it altogether.
  • Keep your food tasty and your health in check by using it sparingly.

Can I Use Aluminum Foil on a Charcoal Grill?

Is It Safe?

Aluminum foil is totally safe to use, no matter what your weird uncle says on Facebook. Our grills don’t get hot enough to melt the foil, and any trace amounts of aluminum that might sneak into your food will be gone in no time. Plus, it doesn’t matter if you use the shiny or dull side – they’re both A-OK.

What’s the Problem?

It might seem like a good idea to line the bottom of your charcoal grill with aluminum foil, but it’s really not worth the effort. Charcoal needs proper airflow to burn and create enough heat to cook your food, and aluminum foil can block that airflow. Plus, when the meat juices drip to the bottom of the grill, there’s a higher chance of fire flare-ups because the grease won’t have anywhere to go.

What About the Grates?

Covering the grates with aluminum foil is also a no-no. You’re messing with the grill manufacturer’s design, and you’re not leaving enough room for heat and oxygen circulation.

So What’s the Verdict?

At the end of the day, it’s up to you if you want to cover your charcoal grill with aluminum foil. Some grills might be able to handle it, but it’s a risk. The one thing you don’t have to worry about is the aluminum foil melting – it won’t happen unless your grill reaches temperatures of 1,220°F or higher.

Grilling with Foil: What You Need to Know

Can You Put Aluminum Foil on an Electric Grill?

Of course you can! Most electric grills don’t even reach 500ºF, which is way lower than the temperature aluminum foil needs to ignite (1220ºF). So don’t worry, you can totally use aluminum foil on your electric grill.

Is Cooking in Foil Safe?

Yes, it is! Cooking with aluminum may slightly increase the aluminum content in your food, but it’s nothing to worry about. So go ahead and wrap your food in aluminum foil if you want to.

Can I Wrap Hot Food in Aluminum Foil?

Sure thing! Aluminum foil will keep your food warm for up to an hour. And don’t worry, there’s no truth to the rumor that aluminum is bad for your health. So go ahead and wrap your food in aluminum foil without any worries.

Which Side of Aluminum Foil is Toxic?

Neither side! The two sides of aluminum foil are made differently during manufacturing, but it doesn’t matter which side you use. However, if you’re using non-stick foil, the dull side is the non-stick side.

Is it Safe to Cook with Aluminum Foil in the Oven?

Yes, but it’s not always the best idea. Aluminum foil traps moisture, which can steam your food instead of baking it. Also, don’t line the bottom of your oven with aluminum foil – it can restrict the airflow and is a fire hazard.

What Can I Use Instead of Aluminum Foil on the Grill?

No problem! Here are some alternatives to aluminum foil:

  • Cast iron skillet
  • Baking sheet
  • Grill basket

And don’t even think about using parchment paper instead of aluminum foil – it can catch fire at around 400ºF, so it’s not nearly as reliable.


Aluminum is great for the grill and perfectly safe to use. Plus, VERY easy to clean and you can even make a whole BBQ out of it.

I hope this guide has debunked the myth for you so you can enjoy your grillin’ any way you like.

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Lakeside Smokers is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with BBQ Smoking (& Japanese food!) at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.