Having a good portable smoker is necessary if you want to enjoy a good smoking meal with your family when you’re on the go. A good quality smoker will help you bring fantastic results when it comes to smoked meat. And there are many great options to choose from.
If you are in a hurry and just want to find out what is the best Portable Smoker, then I recommend below As the best ones.
Last update on 2020-10-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Table of Contents
How Does Portable Smoker Work?
Meat smoking is a special technique that requires patience. It cooks the meat over a longer period of time over low temperatures. For the best results, the temperatures should be between 212 and 230 degrees Fahrenheit. This will help you retain the “meatiness” of the meat and it won’t make the meat dry.
Smoking can be done with a variety of smokers. Electric smokers are common, as are propane smokers. Some also use wood and charcoal smokers, while pellet smokers are also popular.
The premise of meat smoking is that you need to have a good portable smoker, especially if you’re on the go. It’s slightly more complicated than grilling because it takes slightly longer for the meat to cook.
But the great thing is that the meat will taste fantastic, as it will get cooked over a longer period of time. And many people just love that smoky taste of the meat, which is why they prefer smoking.
Is Portable Smoker Better than Grilling?
If you’re looking for a fantastic taste and tender meat, then Portable Smoker can be better than grilling. It’s almost impossible to recreate the taste and feel of the meat that you can achieve with smoking. That’s why you need a professional smoker that will get you the best results.
However, the downside of smoking compared to grilling is that it takes significantly longer for the meat to be ready. Smoking can take your whole day, while grilling will be much faster – only a couple of hours, if not minutes.
The truth is that you just don’t get the same taste with grilling as you do with smoking. Sure, it might be significantly faster and more accessible, but with smoking, you’re getting that distinct smoky taste and tender meat. That’s almost impossible to match just with grilling. There are smoker boxes available to put on a grill to mimic the taste of a smoker, but it’s just not the same.
What Should I Look for in a Portable Smoker?
There are several things to keep an eye out on when you’re choosing your portable smoker. One crucial thing is that you should have easy access to the firebox of the smoker so that you can refuel it. You’ll find that you’ll constantly need to refuel it during the smoking process in order for the meat to get done.
Here are some other things to consider when choosing your portable smoker.
1. Temperature control options
Arguably the most important thing of meat grilling is the ability to control the temperature inside the smoker. This will allow you to complete the meal on time, but you’ll also get a good idea of how fast the meat will cook. A thermostat is a great feature to have, although not every smoker has it. Ideally, you should choose a smoker with a thermostat, or at least with a reliable thermometer.
2. Build quality
Another key thing when choosing your smoker is the build quality, and the materials that the smoker is made of. Steel is perhaps the best for maintaining the heat inside the smoker, although you will compromise on portability slightly if you buy one with a really thick steel.
3. Temperature range
If you’re able to crank up your portable smoker to a very high temperature, chances are that your meat will get done faster, it will taste better, and you’ll get the smoking done easily. If you can get the smoker to temperatures of 180 degrees Fahrenheit and above, that’s already great. You’ll also want to choose one that distributes the heat evenly, although that might be hard to know without trying it out first.
Is the portable smoker easily foldable and portable? Or is it clunky and hard to assemble or disassemble? That’s an important thing to consider when you’re buying a portable smoker, as it will allow you to take it with you anywhere you go.
Another thing to consider is the accessories. Do you get additional tools with it? Do you get a cover, and additional portability features such as wheels?
How To Start Smoking Meat?
Smoking meat is a long procedure. The best way to start is to clean your smoker completely. You don’t want mold to start forming, and you want a clean smoker so that your meat has that pristine taste.
Then, you will want to purchase good quality meat. If you truly want to succeed with your smoking, then you want high-quality meats, which will also cost more, but the results can be fantastic.
Plan ahead and start a fire. It will take you several hours to completely cook the meat, so you will want to start early with the smoking. Start the fire but build it slowly – you don’t want it to burn out quickly. A crucial part here is to use the right type of wood – aged or drier wood works best.
Then, put your meat on the smoker and maintain ideal temperatures at all times. Check your thermometer and thermostat constantly. And remember, only with practice you’ll raise your smoking game to another level.
The 5 Best Portable Smokers
Considering all of the key features we mentioned above, we have made a list of the 5 best portable smokers for your needs. After going through hundreds of products, these are the ones we consider to be the best.
1. Weber 14-Inch Smokey Mountain Cooker
- Fuel used: Charcoal
- Dimensions: 14.7” W, 14.7” D, 31.4” H.
- Weight: 24lbs
- Total grilling area: 286 sq. inches.
Weber is the master of producing some of the best grills and smokers in the world. And this portable smoker is certainly no exception. We consider this grill to be the best portable charcoal smoker around, and for many reasons.
Firstly, the design. This thing is high-quality materials. The cooking grates and the exterior are made from steel, which is perhaps the best material for smokers. That’s because it retains the heat inside the smoker and stops any potential leaks. In addition, you’re also getting a good, reliable thermometer on the smoker itself, allowing you to track the temperature accurately at all times.
The temperatures can be trickled up all the way to 190 degrees Fahrenheit, which is impressive, to be honest. And refilling the charcoal into the smoker is relatively easy – just open the hatchet, and refill the charcoal without the danger of the fire running out, spreading, or too much heat escaping from the smoker. And with the easy assembly, the smoker is a great portable option.
2. Masterbuilt MB20071117 Digital Electrical Smoker
- Fuel used: Wooden chips
- Dimensions: 30” W, 20” D, 20” H
- Weight: 45.90lbs
- Total grilling area: 4 racks
Electrical smokers can be great to use if you’re looking for something that’s relatively easy to control. And we consider the Masterbuilt electrical smoker to be the best portable electrical smoker. Why?
That’s mainly thanks to the incredibly easy usage of the smoker. With the digital panel controls, you can easily adjust and control the temperatures and the settings of the smoker. There’s also a thermostat and temperature control option for the smoker, which makes the use of the smoker easy.
This smoker runs on wooden chips, which you can enter on the side of the smoker. You can do so without opening the door or a lengthy procedure; instead, you can easily insert the wooden chips through the loading system.
And for an efficient smoking procedure, the body of the smoker is well insulated, keeping the heat inside effectively while also making the cooking more efficient. There are 4 smoking racks, allowing you to smoke multiple meat pieces or vegetables at the same time.
3. Z Grills ZPG-450A 2020 Grill & Smoker
- Fuel used: Wood/pellets
- Dimensions: 45”, 28”, 49”
- Weight: 84lbs
- Total grilling area: 452 square inches
The Z Grills ZPG-450A grill and smoker is one of the most complete products currently on the market. You’ll be able to grill, smoke, roast, braise, and bake your foods on this product. This is possibly the most versatile grill on this list, but it’s also the best portable wood smoker that we have found through research.
It will give you that distinct smoky taste for the food you smoke on the grill. And this is the ultimate goal of every smoker out there. This one will use your pellets or wood efficiently – up to 20 hours of usage for 20lbs of pellets! The whole thing is also very easy to use, as it has buttons on the side that let you control almost every aspect.
Auto ignition and digital auto temperature control make the use of this product easy. Plus, it’s helpful to control the temperatures, which can range all the way between 180 and 450 degrees Fahrenheit. It also has caster wheels making the product incredibly easy to move around.
4. Kamado Joe Jr. KJ13RH Charcoal Grill
- Fuel used: Charcoal
- Dimensions: 19.75”, 20.75”, 27”
- Weight: 68lbs
- Total grilling area: Not provided
The Kamado Joe Jr. is certainly one of the most enjoyable products on the market right now. It is a 13.5” ceramic grill with a cast iron stand, which provides a good enclosure for the smoke and heat to stay inside. Also, this product can be moved around easily – the total weight is only 68 pounds, so you can take it with you or transport it.
Getting the right flavors with this portable smoker is fairly easy. It has temperature controls with the cast-iron vent, and also a thermometer, so you’ll be able to see the accurate temperatures at any time.
This smoker uses charcoal as fuel, so it might take some trial and error to find your best smoking method with this smoker. But once you get it right, the flavors will be out of this world!
5. Char-Griller E22424 Table Top Charcoal Grill
- Fuel used: Charcoal
- Dimensions: 18.5”, 17”, 16”
- Weight: 40lbs
- Total grilling area: 250 square inches.
This product is essentially a grill, but you’ll be able to get a very good smoking performance out of it, too. We liked this product due to its compactness, its portability, and its effective smoking performance. With the steel construction, the heat will stay inside the smoker, so your food will get cooked nicely while also getting that smoky taste.
The grill is small enough to take it with you almost anywhere you go. Just put it on top of the table or where you have space, add coal to the grill, and start smoking. Sure, the cooking surface is not the largest, but you’ll be surprised just how effective this portable grill is for smoking.
Having a good portable smoker is a great idea for anyone who’s constantly on the go but still wants to smoke their meat. There are different types of smokers, depending on the type of fuel they use.
We consider the Weber 14-inch Smoker (Check it on Amazon) to be the best portable smoker that uses charcoal. Electrical smokers can also be very easy to use. We think that the best one is the Masterbuilt Digital Electrical Smoker (Check it on Amazon), which is incredibly easy to use.
For those who prefer wood portable smokers, then this Z Grills grill&smoker (Check it on Amazon) will definitely serve you well in the future.