23 Jun Kashruth Question of the Week
I’m hosting a picnic and some people prefer fish to meat. Can I grill both of them together?
The Gemara (Pesachim 76b) teaches that one may not cook fish and meat together since the combination of the two is considered a sakana (dangerous). The Rama (YD 116:2) adds that one should not even cook open meat and fish in the same oven. Nonetheless, it is permissible to cook meat in a pot used for fish or to cook fish in a pot used for meat, provided the pots are perfectly clean from residue (Isur V’heter cited by Taz YD 116:2).
In theory, if someone wishes to grill fish on a BBQ grill used for meat, he should ensure the grill is clean of meat residue before grilling the fish. Even if the grill is clean, if there is fish on one side of the grill and meat on the other side, one should not close the hood of the barbecue as that would be a form of cooking them together.
In practice, however, since it is difficult to clean a grill, it is recommended that the same grill rack should not be used for meat and fish. Either the fish should be double wrapped in aluminum foil or separate grill racks should be used.
Can I use flavored charcoal briquettes for my barbecue?
Rav Belsky, zt”l held that one may not use wine soaked wood chips or charcoal briquettes that contain wine flavors. Although the briquettes do not directly touch the food and are burned up in the fire, nevertheless they release an aroma which impacts the food. Not only is it forbidden to drink non-kosher wines, but it is forbidden to derive benefit from them as well. Although Rama (Yoreh De’ah 123:1) writes that nowadays if one is a facing a situation of loss, one may be lenient with regard to deriving benefit from non-kosher wine, this leniency does not permit one to use these briquettes l’chatchila, in the first instance, since this does not involve a situation of loss. Other flavored briquettes such as hickory and smoke do not pose a problem. They are unlikely to contain any non-kosher ingredients, and even if they did, Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De’ah 108:1) rules that although it is improper to allow a kosher food to absorb a non-kosher aroma, it will not make the food non-kosher.