top of page

The 7 best portable smokers for 2024.

Updated: Jul 19, 2023

The best portable smokers for camping, tailgating, or picnicking.

You can have the best meats in the world, but it's the smoke that truly makes your juicy flavored meat sing joyous songs of flavor and smells. Having a portable smoker in your arsenal of cooking when camping is essential. Create unique sandwiches and dishes that all your friends and family will be talking about for months afterwards.

If you are looking for the best portable smoker for your needs, then look no further! In this blog post, we will review 7 of the best smokers on the market and help you decide which one is right for you. Whether you are a beginner or an expert smoker, there is a smoker here for you! So let's get started.

Smokers are a must have in your culinary arsenal whether using them at home or on the road.

The term smoker is often times used interchangeable with "grill" or "barbeque". Some smokers are very specialized while others are more versatile cooking machines. Traditionalists will say there is only way to use a specific fuel for smoking. With so many ways to cook or smoke everyone has a preferred way to smoke the meats. You're specific way will depend a lot on what your using the smoker for, space ventilation needed, and how dedicated you want to be with your craft.

There is one key measure for smoking the "perfect" meats.

According to Stephen Raichlin from his book Project Smoke it's all about keeping a low constant temperature. The optimal low level cooking degree is 250°. You can go up to 275° and down to 225° but the smoker needs to stay as steady at those temperature for great smoked dishes.

Smokers can vary widely when it comes to features, size and price.

Chef and cookbook author Elizabeth Karmel from Taming the flame states you need to "Buy the biggest and the best that you can possibly afford, because the better the grill is, the more you’re going to use it, and the more you use it, the better griller you’ll become.” here is a list of the top 7 smokers on the market for 2023.

  • Best overall: Traeger Grills Ranger Portable Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker, Black Small

  • Most versatile: NOMAD Grill & Smoker

  • Best budget portable smoker: Country Smokers CSPEL015010497 Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker, Black

  • Best portable charcoal smoker: Weber 18-inch Smokey Mountain Cooker, Charcoal Smoker.

  • Best premium smoker: Kamado Joe Jr.

  • Best portable propane smoker: Masterbuilt MB20070210 Analog Electric Smoker with 3 Smoking Racks, 30 inch, Black

  • Best tech savvy smoker (yes it's a smoker with wifi): Pellet Smoker: Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett Trek WiFi Controlled Pellet Grill


 

Best overall: Traeger Grills Ranger Portable Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker

If you're looking for a portable smoker that is easy to set up and use, then the Traeger Grills Ranger Portable Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker is a great option. It's one of the most popular portable smokers on the market, and for good reason.

The Ranger comes with everything you need to get started smoking. The wood pellet smoker is a great option for the beginner or experienced smoker. The portablility of the Ranger is perfect for camping, tailgating, or picnicking. So if you're looking for an easy to use and transportable smoker, then the Traeger Grills Ranger is a great option.



Pros

Cons

  • light, compact easy to carry

  • Designed to travel and take with you

  • Easy-to-clean porcelain-coated grill grates

  • cook timer

  • great customer service

  • Needs electricty

  • 60lbs

  • temperature fluctuates


Most Versatile: NOMAD Grill & Smoker

With unrivaled portability, a premium charcoal barbecue grill & smoker with no equal. This lightweight carrying bag has a capacity of up to 425 square inches. NOMAD delivers big power in the durability department thanks to cast aluminum construction. With flexibility and strength, NOMAD adapts to all your needs.

The NOMAD grill and smoker, which is jam-packed with features and utility, everything about this product screams innovation. It's ideal for tailgating, camping, hunting, fishing, beach-going, backyard barbecuing or patio perching because of its light weight and great design.



Pros

Cons

  • Advanced thermal architecture

  • Cast and cambered grates

  • Mag vent air controls

  • ergonaomic handle

  • looks really cool

  • None this thing is legit


Best budget portable smoker: Country Smokers CSPEL015010497 Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker


This thing is a workhorse. It's ideal for cooking anything from burgers to whole chickens or even pizzas. With its cast-iron grates, you'll get perfect sear marks every time. The digital control panel makes it easy to set the temperature and walk away. The hopper is easy to use and last for hours without having to re fill it.

The Country Smokers Wood Pellet Grill is a handy, compact pellet grilling machine. With a clean, black finish, it provides delicious wood-fired flavor in a portable package. The Traveler will soon become your go-to grill for any and all outdoor excursions. The hopper holds 3.5 lbs of wood pellets to give you plenty of time to enjoy all your outdoor activities while it perfectly smokes your meat.



Pros

Cons

  • most affordable

  • Can run off DC plug in vehicle

  • searing zone

  • easy to use

  • Needs electricity

  • no backstop for food sliding off

  • Could use more space under the hood

 


Best portable charcoal smoker: Weber 18-inch Smokey Mountain Cooker, Charcoal Smoker


The Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker is one of the best portable smokers on the market, and for good reason. It's made with high-quality materials, it's easy to use, and it produces great results. The Weber Smokey Mountain is a tiny bullet-style charcoal smoker. It measures 32 inches tall and weighs less than 20 pounds, making it ideal for transporting in the back of your vehicle. However, you can still cook a whole chicken or even a small turkey in this smoker.

This smoker includes two 13 1/2 "cooking racks, giving a total cooking surface of 286 square inches. There isn't enough room to cook a big piece of meat because everything will have to be no more than a foot long. Of course, you may cut rib racks in half and trim briskets down. The body is made of powder-coated steel that can withstand the elements and the chrome-plated cooking grids are durable and easy to clean.

This is a great smoker for someone who wants to take their smoking on the go or doesn't have a lot of space in their backyard. Even though it's small, you can still cook enough food for four to six people at one time. If you're looking for a quality and durable smoker that won't break the bank, then this Smoker is for you.


Pros

Cons

  • Lightweight and compact

  • Affordable

  • Easy and simple to use

  • Adjustable air vents for temperature control

  • Has a protective cover

  • Good warranty

Can't fit a big piece of meat in this smoker.




Best premium smoker: Kamado Joe Jr

If you're searching for a sturdy, long-lasting portable smoker, the Kamado Joe Jr. is a good option. This tiny ceramic barbecue is adaptable, simple to operate, and will last a lifetime.

Measuring about 20 inches by 20 inches, it’s small enough to transport but still offers a decent 148 square inches of cooking space. And, if you don’t know what the numbers mean, that’s enough to cook 4 burgers, 3 large steaks or even a small chicken or pork butt at a time.

The best kamados and the rest of the Kamado Joe range utilize high-quality, cool-touch ceramic. Despite the fact that this smaller version is constructed from top-notch material, it only weights 68 pounds. And, like all of the other top kamados or any other part of the Kamado Joe line, it will be a great choice for any chef or griller.

The Joe Jr. is simple to use, whether you're a beginner or an expert, and comes with everything you need for complete smoking satisfaction: a sturdy stand, a built-in temperature gauge, rust-resistant stainless steel racks, and an ash cleaning tool.



Pros

Cons

  • High-quality barbecue that’s portable and durable

  • Suitable for grilling, smoking, baking and roasting

  • Smaller size and lighter weight makes it easy to transport in the trunk

  • Quality gasket gives good seal that doesn’t leak smoke

  • You need lump charcoal

  • Ridiculously hot need fire gloves at times

  • does not have built in meat thermometer


Best Tailgater Smoker - Broil King Keg


So this smoker may not be as small or as portable as some of the previous smokers, but it looks killer on the back of a truck for tailgating. Plus, it’s a Kamado grill so you know the quality is there. It has all the features that you want in a smoker with an easy dump ash pan. This thing is a beast for a big crew tailgating with the optional tailgating hitch.

The Broil King Keg is a lightweight variant of a regular kamado that is constructed of insulated, porcelain-lined steel. This means not only does this 'cue accommodate low and slow cooking, but it also doubles as a grill. In fact, you'll be able to cook practically everything from seared steaks to slow-cooked meats. It's easy to access the bottom rack because it swings out of the way as soon as you open the top one.

The Broil King Keg also offers all of the standard features you'd expect from a portable smoker. This includes high-quality, rust-resistant dampers, as well as a temperature gauge and a removable ash drawer for easy cleaning. There's even a bottle opener so you will be ready for that first beer before the kickoff.

So, if you're looking for a top-notch portable smoker that will make your friends and family green with envy, the Broil King Keg is the way to go. Just don't forget the beer.


Best tech savvy smoker (yes it's a smoker with wifi): Pellet Smoker: Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett Trek WiFi Controlled Pellet Grill


Design, Davy Crockett is now the Trek - The heat baffle has been upgraded to be adjustable. This new feature allows for precise control and distribution of heat, reducing hot spots. The foldable legs have been dropped in favor of four robust legs.

Do you need to step away from your campsite or smoker from time to time. Does it get exhausting always checking back in on your smoked meats? Well have no fear with this amazing wifi enabled smoker you will be able to check the temps from anywhere. All you need is the GMG app on your phone and away you go. This smoker also has some amazing features like a meat probe, so you can check the internal temperature of your meats without even opening the lid.

This is perfect for long cooks where you might not want to be constantly checking on things. Just set it and forget it!




Pros

Cons

  • Great for both smoking and searing

  • WiFi control

  • temperature keeps set

  • several power options

  • Includes a meat probe

  • small surface area

  • right side of smoker gets hotter

  • hard to carry




119 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


Join our weekly newsletter

Just a little nugget of information on camping every Friday before you set out for the weekend camping. 

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Instagram

Thanks for submitting!

bottom of page