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My electric grill, without the heating element looks like this:

enter image description here

There is black paint chipping away and also, what appears to be rust.

I was planing to convert it and use it as a charcoal grill, but am wondering if the rust and especially the paint or whatever that is could be unsafe?

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The rust is going to be harmless, except to the extent that the grill will eventually corrode all the way through and the coals fall on the surface underneath.

It's not possible for anyone on SA to tell if the paint will be harmful; you would have to get it tested. Once you fill that tray full of hot coals, some of the remaining paint will almost certainly burn away, and whether or not that results in harmful smoke really depends on what it's made from, and how much actually burns.

FWIW, that looks too shallow to make a good charcoal grill, regardless, and it's likely that the steel is thinner than you'd want as well -- likely to warp or even crack. You'd probably be better off finding a secondhand charcoal grill.

  • Agree that it is probably not the best base for a grill and may not stand up to those heats. If the OP really wishes to try for however long it will hold up, I would suggest checking out local BBQ places or online. There are black paints made specifically for grills and a good scraping with a wire brush and then sealing with one of those may do the trick. It will not hold up more than one season or so, but the pan is not likely to get more than that either. – dlb Jun 8 at 19:28

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