Are you going camping? Are you going once, several times, with one or two people or a group? Does your campground allow for open flames, gas grills, campfires? How are you going to cook your food? If you’re planning on cooking for more than one or two people then looking into a few different cooking options is worth a few minutes of your time.
Before deciding what size camping grill or cooker to purchase you should probably evaluate your needs. This part of the process is actually pretty easy. Look at your level of camping skills or what type of camping you do, the number of people you are going to cook for and what your budget will be. That’s it! Once you answer those questions you can move forward.
Question One – Type of Camping?
For this article I’m concentrating on campsite cooking at a place such as a state park with other nearby campers, water source, ranger station etc. That’s what I like to call good old fashioned family camping. For now, I’ll leave the backpack and deep woods camping to others. That means I’m probably going to need a heat and fuel source other than an open campfire. Why? Simple, many states and local governments have restrictions on open flames during all, or potions of, the year. That means I need to by a grill that is larger than a lightweight version used in deep woods or trail camping. That answers question one.
Question Two – How many mouths to feed?
Just by looking at my statement above I can tell that I’m a family camping kind of guy. Sure, sometimes that means my wife Ally and I and sometimes it includes the kids, and nieces, cousins or maybe friends. The number of mouths to feed in our group ranges from two all the way to ten. This means that I’m probably going to need something larger than a tiny stove or grill, but not all of the time. I’ll get back to this in a second.
Question Two – What is your budget?
Budget is a consideration with any purchase. My advice here is to buy the camping grill that best fits your budget while taking quality and usability into mind. Here’s why. Sure, this smaller grill may be cheaper but does it fit your needs? A slightly more expensive and larger grill may work better. Imagine trying to cook for eight people on a tiny grill built for feeding two people. The extra few dollars are well spent in this situation on a larger grill or cooker. Also, always buy a quality product. You don’t want to depend on a shoddy item during a camp out when it’s the only means you have to cook your food.
Three Grills to consider
Here are three camping cookers / grills that can be found on Outdora that fit a wide variety of needs. Take a look at the size, fuel source, price and other features of each. Hopefully my breakdown of information will help with your search.
Option One – Take a look at the cast iron single or double gas burners that are available on Outdora . This option is the perfect solution for table top cooking in the back yard, campsite or even a tailgate party. They are lightweight, well built, use propane and deliver an amazing 12,000 to 13,500 BTUs.
Remember when I mentioned not under buying when it comes to grill size and budget. This is a great example to the exception to the rule that I was thinking of. If you buy a single burner and then need double burner down the road the pick up the double when you need it. Now you have a single burner backup that’s easy to carry, store and which can be used in just about any situation. That can’t be said about bulky outdoor grills… even the small ones.
Option Two – My second option is a Dual Burner gas cooker also found on Outdora . The great thing about this option is the heavy duty aspect of the product. It’s simple, has only a few moving parts, built rugged out of heavy duty steel, uses propane and is easy to use. You can use a wider variety of pots, pans, skillets and more with this type of cooker.
Option Three – The Outdoor Patio Stove. Why not take the Dual Burner gas cooker and add some shelves? In fact, why not add a third burner? Talk about being able to feed a crowd! That’s the beauty of using a multi burner Outdoor Patio Stove with shelves. You can cook the pancakes, sausage and gravy in three separate skillets over three controllable heat sources at the same time and have a place to set your utensils as well. Now that’s camp cooking! The addition of the third burner and the shelves make life at the campground easier for the cook.
Final Note: You’re not in the kitchen with walls and doors. Keep an eye out for kids, pets and guests that wander too close to your hot grill or cooker. Also, while the industry standard is to name some items as “patio” or “deck” cookers or grills you may need to take extra precautions when cooking on a deck that is attached your home. Apartment and Condo complexes may have restrictions on outdoor cooking.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kent Whitaker, known as The Deck Chef, is a cookbook and culinary writer. His books are available nationally and include Smoke in the Mountains – The Art of Appalachian Barbecue, Checkered Flag Cooking – Tailgating Stock Car Racing and the state by state Hometown Cookbook series which he co-authors with Sheila Simmons. To date the series includes the Tennessee Hometown Cookbook, The Georgia Hometown Cookbook, The Mississippi Hometown Cookbook, Louisiana, Texas and South Carolina.
Kent is the winner of the Emeril Live Barbecue Contest on Food Network and Gold Medal recipient from the American Authors Association in the culinary and cookbook genre. You can contact Kent via email – thedeckchef[at]hotmail[dot]com or visit him online at www.thedeckchef.com.