Cobb BBQ Review: The Best BBQ For Sailing?

cobb bbq

Cobb BBQ Review

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Is The Cobb BBQ Grill The Best BBQ For Sailing?

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For most people, sailing in hot countries is the dream. Pulling into an anchorage where the water is warm and crystal clear, sunbathing on deck and eating outside as the sun’s setting is what you imagine when someone asks you on a sailing holiday.

But what most don’t consider is that the beautiful all day 30 degree temperatures also equate to a virtually unusable galley.

The last thing you want to do when it’s hot outside is spend an hour down below boiling water over a gas stove with the oven blazing. During our first season living aboard we alternated between drawing straws as to who had to slave away in the sauna and giving up altogether and skipping dinner or tucking into a cold can of beans. We vowed that for our next season we would invest in a BBQ, and invest we did!

We don’t have a big disposable income. We would rather be here doing what we’re doing than spending money on nice ‘things’. So choosing to splash out and buy a BBQ was a big decision for us, and one we wanted to make sure we’d thoroughly researched!

cheese cooking on a cobb bbq on a sailing boat
Cobb BBQs in the boat yard
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We took a good look at what was available, we asked other cruisers and of course had to try them out for ourselves (usually we didn’t have to force the invite!) There are a lot of great options out there, and also a lot of great inventiveness.

We saw a few home made BBQs attached to the sterns of boats that had saved people a little money, but when we looked into it ourselves we decided it wasn’t worth the small amount of money saved. We were going to treat ourselves!

There were several important questions we needed answers to before we splashed out, and hopefully they will help you decide on the right BBQ for your sailboat too.

Where Will You Keep Your Sailboat BBQ?

Sailboats aren’t known for their huge amounts of storage space. I’ve got a little better at organisation since moving aboard (you can check out my top storage ideas here) but a BBQ for our 38ft boat had to be small.

Many sailors keep their BBQs attached to the stern on their sailboats. We had crewed on a boat with this arrangement and it worked well, but we had found it a little stressful making sure it didn’t hit anything when mooring.

At one point, it got caught on a shore line and was nearly pulled clean off. As newish sailors we already found mooring a little tense and we didn’t fancy putting more obstacles in the way. We also decided the extra faff of trying to look after something else that was exposed 24/7 to the elements wasn’t worth it.

We needed something small enough to fit at the bottom of our one wardrobe.

What Do You Want To Use Your BBQ For?

fish cooking on a cobb bbq on a beach
We take our Cobb BBQ everywhere

This sounds like a silly question! Obviously for BBQs! But we knew we would want to take the BBQ to beaches and even on walks if we fancied. We wanted a portable BBQ that we could use on or off the boat. It had to be possible to carry it around, so not too big or too heavy.

Where Will You Get Fuel?

We try to live at anchor as much as possible, and our favourite anchorages are the ones far away from everyone else! This means we’re quite often hours walk from the nearest town or supermarket. Finding fuel regularly is just not an option. We needed a BBQ that uses fuel efficiently and is easy to find when we ran out.

Choosing A Cobb BBQ For Sailiing

a cobb bbq on the beach with the sun setting behind
Compact and easy to transport

With all of this in mind we found a firm favourite among all the different BBQs we saw – the Cobb BBQ. We bought our Cobb BBQ for sailing at the beginning of the year and we use it at every chance we get. Now that we’ve been using it for a season we can give an honest account of it’s good and not so good features to help you decide whether the Cobb BBQ is right for your sailboat!

The Cobb BBQ has humble beginnings. The developers idea was to encourage native Africans to use corncobs as fuel for cooking, rather than less eco-friendly wood or coal. He came up with a simple clay pot stove design with a steel mesh grill that Africans could easily make and fuel with their abundant supply of corncobs.

The idea developed and resulted in the development of the Eco Cobb. This cheap, all metal stove could be distributed in aid programmes in third world countries globally.

The Pros Of The Cobb BBQ For Sailing

Put It Anywhere – Honestly!

The base of the Cobb BBQ stays cool so you can put it literally anywhere (yes, even on the teak!) We very cautiously tested this to begin with, not completely convinced that we wouldn’t end up with burn marks all over the teak, but true to its word it doesn’t leave a mark. You can even pick it and move it around if it gets in the way!

It’s also perfect for putting on outdoor surfaces like grass or dry twigs because it doesn’t get hot so we aren’t worried about leaving any trace.

Small Enough To Store and Transport

The Cobb BBQ is small enough to fit in the bottom of the wardrobe and light enough to carry around. It weighs just 3.8kg. We’ve taken it on walks to beaches and it goes in the dinghy with no problems. It actually comes with a handy carry case that it fits in perfectly with room for any accessories and the bag has decent handles so you can sling it over your shoulder.

Easy To Clean

cooking fish on a cobb bbq on a sailboat
Super convenient for sailboat life

Something that I didn’t even consider before I bought it but that I’m now so thankful for. We don’t have a lot of water on board so we need things that are easy to wash up. The tray of the Cobb BBQ fits in our sink and is super easy to wipe clean. We’ve never had to leave it to soak like I did with my BBQ back home. It’s even dishwasher safe, so if you’re using it between hoe and the boat then it’s perfect.

Such Versatile Cooking Options

You can basically cook anything you like on it, even bread! There is a moat around the fuel area for you to roast or boil veg, or you can use the moat to infuse flavour into whatever you’re cooking (add some water with herbs, or some wine or cider to flavour your meat, fish or veggie alternatives!) This small extra feature makes cooking on it a whole lot more fun (master chef eat your heart out!)

The grill is designed so that fats will drip down into the moat, sparing your surfaces and keeping your meats healthy.

The Cobb BBQ Is Fuel Efficient

This baby burns for hours. We opted for the charcoal Cobb BBQ but you can choose to go for gas instead. We put in a couple of coals, literally maybe 4 or 5, and it’s the perfect amount to cook up a feast.

Cobb recommend you get their briquettes which have amazing reviews, but we knew that getting them delivered every time we ran out would be a pain so we started as we meant to go on. I would say we cook on the Cobb BBQ at least 3 times a week and it takes us over a month to get through a small bag of coal. It’s cheaper than our gas oven and way more fun to use!

The Cons Of The Cobb BBQ

a cobb bbq cooking vegetarian food
Delicious!

Could Be Even Smaller

Although it is small enough to store, the lid does make it a little taller than we’d prefer. We’ve tried taking the lid off to store but that doesn’t help much as it doesn’t tuck away easily due to the domed shame.

Cobb do now make mini versions of the original Cobb BBQ that are less deep without compromising on cooking space on the grill. This sounds like a great upgrade and we would have gone for this option if we’d found it at the time!

The only negative we could think of here is that it wouldn’t hold as much fuel, so it would depend on whether you were planning on cooking big chunks of meat on the grill and needed it to burn for longer.

How Many Are You Cooking For On Your Cobb BBQ?

The Cobb BBQ Premier (the version we bought) is the perfect size for two and ok for four. We think that a lot more than that and it would start getting tricky to juggle. There isn’t loads of room on the grill, so cooking lots of food at once would be tricky. I would say it fits four ‘normal’ sized burgers on it perfectly, six at a squeeze. We make vegetable skewers a lot and it fits two long skewers along the middle.

If you’re planning on cooking for bigger groups of people then you might want to consider the Cobb BBQ supreme which is bigger and oval shaped. We would have got this if space wasn’t such an issue.

On The Pricier Side At £120

For us, the Cobb BBQ was worth every penny as we use it so much and get so much enjoyment out of it. We would actually have paid more for it and been happy. That being said, if you’re not fussy like us then you can pick up a BBQ for a lot less, it just won’t be as good!

We looked at lots of copy cat cheaper options but the reviews were terrible so we didn’t risk it. If you’re on a super tight budget this might not be the BBQ for you!

BBQs from anywhere!

Must Knows

Where Can I Get Mine?

We got ours straight from Amazon because we know we can rely on their delivery service to countries outside the UK. It was also the best priced Cobb BBQ we could find at £130.

The Range

Cobb make several different types of their BBQ and there are different ‘sets’ you can buy too.

We have the Cobb Premier which we rave about to anyone that will listen! As we talked about earlier, they have a compact Cobb BBQ that would be great for a cruising couple wanting to save on space or a Cobb supreme for families or parties.

They have also just introduced a Cobb Air with some new improvements like better air flow.

As usual, you can buy it in sets that come with different accessories. We would definitely recommend the carry case as we were impressed with the quality of it and have used it to store the BBQ in and to carry it on adventures!

As you can see, we’re complete Cobb BBQ converts. We absolutely love the way it’s changed our cooking game on board and we now fight about whose turn it is to do the cooking in the evening! We love experimenting with different recipes (some amazing and some complete disasters – I’m not the best cook!) but most of all we love being able to take our oven where ever we want, to the bow, to the beach, into the mountains.

Hopefully this review was useful. Got a Cobb? Let us know what you think below!

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