Outdoor cooking is one of the best parts of camping, but what’s the best grill for your RV adventures? Read these tips to find the grill for you.
Unlike choosing a grill that will stay put on your patio or deck, a portable camping grill must be easy to move and small enough to stow away in your camper when you don’t need it. Use our quick guide to review the pros and cons of different grilling appliances and accessories to pick the best on-the-go grill for you.
When it comes to camping grills, size is important. The grill surface should be big enough to cook for your whole family but the grill itself must be small enough to easily transport. Whatever type of grill you choose, take measurements to make sure the grill and accessories will fit in your storage space.
Portable grills come in all types, including charcoal, propane and electric. In addition to size, the right grill for you depends on camping style and personal preference. Here are some differences to consider.
Charcoal: Nothing beats the smoky, chargrilled flavor you get from cooking over charcoal. The kettle-type charcoal grill is a popular choice because grilling food under a cover reduces cooking time and increases the smoked flavor. It’s actually an oven, smoker, and grill all in one, making it a versatile choice for camping.
Propane: A propane grill is more convenient than a charcoal grill because it heats up faster and there’s no need to carefully dispose of hot coals before leaving the campground. Portable propane grills can be fueled with disposable propane canisters. For a more economical and eco-friendly option, purchase an adapter hose so you can hook up your grill to a refillable propane tank. Propane grills are by far the most popular RV camping grill.
Electric: With an electric grill, you don’t have to worry about replenishing fuel or inhaling fumes. Simply plug in to any power source and start grilling. Electric grills come in a variety of colors and sizes, are easy to assemble, and can be stored away in minutes. If you’re at a campground that provides electrical hookups and includes the cost of power, this grill won’t cost you a dime to operate!
Must-Have Features and Accessories
Here are a few of the most popular features and accessories to consider:
- A stainless steel or enamel finish will protect your grill from rusting in damp climates.
- A built-in temperature gauge is very helpful, especially on propane grills where you might run out of fuel without realizing it.
- Fold-up side tables come in handy for prep work and moving food on and off the grill.
- A grill cover will help protect your grill and minimize upkeep.
- A grill stand lets you use your grill anywhere you want.
- Charcoal starters are chimney-shaped cones that make lighting charcoal safe and easy—all you need is a match and a wad of newspaper.
Grilling Tools You’ll Love
The right tools help keep grilling from becoming a chore. Sturdy, long-handled tools designed for grilling use are best. Here are some camper favorites:
- Stainless steel spring-loaded tongs. They grip food better than one-piece tongs.
- Spatula. Perfect for flipping fish filets or other delicate foods.
- Grill mats. These keep your grill racks cleaner and are ideal for cooking fish.
- Grill tray. This keeps veggies and other smaller food items from falling through the grates
- Wooden skewers. These are a must for grilling meat and/or vegetable kabobs. Soak them in water for 20 to 30 minutes prior to use to keep them from burning.
- Instant-read meat thermometer. Use a digital readout model to measure internal temperature quickly.
- Sturdy wire grill brush with brass bristles. This makes it a cinch to clean your grill.
Keeping It Clean
Clean the grill grate often to avoid giving an off-taste to future meals. The best way to clean is with a heavy-duty grill brush and some elbow grease.
Preheat the grate and brush vigorously a few times with a stiff-bristled wire brush to knock off any rust, ash, or burnt-on debris. Dislodge any really stubborn debris with the metal scraper that is often attached to the end of your grill brush.
If you have a propane grill, you may prefer to clean it after grilling by raising the heat to high for 5 to 10 minutes to burn off food residue. Then brush to remove any residual debris.
If you choose to use a spray-on cleaner, opt for a nontoxic one like Simple Green BBQ Cleaner. Do not preheat the grill. Spray the cold grill and let the cleaner do its thing for a minute or two before brushing.
Keep the dry tray clean with a disposable foil drip pan or make your own using heavy-duty aluminum foil. Don’t forget to dispose of the used drip pan before leaving the campground to avoid making a mess while in transport.
Donna Smallin Kuper is a professional organizer, author and certified house cleaning technician who lives in a RV full time with her husband. She knows from experience the best grill to use when you live in a motorhome and provides tips on using and picking the right one. Visit The Home Depot website to find all the grill options that Donna talks about in this article.