Sivan 5759 – BBQ Grills

15 Sivan 5759

L’chvod HaRav:

We are sharing a brand new barbecue with a non-Jew. Is it kosher if we use our own metal racks in the grill? Or, do we need to convince her to use kosher meat? Or, can we share the same racks even if she uses non-kosher meat. Once we cook meat or chicken on the grill, does this render any fish or vegetables fleishig, even if those are cooked in aluminum foil?

Esther R J Walzer

Dear Esther,

There are several different complexities involved in answering your question. Let’s deal with the simple issue first. Once non-kosher meat is cooked in that barbecue, it renders the entire apparatus non-kosher. Even if you were to switch grates, the “non-kosher” status of the barbecue itself would make meat cooked on any grates non-kosher. So, if they are going to be cooking non-kosher meats, even on their own grates, it is prohibited for you to eat any meat cooked there, even on your own racks.

But, what if they are going to be cooking kosher meat on the grill? Then there is a different problem. Not only is kosher food, when cooked by a non-Jew, prohibited to eat but even the vessel itself needs to be “kashered.” So, even if your non-Jewish friends will be cooking kosher meat on the grill, it would still render the grill non-kosher for you to use.

Lastly is the issue of cooking fish or vegetables on a grill that was used to cook meat. The problem is uniquely difficult in the case of a barbecue since the meat is placed directly on the rack and the racks often are caked with pieces of meat on barbecue sauce. (If I remember my bar-b-q days correctly.) If you scrape the grate of the caked on “shmutz” such that all that is left is inedible black ash, then the vegetables would have the same status as something cooked in a clean “fleishig” pot. It should not be eaten with milk, but does not render you “fleishig” so you would have to wait before eating milk.

Regarding the separation between fish and meat, a cleaning such as the one just described is sufficient to allow you to eat fish cooked there as well.

Thanks for your question.