Ready. Set. Let's Grill - On Our Boat
Boating and grilling – they seem to go hand and hand. It all goes together with that ‘summertime’ feel. And of course, grilled food is healthier for you. But besides all that, grilling on a boat is all part of the adventure of boating.
I’m sure most of us can use common sense and know that you’re not going to lug a huge stainless steel gas grill on a boat. In fact, there are special grills that are specifically made for boaters. You’ll want to make sure you have one that is best suited for your boat and space limits. Keep in mind that grilling on land is dangerous, so grilling on a boat is even more of a hazard – not necessarily always because of the grill, but because of the limited space on a boat and the constant movement of being on the water.
First of all, plan ahead. Before you step foot on your boat, make sure you have planned out everything that you’ll need – be it food items, pots and pans, drinks, etc. Remember, you have a small space to work with, so try to only bring one of everything that you need (unless, of course, it’s eating utensils, etc). This won’t only make it easier for you to grill, it will also be easier for clean up. You should take some time to pre-plan your meals and stick with those meals that you already have the cooking items for onboard. Never count on catching fish, if that is indeed what you want to fix. Fish should always be considered a ‘bonus’ meal or something to eat in place of a non-perishable meal. Also, check your propane tank for leaks or damage before setting off. Nothing could be more frustrating than trying to start your meal without gas for your grill — or worse, having a leak and lighting a match nearby.
Grill at the dock or at anchor
It’s safer to cook when the boat is docked. You won’t lose your food or have to worry about someone falling on the grill should a random wave come along. Speaking of which, make sure all of your cooking utensils and pans are in a zippered bag/back pack or secure cabinet, whether you’re docked or not. Your boats movements are unpredictable and loose items can be a potential hazard! If you must find that adventure out in the open water, make sure you’re anchor is set to help keep you from moving about.
No glass allowed
Don’t bring glass on board! Many bowls, cups, and drink or cooking bottles (such as olive oil) are glass and should not be brought onboard. Should you find that you need a bowl or container, always use something that is plastic – put condiments such as ketchup or cooking oils in portable plastic containers. This would go along with the ‘planning ahead’ point above. When making sure you have all of the proper cooking equipment or extras, if you find that you have something glass, run to your nearest store to find a plastic alternative. It’s not worth the risk of having that glass break or having someone step on a loose glass bottle – especially if you’re hours away from land.
You’ll have a limited supply of water
Conserve water as much as possible while cooking and cleaning. Remember, there are a lot of different uses for water on your boat. Bring hand sanitizer to wash your hands with periodically, and sanitizing wipes to wipe down surfaces. Don’t run the faucet while cleaning up after your meal. Reuse water where possible, and bring bottled water to drink and use when needed.
What are you going to grill?
You might wonder what types of things to cook when on a boat – again, keeping in mind that you have very limited space. Some things that you might consider grilling are ka-bobs. Pre-make your ka-bobs and put them in large 1gallon plastic storage bags. Or, consider doing the same with chicken or anything that needs to be marinated – put your pieces of meat in large plastic containers or storage bags (which are more flexible) along with your marinade. By the time dinner comes, they’ll be perfectly marinated and you can toss the plastic bags out. Easy clean up! Fish is an easy meal as well. Seasoning your fish with simple salt and pepper or old bay seasoning, then putting it on the grill, makes for a delicious and memorable dinner for the entire group. Simple, but oh so delish! Tacos and single dish meals are also easy when on a boat. Put all of your toppings or condiments in separate containers before getting on your boat or leaving dock — it makes your life much easier, especially if your toppings need to be sliced and diced. Always make sure your meat is cold and on ice – never cook meat that has been allowed to come to room temperature (who knows how long it’s been warm!) And remember that leftovers aren’t any good either unless placed on ice after your meal.
Have a great meal
Be safe on your boat and take all precautionary measures, including an up to date fire extinguisher. Anything can go wrong in under a second on a boat, whether you’re playing with heat or not! Check at you have a small first aid kit with burn cream. This will come in handy for sunburn or an accidental burn from the grill. Always be prepared and always plan ahead – and don’t forget the food!