Wanna elevate your BBQ party at the beach without a proper large heat source? Don’t worry because the best portable smokers with small footprints are good to go.
Unlike large offset smokers, the best portable smokers come across people’s minds when thinking of doing small and quick outdoor cooking. They are small and lightweight enough to easily fit various vehicles.
You still enjoy the food with a typical smoky flavor anytime and anywhere you like. Another benefit is you can easily keep the smokers in storage at any place instead of keeping them in the backyard to withstand the sudden rain. If you are also interested in getting one, this article might be useful to you.
So, let’s begin!
Types of Product
There are several types of smokers on the market, but unfortunately, not all are portable. Only charcoal smokers, pellet smokers, kamado smokers, electric smokers, and propane smokers can satisfy your requirements on portability.
Charcoal smokers, also known as water smokers or bullet smokers, are the most common type used by BBQ enthusiasts. They include a bottom firebox to hold charcoal and a water pan above to deflect heat and provide moisture.
The heat and smoke are controlled by the air vents and the exhaust dampers at the top. Besides charcoal, wood chips or chunks are optional to create the additional flavor for your meat.
Here is the deal:
Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker, which is available in 3 sizes, can meet all your cooking requirements. Its minor problem is relatively small compared to the huge cooking space it offers.
That is not to mention its sturdy construction, which can go through years. It is strong for traditional cooking at home yet still portable enough for you to use on the go.
People call these pellet smokers because of the compressed sawdust pellets used for fuel. There is a hopper on the smoker’s side to keep these pellets and a metal rod to make them burn, creating smoke and heat for the chamber.
Pellet smokers or pellet grills are a combination of smokers and ovens. That is because these pellet kinds have integrated thermometers to keep stable and consistent temperatures like electric ovens.
The pellet smoker we love the most is Traeger Pellet TFB30KLF.
The 300-square-inch cooking capacity might not be large, but it is reasonable and enough for a portable smoker. It also comes with folding legs to easily fit in all vehicles.
Wanna know the best thing?
The arc controller and the advanced grilling logic gives you perfect hands-off control. The meat probe can tell you exactly when your meat will be done and the warm function to keep your food until you finish other jobs.
Made of thick ceramic, these oval smokers are inspired by Japanese rice cookers used more than 3000 years ago. They are versatile to be smokers, grills, ovens, and even traditional pizza ovens.
Kamado smokers are quite similar to charcoal smokers in terms of the way of smoking. However, the thickness of ceramic walls advances more heat insulation, making them more suitable for cold conditions.
You may have heard of a lot of Kamado smoker brands.
But this is the one:
It has a great cooking size with wheels and locking to boost its mobility. With the air-lift hinged lid, 2-tier conquer, and precise control top vent, this is your great companion for versatility on the go.
What makes electric smokers different from vertical charcoal ones is that they run by electricity or gas. Most of them feature a bottom heating element for precise temperature control.
They are the ultimate option for set-and-forget function. You can set the temperature and let the smokers do their jobs until your meat is well-cooked and ready to serve.
Which smoker is perfect for the RV life? It is Masterbuilt Bluetooth Digital Electric Smoker MB20073519.
Here are the reasons:
The 4 cooking racks offer you vast space to smoke. Plus, it is easy to use. Just connect to the power or your car through an inverter, set the temperature, and fill it with food.
With Bluetooth Smart, it is even easier for you to monitor the power, cooking time, meat temperature from a digital panel or your phone.
These propane box smokers use natural gas or propane as the fuel. You may use a hookup or a refillable tank; however, the latter is more convenient during the trip.
The gas will move from the tank to the bottom burner, where it burns and produces heat. However, as gas cannot create smoke itself, you can put wood chips in the burner to make some.
And our choice is Masterbuilt MPS 20B Patio-2-Portable MB20050116.
That is crazy:
Weighing only 22 pounds, its compact design with foldable legs is ideal for transportation. With this small portable size, you only need a 1lb gas tank for your BBQ party.
The cooking space seems to be small with only 2 racks. However, Masterbuilt claims that up to 2 racks of ribs or 4 chickens can still fit in it.
How To Choose The Best Portable Smokers?
Everyone knows why finding suitable portable smokers is necessary, but at the same time, understand how hard it is. That is right; however, believe us. We will try our best to bring you the dedicated and comprehensive buying guides to help deal with those worries.
1. Smokers’ Types
As you might know, not all portable smokers run on the same fuel type. Some common fuels normally seen on the smokers market are pellet, electricity, charcoal, and gas.
We have presented all information about these types above, so you can read again if you still have two minds right now. And don’t hesitate to leave us a comment in the box below if you have any questions. We will reply as soon as possible to solve your trouble.
It goes without saying that it is the first and foremost factor when it comes to the ideal smokers. The best portable smokers should be a great combination of weight, size, and cooking capacity. You should avoid the one with large, bulky size and heavyweight.
Everyone knows why, right? And at the same time, that smokers come with enough space for your basic cooking demands. You can transport it more easily and still cook sufficient amounts of food for the gatherings.
We want to recommend Charcoal Companion Stovetop Smoker CC4132, which is extremely suitable for limited space. Besides the compact size and lightweight, it comes with 2 lift handles for extra portability.
What your smokers are made of plays a vital role in deciding if your products’ ease of maintenance and lightweight. We find that the ideal material is stainless steel. It is light, anti-corrosive, rust-resistant, and able to endure high heat.
Some options that are worth considering are Cuisinart Charcoal Smoker COS-118 and Char-Broil Propane Gas Smoker 12701705-DI. They are appreciated for durability to use over a long time and reliable insulation to adjust the heat inside. Therefore, you can expect consistent heat for your special dishes.
Other materials such as cast iron, aluminum, or porcelain also do an amazing job compared to stainless steel. Unfortunately, they add more weight to the smokers, making it harder to move around.
4. Extra Features
It is wise for you to look for some extra features. Here is why. With various excellent functions, you can break the limits and cook a world of dishes without hassle.
From ultimate smoky flavors, Bluetooth remote control to foldable shelving space, they all maximize your comfortability and add more fun to your cooking experience. Just remember they might make your smokers heavier and bigger.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Do grills and smokers offer the same performance?
Of course not. Each product has each function and separate use, but it sounds hard to differentiate, right? So, the key difference between them is the temperature levels, affecting your dishes’ cooking time.
The grilling method offers high heat over a very short time, while smoking is the method that uses relatively low temperature for a long time. It may take from 1 hour to even several weeks to get your food well-cooked and ready to serve. Although the former way is more time-saving, the latter is an ultimate winner in unique flavor.
2. How often should I clean my smoker?
It would be best if you cleaned it after each use. Why? Because after each time using, there are lots of grease or ashes deposits remaining.
We are sure that they impact greatly on the food and your amazing cooking time. If you are worried about the exhausting cleanup process, you can consider the Weber Charcoal Smoker 711001.
It comes with a water tray to collect drippings. From our experience, cleaning this model is even easier than your small and compact oven at home.
3. Should I season my new smoker?
Of course, it is. Seasoning or curing is a necessary step you should do before smoking meat in a brand new smoker.
Seasoning means heating it at high temperatures to remove any residual leftovers during the manufacturing process. It also guarantees that the smoker is safe for cooking.
The seasoning process may take up to 2 hours, but luckily, you need to do it once only. To season, we advise you to coat the interior with cooking oil that can be burnt at high heat, such as grapeseed oil, canola oil, or olive oil. Do not forget to coat the lid, wall, and racks, too.
4. Can I use a rusty smoker?
Although rust is not toxic, we do not recommend using any rusty device to cook your food.
Since rust is formed during metal oxidation, it can unintentionally stick to your food or mix in a tiny amount. Larger flakes can cause serious injuries to your mouth or intestines while eating, too.
Therefore, it is also better to use a rust-free smoker. You can wipe the whole components with proper painting, oiling, or other similar techniques to eliminate rust. Also, remember to season it again.
Regular smoker maintenance is essential to prevent dust, rust, or other kinds of toxic substances from forming inside your smoker.
5. Should I use dry or wet wood chips for smoking?
Depending on your preferences, you can choose either pre-soaked or dry wood chips. Wet chips are not recommended.
Dry chips will add some more smoke flavor to your meat as they produce intense smoke. However, they may burn so fast that you need to refill them regularly.
If you do not like smoky flavor much, soak your chips in water for about 30 minutes. Pre-soaked chips burn slower and create less smoke. Always keep in mind that soaked wood chips will also reduce the cooking temperature in the smoker.
The Bottom Line
If you are a huge fan of outdoor activities and love smoking food, why don’t you purchase the best portable smokers to satisfy your tastes all the time?
Hopefully, the detailed guide we mentioned above helps you choose the right option among the overwhelming number of smokers on the market. Nonetheless, if you are still confused, here are some potential options that we would love to recommend to you.
Kamado Joe Classic II KJ23RHC is the best overall smoker. It is versatile to cook different kinds of food within only a unit.
More importantly, the durable ceramic construction and precise top vent allow it to work perfectly in any weather.
Yes, despite impressive features, this smoker might cost an arm and a leg to some people.
For a more affordable smoker, we have Masterbuilt Bluetooth Digital Electric Smoker MB20073519. This one was born to be portable with lightweight, compact size, and reasonable cooking capacity.
But what we like the most is the automatic function, which gives you a completely hands-off experience. You don’t need to worry since your meat is always cooked to perfection.
Thank you for reading.