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Helpful Tips for Cooking with a Camping Grill

by CampspotterMay 26, 2023
Helpful Tips for Cooking with a Camping Grill

If you’re planning a camping trip and want to cook delicious meals while enjoying the outdoors, a camping grill is an essential tool. Whether you prefer a portable charcoal grill, gas grill, or tabletop grill, there are many options to choose from. In this post, we’ll provide you with tips for cooking with a camping grill and recommend some of the best portable grills on the market.

Choosing the Fuel Source

When selecting a camping grill, the fuel source is an important consideration. The fuel type you use can significantly impact the taste and quality of your food. Charcoal and gas are the most common fuel sources for camping grills. Charcoal grills offer that classic smoky flavor and are perfect for low and slow cooking. Meanwhile, gas grills provide more convenience and consistency. However, before choosing a fuel source, make sure to check the fire regulations in your camping area, as some campsites may only allow specific types of fuel or prohibit the use of open flames altogether. Whether you opt for charcoal or gas, choose a camping grill that’s specifically designed for cooking outdoors.

Choosing the Right Grill

Burgers cooking on a cast iron camping grill plate with corn

When cooking on a camping grill, having sufficient space and a consistent temperature is crucial. There’s no such thing as “the best portable grill” or the “best camping grill”, you just have to pick the one that’s best for you. Look for grills with ample cooking space and a grilling surface that retains heat and distributes it evenly. Most grills may suit your needs but it’s important to do research to find the best grill for you. Cast iron grill grates are ideal as they retain heat well, while models with a closed lid are perfect for low and slow cooking. For better temperature control, consider grills with heat control and airflow features.

Tools You’ll Need

A camper with gloved hands adjusts the grates of her camping grill

Using the correct tools is essential to ensure your meals turn out perfectly. Bring along a grill brush to clean your grill grate thoroughly. Wooden tools or ones with steel wool attachments are ideal for this purpose. You should still deep clean your grill when you get home, but while camping, investing in a good set of tongs and a spatula to flip and remove food from the grill is essential. Some camping grills even come with a cooking lid for added versatility in your outdoor cooking and protection from windy conditions.

Portable Gas Options

Vegetable kababs on a propane camping grill

Portable camping grills can be incredibly convenient for those who enjoy tent camping. Some even come with a carrying case, making them the perfect portable package! They’re ideal for setting up your cooking space in the truck bed at camp or even in the parking lot for a quick dinner. The Camp Chef and Char-Broil models are popular choices for those seeking a portable camping grill. If you’re after a portable gas grill, we recommend the Weber Q 2200 and Coleman Roadtrip LXE. These grills offer ample cooking space and consistent control over the heat, making them ideal for camping trips and other outdoor activities. Most of these propane grills come with push button ignition to make getting set up a little easier. However, it’s crucial to make sure you have enough appropriate grilling space, even with a portable grill.

Portable Charcoal Options

Charcoal burns in a round grill

When it comes to portable charcoal grill options, there are a variety of models available to suit every type of camp cooking experience. Some popular options include tabletop models, foldable grills, and larger cart-style grills with wheels for easy transport if you’re looking for something else though there are plenty of other models. Tabletop models are perfect for those with limited space and are designed to be placed on top of a table or other stable surface. Foldable grills are ideal for backpacking or hiking trips, as they can be compactly folded and carried in a backpack. Cart-style grills are perfect for larger gatherings or outdoor events, as they offer plenty of surface area for cooking and are easily wheeled from place to place. Most charcoal models that come with lids come with vents to help better control airflow while cooking too. No matter what your needs are, there is a portable charcoal grill option that will suit them.

Cooking Surface Recommendations

Grilled vegetables on a cast iron plate over an open flame at a campsite

Don’t overlook the cooking surface and cooking area of your camping grill. Make sure you have enough space to cook all your meals and choose a grill with a cooking surface that suits your needs. If you’re cooking for a large group, consider a grill with a whole grill surface to accommodate all your food. The grilling surface may seem like a minor concern, but most portable charcoal models have fairly small surfaces.

Getting Creative with Your Camping Grill

Corn and a cast iron skillet rest over open flames on a grill plate

Camping grills offer more than just the traditional grilling experience. You can also use your portable grill for various cooking methods, such as smoking, roasting, and even baking. For instance, you can use a Dutch oven or cast iron skillet on top of the grill grates to make stews, chili, or even baked desserts. If you have a fire pit nearby, you can also use your camping grill to roast marshmallows or cook other campfire treats. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your camping grill and try out new recipes and cooking techniques. With a little experimentation, you can elevate your camping meals and make the most of your outdoor cooking experience. Just be sure to follow all safety precautions and local fire regulations when using your camping grill.

Grilled vegetables cook over open flames

When it comes to getting creative with your camping grill, the possibilities are endless. You can experiment with different types of wood chips to add smoky flavor to your food, or try out different marinades and rubs to enhance the flavor of your meat. You can even use your grill to cook non-traditional camping foods, such as pizza, quesadillas, or grilled vegetables.

One thing to keep in mind when using your camping grill for non-traditional cooking methods is to make sure you have the right equipment. For instance, if you plan on smoking meat, you’ll need a smoker box or a foil packet to hold your wood chips. If you’re baking on your grill, you’ll need a baking stone or cast iron skillet.

Overall, a camping grill is a versatile tool that can enhance your camp cooking experience. Whether you’re grilling up burgers for your family or experimenting with new recipes, a camping grill is a must-have for any camping trip. Just be sure to follow safety precautions and check with your campsite regulations before using any open flames.

Photo credit in order of appearance: Tyler Way, Tyler Way, Tyler Way, Pexels User RDNE-Stock-Project, Pexels User Lukas, Tyler Way, Tyler Way, Tyler Way