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Up for a camping BBQ? Helpful hints are here

A grill full of charcoal emits yellow flame set against a leafy woody scene – the perfect camping bbq setup

With summer in full flow, there’s no doubt that most people are itching to pack their bags and gallivant to a picture-perfect corner of the world. Images of palm fringed beaches and tiki cocktails massage the mind taking us to a happy place. Now, gently apply the brakes on your imaginary tropical travels. We hate to do deliveries of reality checks, but perhaps turning all Phileas Fogg and zipping around the world isn’t quite on the cards: until we have a collective immune response against this microbial menace. Enter the ‘staycation’ and BBQ camping.

While your passport might still be gathering dust, travelling inside the country is definitely kosher again. There are plenty of places to discover and enjoy just beyond your own backyard. If there was ever a time to frolic in the bucolic tranquility of the UK countryside, while still making enough Instagram highlights to trigger massive amounts of envy, now would be it. Oh, and don’t forget to take your camping BBQ grill gear with you. Because what’s better than some fun, fresh air and fire-fuelled food?

Just because you temporarily disconnect from the conveniences of metropolitan life doesn’t mean you have to compromise on making good food. Basically all you need is a gung-ho attitude and the right portable camping BBQ kit. For the grill we’d recommend something light and easy to carry, such as our BBQ Croc Easy Grill or one of our disposable BBQs. When it comes to fuel it’s a no brainer, clearly you’ll need your favourite Big K charcoal. Why not give our Instant light charcoal a bash if you are looking for minimum effort and maximum flavour? Finally grab a couple of coolers packed with everything you’re going to devour, all your additional BBQ accessories and you’re good to go. Yes there are more items on the camping BBQ inventory but not to worry. We’re going to give you a handy checklist of essentials further down in the article so you don’t have to worry about forgetting all this stuff in a hurry.

A camping excursion centered on a good ol’ fashioned BBQ under the big blue country sky is just the kind of post-pandemic pacification we all need right now. So we’re going to fill your BBQ obsessed grey matter with some helpful camping BBQ wisdom to help make you an adventure. Huddle around the campfire, folks, and listen up because your camping savvy is just about to experience a potent upswing of prowess.


Vegetables and steak cook on an outdoor camping BBQ grill while two people sit in a hammock and talk surrounded by the forest


Outdoor BBQ Grills and Charcoal

There’s no fire without a spark, and there’s certainly no dreamy starlit camping BBQ without… well… a quality BBQ grill. Yes, we know that this info nugget sounds absurdly obvious, but as genuine BBQ experts, it’s our solemn duty to remind you of the charcoal BBQ grill’s importance. So, before you go ahead and make plans to fire up the meadows and rolling hills with your swashbuckling BBQ theatrics, make sure you pack the right grill to light up your performance.

Grillers come in all shapes and sizes – much like camping BBQ grills too. Our Portable Croc Easy Grill is lightweight and so easy to set up. You just open it up to use, then fold away once finished. If a fully portable charcoal BBQ grill complete with customized carry handle isn’t sensational enough, wait till you fire up the coals inside this baby and spark up some delicious camping memories. The Thuros T1 Direct Plus is another gilt-edged, portable BBQ grill that’s perfect for a smaller group on an outing in the great outdoors. Can’t be bothered to haul a grill around? Fear not, frugal adventurers, the Big K disposable All in One Party BBQ pack is always there to be used as a quick and clean super-substitute for a bigger charcoal grill.

When it comes to charcoal our world is bursting with choice. If you have a smaller grill we would defo suggest blazing up some of our mini cocoshell cubes These little lumps of loveliness are sustainably produced, 100% natural and deliver a subtle flavour profile to boot. If you have more room in the car, and grill, then by all means bring your fave Apple Wood, Dura  or Flama into the boonies. Looking to flip the script? Instant Light Logs are a lightening fast way to bring the heat to your meat.

They say there’s no smoke without fire. We say there’s no camping BBQ without fire. Now of course you may be a survival maestro capable of forging flame from stray flint and pocket lint – sit down Bear Grylls. But most peeps out there like a quick, easy and fiery fix. Our 100% natural Woodies firelighters will do the trick as well as our other sustainable firelighters and kindling.


Can you use gas for camping BBQ?

Despite us being very much in charcoal’s corner, we can safely say that you can use a gas grill for your camping BBQ. However you will need to ensure that your set up is on point, as we doubt that you will find some conveniently located propane canister dispensary in the middle of the sticks. Get your gas on by all means. However if you’re really going back to nature, why not cook using the methods of our Neanderthal ancestors? This seems like the right way to go about things to us.

Now that we have the basics all covered, let’s hunker down and get ready to start grilling.


A camping BBQ fire cooks delicious whole fish wedged in a serving grill


Camping BBQ checklist

Camping BBQs are fun, but the best camping BBQs are organised to a T. Heaven forbid if you leave behind your grill rack or knife set, because you don’t want to be THAT GUY do you? So it’s very important that you use all your foresight to make sure that all your BBQ duckies are nicely positioned in a row.

From your grilling inventory to your table checklist and storage solutions, we’re going to give you a thorough breakdown of what you should be packing before you drive off towards the horizon. Like you can count on a calculator to crunch your numbers in a flash, you can count on this thorough checklist of camping BBQ essentials for perpetuity.


Camping BBQ Grill Checklist

  1. Camping BBQ grill
  2. BIG K bag of Charcoal
  3. Grill rack
  4. Griddle
  5. Dutch oven and lid lifter
  6. Matches/lighter/firestarter
  7. Cook pots and lids
  8. Frying pans
  9. Pot holders and/or pot lifter
  10. Cooking utensils (large spoon, spatula, tongs, whisk)
  11. Bottle opener, can opener, corkscrew (or multi-tool)
  12. Sharp knife
  13. Cutting board
  14. Firewood, sourced near the campsite
  15. Saw/axe
  16. Aluminum foil
  17. Portable coffee/tea maker
  18. Measuring cups
  19. Marshmallows/hot-dog-roasting forks
  20. Camp table or kitchen organizer unit


Camping BBQ Table checklist

  1. Plates/bowls (at least 1 per person)
  2. Mugs/cups (at least 1 per person)
  3. Eating utensils (forks, knives, spoons)
  4. Napkins
  5. Water bottles
  6. Tablecloth (and clips)
  7. Lantern/lighting


Camping BBQ Kitchen Storage

  1. Cooler box
  2. Ice or ice substitutes
  3. Insect and rodent-resistant food containers
  4. Small food containers (for leftovers)
  5. Resealable Ziploc bags
  6. Large bins or bags (to transport and store kitchen gear


Camping BBQ Kitchen Clean-up checklist

  1. Camp sink or wash bin
  2. Large refillable water jug
  3. Biodegradable soap
  4. Pot scrubber/sponge
  5. Trash/recycling bags
  6. Quick-dry towels
  7. Paper towels
  8. Dish-drying rack
  9. Clothesline with clips


A camping BBQ stands in fornt of a camping tent in a field ready for use


Camping BBQ Food Basics

Before you get overly excited about stoking up some meaty sizzles, you have to stock up on your BBQ basics. These bits and bobs are essential for your time in the outdoors. Some of these items are deal breakers, but you can also switch things around and stock up on your favourite novelties, whether they are particular ingredients or must have snacks.

  1. Salt & pepper
  2. Spices
  3. Cooking oil/non-stick spray
  4. Coffee/tea/hot chocolate
  5. Sweeteners (sugar, honey, sugar substitute)
  6. Oatmeal
  7. Pancake mix
  8. Syrup


Food storage for camping BBQ

A fancy portable fridge isn’t a luxury that everyone can afford. But that doesn’t mean you can’t keep your food safe to eat.  You can still count on well-packed coolers to get the job done. Having at least 2 coolers on hand is best. The first cooler could store daily essential items such as butter, cheese, drinks, ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, corn on the cob etc. The second cooler should carry meat, sausages, burger patties and eggs. We suggest you pack the meat well in Ziploc bags to eliminate any cross-contamination between meats. To ensure optimum freshness, layer your cooler with ice at the bottom, organise your meat on top of the ice, and cover it on top with another layer of ice, sandwiching the meat in-between.

We could wax lyrical about the nuances of BBQ and outdoor cooking all day. But we still have a lot to get through. Good thing our friends over at Sloane & Sons Garden Benches have put together a super handy beginners guide to BBQ  – just for you. This handy blog breaks down all the BBQ basics, so you can start to level up your grill game.


Camping BBQ tips and tricks

Has it been almost a year or two since you put your camping BBQ grill to work? You could have a little rust on your equipment – and grill skills too. We’re going to zap your faded memory banks with some grilling tricks to elevate your camping BBQ game and leave your fellow adventurers star struck.


The non-stick Potato  

This trick is going to prevent your meat from sticking to the camping BBQ grill. Cut a potato in half and stab the outer side with a fork. Rub the hot grill grate with the inside surface of the potato. The heat removes starch from the potato, which creates a kind of non-stick coating on the grill.


Apple Juice spritzer

This apple juice trick will add flavour, keep your steak moist inside, and add an amazing caramelized crust on the outside. Simply spritz the steak with some apple juice before you flip it. The sugars will ensure a perfectly caramelized crust and the moisture will keep the steak juicy and oh-so succulent.


The Onion Cleaner

Cleaning your grill can be tedious, but this onion hack is bound to make your life easier. Cut an onion in half, stab one half with a fork, and rub it over the surface of the dirty grill. The onion juice acts as a disinfectant while also removing the invisible dirt from the grill.


Charred lemon Lemonade

We bet you never thought of making lemonade off the Camping BBQ grill.  But it’s actually a fantastic grilling hack. Cut a few lemons in half, dunk the cut surface into sugar and then grill them for 10 minutes until the sugar has caramelized. Now squeeze the lemons into a pitcher and add some ice cubes. Add a few more lemon slices to the pitcher, and voila, the perfect lemonade, straight from the grill!


The Herb Brush

Use a bouquet of any woody herbs – rosemary, thyme, sage, bay leaves, oregano etc. Tie it onto a spoon or a stick, dip it in some oil, and brush it around meat, fish, flatbreads and vegetables. This adds a beautiful layer of flavour instantly to your Camping BBQ meal.


Water Spritzer Vinegar spray

Get a little water spritzer from a gardening store to spray flavoured vinegar onto your meats. Infuse some red or white wine vinegar with chili, herbs, spices and spritz it onto your meat as you start to turn it on your camping BBQ. This adds flavour, keeps the flames down, and stops your meat from burning.


Flavoured Salts

Smash up some herbs, chilies, spices, ginger, etc. Get a combination that works for you. Smash it up to a pulp, and then add in salt. Let it dry out on a tray and then smash it again to homogenise the mixture. This will last upto a couple of months. Add onto a piece of fish, pork, or vegetables to add an extra layer of flavour.


two steaks cook on a camping BBQ grill with orange flames


Searching for the best camping BBQ in UK?

Pitching your tent in an area that is not an official campsite is not a public right in the UK. Basically the rules and regulations on camping in the wild will vary depending on where you are. In much of Scotland, for example, wild camping is legal and permitted, while in almost all of England, wild camping is not allowed. To a certain extent, the laws on wild camping are a technicality. After all, the etiquette of wild camping – that you will be unobtrusive, unheard and leave no trace – means that, if you do it properly, no one will ever know you were there.

From a legal point of view, we always recommend checking the laws within the area you want to go camping to make sure you’re doing things right! A handful of well-known places do allow wild camping – Dartmoor National Park is a popular wild camping spot in the South West and wild camping is always popular in Scotland (though recently some national parks have banned wild camping in certain areas). Your best bet is to check before you go and, if you do wild camp, always follow the wild camping code of conduct.

If you are still lost for options, we have listed a few campsites that allow you to grill with an open flame.


The Secret Campsite – Sussex

They limit the number of people on pitches to keep the site peaceful and to encourage lots of wildlife into the campsite.


Bloomfield Camping – Dorset

Bloomfield Camping is a glamping site set in the beautiful Dorset countryside. 5 pre-erected luxurious Yurts are set up in huge pitches so space is not a problem.


Celtic Camping & Bunkhouse – Pembrokeshire

If you are looking for a campsite welcoming groups having camping BBQs, stag and hen parties, and gatherings of well behaved animals, Celtic Camping is the campsite for you.


Northmoor Lock Paddocks – Oxfordshire

Northmoor Lock Paddocks offer luxury breaks in one of four fully furnished, five-metre bell tents.


The Sunny Field – Kent

Tucked away in the rolling hills and secret valleys of the North Kent Downs is a truly special spot with walking and cycling recreational activities all at your doorstep.


Gooseberry Field Campsite – Kent

Gooseberry Field Campsite is a “glampsite”. From carefully designed interiors, fluffy duvets with 100% Egyptian cotton bed linen and a complete inventory of crockery and cooking equipment, this campsite has everything you will ever need for a dreamy and luxurious outdoor escape.


Be Responsible, Be Safe

We at BIG K always endorse safety first above everything else. Charcoal is an open fire hazard and should be handled with care and responsibility. Check out our previous blog on BBQ safety for some insight in how NOT TO light things up.

We advise you to carry a large garbage bag or two on your trip. Please dispose of any napkins, food containers, packaging and meat bones in a responsible way. Always remember, when enjoying the outdoors, the only thing you should leave behind are your footprints.

We hope this liberal doling out of sizzling camping BBQ insights has been a soothing panacea for your burning camping BBQ curiosity. If you do set out on a camping BBQ adventure, look out to the distance and give us a nod, like they would in a sentimental ending of a coming-of-age film, and we guarantee we will pick up your good vibes resonating across time and space and have it hit us right in the feels. We look forward to bringing you more hot bits of BBQ wisdom we have in the works! Until next time, adios!