You can’t beat a good barbecue at the end of a sunny day’s sail, but which is the best boat BBQ for your yacht? Duncan Kent takes a look at the options
On a hot day, cooking outside is much better idea than adding further heat below by using the galley cooker. Many a rail-mounted boat bbq exist from the simple square tray that can hold a disposable BBQ pack to a full-blown, LPG fuelled grill with lid and storage cover.
The foremost features to look out for when choosing a boat BBQ are the quality and thickness of the metal, the robustness of the rail fixing (they can be pretty heavy when fully loaded), whether it has a decent lid with hinges or a retaining strap to stop it falling overboard, and if it’s big enough to cook for your usual number of crew.
The other important difference is the fuel, which is primarily charcoal or LPG. The former gives a nicer, more ‘barbecuey’ taste to the food, whilst the latter is quick to start and stop and doesn’t create hot ashes to blow around the cockpit.
There is another option for those keen to enhance their green credentials and that’s a solar cooker. Of course, they’re fine if you’re cruising in sunny climes, but not a great deal of use in the northern hemisphere beyond, maybe, July or August.
Best charcoal boat BBQ
Asado instant BBQ
This is a simple stainless-steel tray designed to accept the standard size disposable charcoal barbecue package readily available on a wide range of outlets, supermarkets, garages etc.
It has an attachment for a standard 25mm/1in pushpit rail, which can remain fixed to the rail even when the tray has been detached for stowing. To reattach the tray, you simply slot it back onto the bracket and for another £20 you can purchase a lid as well, which is ideal for particularly gusty days.
The main advantage of this super-simple device is you don’t need to clean the grill, although it’s not as environmentally friendly to have to bin the container every time.
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The Cobb is the elite of charcoal BBQs and has the advantage of being totally portable (carry bag supplied) and extremely versatile. It not only cooks like a conventional BBQ, but it can roast, bake and smoke too. It is safe to use on any surface as it has legs and an insulated surround guard, which remain cool. It is also very cheap to run, requiring just a few charcoal briquettes to cook for up to three hours.
One of the many benefits of the Cobb is its ability to drain any fat or oil off before it hits the fuel, so you get none of the usual flamethrower effects when sausage fat hits red hot charcoal. You also don’t get ultra-charred food from it being too close to the coals.
A moat also allows you to slow cook vegetables or infuse the food with smoky flavours and the tightly fitting lid keep the flavour in and gusty winds out.
Kuuma Stow N Go
Made from corrosion-resistant stainless-steel, the Stow N’ Go charcoal BBQ grill is supplied with a quick-release 1in/25mm rail mount fixing, although it also has fold-out legs should you want to take it to the beach at any time.
Features include a grease drip tray, latching lid and a rugged, stay-cool handle. A lid liner also helps protect the outer lid from heat discoloration.
A smart canvas cover with carrying handle is available as an option.
Best gas boat BBQ
Magma Marine Kettle 3
Equipped with a new, reliable electronic ignition system that runs on a single AAA alkaline battery, the new Magma Kettle 3 sports a highly polished marine-grade (18-9) stainless-steel exterior plus a heavy-duty safety inner shell that keeps the outside of the grill cool and protects against discolouration. It also has balanced, hinged lid that won’t slam shut when the boat rolls.
This model is designed to either take 450g LPG canisters directly, or it can be connected to the boat’s on-board LPG system. With the former, a swivel control valve/regulator allows quick and safe cartridge changes.
The Magma’s patented radiant plate and dome arrangement allows it to function as a grill, cooker or oven, as well as a barbecue.
For larger boats and crews, the ChefsMate is fabricated from good quality stainless-steel and not is not only an excellent BBQ but is also an attractive addition to your stern rail. Although a rail mount bracket isn’t included (one is available for around £100), its fold-away legs allow it to be taken ashore for beach picnics.
It uses standard, disposable, Camping Gaz (CV470 or CV270) gas canisters or will easily adapt to a boat’s existing onboard gas supply.
The ChefsMate cooks quickly and evenly, while its inner safety shell funnels grease into a front-access tray. This reduces flare-ups and heat discolouration of the smart, 18-9-grade mirror polished stainless-steel enclosure.
The entire unit disassembles quickly and easily to facilitate regular cleaning.
YYOBK solar cooker
Although they can take a while to get up to full cooking temperature, solar ovens are a fantastic way to cook outside the boat on sunny days. They require no expensive and wasteful gas cannisters, nor do they rely on dusty, smelly charcoal to fuel them.
You simply load your meat and veg into the stainless-steel tube in the centre and slide it into position. The large, parabolic solar mirrors then reflect the sun’s rays onto the central cooking cylinder and ‘hey presto’, tasty, unburnt supper!
I’ve yet to see one come with a rail-mount bracket but I’m sure one could be adapted or fabricated quite easily.
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