May 06, 2021
If you're on the go to various outdoor events and love to show off your grilling and smoking talents, how do you combine the two without your trailered, giant offset smoker in tow?
You're in luck. There are a number of great portable smoker and grilling options on the market these days, cooking tools that use fuel like real wood, wood pellets, lump charcoal and propane to take smoky goodness from the back deck to the lowered tailgate of your pickup truck.
Camp Chef Pursuit 20 Portable Pellet Grill
Backcountry to the back deck, there aren't many places that the Camp Chef Pursuit Pellet Grill can't create a smoke ring and some clean-your-plate goodness. Thanks to a spacious 501 square inches of cook space and a 10-pound pellet hopper, not to mention heavy-duty wheels, push-button folding legs, and locking lids, almost anything is possible on the Pursuit.
With a temperature range of 160 to 500 degrees, cooking enthusiasts can use either direct flame broil or indirect heat as the cooker is fueled by a supply of your favorite hardwood pellets. With Gen 2 features including smoke control, slide and grill technology, and durable construction that will stand the test of time and backroads into a campsite, you can smoke full-sized briskets, four chickens, four racks of ribs, a 12-inch pizza, or up to 24 burgers.
With a small sleek design, this portable unit can go just about anywhere, as long as you have electrical power or a power inverter. When you do, you're ready to cook for an entire block party, even if the only other guests attending your little get-together are a little bit on the wild side.
MSRP $440 | campchef.com
Traeger Ranger Pellet Grill
As the originator of smoky wood-fired flavor via real wood pellets, the folks at Traeger have taken their expertise at making big grills and smokers for the back deck and put it all in a power-packed package that will go just about anywhere, thanks to the Ranger Pellet Grill.
What can you grill or smoke on the smaller Ranger? Well, if you're already used to what you can do on the Ranger's bigger brothers in Traeger's lineup, the answer is just about anything. From a small- to medium-size brisket, to a rack of ribs, to the usual cookout fare of burgers, brats, steaks and yard birds (up to six burgers, 10 hot dogs, two or three steaks, and a couple of chickens), the Ranger features a generous 176 inches of cooking space.
Thanks to Traeger's Digital Arc controller, the Ranger allows you to set your temperature in 5-degree increments and maintain precise cooking temps as you keep a supply of wood pellets handy along with an electrical supply going (standard wall sockets or a power inverter will do the trick). With a latched lid, a Keep Warm mode, a built-in meat probe that allows for precise temp readings without peaking, and an included cast-iron griddle, the Ranger is the perfect on-the-go cooking companion for tailgating, the duck blind, or even a shore lunch on your next fishing trip.
MSRP $399.99 | traegergrills.com
Mini Big Green Egg
One of the more popular and recognizable cooking tools on the market due to its unique shape and bright green color, the folks at Big Green Egg have made mini-egging possible, thanks to their miniature version.
Perfect for tailgating, deer camp, or on your next campout, the cooking world is your smoked oyster thanks to this Mini Big Green Egg cooker. Using lump charcoal, these mini Eggs offer BBQ enthusiasts complete control over the temperature that their food cooks at thanks to a patented air flow system that can bring temps from 150 degrees (low and slow) to 750 degrees (fast and hot). If you want to grill or lightly smoke, and you need it all in a portable package, this cooker is tailor-made for such chores.
Checking in with a weight of 39 pounds, the Mini Big Green Egg has a grid area of 10 inches and a cooking area that equals out to 79 square inches. From burgers to a steak or two, to a supply of venison brats, to a wild turkey breast, grilling is a snap. And if you've got some light smoking that you want to do, the Mini Big Green Egg can roll some smoke that will have your guests eagerly waiting for dinner to be served.
MSRP $399 | biggreenegg.com
Masterbuilt Bullet Smoker
If you're headed for the backcountry, this Bullet Smoker from Masterbuilt is perfect, since all you need is some meat, some charcoal and a match or two. I got my start in smoking meat by using a big Masterbuilt barrel smoker years ago and it's good to see this portable unit—they are foolproof and last for a long, long time.
With a built-in temp gauge, the portable Bullet uses an air damper and front access door to let you create some smoky goodness and consistent heat, all of which will work wonders in the low-and-slow taste department, no matter where your campsite finds you. While this is a portable whiz at backcountry cooking, the Bullet is also very space friendly on your back deck or urban patio, so you're able to cook no matter where the evening twilight finds you.
Simply get your meat ready—up to four chickens, 24 brats or sausages, and 18 burgers—and all that's left to do is fill up the charcoal bowl at the bottom, add some wood chips and maybe the removable water bowl, and then fire things up. A few hours later, there isn't much clean-up other than disposing of the ash and wiping the grate down…because there won't be any leftovers to put away.
MSRP $69.99 | masterbuilt.com
Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett
Thanks to the Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett portable smoker, the art of cooking big in a tight space is simple and easy, no matter what zip code you are in this spring and summer. Able to run on 12V or 120AC, this unit weighs 68 pounds and has foldable legs, so it can fit in an RV, the back of a pickup truck, or even in the trunk of your car or small SUV.
With a 9-pound hopper capacity and a cooking surface of 219 square inches, the Davy Crockett is able to cook four to six steaks, two racks of ribs, and plenty of burgers. There's also room for the right-sized brisket, so even if you're heading to a suburban campsite on the outskirts of San Antonio for a day of sightseeing at the Alamo, where Davy Crockett and his pals made their famous last stand, you're in business with this portable smoker.
And with the ability to control your smoky temps in 5-degree increments from 150 to 550 degrees, you're in total control of your cooking at the beach, in the mountains, or at a desert campsite. What's more, you don't even have to get up to check on the cooking process, thanks to GMG's Wi-Fi controller (compatible through iOS or Android mobile apps) and the Sense-Mate thermal sensor. Outdoor cooking couldn't be easier, as long as you've got Davy Crockett around, that is.
MSRP $329 | greenmountaingrills.com
Weber Jumbo Joe Charcoal Grill 18
This compact grill is perfect for fitting in the trunk, making it a breeze to carry to a picnic table, a truck tailgate before the big game, or on an apartment patio to celebrate a birthday or momentous occasion.
Featuring a primary cooking area of 240 square inches, the Jumbo Joe features a plated cooking grid, a fuel grid, and an ash catcher, things that help make clean-up and safe cooking a snap no matter where you are.
With a porcelain-enameled lid and bowl, consistent heat is easily retained during your cooking session while the finish will also stand up to rain, sunshine and dust when not in use. Put in some charcoal and some wood chips, light your fire and control the temperature by adjusting the easy-to-use damper and it's only a matter of time until dinner is ready. And when the evening is done, extinguish the coals by simply closing the lid and shutting off the flow of oxygen.
After that, the lid locks and the unit is easily carried by the handles, so this is true portable cooking at its best, no matter what's on the menu.
MSRP $74.99 | weber.com
Oklahoma Joe's Rambler Tabletop Charcoal Grill
Oklahoma Joe's has made a name for itself in the BBQ world, building great backyard barrel smokers and grills that can handle many pounds of brisket, ribs, steaks, burgers, and more.
But what about when you've got a birthday party at the local park, have a campsite reserved where the only cooking surface is a concrete picnic table, or you simply want to spend a day at the beach watching the sun rise and fall? Simple—carry the Oklahoma Joe's Rambler Tabletop Charcoal Grill with you, and your cooking chores are all but done.
Thanks to heavy-duty steel construction, this durable 48.5-pound grill features a thick cast-iron grill grate that is perfect for getting a red-hot sear on a steak as well as holding up to many sessions of wood or charcoal fired cooking.
With the Rambler's height-adjustable charcoal tray, you can grill with close-contact heat or back things away for a low-and-slow cooking session. Large air dampers enhance airflow and temperature control, and the professional temperature gauge, complete with glow-in-the-dark temperature accents, helps you take advantage of the 218 square inches of cooking space.
By the way, that cooking space will handle six burgers, six 1.25-pound sirloin strip steaks, a dozen brats, and most likely a rack of ribs or even a moderate-sized brisket.
When it comes time to move the grill, the lid handle features an easy-to-grab rubber grip that stays cool to the touch. And at clean-up time, the full-size removable ash pan makes disposal chores as simple as can be. After disposing of the extinguished ashes and a quick wipe down, all that's left to do is make the easy carry back to the truck.
MSRP $149 | oklahomajoes.com
Hasty Bake Ranger 380
The Hasty Bake Ranger is perfect for tailgating and portable enough to toss in your truck, RV, or boat. It also offers the same unique features of our other full-size grills. You can grill, bake, or smoke on your Ranger.
- Surface cooking space: 258 square inches
- Overall dimensions: 23"W x 18"D x 22.5"H
- Weight: 48 lbs
- 20-gauge stainless steel body
- 18-gauge stainless steel lift mechanism, fire box, and ashpan
- Chain-style lift mechanism
- Two carry handles
- Nickel-plated cooking grill
- 10-year parts/workmanship warranty
MSRP $799 | hastybake.com
Pit Boss Mahogany 150
Don't let the photo here fool you, this isn't a backyard toy. Instead, the Pit Boss Mahogany Series 150PPS Tabletop Wood Pellet Grill is a cooking tool that can out-smoke, out-grill, and out-bake units that are much bigger and cost more.
While it's true that the 150PPS Table Top model is one of the best portable cookers on the market today, it's also true that it delivers big-time 8-in-1 cooking versatility that allow users to smoke, bake, roast, braise, grill, char-grill, barbecue, and sear meat to sizzling, smoky perfection.
With a locking lid, convenient carry handles, an easy-to-handle weight of 52 pounds, and a spacious 256 square inches of cooking space, this grill/smoker has a five-pound hopper capacity that allows for smoking, cooking and open-flame searing with searing temperatures all the way up to 1,000 degrees.
Fueled by real hardwood pellets that are burned with a supply of electrical power, the tabletop unit works by way of a digital control board that features LED dial-in temperature setting between 180 and 500 degrees. With an adjustable Flame Broiler Lever, you can decide on whether you want to use direct or indirect heat for your cooking session, or even opt for fan-forced convection cooking. That means that anything from a brisket flat, to a rack of ribs, to steaks and burgers, to even a pan of brownies are fair game for your cooking session, no matter where you find yourself.
With porcelain-coated steel cooking grates, a meat temperature probe, a high-temperature powder coat finish, heavy-duty steel construction, and a best-in-class 5-year warranty, there's almost nothing in the cooking department that you can't do with a Pit Boss Mahogany Tabletop grill.
MSRP: $199.99 | pitboss-grills.com
Lodge Cast Iron Sportsman's Grill
Sometimes, simpler is better and there isn't much simpler when it comes to backyard ready cooking than when you are using the cast-iron products that Lodge is famous for.
While many know of the company's cast-iron skillets and Dutch ovens, you might be surprised to know that Lodge also makes an easy-to-use, and easy-to-move Cast Iron Sportsman’s Grill that weighs only 27 pounds and uses charcoal or wood for cooking.
This hibachi-style grill is easy to use in the backyard or beyond, thanks to its two-position grill grate, a fire grate to put your fuel on, a fire door that allows for coals to be added or subtracted as necessary, and an adjustable draft door that allows you to achieve temperature control through airflow restriction.
The Sportsman's Grill comes with a carrying handle, so it's easy to move around if space is at a premium in your backyard setting or you want to carry it to the campsite, the beach, or your favorite team's next tailgating session. Offering a sizable 150 square inches of cooking space atop the footed base, cooking multiple burgers, a few brats and dogs, or even a couple of steaks, is a breeze with this Lodge product. And while grilling is obviously this Lodge cast-iron product's primary strength, not to mention its size and portability, the Sportsman's Grill can also be used to smoke meats by simply adding a few wooden chips that have been soaked in water.
MSRP: $99 | lodgecastiron.com