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How to choose your camping BBQ?

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Camping BBQs: descriptions, pros and cons

By Jean-Luc Théberge, author of Guide du petit campeur québécois

 All kinds of camping barbecues are available in Quebec, each with its pros and cons.  

To start with, a camping barbecue has to be portable, so it will fit in your RV. It also needs to reach a fairly high cooking temperature. To properly sear your meat and other foods, you need the right tools. Remember that the larger the cooking surface, the more difficult it will be to heat up.

The types of fuel used and the quality and type of grills often make a huge difference. The taste of the food, easy handling and clean-up are all key factors in choosing a barbecue.  

Here’s a quick overview of the different types of the most popular camping barbecues.

Charcoal barbecues

Pros
  • Inexpensive
  • Give meat a special taste
  • Lots of small, portable models available

 

Cons
  • Very slow to heat up – take at least 40 minutes
  • Tricky to light
  • Cooking surface is often uneven
  • Very slow to cool down
  • Extremely messy

Propane barbecues

Pros
  • Lots of models available
  • Heat up quickly and efficiently, depending on the model
  • Some models are very efficient
Cons
  • Small tanks are not very environmentally friendly, so it’s a good idea to get an adaptor for a bigger tank
  • More expensive than charcoal
  • Small tanks often run out at the wrong time
  • Cheaper models not very efficient, don’t get hot enough
  • Adaptors and extensions for large tanks fairly expensive and bulky 

Electric barbecues and small griddles

Pros
  • No need for gas or charcoal
  • Cook evenly
  • Easy to look after
  • Some models come with breakfast griddles
  • Not very expensive
Cons
  • You need a site with electricity to use this type of barbecue
  • Often don’t get hot enough to sear a steak properly
  • Less barbecue taste  
  • Griddles often Teflon coated, so meat doesn’t tend to stick, but also sears less well
  • Rarely have a lid, so you can’t make baked potatoes

“Woodflame”-type wood cube and blower barbecues

Pros
  • Best campfire taste
  • Heat up in just a few minutes
  • Use wood cubes, so not messy
  • Highly efficient – take just three little wood cubes to cook a steak
  • Environmentally friendly – no propane or charcoal
Cons
  • Can be tricky to get the wood cubes started – sometimes need to start over  
  • Hard to find, limited distribution
  • Pricey, close to $400
  • Fairly small cooking surface
  • Cooking temperature varies depending on type of wood 

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