There is just something about the smell of food cooking on an open grill that reminds me of every summer spent with my family touring the country in our trusty RV. Nothing tastes as good as grilled food eaten in the great outdoors. Ask anyone who has spent time traveling in an RV what they loved the most and they will most likely all say it was the freedom and the grilled food.
The masses of different portable RV grills available now tells me that I’m not the only one that loves grilling whilst RVing. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of portable grill types for RVs. Grilling and RVing simply go together hand in hand.
Not all grills were created equal and the one you choose has to suit your needs and your RV lifestyle. Sure, there are grill trends that come and go but what matters is that your portable grill completes the RV experience you hoped for.
Best RV Gas Grill
A top-tier portable gas grill featuring multiple heat-control knobs, a very large cooking area, and an equally large price tag.Check Amazon Price
Was anyone else a fan of the 1980’s film Batteries Not Included? If so, then like me you may think that the Napoleon TQ285-RD-1-A looks just like one of the robot spaceships.
Movie nostalgia aside, this robust red and black portable gas grill consistently gets positive feedback for its ability to smoke or roast foods depending on your preference. Also, the two burners can be lit and controlled separately so you can vary the temperature if you are cooking a range of foods or keeping food warm on a platter.
This is a bigger grill than the Cuisinart CGG-059, nearly twice the size in fact, but is still relatively slim and compact. The Napoleon is designed to be stored vertically and has a carry handle for easy transporting. This grill will easily slide in beside suitcases without taking up too much space. It’s not as big as some of the gas grills on the market so I can see this working for a small camper as well as it would for an RV. The sturdy little legs fold in underneath the belly of the grill but be prepared to wait until the grill is cool before you do so.
The Napoleon is at the higher end of the price bracket, which is no surprise given its size and cooking ability. I think this is one of the best portable grill choices for RVs with a lot of mouths to feed. Be that a big family or for anyone that loves to entertain.
Best Budget RV Gas Grill
High quality, compact propane grill that won't break the bank.Check Amazon Price
Size is often the stickler when it comes to choosing the best portable grill for an RV. This stylish portable grill from Cuisinart is one of the more compact on the market. Coming in at just over 10 inches high and 12 inches deep. Despite its petite qualities, the enamel grill is an ample 146 square inches. Plenty of room for a few steaks or kebabs.
This single burner gas grill works with an equally compact 1lb propane tank which will give you a satisfactory 8000 BTU. The smaller tank is handy for stowing away in your RV storage but you might prefer something that cooks a little longer. If you prefer to use a bigger tank then do not fear – this portable gas grill is regularly purchased with the Cuisinart QG-012B LP Adapter Hose, 4-Foot. Allowing a 20lb tank to be used and meaning you will run out of propane less often.
The convex design of the lid means the grill I protected by high sides, making it conveniently windproof. Not to be sniffed at since we all know there will be days on the road when you will find your self cooking outside despite the wind and possibly rain. The lid also locks so it won’t come skidding off if you decide to go off-road to find the best spot to pitch up.
Something I really like about this grill is that it is genuinely portable. I can easily see myself taking it on a hike or to the beach.
The Cuisinart CGG-059 Propane Grillster is an affordable portable grill. Its push-button ignition is perfect for the novice, or nervous, griller who prefer fuss-free lighting. I have seen reviews that said the ignition button breaks easily though, so watch out for that, and don’t forget you have a warranty if this happens.
Best Electric RV Grill
Heavy but reliable grill for RVers that prefer using electric power.Check Amazon Price
This grill is not for the faint of heart. It’s a heavy grill that you might not want to move too often if you haven’t been to the gym recently. Assuming that doesn’t put you off, the Weber 52020001 Q1400 Electric Grill is a good-sized grill (189 square inches) that will suit a family of five or six people.
The cast aluminum lid and body are easy to clean and unlikely to be easily damaged when stowed away. Even better, the grill grates are porcelain-enameled cast-iron which means they are tough and really easy to clean too. The catch pans are easy to remove for cleaning which is always a plus.
Practically, if you prefer to stay away from campsites and don’t have a generator, this grill might not be for you as it requires an electric power source. Most reviewers seem to prefer it for use on condo balconies than touring the great outdoors. However, for the RV owner that likes to keep the campsite facilities close or have a good generator this could be a really good option.
The heating element has a power level of 1560 watts that heat up quickly. Quicker than a charcoal or gas grill. You also have total burn control, letting you adjust the temperature depending on what you are cooking. Close the lid for optimum cooking control. For any campers who are used to gas grills, you might want to play around with the cooking speeds until you get used to cooking without gas.
Best Budget Electric RV Grill
Very basic grilling surface for those looking to save money & space.Check Amazon Price
Hate cooking outdoors but still want the grill experience and flavors? Then this may be the grill you have been waiting for. This portable electric grill is smokeless making it suitable for indoor use. So no more cooking in the rain whilst holding an umbrella over the grill! I know I’m not the only one that’s done that.
Anyone who can’t resist a freebie will love the fact that this non-stick grill comes with a recipe book and grilling tongs. The ceramic coated grill and drip pan are easy to clean. In fact, the grill is purported to be non-stick but I have seen reviews that debate that. That could be a mistake with how they are being used, on not. Consider yourself warned.
This is one of the more affordable portable grills I’ve looked at and manages to be compact and still have a reasonably sized grill at the same time (176 square inches). It doesn’t have a lid or a carry case of any kind though which makes me question if it’s the best kind of portable grill for RVs. Even an easy-to-clean electric grill like this would carry some residual cooking smells and grease.
We need to talk about the smokeless claim of this grill. Personally, I just don’t see how it is possible and that makes me wonder if it comes down to expectations. My idea of smokeless is that there is non one iota of smoke. Maybe I am being unreasonable. This grill says it has a ‘deoiling design’ therefore the oil runs off faster hence ‘smokeless’. The jury is out but I would expect to smell of smoke, even if there isn’t a cloud of smoke, after cooking indoors with any grill.
Best Charcoal Grill for RV
A quality, light weight charcoal grill at a good price.Check Amazon Price
Another affordable grill, no surprise as charcoal grills are usually cheaper than the more modern gas grills. I have to confess that I am a traditionalist when it comes to grilling on the road, I love the smell of cooking with charcoal and I will always be drawn to this kind of grill. I will try not to let my bias get in the way of the facts here though. I promise.
To start with the Weber 121020 is a compact, lightweight, easy to carry grill. Suited to RVs, campers, and trailers alike. The steel legs work on a swivel and fold up to keep the lid in place when the grill is being transported. You will of course need to bring charcoal with you too, so remember to factor that in if space is an issue. You could always stock up as you travel.
As for durability, this charcoal grill has a porcelain-enameled lid and base, reducing the risk of rust and peeling that is common with some cheap brands. This time of enamel layer will also help retain heat. Aways a plus for cooking.
Speaking of cooking, the only downside this grill seems to have is that the space allowed for charcoal is quite shallow. This means the charcoal is quite close to the food as you cook. For some this a non-negotiable issue. Personally I think for what you are paying it could be a workaround.
Best Budget Charcoal Grill for RV
An unknown brand offering a decent portable grill which lacks features but at a very good price.Check Amazon Price
The first thing I noticed about the Letion Uttora Charcoal Grill was that there is no lid. I can’t get my head around how a charcoal grill can be portable without any type of container for the unavoidable messiness.
What this grill does have going for it is that it is compact and lightweight. Super light in fact at just 1.6kgs. With a classic narrow trough like design and foldable legs it quickly folds up to slide into its storage space (if you can get over the no-lid thing). When you’re ready to cook, you just fold out the legs, drop in the coals and you’re ready to go.
Thanks to the stainless steel grill rack and trough you can expect this grill to withstand the heat and regular use without rusting. Another bonus for easier cooking is the trough design. A longer grill means that you can fit on more foods. Perfect for cooking for the whole family or a group of friends on the beach. Just line up your food and everyone can eat together rather than having that one friend who’s veggie burger seems to take the whole night to cook.
Personally, I think this grill is suited to occasional use and also to first time grillers. This is a none intimidating kind of grill. One that you can practice on and learn the grilling basics. It is simple to use and straightforward to clean. At the lower end of the cost bracket, it is a good choice if you are just starting to get into grilling as part of your RV lifestyle.
Factors To Consider When Choosing A Portable Grill For An RV
Fuel Type / Power Source
Picture this, you are happily pitching up your RV for the night overlooking a beautiful, secluded, bay as the sun begins to set. You fold out the camping chairs and get out your electric grill ready to cook. Then you realize, there’s nowhere to plug in the grill.
The fuel type for your portable RV grill is an important decision and just one of a few factors that need to be considered before you buy. There is the practical side of making sure the fuel source for your grill will be readily available wherever you go. Then there is also the preference side. For me, I’ve never quite got used to cooking with a gas grill. It doesn’t feel like the real deal but I get that some people prefer it for its ease and cleanliness.
Size & Weight
Smaller RVs, campers, and anyone who loathes traveling light, definitely need to consider size and weight when considering the best grill for them. If you have a large RV then storage might not be a huge concern for you. However, before buying, work out where in your RV your grill will live and check the space measurements to avoid a headache down the road.
With so many grills available there is an abundance of features to choose from. It is easy to get carried away and choose a model that comes with kinds of bells and whistles when grill shopping. Decide in advance what grill features you really want and also what your budget is. Useful features include collapsable legs, built-in temperature gauges, and durable materials.
Ease of Cleaning
The last thing that anyone wants to do when they are on holiday is to spend hours cleaning. Look for a grill that is built with ease of cleaning in mind. Grills that are stainless steel or enamel-coated are some of the easiest to clean. Likewise, a grill with removable parts such as the drip tray is going to be easier to clean.
Types Of RV Grills
The most popular RV portable grill types across the states are gas (64%) and charcoal (44%). With electric grill design improving, these are popping up more and more on campsites but they have a lot of catching up to do. Here’s why these grill types are popular amongst RV owners.
Propane grills (gas grills) overtook charcoal grills in popularity for a couple of reasons. First up, the heat of a gas grill is easier to control. The attraction of being able to turn the heat up and down as needed rather than wait for burning coals to reach the right temperature is a no brainer for a lot of grill fans. Cooking with gas is cleaner too with no fuel clean up after cooking. Gas grills are usually on the more expensive side but propane is generally cheaper than charcoal.
On the other hand, classic charcoal grills still have a lot of fans too. Some RV owners wouldn’t be seen dead grilling on anything else. These old school campers can often be overheard asking ‘Is it even grilling if there’s no smoke?’ Charcoal does mean that you have to bring along bags of fuel that can take up space. Keep that in mind if you have storage limitations. There is the wait and clean up to consider too. Charcoal grills have to completely cool before you can empty them and put them away. If you’re in any way impatient, you might want to weigh up if you’re willing to wait or not.
Electric grills make up less than 10% of RV portable grill sales in the US. They are gaining in popularity as more people turn to healthy eating. The biggest turn-off is for RVers who love dry-camping. Unless your electric grill works with a battery then it just isn’t feasible. From a space point of view, electric grills do tend to be more compact than gas and charcoal models. They also heat up quicker, much like your cooker at home.
How To Grill Safely On Your RV Trip
RV grilling is fun and relaxing and a great part of any road trip holiday. There are safety considerations that must be taken seriously no matter what type of grill you have.
With all grills, use them away from your RV or any buildings. Give all grill parts a clean before and after use. Remove excess food and grease that could build up and create problems next time you grill. With a gas or electric grill, you might be tempted to use it inside the RV when the weather is bad. Unless you have one that is specifically for indoor use, only ever use your grill outside.
The open flames of charcoal grills obviously bring a risk of fire. A dropped coal or toppled grill can quickly turn into a large fire. Especially if you are camped in a dry scrub or a forest area.
Avoid accidental fires by following a few simple steps:
- First, ensure that your grill is set up on a sturdy, nonflammable, surface.
- Next, fill a bucket or large device with water and set it close to hand just in case. Only use water on charcoal grills and never on gas or electric.
- Clear the area around the grill of anything that could catch fire and move anything that you might trip over out of the way.
- Lastly, let the coals completely cool after cooking and before disposing of them safely. Even the smallest ember can lead to a raging forest fire.
With any grill type, kids pose a concern for safety. The excitement of being on holiday, the joy of camping, and too many smores can all add up to over-excited kids running around the grilling area. I like to set up a boundary that the kids aren’t allowed to cross so that I can cook in peace and without worrying about one of them getting burnt. The same goes for pets.
Propane grills should never smell of gas. Like in the home, if you smell gas it is safest to move away from it and call the fire department. It could be that the connector or hose is not attached properly but if you are new to gas grills or at all nervous call the local department for help.
Useful RV Grill Accessories
Staying in the theme of safety for a beat, the number one RV grill accessory that you can not do without is a multi-use powder fire extinguisher. This type of fire extinguisher is suitable for gas, electric, and charcoal grills.
Now that you have invested in the best grill for your RV, its time to invest in some quality cooking tools. Look for a stainless steel set that includes tongs, skewers, a burger flipper, meat fork, and a good knife. If you like to marinate your grilled meat, then you will need a good basting brush too. Most of the available brushes now are silicone but it is possible to get natural bristles if you prefer them.
A bigger, and really useful, accessory that you might like to consider is a bumper grill arm. This is my kind of gadget. Think of it as an extension for your RV. Bumper grill arms fold snuggly into the back of your RV and stretch out to a safe distance when you want to cook. When there are no onsite grill spots or you don’t have room to carry an extra table just for your grill, these easy to install arms are just what you need.
You’re probably keen to run out and get your grill right now or at least order it online calmly from your armchair. Before you do, go and have a good look at your RV. Take a look at all the storage possibilities for the grill you’re about to buy. If you have a grill already, ask yourself what you did and didn’t like about it. You don’t want to end up with the same problems if you had an inadequate grill before.
If you are thinking about changing fuel type from your usual grill or using a type that you never tried before, ask a friend if you can try their grill. Take it for a test run for the weekend in your RV to get a good idea of its suitability for your needs.
Your RV is your home away from home and that is why it important that all of its features make you happy – even the grill. You will spend a lot of time with your portable grill and it will be central to your RVing so buying right is essential. Happy grilling.