Traeger Ranger Review: Outdoor Cooking Goes Sleek & Smokin’

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Last Updated on April 15, 2021
Doug Stephen

A long-time contributor to SeriouslySmoked. Jim has had a lifelong relationship with the art of grilling, passed on from his father and grandfather to him.  

Doug is a hardcore barbeque enthusiast and connoisseur. While he spends most of his time on editing and research,
he sometimes moonlights as a product tester for particularly interesting things he comes across.

Do you love grilling outdoors and eating like a king when you campout? Propane sure is convenient, but it also gets expensive and doesn’t have the same mouth watering flavors of wood-fired cooking.

Glampers, RVers, and tiny patio owners rejoice! Your pleas for flavorful, compact outdoor grilling have been answered by the Traeger Ranger.

But what are some of the reasons that you should consider a pellet grill over charcoal or propane anyway? There’s a lot of personal preference, but in our opinion it comes down to fuel efficiency, versatility, and flavor.

Pellet grills are highly fuel efficient in comparison to their gas powered cousins. Not only that, but the hardwood pellets are not combustible or expensive in the way that propane tanks are. You’re using a sustainable fuel source and paying less for it. Win win!

When it comes to versatility of cooking styles pellet grills really are the way to go. Unlike gas, you can grill and smoke on these babies. Also, the hopper design keeps the heat at a more precise, consistent level so you don’t have to struggle with hot coals mid cook.

And as for flavor, the rich, wood-fired aromas imparted by burning hardwood pellets is nigh unbeatable.

That’s because we don’t just taste with our tongues - we taste with our whole mouth and nose too! Chowing down on a brisket that has been cooked in applewood or hickory smoke releases a multitude of different aromas: sweet, smoky, caramelized, and savory.

When our noses and taste buds work together to take in the full richness of a wood-fired meat you don’t just get a tasty meal - you get a complex and satisfying flavor sonata!

With the Traeger Ranger now you can bring all that amazing, flavorful grilling and smoking just about anywhere. As long as you’ve got a power supply and a will to grill, you can have expertly smoked meats anytime.

In this article we’re going to give you an in depth Traeger Ranger review, tell you all about the specifications, and get into the pros and cons of this mini but mighty grill.

Traeger Ranger Review

Traeger Ranger: Review & Breakdown

To begin with, we love how sturdy and well built this grill is. Made from aluminum and steel, with porcelain-coated grill grates it is built to last. It even comes with a cast iron griddle top!

The latches which hold the lid closed during travel are incredibly sturdy. No more tripping over your grill grate when a strap breaks.

And the size makes this pellet grill ideal for those with limited patio space, or tiny apartment balconies. No matter how small your outdoor living situation, you can now bring the full force of wood-fired flavor to all your favorite meals!

We really dig how portable this baby is too. Small without sacrificing flavor and sturdy, it’s perfect for glampers, RV lovers, and tailgate kings. All you need is a power source - and it can easily be run on a car battery or generator without totally draining the juice.

However, it’s not uncommon for the electronics to be damaged in shipping. Many report issues with their Digital ARC controller or meat probes after receiving roughly handled packages. Luckily, that’s covered in the 3-year Traeger warranty. 

We recommend testing your new Traeger Ranger out a few times on less time and temperature dependent recipes before jumping into a brisket headfirst. That way you can become acquainted with the electronics and be able to get replacements if you find issues.

Also. it is definitely worthwhile to spring for the drip pan accessory to this grill. Otherwise you might end up with a mess on your hands when cooking especially fatty, greasy meals. Save yourself the time, and just order it with the grill for super easy clean up.

And don’t forget that the pellet hopper can only be accessed from inside the grill. We recommend filling your hopper with fuel before every use so that you don’t have to worry about running out part way through.

You may want to also read our Traeger Timberline 1300 Review.

Specifications

  • Weighs 60 lbs
  • Stands 13 inches high
  • Measures 20 inches deep and 21 inches wide
  • Hardwood pellet fueled grill and smoker
  • Powered by 120 volt AC cord
  • Total cooking area of 184 square inches
  • Maximum temperature of 450 degrees F
  • Big enough to fit one rack of ribs, or 6 burgers, or 10 hot dogs at a time
  • Advanced Grilling Logic provides precise temperature control and maintenance
  • Digital ARC controller allows you to set temperatures in 5-degree increments
  • Includes cooking timer to help you keep track of recipe
  • Porcelain-coated grill grates are sturdy, non-stick, and easy to clean
  • Generously sized, 8 lb pellet hopper can handle longer cook times
  • Built in meat probe lets you monitor the internal temperature of food without opening lid
  • Includes handy, cast iron griddle for getting the perfect sear or frying up bacon & eggs
  • Secure latched lid that stays closed during transportation
  • Keep Warm mode keeps food at the perfect temperature so food is ready when you are
  • Portable design, take your cooking skills anywhere with a power supply
  • Under a 3-year warranty, including replacement of defective parts

Pros

  • High quality construction, sturdy
  • Relatively simple to put together
  • Versatile, can be used as a grill, griddle, or smoker
  • Wood-fired flavor for grilling and smoking far superior to charcoal or gas
  • Very portable, great for car campers, RV lovers, and travelers
  • Compact but capable, easily fits on small patios or balconies
  • Incredibly sturdy lid latches prevent accidents when moving
  • Cools quickly, so you can clean and store shortly after cooking 
  • Easy to clean and maintain

Cons

  • Cannot add fuel mid-smoke without opening lid
  • Does not include drip pan
Doug Stephen

Doug Stephen

Final Thoughts

This well designed grill and smoker may not have the size for huge families, or the true portability to suit backwood backpackers.

But apartment dwellers, tailgate junkies, and RVers alike will sing the praises of the Trager Ranger’s versatility, portability, and durability.

No matter the size of your patio, you can have the wood-smoked BBQ of your dreams with the Traeger Ranger!