Camp Chef BB90L Professional Barbecue Grill Box Review
This barbecue grill box is a little bit interesting in that it doesn’t come with a burner. It’s designed to fit over top of a propane camp stove for times when you want to transform it into a grill, yet still, be able to use the camp stove as a traditional range.
Camp Chef prefers that you use the BB-90L Professional Barbecue Grill Box with one of the companion grills in their line. There are even some that come with it included as an optional extra accessory. They specifically state that it’s designed to work with their models GB90D, TB90LW, TB90, TB90LWG, TB90LWG15, SPG90B, CCH2, CCH3, CCH4.
That being said, the base of this grill box measures in at 16-inches wide, by 24-inches long, and it will work just fine over any stove or grill space that can accommodate those dimensions. This might even include things like a camp’s fire pit with a bracket grate. Just bear in mind that if you do set it over a charcoal or wood fire that you might see soot marks on the exterior paint.
The lid has a built-in thermometer. It has locking hinges which makes this 33-pound grill box easier to transport without worrying about it spilling open. There are also adjustable dampers to let you determine just how much heat remains inside the cooking chamber.
Inside there is a special heat diffuser, which acts a little bit like “Flame Tamers” that you see sometimes with traditional gas grills. They act to buffer and distribute the heat energy evenly across the 384 square inches seasoned cast iron grill grate.
Any drippings that fall onto the diffuser vaporize, which gives the food a little bit of an added smokey flavor. If you prefer wood pellets or hardwood chips can be placed on the diffuser which allows you to use the BB-90L grill box as a shallow smoking chamber.
Construction & Ease of Assembly
The Camp Chef BB-90L Professional Barbecue Grill Box has a fair amount of thoughtful engineering infused into its overall design. Things like the heat diffuser, the locking hinges, adjustable dampers, and the built-in thermometer all speak to a conscious effort to make this a high-quality grill accessory.
If there’s one potential flaw or at least something to take into account while using, it’s the seasoned cast iron grill grates. Most other units like this will coat the grill grates in a special non-stick porcelain layer, which also protects them from rusting and corrosion.
These are merely seasoned with a layer of polymerized hydrocarbon, which can wear off in a single aggressive scraping session. To preserve the seasoning layer, you will need to apply a neutral food-grade oil like flaxseed oil after every use. Then let it heat up properly the next time before laying down the meat. If you skip this step the cast iron grill grates could become stubbornly rusty.
This grilling box does technically relies on a secondary heat source to make it work. It’s designed to fit seamlessly with Camp Chef’s models GB90D, TB90LW, TB90, TB90LWG, TB90LWG15, SPG90B, CCH2, CCH3, CCH4. Though it will work on just about any grill that can accommodate the 16-inch by 24-inch base.
At that point, you can dial in the heat as needed for the food you are cooking. The heat diffusers will evenly distribute the heat energy. With a solid 10 to 15 minutes of preheating the cast iron grill grates will also retain enough heat energy to develop a nice sear or crust.
At the same time, you can also convert this grill box into a smoker or a steamer. Just keep in mind that there isn’t a lot of height under the lid. It’s not the sort of thing you are going to use to smoke a Boston Butt pork shoulder. Still, you could get a rack or ribs, riblets, chicken thighs, or even a small brisket flat under the lid.
Then you simply add some wood pellets or hardwood chips to the heat diffuser and let them smoke away. Adjusting the dampers down low or perhaps shutting them all the way will keep the wood chips from flaring up while trapping the desired amount of smoke.
If you want to use it as a steamer, you will need to place a shallow pan made from heavy-duty aluminum foil under the heat diffuser. Ideally, you want something in the neighborhood of 9-inches by 13-inches. This will allow some of the direct heat to rise, while the water in the foil pan simmers. You can then adjust the dampers to the right level of steam and the amount of heat you want to trap.
The cast iron grill grates measure in at an even 384 square inches.
In a certain light, this entire grill box is a special feature.
The locking hinges let you keep all your tools and accessories under the lid for transport. The built-in thermometer and adjustable dampers are also a nice touch that you don’t always see in grills at this price point.
The heat diffuser’s ability to redirect heat evenly across the grill grates is also a nice touch. It also lends to the versatility of the unit when you want to smoke or steam.
Ease to Clean
There isn’t a whole lot to clean with the Camp Chef BB-90L Professional Barbecue Grill Box, as there isn’t a dedicated firebox.
You might need to scrape down the grill grates with a nylon-bristled grill brush. This will leave as much of the seasoning layer in place as possible. Then lightly apply a glaze of neutral food-grade oil like flaxseed or vegetable shortening to prevent rusting when not in use.
While you’re at it, take a moment to look at the thermometer probe and wipe off any residue. Excess soot build-up could affect accuracy in the future.
The Camp Chef BB-90L Professional Barbecue Grill Box comes with a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty. This is maybe a little bit sparse, but if you have a problem Camp Chef does have a reputation for quality customer service.
With the Camp Chef BB-90L Professional Barbecue Grill Box, you need to accept that there’s no fire source included. It’s meant to be an accessory to other gas grills in Camp Chef’s line. At the very least you need a source of flame that can accommodate the 16-inch by 24-inch footprint.
Once you have the flame issue in place, then this is a nice, versatile grill box that lets you also smoke and steam, with a level of control that you don’t really find in standalone grills in this price range. Just make sure you are diligent in maintaining the seasoning layer on the cast iron grill grates.
- Heat diffuser for even heat distribution
- Locking hinges
- The lid has a thermometer and adjustable dampers
- Designed to work with other grills
- Needs a heat source
- Need to maintain the cast iron seasoning layer
- Lid space is shallow