Cooking outdoors is one of the joys of motorhome life. And the humble barbecue is still a versatile and popular appliance for creating those on-the-road masterpieces.
In this fun blog, we look at what the right barbecue is for you and talk about barbecue preparation, food storage, cooking and safety tips.
Choosing the right barbecue for you
Finding the right barbecue can be a very personal choice — and even polarising. Some people will only cook with gas while others are out-and-out charcoal barbecuers.
Whichever type of barbecue suits your outdoor motorhome lifestyle, you’ll want it to be lightweight, compact and portable. It’ll need to fit comfortably in your storage garage amongst all the other gear you plan to bring on vacation.
Look for a barbecue that’s not an awkward shape and has strong, well-placed carry handles so you can transport it easily.
Gas is the most common barbecue type you’ll find motorhome travellers utilising. It’s reliable, fast to use, and handy.
A few pros of cooking your barbecues with gas include:
- Quick cook times — which is ideal if you have a large group or big family
- Consistent and direct heat
- Temperature control — spreading heat evenly across your cooking surface
- Ease of use and cleaning.
For many people, nothing really beats the smoky aroma and flavour of charcoal barbecuing. Just be aware that charcoal barbecues may not be allowed at some campgrounds and even several freedom camping locations — due to the potential fire danger.
Barbecuing with charcoal comes with its own advantages, such as:
- Taste — arguably better-tasting food and juicier meat
- Flames — use these to your advantage to get a crisp outer coating over parts of your meal.
If you tend to park up for the night at holiday parks or camping grounds with power sites, an electric barbecue could be your best option. Some pros of cooking with electric barbecues are that they’re:
- Fast to heat up — simply plug in and cook
- Able to release the temperature evenly across your grill
- Easy to use and clean.
Find out what other useful motorhome accessories make our top ten.
Preparing your BBQ for summer
Do you tend to clean your barbecue right before the next cook-up rather than straight after the last one? If so, part of your pre-summer prep should involve a serious clean.
Although not the most fun job, cleaning away grease and removing food scraps from barbecues is a lot easier post-cooking than post-storage. Depending on the type of barbecue you own, you may need to:
- Remove the grip tray and grills — scrape away any food remnants and soak them in hot soapy water
- Scrub off the loosened grease and residue — then rinse and let the grills and tray dry
- Check that your burners and air vents are clear of blockages — including removing any ash if you cook with charcoal
- Clean your barbecue’s frame both inside and out — using hot soapy water and a soft scouring pad
- Put back your grills and tray once dry.
Want to prep more than your BBQ? Learn how to prepare your whole motorhome for summer trips.
Before summer arrives and your barbecue gets a more regular workout, you may need to take stock of essential outdoor cooking items. These could include bags of charcoal, a full gas bottle, lighters, cooking tools and even protective gloves.
Maintaining an efficient fridge for cold food storage
Keep barbecue food cool and fresh by storing it in your motorhome’s fridge. Be sure the fridge is working efficiently before you drive off to your favourite holiday spot by checking that the door seals properly.
💡The simple torch trick
To test whether your motorhome fridge's seal is working correctly, place a hand torch inside your fridge at night with the light on — then close the door. If you can see light, the seal will need to be fixed.
An efficient motorhome fridge will use less energy to chill your food and drinks. A few tips to keep it working effectively include:
- Pre-chilling your fridge — overnight at home before you head off on summer adventures
- Buying cold drinks — filling your fridge with room temperature drinks makes it work harder to chill them
- Filling your fridge — not quite to bursting point but it’s more efficient to cool a full fridge than a half-empty one
- Organising for quick access — and being sure of what you want to take out before opening the door to retain a cool temperature
- Parking in the shade — to help keep your BBQ motorhome environment cool
- Taking a small chilly bin with ice or ice packs — for outdoor use near your barbecue and for storing any warm drinks.
Keep your fridge running efficiently with our guide to motorhome fridges and coolers.
Tips for cooking up a BBQ feast
How often do you cook outside for that authentic taste of motorhome life? Although sometimes weather dependent, it’s a delight to cook outdoors in the middle of mountain landscapes or fresh sea breezes.
To cook up a well-received feed for your family, friends or camp neighbours:
- Choose quality local produce — whether you prefer to barbecue fish, meat or vegetables
- Prepare all your ingredients in advance — so they’re ready to cook when needed.
- Preheat your barbecue to the temperature you want
- Lift the lid only once to turn your food while cooking — to prevent heat and moisture loss
- Set up your serving plates and cutlery while barbecuing, so they’re ready when your food’s ready.
Find out how to organise your motorhome kitchen space.
Barbecue safety tips
The relaxed nature of cooking outside while on a holiday break can sometimes result in unsafe practices — you’re taking it easy after all. But there are some important points to keep in mind for a safe barbecuing and outdoor eating experience, such as:
- Checking that your motorhome has a fire extinguisher which is less than ten years old
- Making sure your barbecue is stable and secure on a flat piece of ground
- Avoiding taking the barbecue under your awning in bad weather — set it up in a well-ventilated space to prevent fire and carbon monoxide poisoning
- Keeping any kids, pets and outdoor games away from the cooking area
- Using a meat thermometer to check that your food is safely cooked
- Giving your equipment time to cool down before storing it away.
If you’re new to motorhoming, check out these general motorhome safety tips.
Experience the joys of cooking on a BBQ and dining in the great outdoors without roughing it. Choose the luxury and comfort of a German motorhome.