Why should you get a portable pellet smoker? Every type of fuel for a smoker has their pros and cons. What makes a pellet smoker different from gas or charcoal? Well pellet smokers are more convenient, as well as more versatile. It’s a lot easier to buy a bag of pellets than it is to source enough wood to feed your smoker. On top of that, temperature control is a lot easier since your fuel is homogenous.
Portable pellet smokers are just smaller than regular smokers. While a large smoker may be stationary, or have a large grilling surface, the smokers I’ve listed below have wheels for pushing around your yard, or could be easily loaded into the back of a truck. These devices have a variety of looks and colors, but all are offset smokers, meaning the pellets are loaded into an auger on the side of your smoker. This means loading pellets are super easy, and you can refill the pellets without opening your main smoking area.
That means consistent quality smoked meats for you!
Top 5 Portable Pellet Smokers
- Camp Chef PG24 Deluxe Pellet Smoker
- Traeger Grills Tailgater Portable Wood Pellet Smoker Grill
- Pit Boss Grills 440 Deluxe Wood Pellet Smoker
- REC TEC Grills Portable Pellet Smoker Grill
- Louisiana Grills LG 900 Pellet Smoker
1. Camp Chef PG24 Deluxe Pellet Smoker
Camp Chef’s PG24 has the essentials for a portable pellet smoker. This unit is basically 6 different types of cookers in one. With the PG24, you can grill, smoke, bake, roast, barbecue, and braise all your favorite foods on one type of grill. Let’s start with the temperature control, as that aspect of using a smoker is very important. The PG24 has a smart digital temperature control that will help you maintain the heat so you can produce a reasonable amount of smoke for your food. You won’t have to constantly monitor the unit with this accurate digital control.
The cooking area is quite large, and the fact that you can take this smoker with you to different environments will definitely make smoking food much more fun. 570 square inches are set aside for smoking any type of meat, including a removable upper warming rack that can help you use indirect heating to cook your foods. You’ll be getting a reliable amount of smoke thanks to the wood pellet system.
Cleaning and assembly are also very easy, so you won’t need to take up too much time when you get your smoker. All you’ll have to do to clean out the PG24 is push a lever. Other smokers require you to physically dump out the ash, taking up valuable time in your day that can be used elsewhere. Camp Chef has a walk through assembly video that will take you through the assembly process, so if you aren’t the best with your hands, you need not worry.
- Contains advanced digital control system
- Very versatile
- Plenty of room to cook
- Easy to clean
- Easy to assemble
- Doesn’t produce the same smoke taste as other smokers
- Durability is average
2. Traeger Grills Tailgater Portable Wood Pellet Smoker Grill
If you take a look way back into history, you’ll find out that Traeger was actually the brand who started the whole “smoker” niche. Based on their exceptional smokers, this fact comes to no surprise. After all, cooking with wood just tastes more natural compared to other fuels, like propane for example. The Traeger brand created the wood pellet smoker as the most efficient way to produce that wood-fired taste for your meats. Just like the PG24, the Traeger Tailgater offers 6 different functions: roast, braise, bake, smoke, grill, and barbecue. These options will give you endless opportunities to try something new, wherever you are. The 300 square inches of portable grilling space will be able to offer enough space to cook 12 burgers, 3 racks of ribs, and 2 whole chickens!
Portable smokers are in high demand for people who like to cook outdoors in different environments. The EZ-fold legs make the Traeger Tailgater a very portable pellet smoker combo. These easy to use legs will allow you to fold everything up and grill on the move, whenever you want to. Let’s also talk about the digital controller. You won’t have to worry about inconsistent cooking with the Traeger Tailgater. The Digital Elite Controller keeps the temperature within above or below 20 degrees fahrenheit so that your food will cook evenly.
- Easy to transport
- Has a superior digital controller
- Available in bronze and silver
- High price
3. Pit Boss Grills 440 Deluxe Wood Pellet Smoker
The Pit Boss Grills 440 will stand out from the crowd with a two-tone black and copper finish. The heavy duty 16 gauge steel construction will ensure that all the heat will stay within the smoker and cook your food to the fullest. This smoker also consists of a combination side shelf and a serving tray, as well as a solid bottom shelf and a bottle opener. These features are great for those who prefer to monitor the cooking, especially with the bottle opener being there. Storing different accessories like seasonings and wood pellets won’t be a problem with the Pit Boss Grills 440.
Portability won’t be an issue for the 440 wood pellet grill. There are two very large wheels that will help you go wherever you please, regardless of the surface. The LED dial-in digital control will make it easy to set up the temperature for the smoker so that you can be aware of when you need to throw the cuts of meat in. There is also an automatic start and cool down setting which will take some responsibility off of your hands. Some people aren’t fond of smokers in general because they usually take a while to start up and cook, but with the Pit Boss Grills 440, you can sit back and enjoy your surroundings.
- Automatic start
- Dial-in LED digital control
- High maintenance
4. REC TEC Grills Portable Pellet Smoker Grill
REC TEC releases an easily portable pellet smoker that cook your food evenly and faster that usual. This portable pellet smoker has a full mode feature that is known to reach temperatures up to 600 degrees fahrenheit. That is a substantially higher temperature than traditional wood pellet smokers. These high temperatures will do a great job of evenly cooking thick cuts of meats that will be placed on the 341 square inches of cooking space.
In addition, the portable features will become extremely beneficial in the long haul. So you like to use your pellet smoker often, the 15 pound pellet capacity will come in handy. This smoker can essentially cook for long periods of time because it can handle a high volume of fuel so you can cook a lot of food for you and those around you.
This REC TEC smoker has some great features, but there are some downsides to be aware of. First off, over a handful of buyers have claimed that the finish on their smoker had rusted after a short amount of time. This is a testament to the lack of durability found on this smoker. Subsequently, price has been another issue that people have had a problem with.
- Can hold up to 15 pounds of wood pellets
- 341 square inches of cooking space
- Folding legs enhance portability
- Can reach up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit
- High price
- Rusts easily
5. Louisiana Grills LG 900 Pellet Smoker
This pellet smoker comes in at #5 for the top 5 portable pellet smokers. The Louisiana Grills LG 900 has 913 square inches of total cooking surface; 633 alone from the main surface and 280 from the upper. This can essentially cook for the whole neighborhood, so be prepared to cook a variety of food on this smoker. The Porcelain Cast Iron Main Grids will last a long time regardless of how often you use the pellet smoker. Worried about controlling the temperature? Don’t want your food to get too dry? The digital control center will help you with that. This part of the smoker will allow you to pinpoint the temperature so you can get an idea of how hot it is in there. There is also a small water pan that will produce consistent steam so that your meats don’t dry out easily.
One feature that helps this smoker stand out in the portability category is are the wheels at the very bottom. Instead of the usual 2 wheels that come with standard smokers, the LG900 has 4 wheels (2 small ones, 2 large ones.) These extra 2 wheels will help you get the LG900 to its destination much faster. While having a larger handle to pull the unit would help a lot, these wheels will do the trick when you need to get the LG 900 moving.
- Has a large cooking surface
- Easy to use digital control center
- Durable cast iron main grids
- High price
Buying Guide for Portable Pellet Smokers
What do you need to look for in order to buy the right portable pellet smoker? Pellet smokers have gained enormous amounts of popularity in recent time, and they’re only getting more popular. Granted, these devices have been around for decades, but they haven’t really provided value to outdoor cookers until recently. The following factors are what you need to examine before purchasing a portable pellet smoker. Some are more obvious than others, but in the end it’s better to be thorough with your research before spending your hard earned money.
First let’s get into the most obvious: price. The price of anything is something to consider, especially a portable pellet smoker. If we can speak for everyone, we assume that you’ll want something affordable, with a high value. Make sure that your pellet smoker is made with a strong steel material so that it won’t rust easily. Smokers like the REC TEC having an average amount of value because it lacks durability. While this smoker does offer some useful features, you might want to reconsider due to the rusting that will likely cost you more in the long run.
Cooking space is evidently another part of the selection process. You don’t want to be stuck at the smoker all day because you need to cook three or four rounds of food. If you are cooking for a lot of people on the regular, you’ll need to go with something like the LG 900, as it has more than enough room to cook for a large group of people!
The thing element to consider is heat range. Do you cook for a lot of people? Do you need something that will reach obnoxiously high temperatures? Pellet smokers are very good at indirect heating, but if you want your meat to hit very high temperatures, go with the REC TEC. It’s durability might be questionable, but you’ll be sacrificing that for temperatures that cannot be reached in every pellet smoker.
About Portable Pellet Smokers
What does the smoking rookie need to know about portable pellet smokers? Convenient cooking units that can be used by beginners and grilling pros, pellet smokers are easy to use and perfect for those who want to enjoy smoked food at home or in the park. While being around for almost thirty years or so, wood pellet smokers have just now become popular. Traeger grills started a trend that has other brands playing the “catch up” game.
“Portable” for a wood pellet smoker isn’t the same as “portable” for a propane grill or an electric grill. Wood pellet smokers tend to be much larger, with wheels and handles that are used to move the smoker around. People are into wood pellet smokers because they represent temperature control, convenience, and taste. As time progresses, big brands are coming out with more compact and efficient wood pellet smokers. Just beware that pellet smokers aren’t necessarily the most ideal type of grill to bring to the big game. They will likely take up way too much space in your car and the cooking process could take a while.
When pondering about pellet smokers, “set it and forget it” is a commonly used phrase that describes the unit. These smokers are quite simple, as you just need to load to hopper with wood pellets and set the controller. In the past, pellet smokers lacked the ability to stay hot in colder weather, but with the strong steel material being applied to these devices, you should be just fine whether you are cooking in the summer or in the snow during winter months. Pellet grills have been known to participate in indirect grilling, which takes longer to fully cook food but does so evenly, so there are no raw or cold spots. Luckily, the more recent digital controls have been known to create higher cooking temperatures, which will reduce the overall cooking time.
If you haven’t figured out how wood pellet grills work, the first thing you should do is set up the temperature on the digital controller so that the grill can maintain it throughout the entirety of the cooking time. From there the automatic auger will feed the wood pellets into a burn cup right in the heart of the grill. This will create the heat and smoke needed to cook your meats properly.
Overall, portable pellet grills are best for the typical griller who hangs out in his backyard and values smoke flavor and convenience the most. This individual should also want to cook in other places besides their backyard if they want something that is portable. If you don’t mind staying close to the grill regardless of where you are, you’ll most likely get the most out of the portable pellet smoker. When all’s said and done, wood pellets allow you to take a break from babysitting the grill thanks to a digitally monitored temperature controller. These versatile cooking devices will be a beneficial asset to anyone’s cooking arsenal regardless of experience level.