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How to Have the Best Beach Barbecue | BBQGuys Tips

Grilling meats and vegetables on the beach

Watching the waves roll in while the aroma of chargrilled meat mingles with the salty air — what could be better?

With so much of our time spent stuck at home in 2020, people are using their own grills, smokers, and firepits more than ever. While grilling is always a great pastime, in the summer the only thing better than a backyard BBQ is a beach BBQ.


Before you fire up the grill, there are some things to keep in mind to get the most out of your trip to the beach. And remember, always check the local rules and make sure to stay safe.

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Beach Barbecue Tips from BBQGuys

Here are some tried-and-true tips for cooking tri-tip (or burgers, fish, chicken kabobs, etc.) on your favorite stretch of sand from contributor Chef Tony Matassa with BBQGuys.


  1. Know the Rules

    There’s nothing worse than packing up all your grilling gear, getting to the beach, and finding out grills are prohibited. Once you decide which beach you’re going to, look up the regulations for BBQing. Some beaches only let you cook in the fire pits, while others let you bring grills that have to be a certain height off the ground or only use a particular fuel. If you do have to use a beach fire pit, stock up on wood, bring a grill grate, and plan on getting there very early to claim a spot if it’s first come, first served.

  2. Get a Portable Grill

    If your favorite beach is BYOB (bring your own BBQ), then you’ll want to invest in a grill that’s easy to carry. There’s a terrific selection of portable or tabletop grills on the market, so you have plenty of choices. You can even find a small kamado or pizza oven that’s easy to use on the go for extra versatility; some grills are also designed to withstand heavy saltwater exposure for heavy beach use. Whatever you choose, look for one that’s lightweight (meaning it can be carried by one or two people) with handles that make toting it to the beach a breeze.

  3. Plan Your Grilling Menu

    At the beach, you want to keep things simple. Your smoked ribs may be delicious at home, but too messy to eat in a beach chair on the sand. You also don’t want to cook anything too time-consuming so you’re not stuck at the grill for hours when you could be surfing or building sandcastles with your kids. Finally, a portable grill may not have a large cooking surface, so you’ll want foods that don’t take up a lot of space. 

Kabobs are a great choice because they’re quick and easy to grill, and small enough to heat up several at once. Plus, you can do all the prep work at home. Another great choice: grilling fish, veggies, or baked potatoes in foil packets. (The simple clean up is a bonus.) If you’re using a beach fire pit, you can’t go wrong with giving everyone a roasting stick and letting them cook their own hot dogs over the flames.

  4. Don’t Forget the Sides

    Again, simplicity is key: cut-up watermelon slices, bags of chips, and roasted marshmallows and s’mores for dessert. If you opt for cold foods, keep them on ice in a cooler until you’re ready to eat and don’t leave them out in the sun too long. Food poisoning is a sure way to ruin the beach BBQ vibe.

  5. Keep It Clean

    You’ve had a great day, and a great meal. Now it’s time to head home, but first you’ve got to leave the beach as beautiful as you found it. Bringing an extra garbage bag for napkins, wrappers, and other trash makes cleaning up a snap. For a beach fire pit, put out the flames and dispose of any leftover coals or wood after they’ve cooled. Clean off your grate with a grill brush or a similar tool, and be sure the grill is cool to the touch so you can carry it back to your car (or buy a heat-resistant cover).

  6. Make a List and Check It Twice

    A day at the beach in San Diego or anywhere is all about relaxing. You can’t chill out if you’re scrambling because you forgot your propane tank or hamburger buns. Use this checklist as a general guide for what you need to pack:

  • * Portable grill, if using
  • * Fuel (charcoal, firewood, propane tank, lighter fluid, matches/lighter or newspapers, depending on how you’re grilling)
  • * Tools (tongs, grill brush, spatula, roasting sticks, and a flashlight for nighttime grilling)
  • * Utensils, if needed (plates, silverware, cups, napkins). Ideally, bring reusable utensils you can bag up at the end of the day and clean at home. It’s better for the planet, including our beaches and oceans!
  • * Beach chairs or blankets
  • * Drinks
  • * Food (main dish, sides, desserts, and condiments, if needed)
  • * Extra trash bags
  • * A jug of water for washing hands or cleaning up.



– Article by Chef Tony Matassa


About Chef Tony


Chef Tony Matassa is an outdoor living expert. Tony’s incredible knowledge of food science originated in his family’s New Orleans restaurant. He has worked with some of the best chefs in the Cajun heartland and has spent the last 12 years creating recipe videos and product demonstrations for BBQGuys, an outdoor living superstore based in Baton Rouge and one of America’s leading online retailers for outdoor cooking products.

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