It’s tailgating season and the roaming chefs are hitting the parking lots of football stadiums all over the country. Just as there are hundreds of RV makes and models, there is quite a diverse selection of methods to cook, steam, BBQ, and smoke food as well. In part 1, we discussed Lump vs. Briquettes. In this blog we will discuss the various grills available and the features and benefits as they pertain to RVing and cooking preference. Granted, everyone would love to have a Big Green Egg, smoker, wood fired pizza oven, and a dozen other cooking options sitting around the campsite, but the reality is there is only so much space available in our storage bins and we have to choose the best option to cover the majority of cooking needs.
Let’s start with the LP options available as there are several models that can be stored flat and are very convenient for grilling. When I was young we would rent a camper 3-4 times a year and go on a couple of short weekend trips to a lake. “THE” big vacation was a 2-week adventure to a major destination like Yellowstone, Rocky Mountain National Park, and even Washington DC and New York City. On those trips we took the classic Coleman camper stove that you poured “white gas” into the storage vessel and pumped it up to get a flame.
Today, there are several models that can be easily packed flat in a storage compartment or smaller version of large residential models that will fit in some of the large storage compartments available with today’s RV.
LP grills that can run off a 20lb DOT cylinder or small screw on bottle are very popular. A wide variety of tabletop units are available, however for a larger cooking surface and convenient fold down storage, the Coleman “RoadTrip” is a great choice. And yes, they still make the old style pump up pressure models we camped with in the ‘60’s called the Coleman Powerhouse!
Weber and Char-Broil have been the age old favorite of residential charcoal enthusiast for years, however the traditional kettle style or large four legged box style is great for the patio at home, but not easy to haul around when RVing. Unless you have an open truck bed or get creative with a bumper mount, you will need to compromise the size.
There are several down sized models and even tabletop version such as the Weber 121020 go anywhere or “Smokey Joe”, the Char-Broil portable kettle, Cuisinart 14” portable, Hibachi tabletop, or various others. The advantage is a smaller size for storing the grill in a compartment without taking the unit apart. The disadvantage is the size of the grill and amount of briquettes that can be used which can also limit the cooking time and heat generated. Also, the height of these means they need to be placed on a table or on the ground and bend down to cook. You won’t be able to stand behind the grill with your best grilling apron, favorite beverage, and spatula making the traditional griller’s pose! Maybe not a big thing?
A big trend these days is the ceramic kettle such as the Big Green Egg, Komando, Vision Grills, or Char Griller. Originally these came out in the residential version that was to large to take on an RV trip, but are now offering a few portable sizes. The advantage is the technology of creating a better heat source with even temperatures, versatile cooking, and a cooler outside shell. There are not many disadvantages other than a higher cost. Our local grill distributor is an avid RVer and sells a variety of brands and they take the Big Green Egg mini-max on every camping trip.
Due to tree killing insects and disease, most campgrounds will not let you bring your own firewood for recreational use or cooking. Wood pellet stoves have become popular as they are convenient to use, self feeding, and can maintain a desired temperature within +/- 20 degrees. The most popular models are the Traeger Tailgaiter or Green Mountain Grills which also has a WiFi controller!
Yes, there are actually portable pizza ovens that are great for RVing such as the Cuisinart “Alfrescamore”, the wood pellet Uuni, Pizzeria Pronto, or Green Mountain Grill insert!
No matter what type of cooking you choose, there is a grill that will fit your needs and your storage space! And as you walk around the campgrounds of America, you will find dozens more styles in just about every category. That’s one of the fun parts of camping, seeing how and what everyone is cooking.
About the author:
Dave Solberg: Managing Editor, RV Repair Club
For the last 25 years, Dave has conducted RV maintenance and safety seminars, developed dealer and owner training programs, written RV safety and handyman articles, authored an RV handbook reference guide and logged over 100,000 miles on the road in an RV.
RV Repair Club is your go-to online resource for enthusiasts who want quality RV maintenance, repair, and upgrade information – a community where passionate RVers can come together to gather knowledge and share their experiences.
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