How Do I Choose the Best Boat Barbecue?

Lori Kilchermann

When searching for the best boat barbecue for any type of vessel, you will typically want to choose either a gas- or electric-powered grill. A charcoal grill, while safe for most applications, is not a wise choice for a boat barbecue. The best boat barbecue will have a locking cover and will not include lava rocks. A self-start feature is typical on the best barbecues, as is a temperature gauge affixed to the outside of the grill. Another desired feature for boat-use barbecues is a grill made using stainless steel construction.

A boat barbecue may be an enjoyable option for boat owners who engage in extended stays out on the water.
A boat barbecue may be an enjoyable option for boat owners who engage in extended stays out on the water.

A boat barbecue is a helpful option for boat owners who enjoy extended stays out on the water. Installing a barbecue on a boat allows boaters and guests to prepare meals without coming ashore. In order to choose the best barbecue, you will need to examine certain features and designs used to manufacture the grill. The method the grill utilizes for cooking the food is perhaps one of the most critical features when choosing a barbecue for boat use. Charcoal is used in many styles of barbecue grills, but it can spill, shed hot ashes and add a dangerous aspect to grilling on-board a boat.

The best boat barbecues will be able to withstand conditions in rough seas.
The best boat barbecues will be able to withstand conditions in rough seas.

You might want to consider selecting either a gas or electric barbecue when searching for the best barbecue to use on your boat. Unlike charcoal, a gas or electric grill can be turned off completely when not in use, and neither requires a prolonged cool-down period. Charcoal also requires emptying and cleaning of the ashes, which the gas and electric models do not.

Lava rocks are typically added to a grill to add flavor and to catch dripping grease. The side effect of the rocks, however, is the tendency of the rocks to crumble and fall out of the grill's bottom vent holes. The falling rock could pose a fire hazard on a boat, so the best barbecue choice will not utilize the lava-type rocks, but rather a simple drip pan under the burner.

Another feature that will often separate the best grills from the average is a locking top cover. The locking cover will prevent the grill from accidentally opening in rough seas. This can also prevent breakage caused by the cover opening and closing if the boat barbecue is on-board during rough weather. The best choice is a permanently mounted barbecue that will not roll around the deck in rough conditions.

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Discussion Comments


I've been using a barbecue on my boat for years and I've gone through about three or four of them so far. The biggest issue for me seems to be rusting because of the salt water. Surprisingly, all stainless steel barbecues aren't resistant to rust. It usually takes several months for the rusting to start happening but it does and it means that I have to buy a new barbecue.

So for those shopping for boat barbecue, please make sure that it is 100% rust resistant guaranteed. Call up the manufacturer if you have to and read customer reviews. Believe me, you will save a lot of trouble by getting a rust resistant one, especially if you're going to be out in salt water.


@Soulfox-- I'm going to have to agree with the other commenter. As long as it's the right model and used and stored properly, a barbecue will not cause any issues on a boat.

And how do you guys think fisherman survive when they're out on the sea for days on end? Many have barbecues and grill some of the fish they've caught for their meals. Needs aside, grilled fresh fish on a boat is as good as it gets. It's an experience that ought not be missed! They also have mini gas stoves for tea, coffee, etc.


It is absolutely a must to have a mounted boat barbecue. Weather conditions out on the sea can be quite unpredictable no matter how many times you check the weather before leaving. And like the article said, the last thing you need is a barbecue rolling around on the boat when the wind picks up. Some people think that they can use a small electric barbecue or grill and just place it in storage when not in use. But what if you don't have time to let it cool down because the weather turned too quickly? So mounted is the way to go. It's worth paying extra.


@Soulfox -- A barbecue grill can be very safe so long as one designed for a boat is used and the directions are followed. If you have a party barge, a barbecue grill can be an awesome thing.

Think of it this way. Is there anything more dangerous on a boat than an internal combustion engine? If that thing is not properly maintained and treated well, it could blow up and kill you. Why be afraid of a grill and not a boat engine? That makes no sense.


Seriously? A barbecue grill on a boat? Why not get a turkey fryer or something else that could start a devastating fire while you are at it? A grill is not safe on most small boats. Save all of the cooking for the shore. Safety first, kids.

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