Beach BBQs are great fun. When you are cruising you go to lots of Beach BBQs. When we first started cruising we always used to forget half the things we needed.
Which meant that we had to borrow from our friends or head back to the boat to get all the things we forgot. Eventually, I sat down and made a Beach BBQ Checklist. Now the only thing we need to go back to the boat for is more cold beers.
Beach BBQ Checklist – For The Fire
- Culinary torch to light the fire
- Bucket to douse the fire
- Webber and Gas Bottle (If you’re bringing your grill from the boat)
The most important part of the Beach BBQ is the fire. The kids love making the biggest bonfire that they can. When we get to the beach, everyone runs around collecting sticks and logs, actually, anything to burn.
We usually make two fires, one for cooking and one for the kids to play with. Yes, when you are a cruiser, you have no problem with your kids playing with fire.
The Beach BBQ Party-Pooper
One thing worth knowing before lighting any fires on tropical beaches is that there is a very poisonous tree called the manchineel tree.
This tree grows in Florida, the Caribbean, the Bahamas, and parts of Central and South America. It has bright green leaves and small highly toxic apple-like fruits. These trees are so poisonous that if you stand under them in the rain, it feels like you are taking an acid bath. The smoke is poisonous too.
The wood of the Manchineel Tree smells sweet. My daughter says it smells like maple syrup. Our kids know not to collect any sweet-smelling wood for firewood.
The trees may be marked with a sign or a red ring painted around the trunk. For more information about manchineel trees take a look at this article on the Manchineel Tree, Proof that Mother Nature Hates Us.
When you are having a beach BBQ, you don’t want to cook on the fire of the manchineel tree. For this reason, we always take charcoal to the beach. Charcoal is easy to find, in most countries. And we always make sure we have a few bags on the boat.
Firestarter if you have some, although my kids tell me you are cheating and should be ashamed of yourself if you use firestarter. Whatever!
Culinary torch to light the fire, because using a firestarter may be cheating, but rubbing two sticks together to start a fire is ridiculous!
And you need a bucket to douse the fire. Although we have been known to use the empty salad or side dish bowl, it works perfectly well too.
When we were in the San Blas Islands off the coast of Panama, we had so many Beach BBQs we ran out of charcoal. The closest decent provisioning was a day’s sail to Linton Bay, and that wasn’t going to happen for a bag of charcoal.
So we decided to take our boat BBQ, a Weber Q1000 Portable BBQ, to the beach with us. This was such a success we now do it regularly. It’s Just so easy to set up. Not to mention that it just cooks beef, chicken, and ribs so well. If you are taking your BBQ, don’t forget the gas/propane tank. It is worth noting that we can get about four months of use out of one BBQ-sized propane bottle, so we don’t need to carry around much propane.
Beach BBQ Cooking Checklist
- Grill or grate to cook food on
- Grill tongs
- Salt and Pepper
- Condiments if required
- Food to cook
- Side dishes
If you are making a fire, having a good grill for cooking on is very important. You might want to think about bringing one with you from home. We, unfortunately, left ours on a beach after a very successful beach BBQ in The Caribbean. We had a bit of a tough time finding a replacement. I recommend getting one with sturdy fold-away legs, which makes storage on the boat much easier.
I recommend grill tongs with a nice long handle, to keep your hands as far away from the fire as possible.
Don’t forget your beef, chicken, sausages, etc. that you are planning on cooking, as well as your side dishes. While you are gathering your food, don’t forget to grab the Salt, Pepper, and any condiments you might need.
Beach BBQ Utensils Checklist
- Silverware/ Knives & Forks
- Cutting board
- Serving spoon
- Paper towels
- Garbage bag
Plates, knives, and forks. When we first started going to beach BBQs, we always ended up coming home with a plate, knife, or fork short. I lost most of my good cutlery set to Hog Island Beach BBQs in Grenada. I learned two things from this:
- Don’t take the good stuff to the beach for the BBQ. Buy a set you use just for beach BBQs.
- My family will always leave their things lying around. So, as soon as I’m finished eating, I collect the plates and utensils and put them in the bag. I drive my family insane, but I haven’t lost anything in ages. Figures, now that I’m using the beach set, it all comes home.
I bought one of these fantastic picnic backpacks. It has the following items you need for four people.
- cutlery sets
- wine glasses
- salt and pepper shakers
- plates and napkins
- cheese knife
- wood cheese board
- waterproof picnic blanket
I love the fact that everything folds up nice and neatly and as long as everything gets packed away after using it, a lot of the items on my Beach BBQ Checklist are together and ready to go.
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Beach BBQ Drinks Checklist
- Adult Drinks
- Kid Drinks
- Corkscrew / Bottle opener
- Rum Cooler
No beach BBQ is complete without something to drink. I always take a bottle or two of water with me. I’m often not sure why, but it always ends up being drunk. If you want some ideas on how to keep your drinks cold at the beach, take a look at our post on How to Keep Cocktails Cold.
When we are going to a beach BBQ, we normally take a rum cooler such as a Painkiller, or Pina Colada to the beach, in our Coleman Jug for everyone to share.
Other Beach BBQ Items
- Phone for music and photos
- Portable Speaker
- Luci Lights with String to hang Luci lights
- Beach umbrella
- Bug spray
- Beach mat
- Folding table
- Folding Chairs
- Picnic Blanket
- Headlamp – Get a Mantus headlamp they are great
Music at a beach BBQ is always great. Generally, there are loads of people with phones for music, but very few have a portable speaker. We really like ours, it is small, easy to carry, waterproof and has great sound quality.
Luci Lights are really cool waterproof, solar-powered lights. Pretty much all of the cruisers I know have a few of these lying around. They are most often used in the cockpit for a bit of extra lighting in the evening. They give off a much warmer light than our cockpit LED lights. And are still very bright. When you take your Luci Light to the beach, remember to take some string or line with you so you can hang it up in a tree.
Check out this folding table, it weighs 2.2lbs and folds into a small bag the size of a collapsable beach chair. Speaking of beach chairs, we really love our Coleman beach chairs. Remember, give your table and chairs a freshwater rinse back on the boat and, make sure they are properly dry before you pack them away.
I know you’re thinking, Wow, that is a long list. It isn’t really if you clean pack it all away after every use, then there are only a few things that you need to remember to grab out of the galley.