Nothing beats firing up the BBQ grill on your pontoon boat on a hot summer’s day. With all those hungry mouths to feed after an active day on the water, it’s up to you to now feed them! If you already have a pontoon boat grill, then scroll on down to access all the great ideas and recipes you can try out.
Alternatively, if you still don’t yet have a BBQ set-up on board, you can take look at some of my recommended best 5 pontoon boat grills, all of which come with rail mounts or can stand on a table for complete portability.
Pontoon Grill Ideas & Recipes
Using a grill on board a boat, whether it’s a pontoon or otherwise is no different to cooking in your backyard. However, I believe that there are certain food ideas and recipes that are just that much suited for being on the water, river, or lake.
Why? It’s because the majority of pontoon grills do tend to be smaller than the ones you would BBQ with at home due to the size constraints you have on most boats. Unless you are on a massive party barge or huge yacht, you are going to have probably going to have no more than 300 square inches on which to grill food – and you can check the different pontoon grills here in a range of sizes.
ALWAYS USE A COOLER! When using raw meats on board your boat, you should store them in a cooler to prevent food poisoning and cross-contamination. The best marine-grade cooler box you can buy is the Yeti Tundra – view cooler prices.
With that in mind, here is my list of the best pontoon grill ideas and recipes that are ideal for this type of boat. Don’t worry, there’s something for everyone here including meat, vegetarian, and vegan recipe ideas.
1. Simple Meat Kabobs Recipe
One the easiest recipe ideas are meat kabobs. They are quick and simple to prepare, and you won’t end up with too much mess. As long as you have cut the meat into cubes, have kabob steak sticks, and some veggies, then you’re good to go.
For added flavor, take a bottle of your preferred marinade or sauce to lightly drizzle over the kabobs whilst they cook. I advise making a batch of these up, as with hungry people on your pontoon boat, they are bound to come back to the grill for more!
Handy Hint: There are some essential accessories I recommend for when you grill on a boat to make life easier. It includes gadgets for safe and clean cooking on your boat.
2. Grilled Cheese Hot Dogs Recipe
It’s the smell that gets you. Honestly, one smell of this cooking on the grill, and I wouldn’t be surprised if you have a few other boaters pulling up closer to find out what’s cooking!
These are loads of fun, and more importantly, very tasty. They combine two staple classics; grilled cheese and hot dogs. I won’t include a recipe for this, and it’s so obvious what you do, but if you’re in any doubt grill the hot dogs first before anything else.
About 5 minutes before they are cooked, throw the buns on separately to make them crisp up. Then 2 minutes before the end, put the hot dog in the bun, and put the cheese on top which will start to melt. I will often add in grilled bacon as well!
Handy Hint: Click here to see the best portable grills that I recommend you buy.
3: Quick Grilled Fish Recipe
It stands to reason you might have a fish or two on board if you’ve spent the day with your rods, so let’s get cooking with a simple grilled fish idea anyone can do on a pontoon boat.
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- 2 (6 ounce) of fish
Mix together the garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon juice and herbs. This is your marinade that you can then pour over your catch. Ideally you want the fish to marinade for at least an hour.
Once that’s done, raise the grill up 4 inches, drain any excess marinade off the fish, and then grill them for 5 minutes on each side. Simple!
4. Marinated Rib Eye Steak with Honey Butter Recipe
I wanted to finish off the meat selection with with steak, as it’s by far my favorite pontoon boat grill idea. The recipe is simply to follow too, and here’s what it should look like once finished.
- 4 ribeye steaks
- Olive oil
- Steak marinade
- Salt and pepper
Ingredients for the honey sauce:
- 1 stick butter, softened
- 1 tablespoon steak sauce
- 1 tablespoon honey
Spread olive oil over your steaks, let them sit for around 10 minutes and then coat them with a marinade. Leave them overnight in the fridge, and then when ready to grill spread some melted honey butter mix over them.
For best results, grill on a medium heat for 5 minutes each side, depending on how you like your steak cooked.
Vegetarian Boat Grill Recipes
As well as the meat ideas above, I have some vegetarian BBQ options that you can see below. There are also some more ideas for vegetarian options in this list of pre-prepared boat food ideas that you can prepare before you set off on your trip.
5. Cooler Corn on the Cob Recipe
This is a very simple idea and one of our more popular grilling recipes. All you do is boil up some water, pour it into a cool box, then place corn on the cob inside before you go out for the day.
Once on the boat, after a couple of hours, open up the cooler, and the corn will be cooked to perfection and ready to eat.
Alternatively, you can just throw corn cobs straight into the grill, but I would advise wrapping them in aluminum foil first to stop them burning to a crisp.
6. Simple Grilled Veggies Recipe
Not many people often cook vegetables on a grill, but it can be done, and the taste is spectacular! For best results, grab yourself a grilling sheet, so you can cook them without them falling through the bars.
Serving 4 people, all you need are the following ingredients, and grilling them up is very simple.
- 4 cups mixed fresh vegetables including carrots, onions, mushrooms, zucchini, summer squash, bell peppers or sweet potatoes (completely up to you)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or non-stick spray
- Garlic pepper, Italian Seasoning or just salt and pepper for seasoning
Chop your chosen vegetables up, throw in some spices for seasoning and mix up in a bowl. Add oil or non-stick spray then lay onto your grilling sheet. They should be done in 30 or so minutes.
7. Rainbow Veggie Kabobs Recipe
With this boat recipe idea, you can add a real splash of color to your grill. It’s simple too, and I don’t need to go into much detail.
Simply cut your chosen vegetables (which should be colourful ones!), push onto sticks, oil slightly, and then grill them up. For added flavor, squeeze some lime juice over the kabobs just before serving.
Vegan Boat Grill Recipes
Veganism is increasingly popular in the United States, with recent figures saying that 1.62 million Americans now follow this dietary choice. With those numbers, vegans should not be left out of the grilling fun, and here are some boat recipes ideas just for them.
8. Vegan Zucchini Boats on the Grill Recipe
How about a boat-themed vegan option? And that’s exactly what these delicious stuffed zucchinis are, especially when cut into a cute little boat shape. I do recommend that you prepare these before you get on your pontoon though, as they can be a little fiddly.
You can fill the zucchini boats with any filling you like, even meat. It’s up to you!
Serving 4 people, they should take 20 minutes to prepare, then then another 20 minutes to grill.
- 3-4 medium zucchinis
- 3-4 medium potatoes
- 1½ medium red onion
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 bell pepper
- 2 tomatoes
- 100 g grated (vegan) cheese
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon thyme
Chop up some onions and simmer them for a few minutes. Whilst that’s happening, cut the zucchinis in half and scoop out the flesh. You can re-use the zucchini flesh as a filling, so mix that up with filling in a bowl, adding salt and pepper to your taste. The potato will need to boiled separately before going into the mix.
Then fill your zucchini boats with your fillings, sprinkle some vegan cheese over the top, wrap in aluminum foil, and place straight onto the grill for 20 minutes at a high temperature.
9. Magical Grilled Peaches Recipe
And now for something sweet that everyone will love, and not just those on a vegan diet. It’s as simple as cutting peaches into thick slices and then placing them on the boat’s grill for 10 minutes or so.
For added flavor, add melted coconut oil and mesquite seasoning and drizzle over the peaches before you place them on the grill.
10. Grilled Tofu Recipe
This really tasty boat grilling recipe comes from the excellent Fried Dandelions website. Go see how they do it for a full explanation, as they recommend soaking the tofu in black vinegar.
- Tofu, serves 4 people
- 1/4 c soy sauce
- 1/2 black vinegar
- 1 T sesame oil
- 2 inches of fresh ginger, peeled (about the size of my thumb?)
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1/4 c maple syrup
- 2 blocks firm tofu, pressed to remove all water
- Sesame seeds
Cool Grill Accessory Ideas
You’ve got your grill, you’ve got food, you’ve now even got some recipes ideas… but there might be just a few things missing. To make the most of your cooking, you might want to consider buying some grilling accessories.
To see my recommendations, click here for pontoon grill accessories that every boat owner will appreciate.
It includes ideas such as wireless meat thermometers, an awesome 7 in 1 BBQ tool, a portable grill light for cooking in the dark, a grill basket, smoker box, and many cool accessory ideas.
Cooking Tips & Ideas for Grilling on Your Boat
Grilling on your pontoon is not massively different to how would do at home, albeit you are probably going to be cooking on a smaller grill space as discussed earlier.
Here are my tips and ideas on how to keep yourself safe:
- Never cook whilst your boat is moving
- Cook downwind of any flammable items such as Bimini tops
- Don’t let any hot embers fall onto your boat’s deck
- Don’t spray accelerants onto the grill
- Always read the manual
- Don’t leave the BBQ grill unattended
- Check there are no gas leaks in the grill connectors
- Let the grill cool down before packing it away
When it comes to handling food, it pays to have at least a basic understanding of food hygiene. Food poisoning on a boat is never pleasant, particularly if you don’t have a changing potty room area!
Always keep un-cooked meats separate from other foods and contained in a cool box. Keep your hands clean and wash all your utensils correctly. Visit the Kitchn website for a beginner’s guide if you need further details.
The Best Rail Mounted Grill for a Pontoon Boat
If you do own a pontoon boat, then there’s one particular grill that I always recommend, and that’s the Cuisinart one that’s modified for pontoons. It comes with easy to use brackets meaning you can attach it quickly to your rails.
Cooking on the rails will leave less mess, makes things simple and gives you more room on deck too. This particular grill is also portable with a stand on it, so it can be used once you hit the beach, or on any boat for that matter.
To read a review and find out more about this great product plus view prices, click here to find out more.
Just because you are limited by space, it doesn’t mean that you can’t cook up something really tasty on your boat.
I will be looking to add more pontoon boat grill ideas and recipes in the coming months, so please do bookmark this page and come on back soon for some more inspiration!
Handy Hint: Want more pontoon boat grill and food ideas? Click here for even more suggestions.