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With so many UK staycationers choosing the pleasures of camp life over their usual holidays abroad, it’s more vital than ever that we make the most of our campsite set up. One of the joys of camp life is cooking outdoors and the most popular way to do so is on a BBQ.

But barbecuing on the open road isn’t quite the same as at home. So, the team at Motorhome Protect has put together these top BBQ tips for campervan owners to get you started.

Remember doing the right research and preparation is the key to a successful trip whether you’re finding the right insurance for your campervan or deciding what to throw on the coals.


Choosing the right BBQ

While BBQs are welcome at most campsites, they must usually be purpose-built and portable. To avoid damaging the area for future campers, you need to make sure that your BBQ stands well above the ground.

There’s a whole range of BBQ models out there but when it comes to campervanning, nothing beats a portable grill. Light, compact and easily transportable, they come in a bewildering array of shapes and sizes with various fuel sources – charcoal, gas or electric.

If you’re using electricity, you just need a nearby plug socket and you’re set. And since some sites discourage open flames, electric BBQs are perfect for following outdoor cooking rules.

Something to be aware of is while electric BBQs heat up quickly, they won’t reach the high temperatures of gas or charcoal. So, you won’t get quite the same smoky flavour.

While gas BBQs don’t present the unpredictable challenge of cooking with charcoal, with the proper preparation and knowledge there’s still a special place for charcoal in the heart of many BBQ aficionados.

If using a disposable BBQ, be aware they can release carbon monoxide even when cool, so never store a used disposable BBQ inside any enclosed area.

Also, ensure the BBQ you buy is an appropriate size. For example, a large gas BBQ might be difficult to store in a classic VW camper!

If you take an expensive piece of BBQ equipment with you on holiday, call Motorhome Protect to check whether it’s covered by your campervan insurance.

A portable camping BBQ laced on a log in a woodland with an egg frying on top

Food storage tips

Hopefully your campervan has a handy fridge or cooler, but it’s still important to keep your BBQ provisions cool and safe in all eventualities.

  • Buy a thermometer to make sure your food has stayed cool.
  • Prechill all foods and drinks.
  • Freeze meat or seafood, they’ll help your fridge or cooler stay cold longer.
  • Bags of frozen vegetables also help to keep things cold.
  • Blocks of ice stay frozen for longer than ice cubes.
  • Pack the food you will use first on top, and try to group the food by meal to avoid unnecessary opening and rearranging of the fridge or cooler.
  • Keep any coolers well stocked with ice and in a shady spot.


Cooking tips

While a juicy burger straight off the griddle is still a popular choice, in recent years many people have started choosing to forgo such traditional BBQ dishes.

Instead they’re favouring delicious meat-free vegan and vegetarian options, and healthier fish. Indeed, from tasty halloumi and vegetable kebabs to spicy mackerel, cook books are filled to bursting with recipes to tickle those taste buds both at home and in your camper.

Making sure that everyone is getting a balanced meal is an important part of camp life. Save time and the washing up by preparing your choice of vegetables before heading off.

Chop some sweetcorn cobs in half, clean up some spring onions and quarter some red peppers before squirting with olive oil and salt and putting them on the BBQ, too. Whether hot or cold they’re a delicious and tasty complement to any meal.

Wrapping food in foil is the perfect way to stop delicate fish from falling apart on the grill and a convenient way to bake moist dishes with several ingredients and subtle flavours.

It’s crucial to remember to use a heavy-duty foil to avoid leakage and to leave room inside for steam to circulate.

And once the eating is done you should clean your BBQ at the first opportunity, removing any charred food or grease before it solidifies. After all, a clean grill will guarantee the perfect cooking surface when you fire it up next time.

As a final point, no matter how bad the weather is, never take your BBQ inside your campervan or awning. There won't be enough ventilation to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.

Various meats and veg grilling on a BBQ outside

BBQ food safety tips

  • Always wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling food.
  • Keep raw meat and seafood away from other food and in the fridge or cooler until ready to BBQ.
  • Always thaw frozen meat or seafood thoroughly before cooking.
  • To thaw food more quickly, place it in a sealed plastic bag and submerge the bag in cold water. Change the water every 30 minutes until the food is completely thawed. Cook immediately.
  • Never use the same dishes or utensils for both raw and cooked meat or seafood.
  • After cutting raw meat, wash your hands and the cutting board, knife, and work surfaces with hot, soapy water.
  • Always keep marinating meat in a cooler or fridge.
  • If you’re unsure how to tell when meat is fully cooked, use a meat thermometer.


Protect your home on wheels

Few things taste better than food cooked outdoors so in preparation for heading back out there, make sure you’ve got the right campervan insurance for your requirements.

By calling the specialist team at Motorhome Protect you’ll be certain to find the very best policy suited to your particular vehicle, needs and budget.

Campervan insurance policies arranged through Motorhome Protect can include the following benefits:

  • Unlimited cover across all the countries that are part of the European Union
  • Cover of camping personal effects for up to £3,500
  • Up to 6 months to complete a self-build conversion
  • Cover for motorhomes with a value up to £150,000
  • Unlimited mileage cover
  • Quotes available for customers with claims and convictions

Call Motorhome Protect today to get the best cover for your trusty camper.

Policy benefits and features offered may very between insurance schemes or cover selected and are subject to underwriting criteria. Information contained within this article is accurate at the time of publishing but may be subject to change.