What’s For Dinner Onboard?

Even when you are out on the water, you still have to deal with the age old question, ‘what’s for dinner??” If you are home, there are lots of choices that can be made on the spur of the moment. Go pick up fast food? Get out a frozen pizza? Go out to Olive Garden or Red Lobster? It’s not quite as easy out on the water.

If you are near a waterfront restaurant, that could be an option. An expensive option. Sandwiches for 2 and you are talking $40. Dinner, try $60. It’s even worse if you have a couple of teens with you. This routine every week, adds up. It takes a lot of money away from your fuel budget. So your other option is to eat on board. If you have dropped the hook in a quiet cove/anchorage somewhere, eating onboard is your ONLY option, unless you have friends nearby and you go over and eat on their boat.

Let’s assume the plan is to go drop the hook in a good fishing spot. This means you have to come up with something on your own. If you haven’t planned anything before you untied at the dock, or unloaded your boat at the ramp, then you are going to have to scrounge around onboard for something to eat. If you are just out for the day, you might be able to manage on some peanut butter crackers and beer. But if the trip is going to last for the weekend, you are going to have to do some real planning. Especially if you have kids going with you.

The planning might require a trip to the grocery store. Grabbing something out of the freezer or pantry at home. Maybe a trip by a fast food place or a combination of all, since you are going to have to plan for 2 days if you are going on just a weekend trip.

Most of the time, the menu and planning falls to the woman, whether she is a spouse, a significant other or just a friend. In the case where the captain and crew are all guys, they have to battle it out as to who’s responsibility it is plan the menu and shop for the ingredients.

Your menu choices are limited by your boat, the cooking facilities and your energy resources. Unless you have a generator, you are on total battery power when you are away from the dock and that has a direct effect on what’s for dinner.

Most any boat can handle a gas marine grill like a Force 10 or Magma gas grill. There are many things that you can cook on there, besides hamburgers and hot dogs.
Many sailboats have propane stove/oven combos and that lends itself to many types of great meals. . If you have an inverter and enough battery power, you can cook everything in the microwave. No generator necessary.

In this blog, we are going to present an assortment of recipes and menus. Not all can be done on a 24footer power or sail boat with a gas grill. Many power boats 35ft and up have a generator and with that, you have a wide range of options. Toaster ovens, portable convection ovens, coffee pots, blenders, crockpots and anything you like to use at home, can be used on the boat. You just have to be careful about adding to the boat’s water line and overloading the boat with kitchen gadgets. This is where the planning comes in. make up your menu and make sure you have the right item onboard for preparation. If you brought it from home, and don’t normally keep it onboard, take it home when the weekend is over. This keeps the boat from getting overloaded.

Your crew is not going to want a steady diet of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every weekend all summer. You can only get away with that every so often.

Steaks make a great dinner. Instead of having them at home during the week, save them for that great weekend out on the boat. Usually you can get the captain to take care of cooking the steaks so all you have to do is come up with the side dishes.

Gas grills are great for sizzling steaks.. They are a lot easier than a charcoal grill. A pack of small gas cylinders from a home improvement store will last all summer. The downside of the charcoal grill is having to keep a bag of charcoal onboard and a can of lighter fluid. Even the charcoal that supposedly doesn’t need lighter fluid sometimes needs some help in the form of lighter fluid.

Over the summer the lighter fluid evaporates from the charcoal and by late in the season, it won’t light. That could ruin your Saturday evening dinner. If you are lucky, you are rafted up with another boat and they will help you out with your ‘crisis’. If not, you might find yourself on your dinghy, riding around from boat to boat, searching for lighter fluid or somebody to cook your steaks. If you spot someone else with their grill fired up, even though they don’t know you, they may cook your steaks for you! Boaters are a pretty helpful bunch. If you are in a pinch, you can often find someone to lend a hand.

In our next posting, we will get into fixing some easy summer side dishes, that are perfect to go with that steak.