Camping Grill

Camping Grills: How to Choose, Clean, and Care for Them

Here's a great way to find and care for that new camping grill that you've been looking for.

Whether you are talking about a camping night at a nearby campsite, a multi-day family car camping trip, or a serious boondocking journey into the backcountry, having a way to cook your food without a lot of expense or effort is the way to go.

There are quite a few top brands that offer good quality camping grills, but once you've selected one you need to take care of it for the long run.

Most of these travel-friendly cookers come in a variety of designs, sizes, and shapes to please just about any serious or weekend camper that loves to cook. Camping grills are usually a step above the small, backpacking-sized camp stoves that provide heat for a small skillet or to boil water, but not to place that big, juicy steak directly on.

Not only that, but a camping grill can work by propane, charcoal, or wood fire (sometimes using the campfire ring available at a public campsite) depending on your preference. They can be as simple as a packable grate or as complex as a clam shell-style  grill with its own lid and fuel compartment.

Choosing a Camping Grill

Choosing a camping grill really comes down to what you want and how you prefer to cook. Propane grills work great for virtually every kind of cooking, but not everyone likes to cook over gas. The charcoal crowd will tell you that there is nothing like cooking over a hot bed of lump charcoal that has been given enough time to get white and throw some real heat.

Then again, those of us that have cooked for many years over an open-flame hardwood fire say that you're missing out if you don't cook your food (particularly meat) that way.

If you plan to cook a lot of meat, you should choose either a grill that can use quality charcoal, or better yet can be set over an open flame

For those who simply want an easy to carry, portable camping grill that takes little effort to get going and to cook on, the many quality propane style grills out there are probably your best bet. In fact, many recipes call for heat that can be manipulated higher or lower with ease to cook certain items like veggies without destroying them in the process. When that is the case, a propane or other gas-powered grill is the best option.

Using Your Camping Grill

The first thing that you need to do when setting up your camping grill is to find a proper location for it. It should be level and unable to move, tip, or rock. 

For those that may choose a charcoal camping grill, a good suggestion is to line the interior of the base with aluminum foil so that once you're finished grilling and the coals have cooled, you can simply wrap up the leftover ash and toss it in the fire ring or garbage bin.

Care should be taken to see that grease or other combustible cooking items do not get into the fire box area. This can be especially true for those using a grill grate to cook since the flame is open and can erupt in seconds without warning.

Traveling with a camping grill is generally easy, but made more so if you bring a plastic garbage bag to wrap it in, especially after use. That way, soot and grease won't get all over your vehicle, or yourself when you lift it out.

When the season is over, pack your grill in its carrying case, original box, or, again, wrap it in plastic like a garbage bag to keep bugs and other critters out of it until the next year.

Cleaning Your Camping Grill

Try to keep the cooking surface clean and free of debris as much as you can. A stainless steel grill brush to rub away any leftover junk is a great way to clean a camping grill.

An old camping hack is to clean the surface with vinegar and baking soda. This works particularly well with stainless steel as the vinegar will remove baked on grease and keep it sparkling clean. Use some baking soda in conjunction with the vinegar (and a microfiber cloth) to get the really stubborn stuff to come off. When it's all done, rub down the grill with some cooking oil.

The Portable Camp Grill

Gas grill, charcoal grill, or live fire grill, the one that you choose should be one of the best camping tools that you have in your arsenal. You may want a griddle or a portable stand-up propane grill, but it should still be heavy duty, have portability, and include a cooking grate that has enough square inches of cooking space for your needs.

A versatile, foldable barbeque grill is great to use for the camp chefs that need a BBQ that fits their needs. Whether it's simple hot dogs or a gourmet three course meal, a camping grill can make it happen.

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