Follow us on Facebook Find us on Pinterest Forest School Shop Forest School Shop
RETURN TO Forest School Ideas and Articles
Is it Safe to Cook on Chicken Wire or Galvanized Grills?

Is it Safe to Cook on Chicken Wire or Galvanized Grills?

We’re often asked if is safe to cook over campfires using chicken wire or using the innards of large metal machines, such as tumble dryers or washing machines – so we thought that we’d write a short post about the possible hazards that you may not have considered if containing fires within, or cooker over metals which were not designed for the purpose.

Of course, there will never be a one-fit answer to this question as it depends on exactly what you are using – but the honest answer is this. If what you are using to cook food on, or contain your fire within, is not built solely for that intended purpose, then you do run the risk of damaging your health, or the health of others.

For example – the outdoor grills and cooking pots that we stock here at Forest School Shop are made from food-grade materials. This means that there will be no nasty transfer of chemicals to your food, nor will there be any harmful chemicals producing fumes when heated by the campfire.

One of the more popular materials for outdoor cooking and barbequing is galvanised chicken wire or racks from fridges – but how many of you know that these materials are hazardous to your health?

Many grids or wire meshes are galvanised which when heated vaporize the zinc within the coating. This is harmful to breath into your lungs, and you certainly wouldn’t want it leaching into your burgers!

Old shelving from refrigerators (depending on the age) may contain Cadmium and the compounds of this chemical element are extremely poisonous, with exposure known to be a carcinogenic, as well as targeting the gastrointestinal, renal, cardiovascular, reproductive, and respiratory systems. When heated, Cadmium becomes a real problem.

So what about fire pits made from materials found in or around the home? We often see fire pits and even grills made from old washing machine drums etc. Whilst those made from solid stainless steel shouldn’t cause a problem it is vitally important to know that this is indeed what they are made of and that there are no coatings on the steel.

Our intention with this blog is not to scare you away from cooking outdoors – it’s great fun and good for us, but you do need to be careful what you use to cook on over your campfire.

All of the products found in our outdoor cooking store are designed to be used over campfires or gas stoves – and even some may be used on your kitchen cooker at home.


Not only as a crafter, but a long term scout leader, e stopped using chicken mesh years ago due to the health risks and that the wire soon burns through, having been teaching craft we look out for old racking from domestic cookers, stainless steel and last for ever.
Ian Coope 29-05-2017 at 09:33


(* Not displayed on site)