Product Review: Magma BeachFire/Rio Grill

What’s better than a freshly grilled steak or cheeseburger after you’ve set anchor at the end of a full day of sailing? Anything you could cook on that wimpy alcohol stove in the galley? Share your nominees in the comments below. For the rest of us, the issue isn’t what but where, because that alcohol stove isn’t going to get the job done right. If you’re looking for a high quality, efficient, and compact gas grille to use on your sailboat and elsewhere, read on.

The classic sailboat grill choice is a round Magma kettle grill that you mount on your sailboat’s pushpit rail. For the stingy sailor, there are two problems with that. First, there isn’t enough space on most small sailboat railings to permanently mount a grill. On a C-22, it would obstruct the main sheet, the outboard motor, or the swim ladder. On larger sailboats, it’s not such an issue. Second, a Magma kettle grill will set you back $200-$300 depending on the model plus another $100 for the rail mount and a cover. That’s a big investment unless you live aboard and will use it often.

For a small sailboat, the best grill choice is one that can be easily stowed in a lazarette when not in use. You want one that is portable, well built, easy to clean, rust resistant, and doesn’t cost as much as a new self-tailing winch. And it would be nice if it looked great too – boat jewelry, you know.

The Magma BeachFire fills that bill on all counts:

  • 9″ x 12″ grilling surface big enough for couples or small families but small enough to stow even under the cockpit sole
  • Mirror-polished stainless steel throughout
  • Lockable lid with draw-tight latch
  • Large, heat-resistant, air-cooled handle
  • Fold-away tabletop legs
  • Locking grease tray
  • Easy disassembly for cleaning
  • Swiveling, removable control valve/regulator for 1lb. disposable propane fuel canisters
  • Compatible accessories by Magma sold separately
Room for four 1/4 pound burger patties or your favorite vittles

That’s the good news. Now for the bad news. Not too bad, really.

First, Magma does not recommend the BeachFire for use on boats, presumably because the metal legs or the bottom of the grill could get hot enough to damage the surface on which it sits and that’s probably true. However, in real life use, my experience has been that if I cook with reasonable temperatures and times and monitor the surface underneath the grill, heat is not a big problem. I’ve also found that placing a sheet of aluminum foil underneath the grill provides some shielding and catches accidental drips. Regardless, if you start a grease fire in one and burn your sailboat down, don’t sue me. You were warned here.

Second, the BeachFire has been discontinued by Magma for unknown reasons and is no longer available for sale. However, I was able to find the identical Magma Rio Adventurer Gourmet Marine Gas Grill for sale at for the same price as I paid for the BeachFire, under $100. Note that I receive no affiliate compensation from Defender. I just like this grill and I’m passing on the deal.

Move the grills to the back of the cabinet and you can store the regulator and fuel bottle inside. The lid locks to keep everything together. Put them in a gallon size Ziploc bag if the grill is dirty

I’ve used this grill aboard Summer Dance for several years now and I’ve been pleased with the size, performance, convenience, and quality. Besides being a great addition to your sailboat, it would make a good choice for your next beach cookout, tailgate party, potluck in the park, or ordinary dinner on the patio or deck. Bon appétit!

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. Stanley McCall says:

    I bought a BBQ similar to that at Costco a lot cheaper. I put two pieces of wood across the cockpit and put the BBQ on that.
    That keeps the heat away from the fiberglass.

  2. Derek Nixon says:

    Any ideas on fitting twin keeps to my Catalina as she leans over when drys out making sleeping difficult. Cheers Degs

    1. If you’re asking about adding lee cloths to sleeping berths, sorry, I don’t have any ideas on that for Catalinas, sorry.

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