Grill Recommendations

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2014 • all rights reserved

In need of a new grill for the boat? Here's what TBG readers recommendThis post began with a simple email from Tom, a reader:

I had an old West Marine 315 grill that was big enough to feed our six kids but the wind kept blowing the flames out. As the kids are going their own ways we don’t need that big of a grill but I do want one that won’t blow out so easy. I was looking at the Magma Newport Infrared and hoping you can shed some light.

Since we only had one of the Magma small kettle grills on Que Tal, I really couldn’t help Tom. So I turned to the greatest resource TBG has: readers. I asked for experiences and recommendations first on Facebook, and I’ve compiled those here (you can see them in their entirety in the comments below — I figured out how to import them!).

In addition to the Magma grills that most of us have heard of, I also got two recommendations for lesser-known grills (one I’d seen at boat shows). This is one of the things I really like about TBG and readers sharing their experiences: spreading the word about good/useful/great products that aren’t in every catalog!

Please add your own experiences with any brands/models of grill in the comments.

Magma Newport Infrared (see/buy it on Amazon, West Marine and Defender)

  • This is the grill shown in the photo at the top of the page.
  • One reader has one and likes it for two people.
  • My cookbook co-author, Jan, has the older “Newport” (not infrared) model and they love it, although she notes that they have needed to replace various parts. They grill 4 to 5 nights a week.

Other Magma models

  • A couple people have Magma kettle style grills and have had varying luck with it staying lit in wind.

Cobb-cookerCobb Cooker (see/buy it on Amazon US, Amazon UKAmazon Canada)

  • Recommended by a UK reader; I’d never heard of one before
  • Uses charcoal
  • Stays cool on the outside
  • “Versatile, easy to use, easy to light, easy to clean..the best tho’ is the fact that for a BBQ, you can put it direct on your gel coat or teak without a problem…can be used to roast, fry, BBQ bake with the Omnia, and even Smoke.. What could be better.. It may be small but I have cooked a 4 course meal for 6 on it…”

galleymateGalleyMate from Marine Barbecue Australia (company website — look at “international sales” to buy outside Australia as the US distributor is no longer is business)

  • I’ve seen and talked to the sales rep at two boat shows and think they are head and shoulders above the typical boat grill . . . but they are also considerably more expensive
  • Claim to be “windproof” to 30+ knots; I’ve seen it in action in 20+ knots with no problems
  • LaDonna and Denis, who we visited in the USVI, have one and love it. Says LaDonna: “More expensive yes! But the quality build is obvious. It heats evenly, the only caution and this goes for any grill not mounted to drop overboard—clean the drip pan with each use or when it rains it is a mess. We will soon mount ours permanently on our railing so it will drop into the sea.”
  • Designed to also be used as an outdoor oven and for general cooking, as well as traditional grilling
  • Several innovative mounting options
  • The company website has many videos showing the unique features of the grill.

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Comments

  1. I love our grill! It is from Australia, those Aussies like to BBQ even more than the US. Company: Marine Barbecue Australia.

  2. I sold my Magma last year – it was one of the round kettle ones. It didn’t like the wind. We bought a rectangular shaped stainless one from a hardware store and made a wooden board for it to sit on in the cockpit. it has a grill and a hotplate too. Very happy with that. 🙂

  3. Our Magma is performing pretty well but still blows out on the odd occasion.

  4. We have a Magma kettle style and love it! Our previous BBQ was a ForceTen and was quite a challenge to keep lit.

  5. The one I will always go for on a boat and also on land is the Cobb cooker, versatile, easy to use, easy to light, easy to clean..the best tho’ is the fact that for a BBQ, you can put it direct on your gel coat or teak without a problem…can be used to roast, fry, BBQ bake with the Omni, and even Smoke.. What could be better.. It may be small but I have cooked a 4 course meal for 6 on it…

  6. I love our Magma gas barbecue. It has a lid and we use it for roasting meat as well. If it is windy it doesn’t really get hot enough to roast. If it is so windy to blow out the flame we probably wouldnt want to sit outside and have one anyway.

  7. Love our Magma Newport, but it isn’t the infrared version … they didn’t make that version when we bought ours over 10 years ago. But we wouldn’t switch today … although we will restock on spare parts. 🙂

  8. More expensive yes! But the quality build is obvious. It heats evenly, the only caution and this goes for any grill not mounted to drop overboard—clean the drip Ian with each use or when it rains it is a mess. We will soon mount ours permanently on our railing so it will drop into the sea.

  9. We like our Magna Newport Infrared ….great for 2 people.

  10. Webber is my grill of choice

  11. Glad to see you included the Cobb. Great little grill and packs neatly into it’s own bag to take to beach in dinghy.

  12. Cobb is our choice

  13. We had an old Tubular Force Ten for 20 years and loved it until the day I reached for the charcoal bag and it was hot to the touch. It was on its way to spontaneous combustion. We kept the grill for land use until it was “liberated” at a marina picnic.

    We replaced this with a West Marine “party size round Magma knock off using gas cans. It lasted nine years hanging on the rail, covered. — sorta. It required three grill replacements, three burner head replacements and two heat plate replacements and the piezo died after just two years.. Since moving aboard, we ditched the screw-on cans and plumbed the grill to the gas system. Much cheaper, safer, and simpler logistics.

    Just replaced it with a real Magma Party size. This one without the piezo. We have found that controlling hot spots and blow outs with these is a function of how one aligns the lid for opening.

  14. We replaced our Magma this year with a Solaire Grill. It gets much hotter and cooks faster than the Magma. The only downside was that it did not have a good drip catcher. We have it mounted over stairs on our power cat, so that is a problem. The hubby was able to come up with a tray to work. I would add this one to you list of candidates. Makes perfect steaks.

  15. Thanks everyone for the opinions and suggestions.

    Do the infrared grills handle higher winds than their standard counterparts?

    Are there any differences between the Newport and Catalina besides size? I’m leaning towards the Magma’s based on price and availability of parts.

    Tom

  16. Susie Burall says:

    The Cobb is excellent and can be bought from Lakeland in the UK. We cook chickens and joints of meat in it. It sits on the teak deck leaving no marks or stains (but we do put a newspaper underneath it for any grease spillages). It’s easy to clean and to stow. Thoroughly recommended.

  17. What about grill tools? Do you have a favorite brand? It is so hard to find durable and ergonomic grill tools, even for home use. Add the need for compact and non-corrosive, and the options are narrow. Also, I try to find products made in the USA, or at least not in China (especially for kitchen use). The 2 piece collapsible set of spatula and tongs for $50 at the local boat supply seemed pricey to me.

  18. Love the Dickenson BBQ. Can cook in 20 kts of wind and easy to get spare parts and repair. 11 years of use, 6 years in a salt water environment.

  19. Canadamichellej says:

    Great topic! Here’s a related question… Friends of ours have what they call a “pizza stone” that they got 20 years ago but don’t remember where. It fits perfectly on their Magma Grill though it wasn’t made for it. They cook pizza, quesadillas, frozen pastry-type appetizers, and more on it, and whatever they cook gets that lovely, crispy quality on the outside. We have a Sea-B-Q BBQ on our boat and I have not been able to find a stone like my friend’s that will fit it. Pampered Chef has something similar, but they won’t uphold their warrantee if I use it on the BBQ, since it’s for oven use only. Anybody know where I might find this item???

  20. Prism Polish makes a grill look new

  21. Another vote for the Dickinson Sea-B-Que. My large model is now 15 years old and has many thousands of miles on it.

  22. I had one of those grills from West Marine, It was TERRIBLE! a two knot breeze would blow it out, hot spots, ending up taking it back.

  23. ben monette says:

    Every Magma we have had SUCKS!!!!! They have a long ways to go an a lot of burnt meals to dispel

  24. We ended up getting the Magma Catalina infrared. Only used a few times so far but has worked flawlessly. The old WM model really was crap, I just didn’t now ay better. 🙂

  25. Dickinson – handles the wind well, the grates are easy to keep clean and are non stick. Well made and easy to find spare parts.

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