Food always tastes better when you cook it over a campfire. Grilling out with gas or other types of fuel just isn’t the same as cooking over a fire. Having a campfire grill grate is a great way to cook over an open flame easily with pots and pans. When choosing a grill grate, you need to look for grates that are easy to clean, won’t rust and feature a fire ring attachment. Here are a few reviews and tips to help you start your search for the best campfire grill grate.
- What is a Campfire Grill Grate?
- Types of Grill Grates
- How to Choose the Best Campfire Grill
- Features to Look for in the Best Campfire Grill
- Best Campfire Grill Grate Reviews
- 1. AmazonBasics Folding Grill
- 2. STROMBERG CARLSON STAKE AND GRILLE
- 3. Texsport Heavy Duty Over Fire Camp Grill
- 4. Coleman Tripod Grill
- 5. Rome Products 117EZ Tri-Pod Grill
What is a Campfire Grill Grate?
Usually, you can place a grill grate over a fire pit or an open fire. Since this leaves less of a carbon footprint, this is a preferred method of grilling by campers. Basically, using a grill grate will let you cook without having the food directly touch the food. You can also use cast iron cookware including pots and pans right on it or just put the food directly onto the grate.
Creating a flat surface, grates guarantee that your food cooks evenly over the fire. It also gives you a safe cooking environment when you use pots and pans since you won’t have to stir the pots and pans constantly over the even cooking surface giving you a hassle-free experience.
There are several reasons why you should use over the fire grill grate:
Food cooks evenly – providing a uniform and flat cooking surface, a grill grate helps to ensure your food cooks evenly. Plus, an adjustable grill can give you a varied height to give you your preferred cooking level.
Blending – You also get a nice blending surface away from the fire by using a grill grate. When you cook food without using a grill grate, you can’t make sauces and marinade for your food, plus the marinades and sauces will not stay on the food’s surface to cook.
Safety – having a uniform cooking surface also makes it easier to cook in pots and pans safely without worrying about stirring like you do when you use a tripod.
Types of Grill Grates
Over the Fire Grill Grates
A free-standing or over the fire grill grate features a rectangular cooking area and legs that are collapsible to keep the grate a little ways over the fire. These are either heavy-duty grill grates that are constructed from high grade steel and features heavy mesh or lightweight grill grates that are built with wires made of nickel-steel. Campfire grill grates can come with either reclined or straight legs that let you made a flat area for cooking right over a fire.
In general, the area or height over the flames is not usually adjustable. These are easy to use grill grates that don’t require assembly, but they provide a nice flat surface to cook on. When you are simply cooking in a skillet, boiling water, or using cast iron pots and pans, this type of grill grate is really all you need.
Swivel Grill grate
As the name sounds, a swivel grill grate is adjustable and swivels on a stake or nail. You can usually adjust them by using rocks or hammering it into the dirt. You can place the food on at least one, possibly more, surface, and you can adjust the fire when you need to. A swivel grill grate usually features a stake and at least one grilling grate along with a locking mechanism that is adjustable to hold it firmly in place.
Tripod Grill grate
Using a three-legged stand, a tripod grill grate is usually lightweight and easy to store and transport. Typically, it will hang higher than the other grills using an adjustable chain, so you aren’t cooking directly above the fire, which can be too hot for the food.
A tripod grill grate is a great way to hang a kettle or roast meats. Keep in mind that you won’t be able to use other cooking implements like those used to hang kettles or roast meats. The downside is that it’s necessary to use other a circular grate. Also remember that large kettles and cast iron cookware can be too heavy for a tripod.
How to Choose the Best Campfire Grill
First, you need to decide is what type of grill grate you prefer. Once you have chosen the type of grill grate, then you the below factors will help you choose the best grills in that category.
When you consider that a grill grate is placed onto direct heat, you want to make sure it is constructed of quality material as that will dictate how durable it is and how heavy it will be to carry. Usually, the grill’s body is constructed of high grade steel if it’s a heavy-duty grill grate or stainless steel if it is a collapsible and lightweight grill grate.
Typically the grill’s mesh is a diamond-shape constructed using heat-resistant steel, nichrome, or nylon. This is to keep the cooking surface from rusting and overheating. You also want to make sure that the legs and grate are treated with black paint that is heat-resistant. If you have a grill grate made of stainless steel, you won’t need a coating of paint since stainless steel happens to already be rust-resistant.
If you want a swivel grill grate, the swivel should be constructed of welded steel guaranteeing that it is durable and sturdy. You also want plates that are made of steel wire or nichrome. Always make sure that you are buying a grill grate that is made of steel, and that it has a surface that is protected well from rust before you buy it.
Size and Height
The size of a grill grate is determined by the width and length of the plate you cook on. Usually, a grill grate will have a surface over 100 sq. in. You should also be able to find other sizes that run smaller or larger depending on your needs. A lightweight grill grate often has a small cooking area, although you can find several around the 100 sq. in. cooking surface. With a swivel grill grate, you can find the same typical dimensions as well as larger plates that you can put on the swivel, as long as the swivel is able to hold the weight of a plate that is loaded with food.
Since the grill’s height will determine whether it can fit correctly over a fire pit that is already built, it’s important to keep in mind as you are choosing a grill grate. Keep in mind that grill grates with reclining legs tend to be wider due to the reclined legs. When you have a straight table leg fire grill, it will only fit a standard sized pit due to its vertical, straight legs.
If you are looking at an adjustable swivel grill, its height will usually be the highest height that you are able to adjust the plate to. You will that the typical height of an adjustable grill grate is about two feet, although some of them can support more than 50 inches in height.
For those that plan to hike or backpack with their grill grate, you will want to consider the grill’s weight for transport purposes. In this case, look for a lightweight grill grate that gives you a decent amount of cooking area but only weighs a pound or two. The heavy-duty or swivel grills will weight too much for a backpack. These types of campfire grill grates are better suited for backyards, RVing, and car-camping.
Features to Look for in the Best Campfire Grill
The size of your grill grate should depend on how many people you need to cook for. You will also want to consider transporting the grill grate, so make sure to get something with a cooking area that will fit into a backpack if you are hiking.
You can find grill grates that are freestanding or stake mounted. With a stake mounted grill, you can usually adjust their height or swivel them away from the fire when needed. If you don’t need those features, a freestanding grill grate will usually be cheaper and easier to use due to their simplicity.
You will find that most campfire grill grates are constructed of steel. The best quality grill grates typically use high-quality steel. Keep in mind that they better quality grill grate, the easier it will be clean it up after you use it so it won’t rust. This will guarantee that the grill grate will be around a long time.
Check out any paint that is on the swivel or heavy-duty tabletop grill grate. A better type of heat-resistant paint will make your grill grate more expensive, but it will also make your grill grate last longer.
Also, consider any additional items or accessories that come with the grill grate. Some swivel grills offer multiple plates that you can attach to a swivel grill. Others offer storage bags so you can easily carry the grill.
Best Campfire Grill Grate Reviews
1. AmazonBasics Folding Grill
Perfect for cooking over an open fire, the AmazonBasics Folding Grill allows you to make delicious meals while sitting under the stars. Using a folding design similar to a breakfast tray, this substantial grill can be easily placed right over a fire producing a platform comparable to a stovetop. This design is ideal for use with durable cast-iron pots and pans as well as other outdoor-approved cookware.
Perfect for cast iron cooking, the AmazonBasics Grill is not intended to be used for direct-contact grilling. You can use it to make all your breakfast favorites including bacon, eggs, and hot coffee. You can also use this sturdy grill to be creative with other meals.
With its simple design, the AmazonBasics Grill is very user-friendly making it a convenient device for both experienced and beginner campers. Constructed of high-quality welded steel, this rugged grill grate gives you reliable performance that can withstand high heat and can hold its shape over the years. It also features a steel-mess grill top that lets heat flow through and two side legs that fold for easy storage and transport. This is the perfect grill for those that like a large cooking area for cast iron cooking and don’t mind having to carry something heavy.
- Nice durable construction
- Foldable legs for compact storage
- A nice large cooking surface
- It is a little heavy to transport
- Cannot use it for direct-contact grilling
2. STROMBERG CARLSON STAKE AND GRILLE
With a large cooking area, the Stromberg Carlson Stake and Grill measures 22 inches long and 15 inches wide. It also includes a 36-inch long stake that you can easily store securely in the included heavy-duty nylon bag to keep everything organized and neat. Constructed for many seasons of use, it features quality construction and a brilliant design.
The Stake and Grille easily pivots away from the campfire when you are loading and unloading food, plus the rolled edge keeps food from falling off. You can easily adjust the heat on this heavy-duty grill by simply sliding the locking handle up and down, and it is strong enough to hold a pot of coffee. Weighing only 2.1 pounds, this is a lightweight grill that can make a lot of food.
If you are a serious camper, you will appreciate the design and the unique grill cover that makes it easy to transport the Stake and Grille. Made of corrosion-resistant stainless steel, the surface of the grill is large enough to accommodate any size fire, and it also features a heat-proof handle. It comes in two easy to put together pieces, the grille and the stake.
- Easy and fast set up
- Works on any size fire or type of heat
- Nice large cooking area and made of durable materials
3. Texsport Heavy Duty Over Fire Camp Grill
Perfect for any type of camper, the Texsport Heavy-Duty Camp Grill is a great choice for seasoned campers or novices. Built to stand up to any type of climate, this sturdy grill features a heavy-duty steel mesh that can hold cast iron pots and pans and withstand high heat. It easily folds up for compact storage and transport.
The Texport Grill is constructed with high-quality welded steel and was designed for heavy cookware and to go over a fire. And its steel-mesh grille gives it sturdy support, even when you don’t have it staked down. Available in three sizes, the Texport Grill is easy to use with no assembly required. No matter what your camping skill level, the Texport Grill will give you a great grilling experience thanks to its easy usability and design.
- Sturdy grill grate that heats up quickly
- Can use cast iron on it
- Foldable legs for easy transport and storage
- Paint tends to come off with direct food contact
4. Coleman Tripod Grill
The easy to adjust Coleman Tripod Grill not only lets you grill up a delicious dinner, but it can also double as a lantern hanger. You can change the height of the 17-inch grate easily so that it hangs correctly above the fire at your preferred height to get the correct amount of heat. When you are done cooking dinner, you can adjust the tripod again to hang your lantern for campsite light.
The Coleman Tripod Grill collapses for convenient storage with the durable and shock-corded steel legs that also makes it easy to transport. Weighing only five pounds, the Coleman Grill can easily be carried to your campsite.
The Coleman Tripod Grill is available at an affordable price point and is made of galvanized steel so it should last a while. The grill grate is large enough for a dozen burgers or a couple of packs of hot dogs. The legs have spear type ends that allow you to push them into the ground for better support.
- Good price point for a product that will last awhile
- Nice and lightweight so perfect for hikers
- Decent sized cooking area
- Legs can be hard to connect
- Not as sturdy as other grill grates on the market
5. Rome Products 117EZ Tri-Pod Grill
Perfect for use while camping, the Rome Tri-Pod Grill works over any type of campfire. This is a tripod grill that not only works well for regular or car camping but can be used when RVing and in your backyard. Easy to assemble, you can put it together in under two minutes without needing any tools.
This chrome-plated steel grill features a grill grate with a 20 ½ inch diameter that you can adjust vertically up to 20 inches over your campfire. This is a heavy-duty grill weight around 30 pounds that also has a leg span of two feet across. Easy to fold for compact storage and transport, the Rome Trip-Pod Grill comes with one grill grate and one stand.
- Easy assembly and use
- Works well over a campfire ring
- Compact and easy to adjust the height over a fire
- The base is a little too narrow
For anyone that has been on a camping trip and found a fire pit without a grill, you know how handy it is to have a grill grate with you. While having a fire on its own can be fun for singing campfire songs and telling scary stories, most campers expect to be able to cook some real food for their meals. Having a grill grate will allow you to provide those substantial meals for your next adventure.