Gear Review: Traeger Ranger Pellet Grill

July 22, 2018

 

Testing

I’ve had the Traeger Ranger Pellet Grill for about a month. In that time, I’ve prepared a number of different wild game meals, including whitetail backstrap, elk burgers, and smoked turkey breast. The grill has seen a few other dishes as well, like marinated green beans, scrambled eggs, and margarita cheesecake.
 

I’ve done most of the cooking at home, but also traveled with the grill while camping. This model is made to be mobile, going wherever you have access to 12v power.
 

Specs

Price | $400
Weight | 60 lbs
Temperature range | 160-450 degrees
Grill dimensions (HxWxD) | 13x21x20 in
Cooking capacity | 184 sq in
Pellet hopper capacity | 8 lbs
Additional features | “keep warm” mode, meat probe, cast iron griddle, custom grill cover
 

What to Like

Like Traeger intended, this grill is perfectly sized to go anywhere. It’s mostly rode around in the back of my pickup, but also easily fits in my wife’s car. It’d effortlessly store in a boat, trailer, or camper if that’s how you like to travel.
 

The form of the grill is ideal for roadtrips. I’ve traveled with some portable grills that have rounded tops or clumsy legs, but that’s not an issue with the Ranger. It’s shaped like a box, which makes packing it a breeze.


As for performance, the grill works amazing.
 

Starting the grill is easy. There aren’t any complex menus or settings, and all you need to do is pick your temperature and push the “ignite” button. The grill quickly reaches the desired temp, and can hit 450 degrees within 10 minutes. For a pellet grill, this is about as fast as it gets. The Ranger does an amazing job of maintaining temp, as well. I’ve rarely seen it get 10 degrees outside of the set number.
 

I’ve also noticed that the grill doesn’t go through pellets very quickly (likely because it doesn’t take much to heat the small grill area). This is great and ensures that you can fill up your hopper before a trip and know it will last the whole time.
 

That doesn’t mean there’s a lack of flavor, though. Just like it’s Traeger brethren, the Ranger does an awesome job of smoking meat. I’ve done day-long smoked deer roasts and turkey breasts, and they’ve always turned out textbook.
 

Successful grilling is less about my culinary skills and more about how hard this grill makes it to mess up. With the built-in meat probe it’s nearly impossible to not get great results, and the “keep warm” setting guarantees your food can be ready at a moments notice.
 

Outside of smoking, the Ranger has a wide range of functions. The grill grates get hot enough to sear steaks or char burgers, and the custom fit cast iron griddle allows you to fry bacon or scramble eggs.
 

What to Dislike

The Ranger has already sold out online and I haven’t seen many in stores, so you might be waiting a little bit to get your hands on one. That speaks to how popular these new grills are.
 

The grill area is fairly small, but that’s expected with a portable grill. This won’t be an issue if you’re like me and make a lot of meals for just two people, but it probably won’t be big enough to feed a whole deer camp. It’s also just small enough to not work with some of my favorite Traeger accessories, like the jalapeno popper tray or vegetable basket.
 

Bottom Line

This is the perfect grill for those who live somewhere with limited patio space or travel a lot. The grill does a great job of controlling its temperature and will make you a more confident cook. Wild game enthusiasts will especially love the Ranger for the unmatched flavor it provides when doing those low and slow smokes. It’ll be a staple of all of my future hunting and fishing trips.

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