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Grill Camping: How to Grill Like a Pro on Your Next Camping Trip



There’s nothing quite like the sizzle of a juicy burger or the smoky aroma of grilled vegetables wafting through the crisp camp air. Grilling while camping adds a whole new dimension to your outdoor experience, offering delicious, familiar food cooked over an open fire. But for the uninitiated, grilling outdoors can seem daunting. Fear not, fellow campers!

This comprehensive guide is here to turn you into a campfire grill master, no fancy equipment is needed. We’ll cover everything from getting your portable grill fired up (charcoal or propane, you choose!) to creative hacks for using the open campfire itself. We’ve got some seriously tasty and easy recipes to keep your crew happy. So grab your ingredients, stoke the fire, and get ready to experience the magic of campfire grilling!

How to Grill Camping

Grilling while camping takes your outdoor experience to a whole new level. The beauty of grill camping lies in its flexibility. You can choose a portable charcoal grill for that classic smoky flavor, a convenient propane grill for quick and easy cooking, or even get creative and utilize the open campfire itself. You can decide which method best suits your camping style and adventure.

How Do You Start a Camping Grill?

Before we dive into the sizzling goodness, let’s talk about getting your grill fired up (pun intended). There are two main types of camping grills: charcoal and propane.

Charcoal Grilling

Setting the Stage: Empty any leftover ashes from your previous grilling session. Lightly oil the grate to prevent sticking while the grill heats up.

Lighting Up: There are a few ways to light your charcoal. The classic method involves using crumpled newspaper placed under the charcoal grate. Light the paper, and the flames will ignite the charcoal. For a faster and cleaner approach, consider using a charcoal chimney. Fill the chimney with charcoal, light some newspaper underneath, and let it burn for 15-20 minutes. The coals will be glowing red and ready for use.

Ash Management: Once the coals are hot, carefully pour them onto the grill grate, creating a single layer or a two-zone fire (explained later).

Propane Grilling

Connecting the Gas: Ensure your propane tank is properly secured and the valve is closed. Connect the hose from the grill to the tank following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Leak Check: Perform a leak check before igniting the grill. Apply a soapy water solution to the hose connection points. If bubbles appear, there’s a leak, and you should not use the grill.

Light it up! Open the propane tank valve slightly, and then turn the grill’s ignition knob. If your grill doesn’t have an igniter, use a long-handled lighter, keeping your hands at a safe distance.

Pro Tip: Regardless of the type of grill, allow the coals or the grill to preheat for 10-15 minutes before placing your food on the grate. This ensures even cooking and beautiful sear marks.

How to Cook Over a Fire Without a Grill?

Don’t you have a camping grill? No worries! You can still enjoy delicious grilled food on the open campfire. Here’s how:

The Campfire Grate: Look for existing campfire grates at your campsite. Many campgrounds provide them for visitor use.

DIY Grate: If there’s no grate available, get creative! Use sturdy green branches, sharpened at both ends and poke them through the ground to form a makeshift grate over the fire. Alternatively, use large, flat rocks heated by the fire for direct grilling.

Cooking with Foil Packets: This is a fantastic method for grilling vegetables, fish, or even small cuts of meat. Simply wrap your ingredients in a single layer of aluminum foil, creating a sealed packet. Toss the packet directly onto the hot coals and let it cook through.

Easy Camp Grill Meals

Now for the fun part – the food! Here are some simple yet satisfying camp grill recipes to tantalize your taste buds:

Classic Campfire Burgers

Lean ground beef (formed into patties)

Hamburger buns

Your favorite toppings (cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion)

Season your burger patties generously with salt and pepper.  Grill them over medium-high heat, flipping once, until cooked through to your desired doneness. Toast your buns on the grill for a smoky flavor. Assemble your masterpiece and enjoy!

Grilled Veggie Skewers

Bell peppers (various colors), cut into chunks

Cherry tomatoes

Onion wedges

Zucchini slices

Mushrooms (optional)

Marinate your veggies in a mixture of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Italian seasoning, and salt for at least 30 minutes before grilling. Thread the veggies onto skewers, alternating colors for visual appeal. Grill over medium heat until tender-crisp.

Grilled Chicken Fajitas

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced thin

Bell peppers (various colors), sliced thin

Onion, sliced

Fajita seasoning


Marinate the chicken in fajita seasoning for at least 30 minutes. Grill the chicken and vegetables separately over medium-high heat until cooked through. Warm your tortillas on the grill for a few seconds. Serve with your favorite fajita toppings, like salsa, guacamole, sour cream, and shredded cheese.

Campfire Grilled Peaches

Ripe peaches, halved and pitted

Brown sugar

Ground cinnamon (optional)

Vanilla extract (optional)

Brush the cut side of the peaches with melted butter or olive oil. Sprinkle generously with brown sugar and a dash of cinnamon and vanilla extract for added flavor (optional). Grill the peaches cut-side down over medium heat for 5-7 minutes, or until softened and slightly caramelized. Serve warm with a dollop of whipped or vanilla ice cream for a delightful dessert.

Pro Tip: Remember the sides! Grilled corn on the cob, baked potatoes wrapped in foil and tossed in the coals, or a simple green salad with a vinaigrette dressing are perfect accompaniments to your camp grill meals.

By following these tips and recipes, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a grill master on your next camping adventure. So fire up the grill (or campfire), grab your favorite ingredients, and get ready to create delicious memories under the open sky!


How do you grill while camping?

The two main methods for grilling while camping are using a portable charcoal or propane grill. Alternatively, you can utilize the open campfire with a grate, DIY grate, or foil packets.

What is the best grill to take camping?

The “best” grill depends on your camping style and preferences. Charcoal grills offer a smoky flavor and traditional experience but require more setup and cleanup. Propane grills are convenient and easy to light. But they may not impart the same smoky taste. Consider factors like portability, size, fuel availability, and cooking style when you choose.

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