What to Look For: Stainless Steel Barbecue Grills

Use our guide to pick out your next marine grill.

There’s no better end to the day than tossing out the anchor and firing up the onboard grill. The debate rages, however, as to what should fuel the fire. Charcoal grills are typically less expensive, and barbecue aficionados argue they produce better-tasting food. Gas grills, meanwhile, are more costly and complex, but undeniably more convenient, easier to operate and better for the environment. Here’s what to look for in your next marine grill.

Rectangular grills (as pictured right) typically have more surface area, multiple burners and even an extra rack for warming or slow-cooking. Kettle (round) grills, meanwhile, can serve as a grill, stove or oven, and the grill surface can often be rotated. Regardless, always insist on marine-grade stainless steel to resist corrosion. A double-lined interior "safety" shell will keep the outside of the grill cooler, as well as make the grill more durable. Hinged lids should be balanced, so as not to slam shut if the anchorage gets waked, and they should be latchable for storage. The grease pan should be easily accessible for cleaning.

Mounting Hardware
Sailors often mount grills out of the way on a cockpit or deck rail, a trick powerboaters can borrow. Quick-disconnect systems should leave no hardware on the rail when not in use. Pedestal mounts should lock securely into their base, and the grill should lock to the pedestal for safety. Additional mounting options include rod holders, gunwale-mounted sockets and arm extensions. All should allow the grill to pivot into multiple positions and then lock — and all should be corrosion resistant.

Fuel Supply
Gas grills are supplied fuel by a common propane (LPG) cylinder — or the grill can be plumbed to use LPG or compressed natural gas (CNG) if the supply is available on your boat. A swiveling connection serves as the control valve regulator, connecting to the fuel source. It allows flexible mounting positions and makes for safe and simple switching of fuel canisters. Piezo-crystal ignition is the standard for reliable push-button lighting in wet marine environments. Finally, be sure to remember that stringent regulations apply for stowing propane bottles, including keeping them inside a dedicated locker with overboard ventilation.