The streamlined profile, swiveling hood, and compact size make the Magma Original Marine Kettle one of the best marine grills for your money on the market.
The Magma Original Marine Kettle gas grill is ubiquitous among boaters who want to bring the convenience of a home barbecue aboard practically any vessel. Manufactured in the USA of 18-8 stainless steel and available in 15” and 17” models, it is the standard for on-the-water grilling.
After testing the 15” Original Marine Kettle for a month, it’s obvious why this unit is so popular. In short: Form follows function.
The clamshell body reduces windage, making it easy to leave this lightweight grill attached to your vessel for extended periods. And the swiveling dome hood provides good wind protection while grilling.
You can take the whole thing apart without tools for cleaning or storing. Once mounted, the entire unit is almost infinitely adjustable to offer a level cooking surface.
Although the mounts are sold separately and somewhat pricey, there is a solution for every situation. The rail, pedestal, rod holder, and flat-surface mounts are quite popular. There is even a tripod stand for shore use.
Mounting the Magma Original Marine Kettle
The round-rail mount fits either 7/8” or 1” rail. A vertical rail member provides the best support. Attaching the L bracket that holds the grill to the mounting rod is a bit fiddly, so first eyeball the bracket into position on the rod and loosely tighten it. Attach the rod to your rail, then mount the grill to the L bracket and fine-tune it for level cooking.
You can mount the grill either inboard or outboard. An inboard position makes dropping components into the drink less likely, while outboard mounting conserves space along the decks. The fuel source is normally a 1-pound propane bottle, which swings in place to allow movement in rolling anchorages.
The grill comes well packaged, with minor assembly required. (Pro tip: The one odd bolt not mentioned in printed instructions goes in the center of the lid to keep the top from rotating past 90 degrees.)
To fine-tune your grill’s position, unscrew the burner three complete turns, lift the grill body to disengage it, and make a clockwise or anti-clockwise adjustment so the hood opens in whatever direction works best.
Fold-out legs would be a nice touch, although that is admittedly a tough design challenge for a round grill. And a hood latch would make mounting and transporting easier.
The grill quickly comes up to cooking temperature, but I found it difficult to get proper grill marks. That makes it challenging to visually determine when your food is properly cooked.
The lid has four permanent holes for venting heat, which promotes even cooking. A vent damper might produce a searing heat earlier, but perhaps that would be an overheating hazard.
Short of that, it’s better to manage your expectations. While a 15-inch marine grill fired by a 1-pound propane bottle simply isn’t going to offer the same performance as a top-of-the-line patio grill, the space-saving convenience, portability, and durability more than make up for any loss in BTUs.
There’s a reason we see these stainless-steel clamshells hanging off stern rails worldwide. They do what they claim to do, year after year after year.
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The Magma 15” Original Marine Kettle is a lightweight and compact gas grill that won’t break the bank. It gets the job done without getting in the way.