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Camping and RV, for me, isn’t as good if you’re not cooking and eating outside. One of my biggest gripes with camping grills is that it can be a challenge to find a portable lightweight grill that produces enough BTUs to cook everything.
I’ve used a lot of portable grills in my life (good ones and not-so-good ones), and I’ve put together the below guide to the best RV grills to help you evaluate the options and choose something that’s going to work well.
Table of Contents
The Best Single Burner Portable Grill: Weber Q1000 Liquid Propane Grill
Weber is one of the most trusted names in grilling, and as far as single burners go, the Q1000 is one of the best portable gas grills out there. I think the 189 square inches of grilling space is quite a lot for a portable RV grill–plenty of room for grilling several things at once.
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It’s also got the porcelain enameled grates that you want in any grill (RV or otherwise), which distributes heat better and keeps stuff from sticking.
You can check that out here if you like.
I also really like that you can swap out the grill grates for a griddle if you want to cook something like pancakes or do some frying.
I think the best RV grills are those that recognize the limitations of RV cooking and try to double (or triple) as many different cooking surfaces as possible.
189 square inches of cooking space
Just the grill
Unfortunately, while it is designed to be convertible into a griddle, the griddle is sold separately. There are also a few missing features that would be nice to have.
There is no thermometer, the igniter is friction (not battery) operated, and it doesn’t come with any fold-out shelves.Still, more than 80 percent of the 1000+ reviewers gave the Q1000 5 stars, so it definitely deserves to be on anyone’s best portable gas grill list.
Best RV Grill on a Budget: Weber Go-Anywhere Charcoal Grill
Another Weber, the Go-Anywhere portable charcoal grill is the best compact charcoal grill for those on a budget because you still get the Weber name and top of the line grill design (porcelain-enamelled lid and base) but for under a hundred bucks.
Its cooking area is smaller than the Q1000 (160 square inches vs 189) which Weber contends is sufficient for around 6 medium burgers (or something similar).
Nice touches like lid dampers for temp control inside and plated steel cooking grates (while remaining economical) also make this a worthy contender for best RV grill on a budget.
160 square inches cooking surface area
only the grill
I think the biggest downside of this portable gas grill for RV life is the fact that the grate isn’t adjustable, which means that it’s great for things like burgers, hotdogs, kabobs, veggies etc.
But for larger cuts of meat (especially more delicate meats), you have to cook with indirect heat.
Best RV Grill/Smoker Combo: Traeger Ranger Portable Pellet Grill
It’s nice to be able to smoke and grill while you’re out in the RV and the Traeger Ranger, for me, is the best RV grill/smoker combo out there for the money.
The Ranger is more expensive than some of the other propane grill options on the list, but you do get what you pay for:
- a food-warming mode that keeps meals hot
- a digital arc controller that allows you to set temperature in 5-degree increments for more precise cooking
- An included meat probe and griddle plate
- Essentially a portable kitchen–Traeger’s aren’t just for grilling, you can smoke, bake, roast, braise, and BBQ
Capable of getting up to 450F (hot enough to grill or cook pretty much anything) and with an 8lb pellet capacity, the Ranger, for me, is the best portable grill combo setup out there.
N/A (wood pellets)
N/A (capable of reaching 450F)
184 square inches (ample cooking space)
I’d have to say the weight of this bad boy is the biggest downside. 60lbs, while not prohibitive for RVing, makes it a little unwieldy for something like cooking on a smaller boat or taking to the park.
If you are a serious smoker, the fact that the hopper is inside the unit (i.e., you have to disrupt the smoking process to add more pellets) might turn you off. The smoker is also an oven with a fan as opposed to a traditional smoker, which still produces great smoky flavour, but it’s not going to be competition level.
All in all, over 85% of the 90+ reviewers gave the Ranger 5-stars, commending its “workhorse smoker” and referring to it as “our most important RV accessory.” Definitely a contender for best RV grill-combo.
Best RV Grill for Overall Portability: Cuisinart CGG-180T Petit Gourmet Portable Tabletop Propane Gas Grill
Some portable RV grills are more compact and portable than others, and I think the Cuisinart CGG-180T Petit Gourmet Portable Tabletop Gas Grill is the best portable grill where portability is concerned because of how practically it has been designed.
It’s only 13-and-a-half pounds and can be carried briefcase-style, and its really sturdy telescopic legs make it easy and, importantly, safe to set up anywhere. The perfect grills for the RV, vehicle camping, or just loading in the back of the car and taking to the beach or park.
The cooking area of 145 square inches is still big enough to do eight burgers or steaks, 6 to 10 chicken breasts, or 4 pounds of fish.
145 square inches
Just the grill
I think the biggest demerit with this grill is the fact that the legs don’t fully close when you have the grease trap in and, once the grill is closed, the grease trap has a tendency to fall out. Not the end of the world, but you would expect that not to be the case with something from cuisine art.
Still, the best RV grill for portability and something that nearly three-quarters of the more than 1500 reviewers have given 5 stars.
Best RV Grill for Tailgating: Blackstone Tailgater Stainless Steel 2 Burner Portable Gas Grill and Griddle Combo
I think the Blackstone Tailgater Grill-and-Griddle Combo is the best portable grill for tailgating because of the full-size adjustable legs. You can put this grill right on the ground, you don’t need a table or higher surface to start cooking.
It’s a really versatile little RV grill, and I especially like that you can use both the grill box and the gridle at the same time. Or, if you want, you can take both off and use the open burners for pans and pots or leave either the grill or the griddle on and have one open burner.
Having two stainless steel burners that are independently controlled is a nice feature on a camp grill like this.
H burner–15,000 BTUs; cast iron burner: 20,000 BTUs.
512 square inches (256 on the griddle, 256 on the grill).
grill and griddle
The most obvious con of this portable grill is the weight.
At 75 pounds, this is not a light item. Some reviewers have also noted that the grill doesn’t get hot enough with the included gas regulator (i.e., it doens’t let enough gas out when both burners are on).
The fix seems to be to buy a third-party regulator, but that is going to run you probably $20 or more and not something you’d expect to need to buy.
Still, three-quarters of the more than 500 reviewers agree that this is definitely one of the best gas grills out there, for tailgating or anything else. A complete camp and outdoor cook station.
Best Propane Grill With Wheels: Coleman RoadTrip 285 Portable Stand-Up 3-Burner Propane Grill
If you know anything about grilling, then Coleman camping grills, and the Coleman Roadtrip portable grill in particular, doens’t really need any introduction.
I like that they’ve put wheels on the grill stand so that you don’t have to carry it when setting it up. I also really like the folding side shelves, it makes it feel much more like a full-size grill where you would normally be able to store spices, condiments etc.
With multiple cooktop options, easy-to-clean iron grates and three independently adjustable temperature zones, this is definitely a really good RV grill.
20,000 total BTUs
285 square inches
just the grill
Nothing really to report with this grill, other than the fact that it’s on the heavier side–which it makes up for with the wheels and carrying method.
A few reviewers also indicated that the water/grease tray that collects grease and juices can be tricky to take out without spilling, but could just be a case of butter fingers with some people.
All in all, 80 per cent of the 813 reviewers gave this baby 5 stars for its cooking ability, quality, portability and how easy it is to set up.
Best Trailer-Mounted Propane Grill: Flame King – YSNHT500
This RV mounted gas grill is made specifically for mounting on an RV or trailer, but it also has the ability to freestand.
This complete grilling station comes with a bracket that allows you to mount it right onto the side of an RV, trailer or motorhome, which makes having an impromptu cookout easy.
The reason this is, for me, the best portable grill (specifically for RVs, not a general purpose portable grill) is that it can connect to both your existing RV propane source (model 100395-72) or to any other standard propane cylinder (model# LPRH8).
214 square inches
just the grill
For me, the biggest downside to an otherwise great RV mounted grill is the fact that you have to purchase the hoses separately.
Kind of lame on Flame King’s part. Other than that, clearly not enough to dissuade the more than two-thirds of the 387 reviewers to give it five stars.
What Went Into My Selection Process for the Best RV Grill List?
I’ve spent most of my life on the west coast of Canada, camping and having cookouts all the time. I’ve been grilling on camp stoves and propane grills since I was old enough to not burn the camp down, and it’s one of my favourite ways to cook.
In addition to being an avid griller and huge fan of cooking outdoors, having used all of the different brands I’ve covered in this review and knowing my way around an RV grill, I also spent many hours perusing comments and reviews, as well as watching tutorials and outdoor chefs use the products in question.
I spoke to friends and family who camp and use propane grills on a regular basis and had them weigh in on my shortlist as well as offer up their two cents on what makes a good camp grill and what entices them to buy.
Main Evaluation Criteria When Choosing A Portable Gas Grill
There are a few things you want to look for when evaluating RV grills. They are:
- The number of burners
- How easy is it to clean?
- Heat source
- Grill materials
- Cooking space
- Extra features
- Warranty (if any)
- What’s included
The number of burners
The number of burners determines how many different things you can cook at the same time and how much control you have over your heating. One burner means that one burner is tasked with heating the entire grill and, what’s more, you only have one heat source for grilling, frying, boiling etc.
The grills on my “Best RV Grills” list have between one and three burners for the most part.
BTUs, or British Thermal Units, is a unit of measurement used to quantify heat output and one BTU is equivalent to the amount of energy required to heat a pound (or 0.45L) of water by one degree F.
Higher BTUs doesn’t necessarily translate to better cooking ability, but it does indicate your cooking power. More BTUs means more more heat output to cook food, but it doesn’t speak to your ability to control that heat.
The best portable grills also depend on the grill materials (how well they conduct heat), how the lid facilitates convection and the quality and efficiency of the propane control system.
The best RV grills (and the best portable grills, period) are going to put out somewhere in the neighbourhood of 80-100 BTUs/square inch.
How easy is it to clean?
Some of the reviewers of the grills that I’ve covered above have lauded the grill but lamented the cleaning process. RV grills should be something that you can take out and put away quite easily, you shouldn’t need to spend an exorbitant amount of time cleaning them before stowing them away.
Weight, of course, is another important consideration. A grill is only really portable if you can take it with you easily. The heaviest grill on my list is 75 pounds–the Blackstone Tailgater Stainless Steel 2-Burner Portable Gas Grill. It’s a great grill, that does a lot, but consider your purposes and ideal grill weight before making a purchase.
Fuel type, for me, is one of the most important considerations because it affects so many other things. You basically have four types of fuel:
Propane is the most common portable grill fuel source. You need to purchase and store propane, which of course takes up space and can be hazardous.
Charcoal is a cheap grill fuel and many people refuse to eat grilled food that hasn’t been grilled with charcoal, but there are often bans on charcoal grills in national parks and other dry areas.
On the west coast of Canada, where I’m from, our forest fire season has gotten so bad that it’s probably safe to say that it’s irresponsible to use charcoal grills at this point.
Pellets are great because they give you an amazing flavour and can be used for smoking–if you opt for the Traeger Ranger Portable Pellet Grill, for example. Pellets also tend to have a much lower grilling temperature (aroudn 450F max). Searing meat or getting things crispy can be very hard with pellets.
An electric grill can be problematic because they require a steady supply of electricity to use–a generator or electrical setup.
On the other hand, they are also generally considered the safest when it comes to forest fire hazard potential, and many can be used indoors as well (great for if it starts to pour rain).
They can be an good backup grill for RV life if you can’t or don’t want to use propane or charcoal, or if you want to cook inside.
All of the grills on my list are made by brand name grill manufacturers that use quality grill materials. Stainless steel burners, cast-iron, enamel-coated grill bars–these are features of all good grills.
Stainless steel offers good rust and corrosion protection, in addition to being quite durable. Cast iron cooking grates are also nice, but they’re heavier than steel.
Cooking space is measured in square inches and RV grills vary a lot in terms of the cooking surface area they offer. You want to get something that provides enough cooking space for a given number of people.
If it’s just a couple of people, then any of the grills on the above list will be fine. If you’re making food for larger groups, then something like the Blackstone Tailgater Stainless Steel 2 Burner Portable Gas Grill and Griddle Combo (512 square inches) is going to be a safer bet.
Some grills come full assembled, other require varying amounts of assembly before they’re ready to use. If you are familiar with setting up grills, then the assembly is a non-issue. If, on the other hand, you just absolutely no-fuss, get something that is ready to go right out of the box.
Extra features include things like griddles, storage space, wheels for easy carting around, and even mounting features for trailers and RVs.
Some portable camping grills might offer you grill covers, grate cleaning brushes, microfiber cleaning clothes, warming racks, and a great tray.
Warranty (if any)
The best portable camping grills are going to provide you with some form of warranty. It might be a full warranty, or perhaps only a warranty for certain parts of the grill.
Some manufacturers cover different parts of the grill for different lengths of time. You might have 30 days for your grate and multiple years for the rest of the grill.
Propane Grill Safety Tips
When you’re RVing, there are certain cooking and grilling tips you should always bear in mind.
1) If you’re grilling with propane, charcoal or pellets, you should never be grilling inside the RV. Electric grills can be used inside, but the aforementioned three cannot.
Open flames are a big risk inside your RV, and unintentional carbon monoxide-related deaths, unfortuantely, happen quite frequently. If you are cooking inside, make sure you have a carbon monoxide detector installed.
2]) Make sure the grill is at least 6-10 inches from the side of the RV. If you are setting up under an awning or tarpaulin, make sure that either are set up well enough that they are not going to fall or be blown onto the grill.
3) When using a gas grill, make sure your cooking surface is stable. A compact grill (charcoal or gas grills) can be a major hazard if they aren’t secured.
Someone or something can knock a propane grill over, spilling hot food, hot grease and hot grates all over the place, or cause the burner to come into contact with something flammable.
Must-Have RV Grilling Gear
Most of the camping grills on the above list don’t include many (or any) of the tools you actually need to grill outdoors. Below are the must-haves if you’re going to be using an RV or any outdoor grill.
- BBQ skewers: JOMVERL 12PCS 14” stainless steel Kabob skewers
- Grilling planks: Cedar Grilling Planks
- Basting pot and brush set: Cuisinart CBP-116 Sauce Pot and Basting Brush Set
- Grill pan: All-Clad Hard Anodized Nonstick Dishwaher Safe PFOA Free Square Grill Cookware
- Grill brush and scraper: Cuisinart CCB-5014 BBQ Grill Cleaning Brush and Scraper
- Heat resistant gloves: Comsmart BBQ Gloves
- Meat thermometer: Alpha Grillers Instant Read Meat Thermometer
- Burger press: Cuisinart 3-in-1 Stuffed Burger Press
- Tongs and Turner Set: OXO Good Grips Grilling Tools, Tongs and Turner Set
Why Investing in Good Quality RV Grill Makes Sense
A portable grill (or camper grill, propane grill, whatever you want to call it) is a great investment whether you are an avid RVer/camper or not. It’s always nice to be able to take a grill with you somewhere and cook for yourself and others.
If you are a camper or RVer, then a portable grill is a must-have. I tried to choose a selection of the best camping grills out there–based on different designs and cooking styles–and I hope, at the very least, you’ve been encouraged to cook outdoors more.
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