Country Smokers Traveler Review | Portable Pellet Grill Review | The Barbecue Lab

The Country Smokers Traveler is a
portable pellet grill designed for on-the-go. Today we get to take a look
under the hood. Country Smokers is newer to the pellet smoker scene and you can
find them offered at big box and online retailers like Amazon, Home Depot, and
Menards. The Traveler is a compact pellet grill unit that is made with camping and
tailgates in mind. The Traveller like the name suggests is perfect to throw into
the car trunk and head to the parking lot of the big game, or nestled in at
your campsite for the weekend. Let’s start with the specifics. The Traveler
offers 256 square inches of cooking surface and a wonderfully compact unit.
There’s 191 square inches on the lower cooking grate and 65 square inches on
the upper grade so the real question is how much room does it really work out to
be? I mean what could you realistically cook with 256 square inches of space?
Well we got out some food and we sized things up, and here’s what we found. The
traveler can easily cook nine quarter pound burgers or six to eight New York
strip steaks on the main grate. We estimate about 14 brats or about 24 hot
dogs at a time, and you can also fit about 40 chicken nuggets on the grill.
Yes that’s right, I said chicken nuggets on the grill. Have I lost my mind? Well
potentially, but here’s the thing. You can use this pellet grill just like you
would an oven fueled by wood. So if you have the kiddos at the campsite and
they’re just not going to even consider a burger, you can cook up a batch of
nuggets for the kids in no time. When it comes to pork butts and whole
packer briskets you are asking a monumental task for such a portable
grill. There’s enough grate space for two full Boston butts, but where you might
run into trouble is the height of the lid. There’s five 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 one at a time first.
When it comes to briskets there’s enough room for a brisket flat or a point but
you’d have a difficult time fitting an entire packer brisket without
separating the muscles before the cook. We mentioned foods above that are known
for direct grilling rather than indirect grilling and this compact unit actually
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 a direct flame reaching your cooking grates. The searing ability of
this pellet grill doesn’t cover the entire cooking surface though. It allows
for an area that would cook about one or two burgers at a time using the direct
flame from the fire pot. What we’ve been known to do is cook an entire rack of
burgers indirect over lower heat to get some smoke into the burgers, and then to
finish them off two 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 than an hour two.
Another point to note before you take this grill out into the wilderness 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 won’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 campsite to football game.
With most traditional pellet grills there’s usually a vent in the form of a
smokestack. Now there’s no smoke stack on this unit as the exhaust vents are small
slits in the metal on the back of the grill to let smoke and exhaust heat out.
There are ten presets on the digital controller for actually operating
this unit. The smoke setting is designed to smoke at a low temperature
on the bottom end of the heat spectrum. On the top end there’s 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
could get hot enough to lay down grill marks without needing to use the sear
feature if you’d actually like. 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 it when you move the grill around. Before you start up the
grill make sure that your drip tray is back on the unit or you could
potentially find a puddle of grease somewhere you may not want it. Overall
we’re quite happy with the performance of the Traveler. The grill heated up
quickly and maintained a consistent heat through the cooks that we’ve done. The
smoky goodness that 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 thousand-dollar pellet grill. That’s
what we really liked about this unit. Although this grill is available at a
price point of less than 250 dollars 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 reviewed from pit-boss.
But the smoky flavor and the exterior bark that we were used to on competition
style meats was still present. The unit is a steal at less than 250 dollars, and
I can’t believe there’s a functional pellet grill in this price range. Check
out the link in the description below to learn more about the Country Smokers
Traveler on our website. Whether you’re looking to win your next
tailgate or delight the family out at the next campsite, the Country
Smokers Traveler has got it where it counts. If you liked this video go ahead
and subscribe to our channel. We review barbecue gear, we demonstrate
techniques, and we give you recipes to help you win your weekend, by putting out
a couple videos there every week. We would love to have you come back and
join us. If you want to see a recipe we cooked on the Traveler just go ahead and
click up here. If you’d like to see our unboxing video
just click down here. I’m David Gafford and I look forward to seeing you next
time on The Barbecue Lab.

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