One of the best and often most memorable parts of a camping trip is the food. Be it a juicy steak or just marshmallows on a stick, cooking and eating in the open holds a thrill of its own.
We are here to make your life just a tad bit easier with our marvelous selection of the best camping grills that will surely make your next camping trip unforgettable.
Generally, camping is associated with a large campfire and food being roasted, either in an iron cast skillet or directly put on the fire. However, there are many dangers to this method of cooking.
What Can Go Wrong in an Open-Fire Cooking Method?
Well, first of all is the danger of not being able to control the heat. At home, the knobs on your stove can be adjusted to get and maintain the desirable temperature but this is not possible in an open fire situation.
Chances are that you may end up burning your food or even under cooking it. While everyone loves a smoky flavor, you don’t want to end with just smoke, do you?
Secondly, fires can quickly get out of control. This is especially the case if there are a lot of dried leaves and twigs around. Once the flames start spreading, there is little you can do to stop it.
Lastly, many camping areas do not allow an open flame due to various policies. These are only a few reasons among many as to why you need to invest in a good camping grill.
Things You Need for a Hassle-free Cooking Experience
Let’s be honest here. Despite food being an indispensable part of a trip, preparing it is not necessarily one task that you want to spend too much effort on.
It is due to this very reason that you must prepare yourself well in advance so that you can derive utmost pleasure with minimal effort. A little bit of planning, forethought and the best camping grill will make the mark.
Plan Your Meal
What you like to eat on a camping trip is entirely one’s personal pejorative. However, the lack of an accessible store or a supermarket nearby makes it difficult for this to be a whimsical decision.
Plan out the meals that you can prepare on these awesome grills and buy all your ingredients in advance.
Prep Prep Prep!
Meal Preps are lifesavers and are indispensable to camping. You can’t carry your fancy knife sets, choppers or cutting boards and the best you can bet for at camp is a wobbly plank.
It is therefore advisable to do all the required preparation for your meal at home. Store everything in a Ziplock bag and just lay it all on the grill when the time is right.
Freezing, Thawing and Everything After
All meat must be frozen and kept in a cooler to keep it fresh. However, if you calculate well enough, you may not need to thaw your meat for long at camp, saving you a lot of time.
Carry necessary herbs and spices in small packages in necessary quantities only to avoid wastage. Carry 1 good carving knife and your grill (obviously)
Put it in Your Car
More often than not, people forget to take things at the last moment and end up having to eat trail mix or worse for dinner. Hence, always prepare a checklist and put everything in your car.
Do not forget to check the fuel that you may need to fire your grill and ensure that you have enough of it in your canister.
How to Select a Camping Grill?
When on the lookout for the best camping grill, here are a few pointers you should keep in mind.
Can You Move it?
Yes! We like to be able to move our camping grills, which otherwise would diminish the purpose of such an entity. Portability is key here and you must make sure that the product you buy would fit in your car and not turn you into Sisyphus!
Most camping grills are made portable and others may need an addition of a cart with wheels. These help you to push the grill to the required spot without much difficulty.
Is it Heavy or Bulky?
Camping requires a boot full of items and it wouldn’t help if the one thing you definitely can’t do away with is hefty and big. Choose a product that has a weight that can be managed if the spot turns out to be uphill or away from the parking area.
Will it Last?
A camper does not go for one camp and then disowns all his/her gear. Hence, it is advisable to choose a grill that is durable and low-maintenance. Since there are not many ways of keeping the grill in top-notch condition at camp, it is best to invest in one that doesn’t ask much and yet is ready to give it all. Even if this choice turns out to be more expensive, we promise you, it will be worth it.
What Does it Drink?
In other words, what kind of fuel does your grill require? If you are traditional and love the nostalgia of a camping trip meal, choose a charcoal-based grill.
But if you’re in a hurry, use a propane gas-based grill that heats up food quickly and is also easier to regulate.
If you wish to don the hat of a Camp MasterChef, you need to accessorize well. Getting side tables, thermometers and even built-in lights can make you look quite the part. Other accessories like drip plates and wheel stands can be added for convenience.
The Best Camping Grills You Can Buy
This list is compiled taking into account various variables including compactness, price, fuel type and customer reviews. Take a good look at all the pros and cons before selecting the grill that will make you the star at camp.
1. Weber Q1200 Liquid Propane Grill
This reigning beauty is the best of all worlds with its sturdy yet portable nature. Manufactured with high-quality materials, it has stainless steel burner tubes. The porcelain enameled cast iron inner crate ensures the rustic flavor without the risk of charring your food.
The fact that it comes with a burner valve and a built-in thermometer only makes things much simpler. It is easy to assemble and has a removable grease tray too. The con here is that many reviews mention the temperature regulator to be faulty. Also, the liquid propane cylinder must be brought separately.
- Cast aluminum hood
- Built-in thermometer
- Fold-in side tables
- Can be placed directly on the ground or put on a wheeled stand (purchased separately)
2. Coleman RoadTrip 285 Grill
This is just like your regular home grill and therefore does not demand you to acquire a new skill to use it. The portable design with foldable wheel legs makes it perfect for a campout and is also helpful if your campsite is away from where your car is parked.
The grilling grates are made of good quality cast iron and are coated with a porcelain layer. Additionally, these can be replaced with a girdle or stove grate also.
- Changeable stovetops
- Easily assembled
- Portable wheels
- Large stove area
- Removable drip tray
- Instant lighter-free start
3. Cuisinart Portable Charcoal Grill
It looks like your state-of-the-art charcoal grill but has the added bonus of being portable and cute. It is only a foot tall and weighs relatively less than other models. What’s more, is that this is quite inexpensive when compared to other camping grills.
The grate is chrome plated and it comes with an ash catcher. The Cuisinart is perfect for your patties and steaks as its dual vents allow for a more uniform and even slow cooking process.
- Compact and Portable
- Built-in clamps to withstand bumpy terrain
- Low heat available
4. Giantex hibachi Charcoal Grill
If you love that authentic charcoal flavor, this is the product to go for. This grill is small and compact but does not compromise on the job at hand.
Made completely of cast iron, it comes pre-seasoned with vegetable oil so that you do not have to go over a thousand YouTube tutorials. It uses coal as fuel which has to be added through a door. The con here is that it requires more oil for cooking than an enameled grill.
- Will last for generations if you give it some love
- Heats up quickly
- Cleaning process is easier
- Two- height adjustments.
- Value for money
5. Weber Go-Anywhere Charcoal Grill
With a 160 square inch cooking area, this functional grill is easy to set up. The design with three handles (one on top and two on sides) enables you to easily handle it (read- open without damaging hands).
Since this grill also uses charcoal, it offers an added flavor to the food that you make. It is highly rust resistant and is easier to store due to its compact size.
- Extremely easy to clean
- Lasts quite long if taken care of
- Has a lid lock
- Porcelain enameled base and lid.
6. Primus Kuchoma Camping Grill
This grill uses 1 pound propane canisters and itself roughly comes up to the size of a large briefcase. It is a bit on the heavier side so you may want to pass if you are planning a trek to the campsite.
The grill grate is made of non-stick ceramic material and its drip tray is stainless steel, both of which are dishwasher safe.
- Small size
- Non-stick base
- Perfect for car camping
- Dishwasher friendly.
Do not want propane or charcoal to destroy your nostalgia of an open fire? Then this is the product for you. Suitable for cooking over an open flame, this grill will let you experience the raw pleasures of camping outdoors.
The unique design puts safety first by allowing you to load the grill and then move it, never forcing you to come too close to the fire.
- Works on Open flame
- Comes with a lifetime warranty
8. Drix Bushcraft Camping Grill Grate
Not satisfied with just an open flame but want to trek afar too? This smart product weighs only half a pound and fits right into your backpack to quietly accompany you however far wanderlust guides you.
It comes with a wax carrying case that keeps the dribbles away from the rest of your stuff. Yet, it offers an opportunity to cook for a small group when placed on an open flame.
- The best camping grill for backpackers
- Adds smokey flavor
- Wax protective cover
- Hassle-free cooking.
What Can You Cook on a Camping Grill?
Oh, the possibilities here are endless and we promise it doesn’t start with hot and end with dog. There are so many different recipes you can try on the grill. With a good prep plan, you can even have an entire meal ready in no time.
Meats in different sizes and shapes are what’s most often associated with camping. A good juicy steak, a classic burger or even a humble hot dog can become magical on your grill top.
You may also make things like grilled cheese, pizzas and quesadillas. If on a fishing trip, a neat grilled fish is sure to get you a badge for awesomeness.
To be honest, grilled corn and vegetables are not given the love that they deserve. Do not limit yourself to cereals and trail mix when you can enjoy a plethora of options on the best camping grills of the season.
Grilling eggplants, mushrooms and cherry tomatoes is a great idea. Even fruits like watermelons and pineapples make great meal options when cooked on an open fire.
A Final Word…
Cooking on a grill is an art that you master and it’s even greater a challenge when it’s outdoors with limited supply options (or backups). Nevertheless, these tips will help you become a pro griller and create delicious meals out in the wild.
And if you’re still learning, it never hurts to carry a few granola bars.