The Country Smokers Traveler is a portable pellet grill designed for on the go. Today, we take an in-depth look under the hood.
Inexpensive Pellet Grill Option
Can both smoke
Ease of Use
Just needs a power outlet and pellets
Store it inside & it will last
Barbecue Lab Overall Rating:
The Country Smokers Traveler is a great grill for on the go pellet grill cooking.
It’s light enough to throw in the trunk to head to the campsite or the big game, yet has enough cooking space to cook for multiple families at once.
We created this review so you can understand how the grill works, it’s benefits and short comings.
Country Smokers is a newer brand to the pellet smoker scene, and it is debuting a portable pellet grill for its first offering. The Traveler is a compact pellet grill unit that is made with camping and tailgates in mind. Could you use this as your primary pellet grill? Sure, but why would you when this unit is clearly made to chuck into the car trunk and head to the parking lot of the big game?
Let’s start with the specifics. The Traveler offers 256 sq. inches of cooking surface in a compact unit. There’s 191 sq. inches on the lower cooking grate, and 65 sq. inches on the upper grate. So, how much room does it really work out to be? I mean, what could you realistically cook with 256 sq. inches of space?
We got out some meat and sized things up, and here’s what we came up with based on what we had available at the time.
Chicken Nuggets? Are you mad? Well, potentially.. but here’s the thing. You can use this pellet grill just like you would an oven, so if you have the rug rats at the game with you and they’re just not going to even consider a burger for the 19th time, you can cook a batch of nuggs up for the kids in no time.
When it comes to pork butts and whole packer briskets, you’re asking for a monumental task for such a portable grill. There’s enough grate space for 2 full Boston Butts, but where you might run into trouble is the height of the lid. There’s 5 inches of vertical clearance above the grate, so in order to make sure there’s enough room for airflow around your pork butts, you might only want to try 1 at a time first.
We mentioned foods above that are known for direct grilling rather than indirect grilling, and this compact unit does both. The Country Smokers Traveler comes with a slidable cover that allows direct grilling functionality on the unit. Simply slide the cover over and you have direct flame reaching your cooking grates.
The searing ability of this pellet grill doesn’t cover the entire cooking surface. It allows for an area that would cook 1-2 burgers at a time using the direct flame. What we’ve been known to do is cook an entire rack of burgers indirect over low heat to get some smoke into the burgers and then finish them off 2 at a time over the direct flame to get some char on the outside. It’s a good marriage of portability and functionality in such a small unit.
A couple of notes about this particular grill that you’ll want to know before you start cooking on it. First, there are two latches on the front of the unit that tend to get a bit hot over a longer cook. They’re metal, and metal gets hot over time when you’re cooking, so make sure you have some hand protection on if you’re cooking anything longer term.
Another point before you take this grill out into the wilderness and prepare to cook is that you’ll need a source of power to use the unit. The pellet auger, fan and digital display need power in order to function, so make sure you have a power inverter handy to plug into the car cigarette lighter port or have another source of power handy.
A really cool feature on the Country Smokers Traveler is the pellet hopper itself. In just about any other pellet grill, the pellet reservoir won’t lock or latch, but this one does. This way, pellets don’t end up everywhere when driving from place to place. With this design, your pellets will stay in one place as you travel the grill from one place to another.
With most traditional pellet grills, you’ll find an output vent in the form of a smokestack. There’s no smokestack on this unit as the exhaust vent is small slits in the metal on the back of the grill to let smoke and exhaust heat out.
There are 10 presets on the digital controller for operating the unit.
The smoke setting is designed to smoke at a low temperature on the bottom end of the options. On the top end there is a “high” setting, which will take the unit as hot as it can possibly go. We used this setting for a recipe and found that the grill held over 450 degrees consistently. The grill will get hot enough to sear without needing using the sear feature.
The temperature settings range in 25 degree increments between 225 and 350, and then in 50 degree increments from 350 to 450.
The Country Smokers Traveler comes with a removable drip tray that comes off by simply lifting when traveling. Before you start up your grill, make sure that your drip tray is back on the unit or you could potentially find a puddle of grease somewhere you don’t want it.
Overall, we’re quite happy with the performance of the Traveler. The grill heats up quickly and maintains a consistent heat throughout the cooks that we’ve done. The smokey goodness we’ve come to expect from pellet grill cooking was present in each of our cooks, and we couldn’t tell a difference in the quality of the food that we cooked between the Traveler and our $1,000 pellet grill.
That’s what we really liked about this unit. Although this grill is available at a price point of around $250, the food that we made on this grill rivals the food that we cook on any other pellet grill that we own. It’s a much smaller size than the Pit Boss Austin XL that we’ve also reviewed from Pit Boss, but the smokey flavor and the exterior bark that we were used to on competition style meats was still there.
This unit is a steal at only $250, and I can’t believe there’s a pellet grill in this price range. Whether you’re looking to win your next tailgate or delight the family out at the camper, the Country Smokers Traveler has got it where it counts.
To find out the current price of the Country Smokers Traveler, click the button below.
If you'd like to see what it takes to get a brand new Country Smokers Traveler from the box to ready to cook, check out our unboxing video below.
Also, be sure to check out our recipe for Smoked Jalapeno Poppers that we recently cooked on our Country Smokers Traveler.