Looking for a grill for your truck hitch? You’re not alone.
Being able to unload your grill and cook wherever you feel like is a liberating experience.
Many grills and smokers can be loaded onto the back of a truck, stored inside an SUV, and then used on the tailgate.
There is a difference between that and a grill that is designed to fit on the truck tow hitch!
The grill for a truck hitch is designed to fit onto the standard 2″ hitch and has a frame that folds out when the grill is needed and then folds away once the grilling is done.
The grill is securely attached to the truck or SUV and provides a sturdy, safe outdoor cooking platform.
Grills that fit the truck hitch are superbly convenient and safe to transport as they don’t shift around in the cargo area and don’t take up extra space inside.
So, his leaves more room for luggage – and one of the best examples of these are the Hitchfire grills.
Who Are Hitchfire Grills
The Hitchfire grill comes from the Tepui, specializing in rooftop tents, and became available on pre-order around September 2020.
Their idea was to create an outdoor grilling system that could attach to the tow hitch rather than the commonplace clamp-style grills.
Why Hitch Grills Are Safer And More Convenient
The biggest concerns around the clamp-style grills were safety.
That if not adequately secured, those blazing hot grills and the food could capsize and cause injury or create a fire and spill your food everywhere.
The other concern was the inconvenience of storage and packing the unit as if you were heading out on an adventure with a group of people.
You would need to have a good-sized grill to accommodate the food volume required.
This would mean a larger grill, with either gas or coal, taking up valuable space in the trunk or the cargo bay.
Plus it would need to be securely strapped down to avoid it coming loose during transit.
Grills that utilize a metal tubing frame and connect to the tow hitch are far more solid, safe, and sturdy than clamp-mounted grills or tailgate grills.
Plus, they offer the convenience of a fold-out grill and don’t require the grill to be placed on the tailgate or cargo bed.
Now, let’s explore the HitchFire Grills in more detail.
For this article, we will be looking at the HItchFire Forge 15, which is the smaller of the two models – the HitchFire Forge 20 being the larger one.
Setting Up The Hitchfire Grill
All of the components for the grill are included, and setting it up was quite simple.
The arms of the grill are made from heavy-duty steel, and it fits the standard 2″ fitting and is secured by a large bolt.
Doing this is better with two people so that one can bolt and the other can hold, but one person can do it with a bit of patience.
HitchFire has ensured that the setup of this grill is easy, and kudos to them for designing it to make the layout simple and convenient.
This already demonstrates that they have considered the customers’ needs and taken steps to deliver a first-class product.
Then it was time to attach the grill itself.
By following the instructions, you should have no difficulty assembling the grill and attaching it to the metal frame with the supplied pins and bolts.
Another innovation that HitchFire offer is that the arm can be adapted to the 1 ¼” hitch provided the adapter can stand the grill weight.
This can be exceptionally useful when you have a bike rack or an oversized tailgate.
The Hitchfire Will Block Rear Sensors
One of the downsides of attaching the grill was that if you have rear sensors on your vehicle, the Hitchfire grill will interfere with or even block them.
This means that you may need to shut them down while you are traveling or have to deal with the constant beeping!
The other consideration is that the grill can obstruct the view of your license plate.
Still, fortunately, Hitchfire has considered this and offers hardware that allows you to mount the license plate on the swingarm.
So you don’t incur any unwanted interest from Highway Patrol or other traffic enforcement agencies.
How Big Is The HitchFire Forge 15 Grill
This grill offers 355 sq inches of cooking space and has dimensions of 39″ X 13″ X 21″, so it is pretty compact.
On the other hand, the HitchFire Forge 20 measures 42″ X17″ X 23″ with the same cooking area as the Forge 15.
The difference between the two is the burners.
Whereas the Forge 15 has two 7500 BTU gas burners, the Forge 20 has two 10000 BTU gas burners.
In essence, the two grills are very similar in size.
HitchFire’s Fold Out Tables Are Ingenious
One of the intelligent elements of The HitchFire Grill is the fold-out tables that come with the unit.
One of the significant challenges with outdoor or adventure grilling is to have suitable tables that can hold cooking accessories or food once the cooking is done.
The Forge 15 has two built-in fold-out tables measuring 13″ X 10 ½” and can easily support the weight of plates of food, drinks, or cooking accessories.
Once folded out, they are easy to access, and it makes the outdoor cooking experience that much easier and less challenging than other outdoor grills.
Plus, you don’t need to pack extra tables and so you can save space in the load bay or trunk.
HitchFire has also recognized that not everyone wants to use their grill still attached to their vehicle, so the Forge 15 can also be a tabletop grill.
It has rubber feet so as to keep it stable and prevent slipping while being used, so versatility and flexibility come included!
HitchFire Forge 15 – Durability During Transport
With any outdoor grill, the durability will be tested, but with one that fits on the tow-hitch, will it be strong enough to withstand the bumps and jumps of rough terrain?
HitchFire has done their homework on this aspect, and the grill remains securely locked while in transit and doesn’t wobble or shake under the stress of moving over rough terrain.
The lid has a lock that keeps it in place while driving and using rugged latches, pins, and screws to lock the frame in place keeps the whole unit secured regardless of the terrain.
Suppose you are traveling over particularly bumpy roads.
It may be a wise idea to stop and ensure that the grill is still secure as you may find some loosening of pins or screws under all the shaking.
But the securing system is generally excellent and should remain solidly in place for hundreds of miles.
The HitchFire Forge 15 – Fuel Supply & Temperature Management
The Forge 15 uses two 16 oz propane tanks that fit onto each side and screw into place as a portable grill.
This grill does not have a fuel gauge, so having more than one tank would be advisable to ensure you don’t run out of fuel.
With a proper adapter hose, you could also use a 20-pound propane tank.
You would not have the tanks connected while driving, but installing them is pretty simple.
Since you have two burners, you can use each for different foods if you need to.
Each has its own temperature control, so keeping food warm on one while cooking full burn on the other is a great benefit.
Speaking of temperature control, this unit works better when both burners are used.
While the single burner does reach around 400F on pre-heat, the grill loses temperature much faster when the grill is opened with the single burner than with both in operation.
The grill reached 500F in the same pre-heat time with both burners and maintained its temperature far better than the single grill.
With the burners on high, you need to be aware of flare-ups as the flames will lick up around the edges of the burner.
Even with the drip trays in place, the higher temperatures can cause flare-ups.
At mid-temperature, the grill is still very hot, and this reduces the risk of flare-ups while cooking, so if you don’t need to run the burners at maximum, rather don’t.
Cleaning The HitchFire Grill
The only catch with cleaning the HitchFire grill was removing the grease tray at the back as it is held in place by a tab that can be tricky to release.
But cleaning it was pretty easy once it was out. As an idea, line that grease trap with aluminum foil to make that part of cleaning easier.
Once the grill has cooled off, you can scrub down the grill using a steel brush and remove any leftover food particles from the bottom of the grill.
One concern is the accumulation of dust during transport.
If you don’t have the cover sold separately, you may find a layer of dust on the outside and inside when you finally stop, but this is easily cleaned off.
As with most grills, you will need to do a deep clean eventually.
But that can be done once the grill has been used for a few months; in the meantime, wiping it down after each cooking session will be more than sufficient.
The HitchFire Forge 15 – Price
Overall, this is a phenomenal piece of gear! It is solid, robust, and durable and delivers excellent performance in every area.
When it comes to the price, many may feel that at $549, this is on the expensive side, which, if you only got the grill, it would be.
But you need to remember that you are getting the swingarm included, which more than justifies the price.
While other grills may have slightly less space and cost less, they don’t offer the swingarm attachment.
This allows the HitchFire to go wherever you go without the inconvenience of taking up cargo space.
If you are someone that enjoys a lot of outdoor cooking and you can save space and set up the grill quickly and with ease.
Plus get an excellent build quality and innovative design, then an investment of this type will pay good dividends over the lifetime of the grill.
We have covered the Hitcfhire Grill, but are there smokers that can hitch to your truck available?
The answer is yes, there are, so let’s look at some of those.
Smokers are generally bigger with more cooking space.
So when we look at a smoker like the Basic Tailgater from Johnsons Custom Smokers or Gator Pit’s range of hitch smokers, you will get a lot more space for a lot more money!
And if you thought the Hitchfire Forge 15 was expensive, you ain’t seen nothing yet!
Gator Pit Hitch Grills And Smokers
Gator Pits of Texas offers two models in 24″ grill only and a 30″ smoker/grill.
These offer 480 sq inches of cooking space on the 30″ smoker and 384 sq inches on the 24″ grill.
They have 10″ legs with heavy-duty wheels for any terrain and come complete with the hitch adapter made with a ¼” thick wall and 2″ square tubing.
These are not as compact as the Hitchfire, but Gator Pits has made them tough and durable and can be used as grills or smokers.
It has a temperature gauge included, removable heavy-duty charcoal, wood, and food grates.
It also has a grease drain with a cap to make it easier to remove the grease after cooking.
You can also lock the pit onto the truck to prevent it from being stolen, and considering the price of this unit, that may not be a bad idea!
The 24″ Gator Pit sells for $2595.99, and the 30″ smoker version is cheaper at $2395.
Johnsons Custom Smokers – Basic Tailgater
This is a monster of a smoker and offers 6 square feet of the total cooking area!
It fits a standard 2″ hitch, and the gas-assisted design means you can grill on coal one day and smoke with gas the next!
That will be enough to feed a small crowd at a football game!
This pit is designed not to affect the paint on your vehicle when at temperature.
It uses a standard reverse flow design but has been custom engineered to remove hot spots inside the pit.
This ensures even heat distribution and smoke flow throughout the cooking chamber.
Another great idea here is that the stacks have rain caps for some additional weather protection.
The unit is made from 3/16 steel making it heavy, but not too heavy, and it can be easily carried and maneuvered by two men.
This unit is also pricey at $2175 but certainly brings a lot to the table!
If $2000 truck grills arent your thing, a good alternative to the Hitch Fire is both the PKGO and NOMAD Grills.
PK Grills (Portable Kitchen) is a family owned business based out of Arkansas and their grills are Made in America! But, its not just that that makes them special.
PK Grills are RUST-PROOF due to their construction being cast aluminum and that carries a whopping 20-year warranty.
Additionally, the PKGO can smoke, sear or anything in between thanks to its exceptional heat retention and 4-vent top-to-bottom airflow system.
Finally, you can use the PK Flip Kit and turn your PK into a convertible and DOUBLE your cooking space for a large group.
- Dual water-shedding radial exhaust vents
- Digital probe access door
- Durabilium handle
- Real two-zone cooking
- Molded cradle, charcoal grate, cast iron cooking surface
Next, we have NOMAD Grills and Smokers. Looking like a nuclear bomb briefcase, this Bond gadget is a highly technical, portable grill and smoker with exceptional build quality.
Whether you want to smoke some ribs or sear a steak, you can do it with the NOMAD Grill.
- Cast and Cambered Grates
- Advanced Thermal Architecture
- Magvent Air Controls
- Anodized Finish
The advent of the HitchFire Forge 20 and Forge 15 have changed the nature of hitch grilling for good.
Many adventurers and outdoor grilling enthusiasts alike will enjoy this well-designed and very well-made grill that can go anywhere!
If it’s a smoker you’re after, you’re going to spend a lot more.
But you will have a lifetime of hitch grilling and smoking wherever you find yourself in the great outdoors!