In need of a new grill for the boat? Here's what TBG readers recommend

Grill Recommendations

This 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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55 Comments
  • LaDonna Thomas
    Posted at 12 May 2014 Reply

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

    • The Boat Galley
      Posted at 12 May 2014 Reply

      You know, I’ve seen those at the last two Annapolis Sailboat Shows and really liked them. More expensive than the Magmas was the only drawback I saw.

    • The Boat Galley
      Posted at 12 May 2014 Reply

      Nice to know that they’re as good as I thought they’d be!

  • Anzac Sailing Around the World
    Posted at 12 May 2014 Reply

    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. 🙂

  • Rob Oberg
    Posted at 12 May 2014 Reply

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

  • Heather Thompson Levy
    Posted at 12 May 2014 Reply

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

  • David Holbourn
    Posted at 12 May 2014 Reply

    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…

  • Lupari Sue
    Posted at 12 May 2014 Reply

    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.

  • Jan Irons
    Posted at 13 May 2014 Reply

    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. 🙂

  • LaDonna Thomas
    Posted at 13 May 2014 Reply

    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.

  • Patricia Senese Rademacher
    Posted at 13 May 2014 Reply

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

  • John Ahern
    Posted at 16 May 2014 Reply

    Webber is my grill of choice

    • The Boat Galley
      Posted at 16 May 2014 Reply

      What model do you have? One of the kettles or one of the rectangular ones?

    • John Ahern
      Posted at 17 May 2014 Reply

      I am very loyal to weber as they are all I have owned…..Many great other grills like you have mentioned in post.

    • The Boat Galley
      Posted at 17 May 2014 Reply

      Thanks!

  • Angie Wilson
    Posted at 16 May 2014 Reply

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

  • Roy Murty Robertson
    Posted at 16 May 2014 Reply

    Cobb is our choice

  • Chris
    Posted at 16 May 2014 Reply

    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.

  • Penny Kingsbury
    Posted at 16 May 2014 Reply

    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.

  • Tom
    Posted at 18 May 2014 Reply

    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

  • Susie Burall
    Posted at 22 May 2014 Reply

    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.

  • Alex
    Posted at 13 July 2014 Reply

    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.

    • Carolyn Shearlock
      Posted at 13 July 2014 Reply

      Unfortunately, that’s one of those things that we’ve really struggled with. That would be a great question for TBG’s Facebook fans . . . I’ll go ask and then do a round up of answers.

      • Alex
        Posted at 14 July 2014 Reply

        Thanks!

  • Lynn Kaak
    Posted at 16 May 2015 Reply

    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.

  • Canadamichellej
    Posted at 16 May 2015 Reply

    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???

  • Prism Polish
    Posted at 16 May 2015 Reply

    Prism Polish makes a grill look new

  • Dave Skolnick (S/V Auspicious)
    Posted at 16 May 2015 Reply

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

  • Sterling Kennedy
    Posted at 16 May 2015 Reply

    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.

  • ben monette
    Posted at 16 May 2015 Reply

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

  • Tom
    Posted at 16 May 2015 Reply

    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. 🙂

  • Tammy Wallace Massey
    Posted at 17 May 2015 Reply

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

  • Fosco
    Posted at 19 October 2016 Reply

    Hi You don’t know Asado Boat Grill?

    • Carolyn Shearlock
      Posted at 19 October 2016 Reply

      I took a look at them in response to your comment — thanks! Looks like it could be a great solution for those who only grill occasionally and prefer to use charcoal, but don’t want the charcoal mess.

  • Debbie Bowen Crawford
    Posted at 19 April 2017 Reply

    We have a Char Broil Big Easy and we can cook anything in it. We grill, roast, smoke turkey, ham, boston butt, seafood and it is always juicy. Ends the mystery of how to cook a ham or turkey in a 16 inch oven. Best money ever spent and runs on propane.

  • Renee M Klapper
    Posted at 19 April 2017 Reply

    We have Weber Q1200 and love it!

  • Tami Klassen
    Posted at 19 April 2017 Reply
  • Michael Levy
    Posted at 19 April 2017 Reply

    We use a Weber Q1200 just like we used on land. It cooks everything perfectly and does not go out on low like our Magma did! Also being Aluminium and with cast iron grills it seems to last forever.
    We just follow the Weber cooking guide for all foods and it just works…….. the Key is to pre heat it as per Weber.
    Our favourite is potato slices 1/2″ thich 8 mins a side on Med…. with the rub of the day!

  • Michael Levy
    Posted at 19 April 2017 Reply

    It’s a Weber Q1200 all the way for us…..

  • Tom Hoffman
    Posted at 19 April 2017 Reply

    The wind is a constant battle

  • Lawrence Cremia
    Posted at 19 April 2017 Reply

    We love our Kenyon grill! Cook With Kenyon

  • Rosalind Franks
    Posted at 19 April 2017 Reply

    We have the magma infrared Catalina. Have not had issues with the flame going out, unless we run out of gas. I love the extra little half shelf, we have grilled for 8-9 people on a regular basis.

  • Chris C
    Posted at 19 April 2017 Reply

    Heard many good things about that Weber.

  • Judy Thompson
    Posted at 31 August 2017 Reply

    We are considering a Cobb unit. I know technically I can use it on the deck, but is it stable in wind and waves? Does the company provide a mounting system? Has anyone out there devised their own? Thanks!

  • Michael Guelker-Cone
    Posted at 05 October 2017 Reply

    I’ve had chats with boating friends about the stainless BBQs sold in area big box stores like Lowes. They sell a table top one for about $150 and it looks great. You’d have to get some sort of system that would let you attach it to a railing but hat would be a great DIY project that would get you a nice BBQ for a far lower price than the Magnums are sold for.

    • Kevin Spellman
      Posted at 06 October 2017 Reply

      Michael, we bought one of those Lowes units. Great price…BUT….if you are on salt water, they almost instantly start to rust. we adapted ours to sit on the rail and while it did well ($98 on sale) for cooking, wind would blow it out and we were constantly fighting the rust. For that price though you can buy 3 vs. one of the Marine brands. Also, many friends in the VI had bought the Small Weber (Q series) and rail mounted those with very good success….but those aren’t cheap either. Plenty of options if you are creative.

  • Larry Blankenship
    Posted at 05 October 2017 Reply

    I’ve had two Magnums grills and they are crap – yes I’m a slow learner.

  • Tom Hoffman
    Posted at 05 October 2017 Reply

    Wind is the biggest boat grill problem. I’d really like to hear more input and recommendations.

    • Kevin Spellman
      Posted at 06 October 2017 Reply

      Our Magma (Small Rectangular model) has done well here in the tropical winds….

    • Tom Hoffman
      Posted at 06 October 2017 Reply

      do you use any form of windswept as well?

    • Kevin Spellman
      Posted at 06 October 2017 Reply

      No Tom we have it mounted up on rails on the flybridge. It can get pretty breezy up there!

    • Tom Hoffman
      Posted at 06 October 2017 Reply

      thanks for the info Kevin

    • Kevin Spellman
      Posted at 06 October 2017 Reply

      The model number is A10-803. Barb sewed a cover for it and I am not spending my life polishing the rust off of it! 😉

  • Jem Horne
    Posted at 05 October 2017 Reply

    I thoroughly recommend the Webber Q type BBQ, they do both gas and coal versions. You can get a solid grill plate that replaces one of the normal slatted plates, geat for Bacon and Eggs etc.

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