Camp grilling is super popular and one of the best ways to prepare camping food for your hungry adventurers. Grilling is one of the easiest camp cooking methods to transition from the backyard to the campsite for beginner campers too. The most often asked question about camping and grilling is ‘what can I grill when camping?’. These camp grilling ideas have you covered!
What you choose to grill when camping will depend on what kind of camping you are doing. Are you car camping or RV camping? If so, it will be easy to transport and store a side variety of foods to grill.
If you are backpacking or backcountry camping you will be more limited not only on your camping foods to grill but also the grill itself. Don’t worry – I’ve included camp grilling foods that work for both.
From simple hotdogs to veggies there are endless foods to grill when camping. My list has some tried and true favorites and some unique camp grilling ideas.
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List of Camp Grilling Ideas
Of course, good ol’ hamburgers have to make the top of the list. Save a little mess at the campsite and patty the meat at home. Bring traditional toppings and condiments or go “gourmet” with some different toppings like crispy french onions, jalapenos, avacado slices, specialty mayos etc.
Easy and inexpensive, there is nothing wrong with “just” grilling hotdogs when you are camping! Most kids love them, and you can always add extra toppings for more variety. Don’t miss this post if you want some side ideas to eat with hot dogs when camping.
Who doesn’t like steak and potatoes? I know, I know there is somebody reading this that doesn’t!
Add a salad or grilled corn and some rolls for a delicious meal.
Camp grilling gives large ham slices a little bit of extra smoky flavor, especially if you are using charcoal or wood coals to grill with.
BBQ pork chops on the grill are one of my family’s favorites. Pork, like chicken, tastes great with several different marinades too.
Chicken is a versatile meat for camp grilling. Honey garlic, teriyaki, lemon pepper, or traditional BBQ chicken are yummy. I prefer to grill boneless chicken breast or thighs but wings and drumsticks are great too.
Salmon steaks are delicious when seasoned with lemon pepper or blackened with a creole seasoning.
If you fish when you go camping, some fresh trout ( or your catch of the day) would be great to grill. Plus there is something so satisfying about grilling and eating a meal you caught. If you are planning on fishing for your supper, you may want to bring a back up option just in case you don’t get a bite!
Shrimp on the barbie can be prepared a couple different ways when camp grilling. Slid them on skewers with some veggies or other meat or place them in a foil tray so they can safely cook on the grill.
Most campsite grills have large grates that are widely spaced. If you are using your own grill that has grates that are close together, extra large shrimp can be placed directly on the grill.
Assemble your kabobs at home for an easy camp grilling meal. Some of our favorite combinations are steak with peppers and onions, chicken with bacon, pineapple and peppers, and shrimps, smoked sausage, and onions. Veggie kabobs are a great side.
Ribs are usually cooked low and slow. To speed the process up when cooking ribs on the grill when camping, you can pre cook them at home. Season the ribs before wrapping the ribs in foil. Then bake in the oven on 275 for about 3 hours. You can then finish them on the grill when camping.
Pizza is a family favorite and is super easy to cook on the grill when camping. Bring a pre made crust, a jar of pizza sauce, and your favorite toppings for a quick camping meal.
Anyone game for some wild meat? Marinate your deer tenderloin, then wrap it in bacon to cook on the grill. The bacon adds a little fat to the lean meat and some extra flavor.
Go for a unique twist on the traditional burger with some bison meat. Top it with cheddar or havarti cheese slices. Trying unique meats make for fun camping memories.
Brats are super easy on the grill when camping. We often eat them in hot dog buns and top them with onions and cheese.
Pork tenderloin is great on the grill. I season it with a goof BBQ rub and cook it low for a couple of hours, fat side up. This keeps the fat from burning and also allows the fat to soak into the lean meat as it cook.
I slice it for sandwiches the next day as we usually have leftovers.
Ok, meat lovers don’t freak out because I’ve called a veggie like cabbage a steak! ?
You simply cut thick, steak size slices of cabbage and cook them on the grill like a steak. Brush them with a little oil and season with salt and pepper. I also like a little crushed red pepper flakes on mine. Yum! Yum!
Corn on Cob
Corn on the cob is an easy veggie to cook on the grill along side your meat. Butter it and wrap it in foil at home and store it in a freezer bag for traveling.
Slice your potatoes into wedges (logs), brush with a little bit of oil and sprinkle with your favorite seasoning salt. Be sure to put them on when you start cooking your meat as they do take a while to cook completely so they are soft inside.
Cut carrots into fourths to create your “sticks”. Brush with a little oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill for about 20 minutes and then enjoy the sweet, smoky flavor.
Slice your broccoli in half or fourths leaving a long enough stem so they will lay on the grill grates and toss them in a bowl with oil. Season as desired and cook on the grill for about 10 minutes.
Select thicker asparagus spears for grilling and season with a little oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. It is also great with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese after grilling.
Eggplant is a healthy addition to your grilled camping meals. After slicing the eggplant, be sure to salt it and let it set a bit to draw out the moisture so they don’t get mushy. Pat them dry then brush or dip the slices in a light oil. Grill for about 10 – 15 minutes, flipping the slices after 5 or 6 minutes.
If you are looking for a meaty vegetable to make a hearty side or a meat replacement, give grilled portobello mushrooms a try. Use a marinade like you would for steak, then grill for about 5 minutes on each side.
Onion bombs or thick onion slices are perfect to grill.
I make onion bombs by cutting the onion into sixths or eights, without cutting the onion completely through. Leave enough attached at the bottom of the onion so it holds its shape.
Stuff dabs of butter between each onion section then wrap the onion bomb in foil. I usually cook mine nestled in the coals on the grill, but they can be cooked on the grill grate.
You can cook onion slices much like cooking cabbage steaks. Cut the onion into thick slices and brush with some oil. Grill until starting to get tender. You can carefully turn the onion slices with small tongs. I love these onions with brats.
Craving something sweet when you are grilling at the campsite? Pineapple slices are a quick and easy dessert to grill while you are eating your main camping meal or cook them alongside your meat to enjoy with your meal.
Eggs on the grill? Yep! Cook them in a muffin pan. Crack an egg into each individual muffin tin, lightly stir, and even add a little shredded cheese and bacon bits if you’d like. Or just crack the egg into each muffin tin and don’t stir it for more of a poached egg.
Bacon makes everything better. It is great to wrap around lean meats like deer and chicken and yummy around asparagus and jalapeno peppers. Thick sliced bacon can even be carefully cooked directly on the grill by itself.
Hobo Foil Dinners
Hobo foil dinners make great meals to grill when camping. Your options are endless, but a traditional favorite is ground beef, potatoes, carrots, and onions.
Slice your veggies and layer in the bottom of sheets of foil. Make patties with the ground beef and place one patty on some of the layered veggies. Season then top with a pat of butter. Wrap the foil well and cook on the grill about 20 – 25 minutes.
Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Grilled cheese sandwiches are a favorite with the kids and an easy lunch to grill when camping. I like to use a thicker bread like texas toast , butter it well, and use cheddar cheese slices.
Cheese quesadillas are my grandson’s favorite lunch so it only makes sense for us to make them when camping. We prefer large flour tortillas and love how quickly white American cheese slices melt. Monterey Jack and cheddar cheese are also great.
Butter the tortilla and fill with your cheese choices. Add precooked chicken or steak if you’d like. Fold over and cook on the grill until cheese is melted and the tortilla is starting to crsip a little.
Hot Ham and Cheese Sandwich
You can prepare several different varieties of hot ham and cheese sandwiches on the grill by selecting different kinds of bread. Hawaiian sweet rolls make fun sliders, onion rolls make savory sandwiches, or hamburger buns make a more traditional sandwich.
Add ham and cheese and your favorite condiments. Wrap the sandwiches in foil and heat on the grill for 5 – 10 minutes.
This sweet treat was one of my Mom’s favorite snacks or breakfasts. Toast slices of regular white bread on the grill. Slather with butter then sprinkle the toast with cinnamon and sugar. We usually mix the cinnamon and sugar together before sprinkling it on the toast. This is also good with raisin bread.
Camp Grilling Tips and Accessories
Camp grilling is easy and usually an accessible camp cooking option. Most campgrounds have either campfire grills or what I call park grills at the campsites. If they don’t, you can easily bring a camping grill grate or your own camping grill.
There are a couple of disadvantages to campfire and park grills.
One of the first turn offs to grills at the campsite is the condition or cleanliness of the grill. I’ve seen camp grills that are so rusty and broken that they can’t be used.
A little rust and gunk can be cleaned. Keep a grill brush in your camping supplies and give it a scrub. You can also wad up some aluminum foil to use as a scrubbing device to knock off some of the rust and gunk. I’ve also started a fire under the grill grates to burn some of it off.
If you are still worried about putting your food on the grill, place a piece of aluminum foil on top of the grates to cook on. Be sure poke some slits in the foil between the grill grates.
The second disadvantage is the lack of lid or cover on the grilling area. Having a lid can help control the temperature and improve cooking times. This doesn’t matter that much if you are grilling basic meats and veggies. I know some die hard grillers would disagree, but I’ve grilled some pretty tasty camping meals on these grills at the campsite.
You can improvise for the grill lid too. A cookie sheet, large metal bowl, or even a disposable aluminum roasting pan can be placed over the top of the park grill or food to trap some of the heat.
If you’d rather just bring your own camping grill or prefer propane grills, check out my post on some of the best camping grills.
If you are cooking with charcoal, a charcoal chimney comes in handy. I have one and use it often, especially for heating coals for dutch oven cooking, but it is not a must have item for camp grilling. I sometimes just make a mound of charcoals, light them, then spread them out once they ash over.
You also don’t want to forget some good grilling utensils. If I’m grilling on my own grill or a park type grill, I don’t always wear a mitt or grilling glove. If I’m grilling over fire on the fire ring grates, I do wear one sometimes.
Camp Grilling When Backpacking
It’s a little different to grill when backpacking. You are limited to the foods and grill you can carry in your backpack and bear canister, if carrying one.
Take a frozen burger patty, steak, hotdog, brat etc to eat the first night of your backpacking trip. The meat should be thawed by the time you are ready to start grilling at camp for dinner.
If you are fishing on your backpacking trip, grilling your catch is another option. Be sure to bring back up food!
What Do You Grill When Camping?
Have I missed any camp grilling ideas? What are your favorite foods to grill when camping?
And don’t wait until you go camping to try some of the camp grilling ideas. They would be great at home too!
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