A lot of modern-day RVs come with large propane tanks on board. At the same time, a lot of modern-day portable gas grills are designed to run off 1-pound DOT 39 propane canisters. These canisters provide around 20,000 BTUs, which is enough to run a 10,000 BTU gas grill burner for around 2 hours. At that point, you have to switch tanks.
More than one camp chef has found themselves out of propane in the middle of cooking a meal without a spare tank available. This is especially vexing when there’s a massive liquid propane tank just sitting idle on the RV.
A few RV manufacturers have caught onto this problem, and they now offer newer models with a low-pressure port to connect to a portable gas grill. Some have even gone the extra mile to add a rail to let you securely attach the propane grill to the side of the RV.
How to Connect a Portable Gas Grill to Your RV
It’s important to note that you need a low-pressure connection port to connect a portable gas grill to an RV. If your RV comes with a high-pressure port, you might be tempted to improvise and use it. Unfortunately, this is not safe at all. Not only can it damage the grill’s regulator, but there’s even a realistic chance of getting a fireball coming out of your gas grill.
If your RV doesn’t have an external low-pressure connection, you can have one installed. However, there are a few key details to keep in mind.
To add a low-pressure line, you’ll need to have a T-joint valve, known as a “Stay a While” or “Extend a Stay” valve. It has its own 15 PSI low-pressure regulator built into it.
Where to Place the Low-Pressure Valve
You need to have this Stay a While line installed in the propane line coming out of the tank before it reaches the main regulator that runs to the interior furnace and gas appliances inside the RV.
When high-pressure propane travels through a long stretch of hose it can move a small amount of oily residue. If you didn’t have the Stay a While installed at the tank connection, this oily residue would move through the line until it gets to the connection port for your portable gas grill. While the grill might run fine for a few trips, the oil residue will gradually move through the line to foul your grill’s regulator.
With the Stay a While installed, you can then run a line from the large propane tank at the front of your RV to the rear of the RV where most people do their grilling.
Should I Install a Rail to Mount My Gas Grill on My RV?
A lot of RVs that come with a low-pressure connection for a gas grill also have some sort of mounting rail. It lets you attach your grill securely, without having to improvise a picnic table or some type of stand. If your RV doesn’t have a rail like this, there are some aftermarket accessories available. Just be sure to read your warranty coverage closely. A lot of RV manufacturer warranties have language prohibiting making permanent additions to the exterior of the RV. Some of these aftermarket portable grill rails can be a little wobbly, with weight limitations on the type of grill they can support.
So, you might want to also consider an accessory grill stand, or a gas grill that has its own collapsible support stand for your RV.
The Best Accessory RV Grill Rails
The Best Portable Grill Stand
If you’re not 100% comfortable with attaching a grill rail to the back of your RV, or your current warranty prohibits it, you might want to try adding one of the following portable grill stands to your camp kitchen arsenal.
Choosing the Best RV Gas Grill or Griddle
Once you have your low-pressure propane line installed and you know how you’re going to support your gas grill, you can turn your focus to other important matters like picking the perfect grill for your new RV camp kitchen.
The first thing to consider is whether you want a gas grill, with traditional grill grates or if you want a gas griddle. There are advantages to both, and some potential drawbacks to consider.
The Benefits of an RV Gas Grill
When it comes to choosing a great RV gas grill, you’ll likely feel spoiled for choice. There are a lot of attractive options out there like the NomadiQ Tabletop, the Country Smokers CSGDL0590 The Highland, or the Camco Olympian 6500.
They tend to be able to do everything a traditional grill can do and more. This includes putting sexy grill marks on the outside of burgers and steaks. They also tend to put the aroma of grilled food in the air, which can help draw the kids in at supper time. You also get a direct flame, which lets you do things like simmering a coffee percolator in the morning.
The Drawbacks of an RV Gas Grill
With an RV gas grill, you’re inevitably going to have challenges with strong winds blowing out the somewhat exposed burner elements. If you’re using a grill rail, you might not be able to move the grill out of the wind, which only adds to the frustration.
RV gas grills also tend to be a little tricky to clean up. They often have sparse grease management systems, which can leave an odoriferous mess in the bottom of the grill that’s hard to get 100% clean. If you’re in a wild or primitive campground this lingering smell of grease can easily attract raccoons and other unwanted nighttime pests.
If you’re planning to use your RV grill to make things like bacon, eggs, and pancakes you’ll have to also invest money in a cast iron frying pan or a removable accessory griddle.
The Benefits of an RV Gas Griddle
With an RV gas griddle, you get the convenience of a flat cooking surface. This makes it easy to make popular breakfast foods, without having to invest in a pan or other flat surface accessories. A lot of quality portable gas griddles like the Country Smokers CSGDL0590 The Highland, the Razor GGC2030M, or the Blackstone Grills Tailgater.
Have convenient grease management systems built into them. This makes it easy for you to clean up the grease and leftover food bits. Then the grease cup can be poured out or thrown away in a secure dumpster far away from your campsite.
The Drawbacks of an RV Gas Griddle
RV gas griddles don’t give you direct access to the flame. This means you’ll have a lot longer of a wait to percolate a pot of coffee in the morning. A lot of gas griddles also have cold-rolled steel griddle tops, which need to be properly maintained. Depending on what you’re making, this could add an extra 5 to 10 minutes to your post-meal cleanup process.