American barbecue is all slow and low, or you know, all low and slow as they say down in the South - Roy Choi
How many times have you heard someone talk about grilling when they really mean barbecuing? And how many times have you been asked what the difference between barbecuing and smoking is?
We’re going to go out on a limb and hazard a guess that it’s more than you can, or want to remember.
After all, you know, just like we do that when you want to turn the heat up and crank out, well-cooked delicious food as fast as possible, you grill it, when you want to cook it long, low, and slow and let the natural flavors of the whatever your cooking combine with a miasma of rubs and spices, you barbecue it and when you want to add a rich, deep complexity to whatever you’re cooking on a low heat for a long time, you smoke it.
It isn’t rocket science, but like astrophysics, all three disciplines can take a lifetime to learn and master.
Despite what the old wives barbecuing tale might say, the secret to making sure that you can get to grips with the mysteries of the backyard culinary arts doesn’t involve trying to decipher the arcane and obscure knowledge accumulated in generational cookbooks.
The only thing that you really need in order to become a smoking aficionado, grilling expert, and barbecue genius is the right equipment. And the right equipment for making the smoking grade is all about the smoker and the grill that you use.
That’s why we thought we’d put together a comprehensive guide to the eleven best pellet smokers that any backyard cook and barbecue fanatic can arm themselves with in order to smoke, cook, barbecue, and grill to their heart’s content and create the sort of legendary menus that pass into family and neighborhood lore.
Are you ready to transform your smoking, grilling, and barbecuing world and become the smoker that you always knew you could, and wanted to, be?
Then it’s time to meet the wood pellet smokers that you and every other barbecuing fanatic in the world never knew that they needed until now…
OUR TOP PICK
We know it says 24 inches, but don’t let that fool into thinking that this grill won’t pack the sort of smoking punch that you’re looking for. It can and it will smoke anything and everything that you’ll want it to.
And if it doesn’t, don’t panic you can always go bigger as Camp Chef also makes a 36-inch version (they also make a twenty-inch model of the Woodwind, but we’re pretty sure that no one wants to downsize) of this smoker, so you can tailor the size of the smoker to your individual culinary needs, but trust us we don’t think that you’ll ever need to go bigger than the twenty-four. We never have.
Camp Chef will readily and happily tell anyone who is prepared to listen that the Woodwind is their most feature-packed grill and one of the most advanced on the market, and it isn’t an idle boast.
The PID allows you to control the temperature that the Woodwind will smoke at in increments of five degrees and the slide and grill technology that the smoker uses ensures that you can cook with direct and indirect heat at anything up to six hundred and fifty degrees Fahrenheit.
But the thing that will probably knock you out of your grilling socks is the WiFi that allows you to connect to the Woodwind with your smartphone and use the Camp Chef app to grill or smoke what you want to from the comfort of your favorite armchair.
So far so good right?
You’ve probably seen, or might even have used WiFi-enabled smokers and grills before, but the thing that makes the Woodwind unique is that the Camp Chef app also lets you control the amount of smoke that grill makes, so you can decide just how much extra smoke-filled flavor you want each and every meal that you cook with the Woodwind to be imbued with.
Total smoke control? That’s enough to make anyone convert to the Camp Chef cause.
- Cooking Space - The 24 has eight hundred and eleven square inches of cooking space, which means it has more enough space to smoke enough food for your entire family in a single sitting.
Do you want to smoke a whole chicken and six or seven burgers at the same time? Or a brisket and a dozen sausages? No problem, the Woodwind has got it covered.
In fact, it doesn’t matter what you want to smoke with this grill, it’s big enough to smoke whatever you want it to, whenever you want it to.
- Complete Control - The easy-to-use and simple-to-understand PID controller and Camp Chef app allows you to control every single aspect of the smoking process from beginning to end so that whatever you’re cooking the Woodwind will meet your exacting standards perfectly.
- Hopper And Clean Out - The Woodwind has a twenty-two-pound auto-feed hopper that can power the Woodwind for up to twenty-one hours. That’s right, with one full load of pellets, you can grill non-stop for up to twenty-one hours.
And when you’re finished the grill is simple to clean thanks to its easy drop ash collection cup that can be removed with a simple twist of a single knob.
- Leaks - When the main chamber is sealed, if you like to cook with a lot of smoke, it can leak. It isn’t a big deal and it isn’t exactly a deal-breaker but it might make you panic a little if you don’t know why the smoke is pouring out of your grill.
Don’t worry, it isn’t broken, it just tends to leak when the smoke level is turned all the way up to ten.
- It’s A Weight Thing - All of the technological bells and whistles that are packed into the Woodwind come at a price, and in this smoker’s case that price is its weight.
It just over one hundred and thirty pounds, it isn’t exactly portable and it isn’t what most of us would call “light”. So, if you are planning to move it around your yard, be careful as you don’t want to give yourself a hernia for the sake of a few, well-smoked burgers.
The godfathers of the pellet grill Traeger are going to be making a few appearances in the top eleven, and while they’re not sitting pretty right at the top of our pellet smoking countdown, their incredible smokers and grills have claimed three of the top eleven places.
It’s hardly surprising though, as Trager did invent the technology that every single pellet smoker uses, and they did have a twenty-year head start (thanks to the power of the patent) on all of their rivals, so if anything we’d have expected them to appear more than they actually do.
Having said that, let’s get back to the task at hand and back in the smoking glow of Traeger’s middle-of-the-range grilling workhorse, the Ironwood 885.
Like the vast majority of Traegers grills, the Ironwood has a six-in-one versatility that means that you can use it to smoke, grill, bake, barbecue, roast, and braise according to your mood and the menu that you want to prepare.
And it is easy to use too.
All you need to do is pack the eight hundred and eighty-five square inches of the main chamber with whatever you want to smoke or grill, close it, fill the hopper with pellets, set the timer and temperature and press go, and the Ironwood will do the rest.
The Ironwood is also armed with Tragergs patented WiFire technology, which enables you to connect to the grill and control every moment of the cook and every single degree of heat that you use to smoke whatever it is you’re cooking from your smartphone.
And it just gets better and better, as you can also control the Ironwood using Alexa, so you can literally just tell the Ironwood what to do and it’ll obey your every command.
Providing of course that those commands are all about smoking and grilling and you’re not trying to use the Ironwood to try and take over the world, which given the amount of technology that Traeger has packed into it, you might just be able to do.
But then, when you’re smoking with an Ironwood, who has the time or the inclination to care about global conquest?
- WiFire - Thanks to the internet and more than a little Traeger technological prowess, you can completely control all of the five hundred degree heat and eight hundred and eighty-five square inches of cooking space that the Ironwood has and use it to shape and create your smoke flavored masterpieces.
- How Big? - The 885 has a twenty-pound hopper, which when filled to bursting should allow you to smoke for almost twenty hours between refills. That’s a lot of smoking time from a single hopper full of pellets.
- Cast Iron(wood) Warranty - The 885 comes with Traegers bulletproof three year warranty. If it does give up the ghost at any point during that thirty-six-month period, just give Trager a call and they’ll have you back on the smoking trail in next to no time.
- Heat - Five hundred degrees Fahrenheit flat out isn’t the best temperature to grill at, but it’s enough and the Ironwood’s one hundred and eighty to five hundred degree temperature range is perfect for smoking anything and everything.
- That’s No Moon… - But it might as well be as the Ironwood weighs a staggering one hundred and seventy-five pounds, which means as soon as it’s in place on your porch or in your yard, it’ll be there for good.
Despite the fact that they’re relative newcomers to the pellet grilling world before they became their own bosses in 2016 Z Grills had honed their smoking and grilling design and engineering skills by making machines for other brands.
And in the five years that they’ve been part of the grilling scene, Z-Grills has become a force to be reckoned with, thanks to their rock-solid core philosophy that smoking and grilling should be an affordable pastime for every American family.
Expanding on Traeger’s idea of six in on versatility, the 1000D ups the ante and takes the six and turns it into eight, which allows anyone who puts their faith in Z-Grills to barbecue, smoke, grill, braise, bake, roast, char-grill, sear and roast with this staggeringly flexible and multi-faceted grill.
And thanks to it having more than one thousand square inches of cooking space, no matter how you choose to cook with it, you’ll be able to rustle up enough food to feed your entire block.
Again, it’s another grill that embraces the idea that simplicity is the key to a good smoke, so all you have to do is load the shelves, close the chamber, and set the straightforward, digital control panel to “smoke”, load the hopper, and let the 1000D take over and do what it does best. Smoke for hours and hours on end.
- Hopper Time - You know we just mentioned how this grill can smoke for hours and hours on end?
Do you know how and why it can do that? It’s because it uses Z-Grills Advanced Wood Fire Technology to ensure that it makes the most of its twenty-pound hoppers pellet capacity.
That means that when you load the hopper to the top, it’ll happily smoke whatever you want it to for up to eighteen hours,
- Digital Control - It uses a single digital control to do everything that it does. All that grilling and smoking power from one control?
It’s kind of amazing, isn’t it? If NASA had put Z-Grills in charge of its space program, we’d already be walking on the surface of Titan.
- Three-Year Warranty - And just like their rivals Traeger, Z-Grills pellet smokers and grills come with a three-year warranty, so if it does smoke itself to death in that time, Z-Grills will either refund you, replace your grill, or give you a brand new 1000D.
It’s nice to have that kind of peace of mind and it makes smoking and grilling even more fun knowing that no matter what happens, Z-Grills have got your back.
- Abandoned By The Digital Age - Even though it’s incredibly simple to use, we’re kind of baffled by the fact that it isn’t WiFi-enabled and can’t be controlled by Bluetooth.
If they’re trying to compete with Trager and outdo their competition, the least that they should, and could have done to ensure that the 1000D was playing on the same field as the Ironwood was given it a little internet power.
But, having said that, it is kind of fun to smoke the Z-Grills way, so you probably won’t even notice its lack of internet readiness…
Whoever it was that coined the phrase the more things change the more they stay the same could well have been talking about the continual evolution of Green Mountain Grills signature pellet fired grill and smoker, the Davy Crockett.
By gradually working to eliminate all of the smoker’s previous issues, the once bandy-legged portable smoker has become a sturdy beast that has abandoned its old name in favor of the much catchier and easier to remember Trek.
So it’s goodbye Davy and hello Trek, and the dawning of a new age of grilling perfection for Green Mountain.
What’s changed? Well, the new design includes a heat baffle that does away with heat spots on the two hundred and twenty square inches of cooking space, while retaining the Sense-Mate thermal sensor which continually monitors and adjusts the internal temperature of the grill to ensure that it stays within the parameters that you set it for.
And yes, it’s still WiFi-enabled, which means that you can control every aspect of the smoking or grilling process from your smartphone while you’re hanging out with your friends. The Trek isn’t about working harder, it’s all about smoking smarter.
That isn’t all, as even though it looks and feels far sturdier than the previous model, mainly due to the new, solid steel, full foldable legs, this latest incarnation of the Crocket is actually lighter than its spindly ancestor.
In fact, it’s ten whole pounds lighter than it used to be, which makes it easier to pick up and take with you wherever you want to go. Have smoker will travel is the law in Green Mountain land…
- Made To Smoke On The Go - The Crockett was made to be portable, which made it ideal for tailgating and taking on vacation.
And the Trek is no different, it’s still light and small enough to fit in the trunk of the average family SUV or sedan, and can be powered from either a 120V supply or the 12V battery outlet in your family car.
- Refined And Ready - All of the problems that the Crocket had have gradually been ironed out to create the Trek while retaining all of the thumbs up things (the WiFi-enabled app control, Sense-Mate, and adaptability), which makes it an almost perfect portable pellet smoker.
- Hopper Size - It also has a nine-pound hopper (which should keep the heat up for more than eight hours) and can smoke at temperatures of up to four hundred degrees Fahrenheit.
Remember that old Southern saying about long, low, and slow that we told you about? That’s the credo that the Trek was designed to adhere to without deviation.
- Weight Watching - Even though they’ve managed to bring it down, the Crocketts weight is still a bit of a problem, especially for a smoker that’s supposed to be portable.
At fifty-seven pounds it isn’t exactly lightweight, but it won’t send you straight to the emergency room with a hernia if you try to lift it either.
It’s definitely a step in the right direction, but ideally, we’d love to see it reach the sub-fifty pound smoker class.
If you’re part of the grilling community there’s no way that you haven’t heard the name Weber, as this one hundred and thirty-year-old company has been at the heart of the backyard barbecue world for almost seventy years.
But, as far as we know, the Smokefire, now in its second generation, is their first combination pellet grill and smoker.
Offering one thousand square inches of cooking space, and using Weber's world-famous flavorizer bars to control and deliver consistent, dry heat across its entire surface area, the Smokefire uses a combination of manual digital controls and Smart Grilling technology (which means that you can monitor and control the grill from your smartphone) to smoke and grill at anywhere between two and six hundred degrees Fahrenheit.
And all of that heat and power can be adjusted and refined at the touch of an on-screen button from the comfort of your favorite chair.
Any pellet smoker is only as good as its hooper capacity because if you don’t have the raw fuel that you need to create all the cooking heat and smoke, you’re dead in the water.
So, it’s lucky that the Weber has a twenty-pound hooper, which can kick it into high grilling gear and keep its smoking motor running for nearly eighteen hours. All that time and all that cooking space, make it a near-perfect pellet-fed smoking monster.
- Easy To Feed, Easy To Clean - The hopper is easy to load, and the controls even simpler to use, and the even better news is that because the Smokefire uses a single tray to catch all the grease and ash, it’s also incredibly straightforward to clean.
It’s an almost flawless smoking trifecta.
- Low And Slow To High And Fast - With a two to six hundred degrees cooking range, the Weber isn’t just a great smoker, it’s also an incredible grill.
If you don’t have the time to spend all day smoking, you can grill an armada of burgers in less time than it takes to visit your nearest drive-thru.
- The Five Year Plan - And the Smokefire comes with the same five-year warranty that all Weber grills do, so you can smoke up a storm for sixty months before you even have to start worrying about your smoker not being as good as it used to be.
- The Weber Problem - The Smokefire suffers from the same issue that all Weber grills do, and that’s its price. It is reassuringly expensive and will leave a large smoking hole in both your pocketbook and your bank balance.
We told you that you hadn’t seen the last of Traeger, didn’t we?
The brand that brought the wood pellet to the grilling and smoking world was also one of the first to recognize that the one thing that a legion of die-hard smokers and grillers wanted more than anything else, was to be able to take their beloved hardware on the road with them.
And so, the Tailgater, a smoker that was purpose-designed to be the centerpiece at any tailgating shindig and backwoods get together was born.
As well as having the usual Traeger six-in-one versatility that’ll allow you to become a smoking and grilling god while you’re ‘gating with your friends, the Tailgaters EZ fold legs make it simple to stow in the back of your truck when you need to pack it up and head to the game or a campsite.
And while it can’t quite reach the five hundred degrees that the Ironwood can, it’ll still grill and smoke at anywhere between one hundred and eighty and four hundred degrees, which means that the low and slow golden rule lies at the heart of everything that you smoke on the Tailgaters three hundred square inches of cooking space.
As it was built to grill and smoke on the go, the tailgater only has an eight-pound hopper, but it’ll give you nearly four hours of smoking time when it’s full, and as it’s easy to refill, as long as you have enough pellets, it doesn’t matter how long the party lasts, the Tailgater will be able to keep everyone fed until the last man standing decides that even he has had enough, and his appetite is finally satiated.
- Easy Control - It’s a one control does everything pellet smoker.
Load the chamber, load the hopper, set the temperature and time, hit the ignition button and it’ll carry on smoking until it's hopper runs dry.
- EZ Fold Legs - The EZ fold system that the Tailgater uses makes it easy (as the name implies) to fold and load into the back of your truck.
And once it’s in there, you can hit the road and go, and as soon as you arrive and break out your Traeger, you’ll be crowned the tailgating King.
- Traegers Bullet Proof Warranty - The Tailgater comes with Traegers cast iron three-year warranty.
And do you have any idea how many tailgating parties you can smoke at with it in that time? No, we don’t either, but we do know that it’s a lot.
- Heavy Is As Heavy Does - We’ve reached the conclusion that Traeger and most of the human race have a very different idea about what does and doesn’t make something portable.
For instance, we wouldn’t necessarily have said that a portable, easy-to-carry weight was anywhere near the sixty-two pounds that this smoker weighs - trust us, you need to be a gym rat to lift this beast.
And the design, while making it easy to slide into trucks, makes it incredibly difficult to “slide” into the trunk of a car or an SUV, as you have to fold the legs first and then lift it in.
We’re big fans of the Pit Boss ethos, which revolves around their core values of faith, commitment to family values, and providing hard-working American families with solid, reliable, and innovative grills and smokers.
And their vertical pellet smoker (the only vertical smoker on our list), rigidly clings to that philosophy, which is probably why we love it as much as we do.
Granted, it looks a little different from the other grills and smokers on our list, but that’s because it works more like a cabinet smoker than a traditional pellet grill.
Open the door, fill the five porcelain coated cooking racks that ensure that this smoker has fifteen hundred square inches of cooking space, with whatever it is that you want to smoke, fill the FORTY-pound hopper with pellets, close the door, set the temperature, and the timer, then sit back, relax and let the Pit Boss do its thing.
With an auto-start and shut-off, the Pit Boss can smoke for up to twenty-four hours straight (as long as you fill the hopper up) at anywhere between one hundred and eighty and four hundred and fifty degrees, and as soon as it’s done, it’ll shut down.
This incredible pellet smoker will literally do everything for you. All you have to do is fill the cooking racks and eat whatever it is you were smoking when it’s finished. It is the embodiment of pellet smoking simplicity.
- All Day And All Of The Night - The Pit Boss’ forty-pound hopper enables it to smoke for twenty-four hours, which means that whatever you do use it to cook will literally just slide straight off the bone the minute it comes out of the smoker.
Twenty-four hours. We still can’t quite believe it even though we know it’s true…
- Five Is A Magic Number - It turns out that three isn’t a magic number, five is as the quintet of cooking racks that the Pit Boss comes with provide it with fifteen hundred square inches of total cooking space.
- Weight - It might weigh a little over one hundred and thirty pounds, but thanks to its shape and the fact that it’s mounted on wheels, the Pit Boss is easy to move around, so you can set it up wherever you like in your yard on your deck.
- Smoking Only - While the other pellet smokers on our list also serve as grills and barbecues, the Pit Boss was made to do one thing and one thing only, and that’s smoke.
But the upshot is, the one thing that it was designed and made to do, it does incredibly well.
If you only want your pellet smoker to smoke, then look no further, as you’ve just found the answer to all of your smoking prayers
Asmoke has a simple mission. They want to create a healthier barbecue and smoking culture, one that’s based around and built on using natural, flavor-filled hardwoods to cook with.
They began producing pellets that were used to fire up the grills that other brands made, but Asmoke soon realized that if you want to do something right, the only way to make sure that it’s done properly is by doing it yourself.
Which brings us, rather neatly and succinctly, to their electric pellet grill and smoker.
The advanced auto-feed system that the Amsoke uses ensures that its twenty-five-pound hopper can consistently deliver all of the smoke-filled flavors that you’re looking for over a period of up to twelve hours.
And while that sounds good on paper, in reality, it works even better than Asmoke claims it will, as the smoke gently swirls around the seven hundred square inches of cooking space to imbue everything resting inside its main chamber with the natural, rich, dense flavor of hardwood.
It’s far from being as technically advanced as the Traeger and Camp Chef smokers on our list as its humanly possible to be, but that’s what makes the Asmoke so appealing, as it means that you have to get your hands dirty every now and then to fully appreciate and learn how to master the art of smoking with wood pellets.
- Temperature Range - Asmoke might be doing their best to convince the world that this is a grill, but those of us who’ve been around the smoking scene for a little while know better than to listen to the company line.
With a temperature range between one hundred and eighty and five degrees Fahrenheit, this “grill” was actually made to be a smoker, as it follows the low and slow rule to the letter.
- How Many Years? - We’re not going to lie, Asmoke has one of the best warranties in the smoking scene and their five-year guarantee should give you all the peace of mind that you need to smoke freely and happily for many moons to come.
- Price Point - Take another look at that price. No, you didn’t imagine it. Yes, that really is how much this smoker costs. We know, it’s pretty incredible, isn’t it?
- A Little Bit Basic - It’s far from the flashiest or the most technologically advanced pellet smoker on the market, but if you want to learn how to smoke properly, it’s a good pellet grill to cut your teeth on.
And at the kind of price that Asmoke is charging for it, it would be churlish to ignore it wouldn’t it?
No, you’re not imagining things and there’s no need to rub your eyes or do a double-take, it does say Cuisinart and yes they are the same Cuisinart whose kitchen products your mom fell in love with three decades ago.
It’s a little known secret that, not so long ago, the world-famous kitchen brand decided to take everything that they’d learned about cooking inside and use it to create a range of grills and smokers that were designed to cook outside, and this pellet smoker is the culmination of that venture.
Okay, so maybe it isn’t the culmination of that idea, maybe it’s more like the opening salvo, but as introductory smokers go, it’s one of the best that we’ve stumbled across.
The fifteen-pound hopper can crank out all the heat and smoke that this machine needs to smoke everything in its main chamber which has a total cooking space of four hundred and fifty square inches.
It wasn’t designed to be overly complicated and uses a single, simple control to smoke at anywhere between one hundred and eighty and five hundred degrees and as it’s thermostatically controlled just like a regular kitchen oven is, that temperature will never dip.
If the Cuisinart says that it’s cooking at four hundred degrees, you can believe that’s the temperature that it’s smoking at.
- Hopper And Space - We’ve spent a long time extolling the virtues of big hoppers and large cooking volume, but the reality is, you’re probably only going to be smoking enough for your family to eat during regular cookouts, which means that a fifteen-pound hopper and four hundred and fifty square inches of cooking space is all that you’ll ever need or want.
- Six In One - It has the same six-in-one versatility as Traeger grills do, so you can use it to bake, braise, roast, barbecue, grill, and smoke.
We know, trust us, we never thought that we’d be talking about Cuisinart and Traeger either, but when a smoker is as good as this one is, you can’t ignore it. You have to speak up and tell the world about it.
- Cuisinart By Name, Cuisinart By Nature - The thing that we like most about this smoker though, is the price.
It’s priced like a Cuisinart product, which means that it won’t break your bank balance and won’t hurt your pocketbook. As Bob Barker used to say, “The price is right”
- Too basic - It’s a little too simplistic, and if you get bitten by the smoking bug, it won’t be too long before you’re looking to upgrade to a bigger, better, and more challenging pellet smoker.
But it is a pretty good smoker to learn the basics with, and sometimes that’s all you need.
That’s right folks, we’re back with Z-Grills again. The plucky little smoking underdog who decides to take on the best in the business and try to beat them at their own game.
They might not have secured their much-needed and wanted victory yet, but it’s only a matter of time until they do when they keep designing and creating pellet smokers and grills like the 600D.
Size isn’t everything and if you’re looking for a smoker to just satisfy the needs of your family to eat well smoked, lovingly prepared delicious food that comes with a premier grill manufacturer’s name stamped on it, then this could be the eight in one combination smoker that you’ve been looking for.
Whether you choose to grill with direct heat, in which case it can reach temperatures of up to seven hundred and fifty degrees Fahrenheit, or smoke with indirect heat, which will you to cook long, low, and slow at a maximum temperature of four hundred and fifty degrees, the eight-pound hopper and pellet auto-feed should ensure that you can turn the heat up to whatever you want for around four or five hours.
In other words, you have plenty of time to cook everything that you want, and need, too.
So, as we’ve already hinted that this smoker is a lot smaller than the previously mentioned 1000D, you’re probably wondering how much cooking space it actually has, and whether or not it’ll be enough for your nearest and dearest.
Well, the simplest answer is yes, it has all the cooking space that you’ll need as three hundred and thirty square inches is enough room to smoke a whole brisket or a chicken, or more than half a dozen burgers. See, we told you that size wasn’t everything, didn’t we?
- Turn The Heat Up - It may not be the biggest smoker on our list, but if you do choose to turn the heat up and use this smoker as a grill, the 600D can reach a blistering seven hundred and fifty degrees Fahrenheit.
- Eight In One Versatility - It clings to Z-Grills patented eight in one versatility formula like it was going out of fashion.
It isn’t, because when would a smoker that can also grill, roast, braise, sear, bake, char-grill, and bake ever be uncool? Never that’s when. This smoker will always be the epitome of grilling cool.
- Three-Year Warranty - And if all of the things that we’ve already mentioned haven’t got you reaching for your pocketbook, the fact that it comes with a three-year warranty might just be enough to make you crack and break out your credit card.
- It’s Family Sized - As long as you’re only smoking for your family, the 600D will be more than big enough, but if you do need a little extra cooking space when your friends come around, then it won’t make the smoking cut.
We told you that we were going to include three Traeger pellet smokers didn’t we, and the third and final Traeger smoker is the last one on our list.
It seems that Trager has decided that in order to stay one step ahead of the smoking pack, they have to constantly innovate and continually push the boundaries of what a pellet smoker can and should do and the breathtaking and incredibly compact Ranger is the result of the brand who invented pellet smoking refusing to go gentle into that good grilling night.
The Ranger was designed to be the ultimate in portable pellet smokers and is small enough to be thrown in the trunk of any family car and taken on camping trips and family vacations.
It has an eight-pound hopper (that’s right, it might be tiny, but it still has enough room for eight pounds of pellets), one hundred and seventy-six inches of total cooking space, and can reach a maximum temperature of four hundred and fifty degrees Fahrenheit.
So it doesn’t matter where you go, you can always smoke the Traeger way. With wood pellets.
The thing that we like best about the Ranger though, is that all of the usual Traeger technology (barring WiFire) has been squeezed into a box that’s smaller than the average carry-on suitcase that you’d take with you if you were flying to Florida.
It might be tiny, but thanks to the fact that it’s part of the Trager family, the Ranger is capable of punching well above its smoking weight.
- Hopper Time - The Ranger has an impressive eight-pound hopper which means that even with the heat turned all the way up to four hundred and fifty, it’ll still smoke whatever you want it to for more than four hours.
- The Traeger Six - And as small as it is, it can still fulfill all six of Traeger’s usual cooking trademarks, which means that the ranger can smoke, grill, bake, roast, braise and barbecue whatever you want it to…
- Three Years Of Worry-Free Smoking Fun - And the Ranger, just like every other Trager grill, comes with a bulletproof, cast iron three-year warranty.
- Size Isn’t Everything - It might be small, but don’t be fooled, as its size doesn’t reflect its weight.
The ranger weighs just over sixty pounds, which means that it’ll be a back-breaking exercise in pain to carry it from your car to wherever you’re camping.
We’ve said it before, and we’ll probably say it again in the future, Trager seems to have a very different take on what is and isn’t portable than the rest of the human race does.
Which Pellet Smoker Is The Right One For Me?
While we don’t usually throw our weight behind any single choice on any of our lists, when it comes to pellet smoking, we believe that only the best will do, and that’s why we’d always choose Camp Chef or Traeger.
Whether you choose to follow our lead is entirely up to you, after all, variety really is the spice of pellet smoking life…
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is A Pellet Smoker?
A pellet smoker is an outdoor oven that uses wood pellets to provide the heat that it needs to cook the food placed inside it and the smokes that it uses to imbue said food (usually meat, fish, or vegetables) with an additional, rich natural flavor.
They adhere to the traditional rules of barbecue and cook everything the long, low, and slow way.