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5 Best Portable Smokers of 2023
Looking for the best portable smoker for your outdoor entertaining, cooking, and adventuring? From the best low and slow charcoal smokers to the do-it-all wood pellet smokers, you’ll find all the features you’re looking for in your next outdoor cooking companion. Whether you’re on the hunt for a lightweight and versatile smoker or a classic that’s been getting the job done for decades, the smoker you need is on this list.
- The Championship-Winning OG Charcoal Smoker: WEBER 14-INCH SMOKEY MOUNTAIN COOKER
- Best Overall Smoker for The Everyday Barbeque-er: KAMADO JOE JR.
- Best Electric Smoker For Easy-Peasy Cooking: MASTERBUILT DIGITAL ELECTRIC SMOKER, 30″
- Most Versatile Smoker: Z GRILLS ZPG-200A PORTABLE WOOD PELLET GRILL & SMOKER 8 IN 1
- Best Bring Anywhere Smoker: CAMERONS LARGE STOVETOP SMOKER
Scroll down if you know what you’re looking for, or check out the answers to these common smoker questions.
Smoking with Charcoal Vs. Wood Pellets
There are a few major differences between smoking your meats with charcoal vs wood pellets. Before choosing a smoker to invest in, you absolutely need to know which kind of smoking you’re going to be doing.
Ease of Use
If you’re a smoker aficionado and truly enjoy the process and having absolute control over your final result, the extra work that goes into a charcoal smoker will be something you celebrate. But it does require more careful and skilled work.
Electric wood pellet smokers on the other hand have automatic internal temperature controls, so all you have to do is set it at your desired temperature and be on your way.
Cooking with wood pellets gives you the most versatility in your meat’s flavor. While charcoal cooking will give your meats a classic and consistent charcoal flavor, wood chips come in a variety of flavors to give your final products more nuance.
As stated above, electric wood pellet smokers automatically regulate the temperature to stick to what you set it at. Charcoal smokers are entirely manual, so you’ll need to know your way around your appliance to really get the results you’re looking for. One of the major pluses to charcoal, besides the complete control you have as the cook, charcoal grills can generally get a lot hotter than their pellet-burning counterparts. This makes them really useful for getting those perfect sear marks when you’re using your smoker to grill.
Wood pellet smokers are easier to use because it’s a set-it-and-forget-it get-up. Everything is digital. This means you’ll need an outdoor outlet nearby. This makes wood pellet smokers perfect for backyard barbeques and entertaining. You get convenient, fast, and reliable results so you can impress and hang out with your family and friends simultaneously.
Charcoal smokers are the end-all, be-all when it comes to true portability. If you want something you can take to a campsite, competitions, or a tailgate for some good old-fashioned smoking, the charcoal smokers can’t be beaten.
The Five Best Portable Smokers
And without further ado, the five best portable smokers for every purpose.
We couldn’t not put Weber at the top of our list. If you’re a true barbeque-er, you know why this classic claims the top spot on any reputable best-of list. Used by championship winners for its capabilities and portability, this is the ultimate companion for skilled low and slow charcoal cooks who want complete control over the final product.
The 14-inch Smokey Mountain Cooker is truly portable weighing in at a light 23 pounds and forgoing the digital doodads that require an outlet. Whether you are grilling or smoking, an experienced smoker or just getting serious about your craft, the Weber 14-inch Smokey Mountain Cooker will make you fall in love with the slowed-down pace of real smoking.
Charcoal grillers love the Kamado Joe Jr. They love it. And with good reason. This bad boy takes the second spot on our list because of its versatility, ease of use, and high quality of this smoker. This ceramic grill and air vent for optimal temperature control and finished with a cast iron stand is made to last. Owners rave about the quality of this item. From the built-in temperature gauge and heavy (but movable) ceramic body that reliably locks in heat, smoke, and moisture, to the top-notch customer service and 3-year warranty, buyers are consistently shocked by the high quality of the Kamado Joe Jr.
This smoker is built for high-quality grilling and smoking, but is insanely versatile, too. From a slot designed to transform your smoker into a pizza oven and the internal space to place a dutch oven, you can really do it all with this hard-working and easy-to-use appliance.
If you’re looking for a simple, consistent, set-it-and-forget-it type of smoker, you’ve found it. This four-rack digital electric smoker is a favorite among veteran smokers and newbies alike. Easy to use and clean, the chip smoker features a digital control that owners love for its consistently delicious results. With an external chip loader, replacing chips doesn’t mean having to open the door and sacrificing heat or smoke, making this a relaxing, no-stress smoking process.
The four racks can cook food for the whole group at once. The Masterbuilt has the capacity for up to six chickens, two turkeys, four pork ribs, or four pork shoulders. You can also get a separate fish and vegetable mat to round out your smoker’s full-meal ability.
With a maximum temperature of 275 degrees, you can really do anything, but you’ll need your own thermometer. Owners say this is their favorite cooking appliance, and suggest that newbies experiment with a variety of wood chip flavors while they’re exploring different flavors and techniques.
With a closer resemblance to a briefcase than a smoker, this mini 8-in-1 appliance does. It. All. Whether your heart is set on grilling, smoking, baking, roasting, searing, braising, barbecuing, or char-grilling, with temperatures over 375 degrees, you can do whatever your heart desires. It’s the do-it-all mini that can be stored or taken anywhere you have access to an outlet.
The digital control system provides even heat distribution across the entire cooking surface for consistent results. More than one owner of this compact appliance have forgone their typical smoker altogether in favor of this powerhouse.
Plus, its easy-to-carry handles and size make this a truly portable pellet grill and smoker for every meal in any place.
The Camerons Large Stovetop Smoker is a strong departure from the rest of the smokers on this list, but its unique capabilities give this list a smoker option for everyone. This is not your typical smoker, but it’s perfect for anyone who wants to smoke literally anywhere and is particularly loved by campers and indoor-bound cooks.
This smoker doesn’t provide its own heat source, but it’s seriously portable. Tiny, compact, lightweight, and capable, this small but mighty dish lets you make deliciously smoked meals anywhere, from the RV stovetop to the campfire. A lot of apartment-bound smokers love it because it lets them cook up their favorite smoked meals, from pork butt to pasta, inside. No yard required.
Another major plus is its affordability. Coming in at under $50, this versatile and convenient smoker is a capable and budget-friendly smoker option for anyone and everyone.
Its stainless steel and dishwasher-safe construction provide the ultimate cleaning experience, plus, the one-rack dish has space for wood pellets and a separate tray for drippings to keep things ultra neat inside or out.
How to Choose the Best Portable Smoker For You
There are so many smokers on the market that it can be overwhelming to confidently choose the one with the capabilities you need. There are smokers for different quantities of food, different kinds of cooking, different locations, and different experience levels. This list is designed with those important differentiators in mind so you can easily navigate the world wide web of options out there and find the best portable smoker for you. The smoker that not only fits your needs but will make you fall in love with the process of preparing delicious meals for your friends and family wherever your cooking adventures take you.
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