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North Carolina Clears Smoke On Outdoor Grills

The Tar Heel State has long allowed outdoor cooking at tailgate parties and county fairs, but a new bill would make it legal for brick and mortar operators to do the same thing.

Senate Bill 24, introduced February 3, would add a subsection to a statute regulating food and lodging operations and allow “establishments that prepare or serve food for human consumption to use outdoor grills for food preparation.”

State regulations currently do not specifically prohibit outdoor grilling, but it is not clearly permitted, either, which creates conflicts with local health departments. Regulations already allow beverages to be prepared outdoors. The bill lays out four criteria:

  • The outdoor grill is made of stainless steel and is stationed on a level, concrete foundation.
  • The outdoor grill has a semi-permanent cover to protect it from weather, dust and animals.
  • The outdoor grill, semi-permanent cover and concrete foundation are cleaned daily.
  • Food prepared for the outdoor grill is processed inside the permitted establishment, in the kitchen or in a room that meets the requirements of sanitation specified for a restaurant kitchen.

If the bill makes it through the legislative process, it would become effective on Oct. 1.

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