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Review: Magma Crossover Firebox and Grill

Magma Crossover Firebox and Grill

Good food and camping don’t have to be mutually exclusive. We all have experienced the disappointment of using an underpowered, tiny propane camp stove to cook on. Or maybe the frustration of trying to grill hamburgers and veggies on the camp site fire pit and grill.

The Magma Crossover Series was created to help solve those problems with an innovative, high powered and modular cooking system. Now you can use your largest pans to sauté, sear and steam and then go ahead and grill up so burgers and brats with the same unit.

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The Magma Crossover Firebox opened up next to the woods
The Magma Crossover Firebox on the Quad Pod stand

What is a Magma Crossover Firebox System?

Think of this system as a high powered, choose your own adventure cooking system. The series starts with the Firebox–a 15,000 BTU propane fired burner. The Firebox can be used as-is for cooking with pots and pans, or (and this is fun part) you can add on any of four modular cooking tops to change the cooking experience.

Magma pizza oven

The four cooking tops include: a grill top that can reach up to 700 degrees, a plancha top for high heat hibachi cooking, a pizza oven, and a highly durable cast aluminum griddle top.

Each of the cook tops are interchangeable and are super easy to attach to the Firebox. You only have to set the unit on top of the firebox, and boom! You are ready to cook some burgers.

hand showing how to use the altitude switch on the Magma Firebox
Easy to use adjustment for altitude

Fuel

The Magma Crossover is shipped ready to be used with 1lb propane canisters. This is great because the smaller canisters make the unit more portable. However, if you want your fuel to last longer and you have the space, you can also use an adapter to use a 20 lb tank with the firebox instead.

If using a 1 lb canister, you will run out of fuel faster than a conventional camp stove since it is a much higher powered burner.

magma crossover grill with a 1 lb fuel canister attached

I love how secure the propane canister shelf is. The spot is perfectly sized for the traditional camp sized cylinders. Additionally, the piping that attaches to the grill from the canister is designed to pivot without loosening which I appreciate.

Magma Crossover Build Quality

The entire exterior of the Magma Crossover Firebox is made out of stainless steel, which holds up in outdoor weather. The construction is sturdy enough that it holds up well to transportation, even over bumpy roads. We put the Firebox and Grill unit in our van and definitely heard clanking on the bumps, but both units still looked perfect after the jostling.

The hinges are also well sized and design. The cover to the Firebox folds out and is supported by a flip up handle. I was thrilled to discover a cutting board cleverly built into the lid. Not only is the cutting board removable for cleaning, it also had a grooved edge which makes cutting juicy items much easier.

Potatoes being sliced on a cutting board next to a propane burner

Who Needs the Magma Crossover System?

Campers in Dry Areas

Campsites always have a fire pit and grill, right? In my mind, that is always what I assume. Yet, even on the east coast where I live, there are many campgrounds that actually do not allow fires of any kinds. The Magma Crossover systems is a super useful piece of equipment if you camp in locations without fire pits.

With droughts and low rainfall becoming more common, less campgrounds are allowing fire pit usage. Having a grill system lets you have the joy of flame cooked food without the fire hazards.

Outdoorsy Tailgaters

This stove set up would be fantastic for the adventure lover who likes to enjoy every daylight moment outdoors. Finish a mountain bike ride right at dinner? With this stove and it’s (optional) attachments, you can quickly be eating some tasty burgers or even a simple soup, right at the trailhead.

Bacon cooking in a cast iron pan on a magma crossover cooking system

Gourmet Camp Cooks

Are you the type that gets tired of standard hotdog and bean camp fare? Me too. I’m a lover of fantastic food, and no matter when or where I camp, I tend to try and dress up or enhance whatever we cook The beauty of the Magma Crossover System is that it is more than just a burner. Because the burner is powerful, it behaves like a normal stove, leading to a more reliable output which makes good cooking easier.

Campers Who Want Variety

Folks who like having all the cooking options would find the Magma Crossover to be perfect. Pizza one night, grilled steak the next, and classic chili the next! With the attachments, you could cook all three meals without a hitch.

grilled sausage and vegetables on a bun next to a grill
Sausage Sammies with peppers and onions taste mighty good after a hike.

Best Features of the Magma Crossover

High Power Burner

Hands down the best feature of the Magma Crossover is the high power burner. With 15,000 BTUs of power, this burner can boil a pot of water faster than my stove at home. The burner also is large–I can use my 12 inch cast iron frying pan without a hot spot. More power equals faster cooking which helps get dinner cooked so you can move on the best part–eating!

a cast iron frying pan sitting on a propane fired portable stove

High Quality Stainless Steel Construction

This unit is NOT going to rust any time soon. When I took it out of the packaging, the first thing I noticed was how well it was built and how EVERY main part of it was made of stainless steel or cast aluminum. This is great when camping, tailgating and RVing in varied weather conditions. The Magma Crossover can handle getting wet without falling apart.

Sturdy Handles and Latches

I really like that every cook top unit has a strong latch built into it for securing the unit when traveling or storing. This keeps the lids tightly closed and stable. Each unit also has a handle you can grab it and carry with when loading or unloading. Little details like this help the product for feel super high quality.

Magma Crossover Modular Attachments

The Magma Crossover Firebox can be bundled with any (or all) of the four modular cook tops. These units include a pizza oven, griddle, grill and plancha top. These interchangeable units give you tons of options while cooking on the go.

As part of our review, we tested out the Pizza Oven and Grill cooktop units.

Pizza Oven

The pizza oven was the attachment I was most excited to test. This unit definitely has a learning curve, but, with patience, and care (and emailing the support crew) the quirks can be worked through. The most important question is: Can it cook a crispy crust pizza. Yes, yes it can!

The first time I used the pizza oven unit I followed the instructions on the one page sheet it came with. Based on the limited instructions, I waited until the unit temperature was over 350 degrees to put the pizza in. Well, the pizza burned. Badly. And the cheese on top was not melted. Clearly, something was wrong.

I tried again with some modifications, turned the unit down. Burned. Again. This time the cheese melted a little bit before the crust was fully charred, but it was still inedible.

It was also super windy, so we ate something else for dinner and contacted the BBQ guys tech support.

I am quite pleased with their responsiveness to our questions. They send us a PDF with more FAQs and information about how to use the pizza oven and grill. I do wish the instructions had been included with the unit, and hopefully in the future that will be changed.

Magma Crossover Firebox with pizza oven on top
The Magma Crossover Firebox with the Pizza Oven cook top

Our second time trying the oven our results were much better. We still have some tweaks in order to get the ultimate pizza, but everyone enjoyed it. We tested homemade pizza using raw dough, as well as frozen pizza. The frozen pizza cooked in the Magma oven definitely tasted better than it does when cooked in our home oven.

Grill

The Magma Crossover Grill cook top is definitely solidly built out of quality stainless steel components. The lid has a built in thermometer, and a latch for keeping closed during transit. There is also a removable grease trap that comes with foil liners for easy catching of drippings.

We cooked beef burgers, salmon burger, grilled cheese, and sausage on the grill in the process of testing.

Right off the bat, I noticed that the grill still works with wind, unlike the the pizza oven. Yay!

The grill’s surface area is not huge, but we were able to cook 8 burgers at once. Like most grills, the corners are less hot than the center. I was actually surprised at how evenly it heated considering the element is a round propane burner.

Magma grill set up with sausages on the grill and veggies and a pot next to it.

Because the flame tamer plate is close to the grill surface, it can have flare ups. However, I noticed that when there is a flare up, it goes out immediately because the unit is designed to carry the grease away from the flame.

The grill is a great option to have when you want a portable grill. Because of its size, it does not get as hot or cook as powerfully as a full size propane grill. So getting a perfect sear on a steak will be harder than with your massive home grill. However, the convenience and portability of it definitely wins points.

Performance

Lighting the Stove

Having the built Piezo lighter is awesome. Once we figured out the system, we had no trouble lighting it, even in windy weather. We like the fact that it had a built in altitude adjustment.

Burner

I was skeptical that this burner would cook any differently than our camp stove burner–and I was WRONG. The 15000 BTUS of the burner definitely cook evenly and, more importantly, quickly. The burner does not adjust quite as easily as our propane range at home, but it is way more adjustable then many camp stoves.

Portability

The Magma Crossover firebox IS portable, with a couple caveats. It is bulkier than our two burner Coleman camp stove, being over twice as thick, and deeper. The larger size is not a problem for us since we drive a large vehicle to camp, but it definitely takes up a large space in a normal trunk.

The firebox can sit directly on a table (something that is heat resistant such as wood or metal–I would not put this on a plastic table). You also can order the Quad Pod stand for the firebox, which allows you to set up the Magma anywhere you want.

Each individual part of the system is closes up and latched for easy storage and transport. Each part is the size of a small or medium suitcase.

Magma grill ready to transport
The Magma Crossover Grill top, ready to transport

Drawbacks of the Magma Crossover

Cost

One of the initial downsides to this system is cost. It is definitely a pricey unit, especially when you factor in the price of the modular units. However, the stove does have a very high BTU output when compared to similar systems. It also has a fantastic build quaility.

Lack of Instructions

I am going to be candid here. One of my biggest frustrations with the Magma Crossover System is not the product, but the lack of instructions. The Firebox came with a few sheets of paper explaining safety protocols and how to light it. The Grill and the Pizza Oven each only came with a single sheet of paper, with almost zero instructions.

Given the price of the system, I was expecting fully color, well organized instructions to get started and answer questions I might have had. I did try googling for information, but because this is such a new product, there is not much information!

Having poor instructions led me to using the unit as best I could on my own. This was particularly hard with the pizza oven and led to me ruining four pizzas in while learning to use it.

Thankfully, after emailing the distributor, we received answers to our questions and a handy PDF sheet that answered common questions. Hopefully in the future Magma will design and release a comprehensive manual.

Favorite Features

Firepower

As someone who loves to cook, I am a huge fan of high power cook tops. The Magma Crossover Firebox exceeded my expectations. It was able to properly sauté and even toast the broccoli I cooked.

Wind Resistance

Having the firebox be so well protected from the wind is a stand out feature. Often a propane camp stove really struggles in wind, but the Magma Firebox had no trouble.

Built in Cutting Board

Having a chopping surface attached to the firebox is FANTASTIC. That’s all I need to say.

User Friendly

My kids love helping to cook. Cooking outdoors is especially thrilling to them. I like that the height of the Firebox is easy for the to access and use. I also appreciate the the controls are easy to use and explain to older kids. Note: each child has a different skill set and make sure to always supervise.

Kids helping to cook with the Magma Crossover system
My kids love helping to cook with the Magma Crossover system.

Magma Crossover: The Bottom Line

The Magma Crossover System stands out from its competition in a myriad of ways. From its durable stainless and aluminum construction to the portable components, this product was definitely designed with a lot of thought.

As more people get outdoors, congregating at trailheads, ski lodge parking, or sports practice, having a fast, efficient cooking system makes those long days easier. Instead of hitting the local drive through with a car full of kids, instead you can cook a simple meal right at your car.

As dry weather changes the risks of fire around the country, more and more campgrounds are banning ground fires of any kind. Having a portable grill makes campsite life easier.

Although the system has a learning curve, and definitely needs a better instruction manual, it is still a unit worth investing in. Even just starting with the firebox can really ramp up the fire power on your next adventure.

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Magma Crossover Review

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