By Jon Maib
There is nothing better than a nice meal by the fire when you're out camping or overlanding. The downside though, is when you're loading up the vehicle with all your gear, there often isnt enough space for a grill or fire pit due to their genrally bulky size. Ace Engineering has a fix for that. Their Trail BQ kit folds up and attaches to the tailgate of your Jeep (JK and JL). This heavy duty steal fire pit / BBQ breaks down and fits neatly and the provided bracket. The kit comes in raw metal and the grill will need to be seasoned before first use (Ace recommends food grade linseed oil, but any oil will surfice).

To attach the kit to your tailgate, you will need to drill some holes and use the provided nutserts to mount to the tailgate. I would recommend getting a real nutsert tool as the provided in the package is not all that great. Once installed, you'll have your bbq / fire pit with you all the time. I decided to see how the pit would hold up to some VHT paint that I picked up from local Autozone. If nothing more, it would make for better pictures.

My kit didn't come with instructions so I had to figure out how to put the jigsaw puzzle together on my own, good thing I used to play with Legos! It wasn't too hard to figure out and I got it all together. I got it all setup and through some charcoal in to do some cooking. Using the smallest bag I could find at the store seemed to be just perfect because the grill sits down pretty low. You can use the black handle to help place the grill over the coals so you don't burn yourself. Season the grill by placing linseed oil (or whatever oil you have on hand) on a paper towel and use tongs to clean the grill. Let the oil burn until it stops smoking and repeat 2 more times and you're ready to slap those steaks on. I grabbed a Choice Rib Eye to test out on the grill. The center of the grill was super hot so the sear went fast. I flipped the steak over, let the other side sear and then moved the steak to the side to let it cook a bit longer. The steak came out great (mostly to my mad cooking skills) and the bbq did its job. Once I was done cooking, I let the steak rest and I removed the grill with the provided handle, set aside and used the coals to start my fire. Dropped some wood in and before long, a roaring fire was ready as well as my steak. It was now time to sit back, enjoy the fire and good steak.

Over all this is a great little fire pit. It is heavy duty and I do mean HEAVY, so it should last a long time and it is fairly simple to assemble and store. Couple of things I'm not liking about this kit was the provided nutsert tool, it was a paing to use. Also you are going to want to clean the metal otherwise your hands are going to be pretty dirty just handling or setting it up. While the paint looked good, I probably wouldn't recommend it as putting this pit together and taking apart scratches it up pretty good. Also, after the fire, the paint has discolored and some burnt off, but black may have done a bit better. The Chevy orange was perfect though for the ACE logo. You are going to also want to make sure that you setup the pit on top of a non flamable surface such as cement or dirt because it will burn anything under it.

If you want a compact fire pit that you can store in the back of your rig all the time, or if you have a trailer you can attach to, I would recommend picking one of these up to have with you.

Ace Engineering