As much as you’d like to take your six-burner gas grill camping (heck, I sure would if I could), the reality is that you need a small and lightweight alternative if you want to cook steaks, burgers, and sausages in the great outdoors.
Of course, you could try cooking meat on the induction or gas cooktop in the RV… but then you would stink up the entire vehicle, along with everything and everyone in it, for the duration of the whole camping trip.
So a portable charcoal or gas grill is pretty much non-negotiable.
Since you’re here, I’m sure you know that finding a good one can be difficult. There are dozens upon dozens of options, and filtering out the good ones from the bad can honestly be overwhelming. So we wrote this guide and rounded up our editorial team’s favorites to help you out.
Read on below for our picks and buying guide.
Best Charcoal Grills for RV-ing
The Weber Jumbo Joe is a no-brainer for RV-ers looking for a portable charcoal grill. It retains heat well, doesn't flake or rust, and offers excellent temperature control.
With dimensions of 19.7 in. height x 19.7 in. width x 20.5 in. diameter (the diameter of the cooking grate is 18 in.), the Weber Jumbo Joe is about as small and portable as charcoal kettles get.
But, boy oh boy, does it grill up a great meal for the family!
This Weber kettle is reasonably priced and offers some 240 sq. in. of cooking space on the plated steel grate, enough to prepare 4 steaks or 8 burgers in one batch. Heat control is easy thanks to the damper—open the vents for good airflow, close them to choke and extinguish the fire.
The porcelain-enameled lid and bowl hold on to heat well and radiate it to your food evenly, so you can fire up the Weber Jumbo Joe and cook with confidence even in windy weather or on a chilly day in the late fall.
The enamel protects the metal from the elements, so the lid and bowl won’t rust, and doesn’t peel as regular paint does. Assembling and cleaning the grill feels like a walk in the park. The lid bale doubles as a way to keep the lid locked for transport.
The Masterbuilt lets you regulate the temperature inside the cooking chamber thanks to an electric thermostat and fan. Connect it to the mains or buy a good set of batteries and grill or smoke meat with it for 4 to 6 hours.
A portable meat smoker. This is the best way I can describe the Masterbuilt Portable Grill and Smoker, the runner-up in our list of best charcoal grills for RV-ing. It’s ideal for the camper who not only likes to grill up a steak or burger, but enjoys smoking brisket, pork butt, and whole chickens in the outdoors.
This grill offers 200 sq. in. of cooking space, 40 sq. in. less than our top pick. What sets it apart, however, is the electric temperature knob under the cooking grate that lets you regulate the temperature of your grill.
Turn the knob to your desired temperature (in the range of 250-550°F / 121-288°C), and a thermostat turns a fan inside the unit on and off to maintain that temperature and cook your food to nothing but perfection.
You can connect the Masterbuilt Portable Grill and Smoker to the mains with a power cord or insert 4 batteries AA for up to 4 hours of remote operation.
This grill takes no more than 20-30 minutes to put together, and it’s much sturdier than most of you probably think. As one Amazon customer who was impressed by the use of threaded inserts and machine screws says, “this unit is built, and not slapped together!”
If you’re looking for a portable smoker that fits in the cargo compartment of your RV, the Masterbuilt Portable Grill and Smoker might be just the right choice for you.
Best Gas Grills for RV-ing
The Weber Traveler's name says it all. Whether you're picnicking, tailgating, tent camping, or RV-ing, this grill turns the great outdoors into your kitchen.
The Weber Traveler, a Barbehow favorite also featured in our list of the best grills for couples, is a compact gas grill that fits nicely in the cargo area of your RV and lets you cook up a hell of a meal when you unpack it.
This portable gas grill has a single stainless steel burner that delivers up to 20,000 BTUs of cooking power per hour, spread over a total cooking area of 320 sq. in. This is more than enough grilling space for you, the family, and why not a couple of friends or neighbors over.
With this grill, you can cook up 6 steaks or 15 burgers in a single batch. It lights up quickly and maintains a steady temperature, even when it’s windy or cold.
We chose the Weber Traveler because it’s purposefully designed to be light, portable, and use as little liquid propane as possible without compromising on the grilling area, ease of use and cleaning, and quality of the build.
Weber designed it to connect to a 16-oz. gas canister. However, you can also connect it to a larger propane tank if you purchase an adapter hose, albeit a little pricey, separately.
All in all, you can hardly go wrong if you opt for the Weber Traveler. (But if you’re on the fence, take a gander at our runner-up below.)
This small but might stainless steel gas grill boasts 15,000 BTUs per hour of cooking power, 2 burners, and a drip tray. It fits in the trunk of your RV, is easy to carry around, and gets the job done.
Our gas runner-up, the Monument Tabletop Grill, is for those looking for a portable propane grill that looks and feels like a gas grill, but still fits in the RV and can be placed on any flat, level surface.
This portable grill is compact but powerful. The two stainless steel burners deliver a total cooking power of 15,000 BTUs per hour on a grilling surface of 207 sq. in. The deep, rounded lid keeps the heat inside when you need it and opens wide when you don’t.
The Monument Tabletop Grill gets up to heat quickly and maintains heat well. It does run hot, though, so don’t crank up the heat all the way up to high. It’s built well and from quality materials. It’s also easy to operate and, thanks to the drip tray under the burner, a breeze to clean.
The best part about this grill is that right about anyone can assemble it. Unpack it, attach the legs, put on the grill grate and connect it to the propane tank and you’re done. No bolts, no screws, no guesswork in the assembly instructions.
What to Look For
A good grill for RV camping should be compact enough to fit in the cargo area of your RV, but provide plenty of grilling surface to cook a hearty meal for yourself, the rest of the family, and occasionally a friend or two.
You want the grill to be lightweight so you can take it out and put it back in without throwing your back out, and maneuverable so you can put it in place no matter where in the great outdoors you’ve gone camping.
Regardless of whether you opt for a charcoal or propane grill, the unit should be well constructed and made of quality materials to ensure a long life, even if you’re the type of person who fires up your grill almost every day.
Last but not least, you want a straightforward, hassle-free warranty from the manufacturer that you can rely on. Read carefully; different parts of the grill have different warranty periods; the longer the better.
Why Trust Us?
For starters, we don’t just write about grilling and smoking meat—we do it almost every day. Camping and RV-ing are not just terms people use for us; they are a way of life we have experienced ourselves.
The team and I spent 52½ hours rounding up the best grills for RV-ing for this guide, charcoal and propane, so you won’t have to.
To come up with a shortlist of grills, we took an informed, in-depth look at product specs; read assembly guides and product manuals; and sifted through good and bad customer reviews at the top stateside retailers.
We then drew on the decades of the hands-on grilling experience as a team to scrutinize our favorites and come up with the final list of winners, which you can see right before your eyes:
- Charcoal pick: Weber Jumbo Joe
- Charcoal runner-up: Masterbuilt Portable Grill and Smoker
- Gas pick: Weber Traveler
- Gas runner-up: Monument Tabletop Grill
Thank you for stopping by, and we do hope you found our roundup as useful as we enjoyed putting it together.
If we missed something that we should consider when updating this article, please leave a reply below.