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Traeger Portable Smoker Review

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 

I purchased my first smoker this spring and went with the Traeger PTK+ tabletop model.  I go camping frequently and live in a high rise condo with fire code rules.  Sick of trying to grill flavorful meals on an electiric grill...yuk.  So this portable model fit the bill and there are not many other portable options out there.  I have been amazed at every item I have prepared, starting with recipes from the Traeger cookbook that comes with purchase.

 

One nice feature of the PTG+ is that it's only $300 for the same meals you get on a $1600 model.  Granted you can't cook for a crowd or do a turkey/large roast.  But for my needs it's perfect.  I always travel with a 200 foot power cord as these units require electricity to start the firepot and to run the convection fan.  A car converter won't run it, nor would you want to run your car battery down smoking ribs for 3 hours.

 

I did purchase a high velocity fan to use on my balcony if no wind present, so as not to piss off neighbor above with smoke.  Generally though never have to use it and it really only makes smoke when starting, or if I run on smoke cycle.  Most of my meals are on higher temperatures and smoke is minimal.  I also bought a Brinkman rib rack at Home Depot to so I can cook ribs for more than 2 people.  It fits on the PTG.  For camping, I bought Camco camping table off Amazon when they had a one day sale on it for $47, including shipping,  It is far more useful and easy to use than the Traeger PTG stand that is available.  The Camco table folds in a snap, comes with carrying bag, and turns your campsite into a mini cooks kitchen.

 

I cook salmon on this unit twice a week, takes 30 minutes and you have a meal better than any restaurant.  Have also cooked baby back ribs, whole chicken, chicken breasts, steak, burgers, turkey hot dogys and blueberry peach crisp.  To die for.  One item my experience has uncovered is that you need to monitor to hopper feed, as pellets get hung up and do not always fall into chute, so after 45-60 minutes, best to check and give a little push, or pour in more pellets.  The thermostat too can be a little funky and several times after turning heat up, I have had to shut unit down for a minute, then restart to reset when I was not getting the desired temperature.  Not a big deal.  Always a good idea to keep eye on electric temperature readout to know if there's an issue, or if hopper feed needs a push.  I currently use Pork Barrel Rub from Sam's Club, only $7 for a huge container and good for fish, pork, chicken, beef and vegetables..  The smaller containers available locally you will virtually use up with one meal.

 

If you have a need for a portable smoker, do not hesitate to look at the Traeger PTG+.  However it is not small so if camping in Toyota Yaris, it will fill largely the trunk.  You definitely need a table to put this on, but camping picnic table would work.  If planning to order, call Traeger direct, as they threw in a free cover, free rub, and free shipping!  You might as well at that point throw in some pellets if they ship for free.  I have used Hickory, Apple and Cherry pellets and not sure if I notice the difference in falvors and can get them also at local fireplace shop.  Last lesson is that raccoons love smoked food too especially when smoking ribs for 3 hours.  When not in campsite, remove all food and remaining bones from premesis!!  Love this unit and its versatility to have amazing food away from home; something you can't do with the huge units unless driving a Ford 150 truck to haul it in.

post #2 of 2

texas.gif  Good morning and welcome to the forum, from a nice day here in East Texas, and the best site on the web. Lots of great people with tons of information on just about  everything.

 

Gary

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