Nomad Grills and Smoker Review – Is It Really Worth It?

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At first glance, the portable Nomad Grill and Smoker looks like the nuclear football case carried by the Secret Service or a secret Mac Pro that only the very tech-savvy have access to!

This portable grill and smoker carries a lot of cooking weight in its case and is making big waves with the campers and outdoors people that love to cook with charcoal. As a result, it’s fast become a favorite for easy outdoor cooking.

Instead of adding tech to it, the folks at Nomad have gone the other way by using intelligent industrial design to make it portable and easily packable. All of this while keeping a much-loved charcoal-based cooking system that appeals to cooks of all ages and styles!

If you know anything about my love affair with Blackstone Griddles, you know their weak spot is definitely their lack of true smoking, it can be done, but its harder and not designed to do it. So, naturally I was intrigued by this sleek little smoker.

nomad-grills-and-smokers-review

A Little About Nomad

Founded by John Veatch and Cam Legget, the Nomad grill took three years to develop. Launched in July of 2020, the purpose behind the grill was to make one that “wouldn’t rust or fall apart mid adventure.”

Tired of the run-of-the-mill portable cookers, the Dallas-based duo took their time creating one of the finest, safest, and most innovative portable grill and smokers available in the world today. 

Nomad has delivered on its vision using cutting-edge materials, magnets, and a novel grill and cook box design to produce a portable grill and smoker that will change the way outdoor cooking is done!

The Nomad Grill And Smoker-Size and Weight 

This is a premium product, and Nomad has pulled out all the stops to deliver a superbly packaged portable cooking system.

At 28lbs, complete with the case and stainless steel grill, this may seem heavy, but it’s remarkably compact compared to lugging a full-size grill and considering the features.

With 212 square inches of cooking space in closed single grate mode for smoking or the full 425 square inches for grilling if you add the extra grate and some additional coal, this unit delivers a great cooking area all round!

The Nomad features a reinforced handle and durable dual-latch locking system, measuring about 2 feet by 2 feet and 9.5 inches when closed.

It also has two magnetic air vents on either side to control airflow and flame and features silicon skids to protect the surface when putting it down.

Mode Weight Cooking Area Dimensions
Smoker Mode 28 Lbs with single grate212 sq inches20.5″x27.5″x9.5″
Grill Mode31 Lbs with 2nd Grate425 sq inches20.5″x15″x9.5″

The cook box itself has multi-directional heatsink fins and is made of thick, durable aluminum. It can handle about thirty burgers or two racks of ribs at once- that’s a seriously impressive cooking capacity for a portable cooker!

Features Of The Nomad Grill And Smoker 

The Nomad is made from durable, lightweight aircraft-grade alloys, featuring a corrosion resistance aluminum exterior and aluminum unibody cook boxes. 

There are also the stainless steel magnetic grates, the gasket-free sealing lids to keep heat in and rain out as well as food-grade silicone on the latches, sides, and handles that can withstand temperatures of up to 550° Fahrenheit and offer additional protection for surfaces and chefs!

Simplicity Meets Design, And It’s Superb!

The Nomad looks like a metal case from the outside, but this hides an intelligent and well-conceived design. The protective layered shell ensures that the unit never gets too hot, good for chef safety and surface protection.

The compactness of the case and the fact that everything inside it doesn’t rattle around during transport is a BIG plus! If you have ever listened to your current portable grill rattle around in the trunk, you’ll appreciate the Nomad.

The Nomad’s sturdy design allows you to set it up pretty much anywhere, and, provided the surface is flat, you won’t have any concerns about the Nomad falling over while the coals are heating up.

Using a patent-pending concept called ‘SurfaceSafe,’ Nomad has been able to separate the cook boxes from the outer casing allowing them to be placed and used safely on various surfaces such as plastic, wood, and even the tailgate without damage.

Its robust design and anodized aluminum exterior give it the toughness of an old cowboy, even if dropped onto rocks or brick – it’s more likely that the bricks will suffer, not the Nomad!

One of the clever ideas is the use of magnets that keep the grill from moving around during transport, especially over some of those rougher roads. It’s easily removable as you’d need it to be, but it also snaps into place on the grill giving a good solid cooking surface.

The dampeners for the interior and exterior cook boxes are also not directly attached and move via magnets.

The grill grate has a slight dome designed to leave space for the coal underneath, and the honeycomb face provides good airflow and heat distribution across the cooking surface.

According to Nomad, the intake and exhaust vents allow for more efficient convection and airflow to speed up cooking time without additional energy being needed.

The built-in analog thermometer means you get big, bright, and accurate temperature readings without the need for power, and it’s also molded into the case. 

So Far So Good – Now Let’s Talk Cooking!

This is a proper old-style charcoal grill that requires the skill to cook on coal without the aid of tech or apps to start it or give temperature data. 

One of the biggest drawbacks with portable steel cookers is that the surface you cook on needs to be tough enough to withstand the heat from within the cooker. Well, it seems that the folks at Nomad out of Dallas, Texas,  have solved that problem!

The protective shell keeps the outer temperature MUCH cooler than the inner, so using the Nomad on wooden tables won’t be an issue at all!

Yep, that’s right! You can use this charcoal cooking system on wooden tables without burning or damaging them! Considering how hot charcoal gets, that is saying something about the quality of the shell!

Another superb feature is the seal. It’s so good that not only does it lock the heat in, but it also keeps the rain out! Getting rain into a hot smoker or grill will kill your cooking in no time, but Nomad’s seal technology isn’t fussed at all!

Not only that, but closing the vents on the outside and sealing the grill extinguishes the coals so well and efficiently that there are often large pieces of usable coal left once it’s cooled off! 

Grilling brings people around and slows everything down, and the appearance of this amazing grill is going to get people talking about it. Somehow, that would seem to be the point now, wouldn’t it?

How Does The Nomad Perform As A Smoker?

Smoking meat is a long-held and much-beloved tradition in the US. Smoking is an art, and the taste of properly and well-smoked meats is a culture unto itself. The Nomad performs admirably in this endeavor and delivers exceptional taste and flavor.

The grill’s proximity to the coals is one of the best features as it allows the coal to impart true flavor to the meat. Using the side vents to control the smoke is simple, and temperature is easily monitored and controlled.

Increasing or decreasing temperature to suit the cooking style is easily done with the side vents, making smoking in the Nomad a joy. The Nomad is so well made and works so well that you may even consider swapping this in as a permanent fixture!

The Nomad will certainly give you the confidence to smoke cook more often. Its consistent performance and ease of smoke and temperature control offer the full spectrum from a light smoky taste to the fuller, heavier, deeper smoking flavor.

Cleaning The Nomad – Is It Easy?

Clearly, the designers at Nomad have carefully considered every possible angle when creating this superb product, and cleaning is no different. With many other ‘pellet-style designs, the risk of spilling hot ash on yourself or the grass when cleaning is real.

With the Nomad, cleaning out the ash is as easy as using the grill itself! 

Firstly, the gasket-free seal design allows the ashes to be contained in the unit until you get home and safely dump them. Even if the case is inside the truck, no ashes will spill as it seals and locks everything inside.

Or, if you are camping in for the night, you can allow the grill to snuff the coals and cool off by shutting the vents. Once you can safely handle it, you open it and remove any solid charcoal pieces left over.

Then you can use a hand whisk to brush the ashes out from the deep cook box or even use a handheld vacuum (if you have one) to suck all the ashes out.

The grates and box can then be wiped with a damp cloth and left to dry completely. It doesn’t get much easier than that! 

The Nomad Takes The Rush Out Of Cooking 

While some people prefer a quick-cooking solution, getting the gas on, and speed cooking, the Nomad, goes back to a time of less fuss and muss and slows everything down. 

Like a coal-fired barbecue, the Nomad takes the edge off and allows folks to sit around and shoot the breeze while enjoying the great outdoors. For RV campers, hikers, and other outdoor explorers, the Nomad is perfectly suited to settle down and cook adventure.

Taking your time grilling or smoking freshly caught game or fish adds that deeper element of the outdoor experience, and the Nomad slots beautifully into the role of the ‘take-me-and-use-me-anywhere’ cooker.

Despite its lack of technology on the outside, the innovation on the inside gives the Nomad a distinct technological edge, bringing features and options that result from the technology used in its design and construction.

Its compact design, gasket-free seals, innovative magnetic vents, and grill all demonstrate Nomad’s deep understanding of what convenient and efficient outdoor cooking should be.

That passion for delivering an outstanding product is the driving force behind this exceptionally well-conceived and designed cooker.

How Much Does The Nomad Cost?

The Nomad is a premium portable grill and smoker with the equivalent price tag with these design features, material, and design innovations. At $599, many may balk at this and opt for a cheaper but less efficient product.

 Suppose you weigh up the amount of time you would spend outdoors without having to worry about issues like burning surfaces, ash disposal, or risking burning your car or other parts of you. In that case, the Nomad is definitely worth the investment.

Its sheer efficiency and ease of use and cleaning, as well as saving on coal, portability, and versatility, will ignite your creative cooking juices as few other cookers could.

Nomad Offers A Whole Lot More Than Just The Grill

Besides the cooker itself, Nomad also offers its own unique coals that come included with the package. With a hollow center, these charcoal logs allow for easier airflow.

These Thai-style stackable coals take some time to get going, but once ablaze, they last for hours and are perfectly suited for a day of smoking.

Nomad also offers an affiliate program, brilliant marketing, and a loyal clients or influencers sales strategy. It seems that Nomad KNOW that their cooker is both an innovative and an exceptional product.

They want to offer their loyal customers discounts on future purchases and the opportunity to earn some money, referring people to share their Nomad experience.

Conclusion

If you don’t value portability, durability, and superb design, as well as the slow-down that is inherent to grilling, then perhaps the Nomad is not the cooker for you. 

The Nomad was rated the #1 Outdoor Portable Smoker for Camping by Bestbarbecuewood.com and all the reasons discussed above. It has enough space for all cooking requirements, is highly portable, anodized for corrosion protection, easy to clean, and easy to use for both grilling and smoking.

If, however, you are tired of carrying bulky, ungainly grills on your trails, tired of the mess and the cleaning up, or the struggle to find a suitable surface to cook on when outdoors, then the Nomad is worth every cent.

To have a single cooker that you can take anywhere, cook anything, save money on coals, make money on referrals and enjoy the simplicity and exceptional convenience of a well-made, well-conceived portable grill and smoker, then the Nomad is perfect for you.

But more than all of this, it’s the ability to experience the exceptional flavor of your foods, whether grilled or smoked, no matter where you may find yourself.

The Nomad provides a quantum shift in the thinking of portable outdoor grills and smokers and will pave the way for other mobile cooking efficiency innovations in years to come.

Its suitcase-type design lends itself to portability, and the combination of sleek good looks and functionality make it an absolute MUST-HAVE for the avid outdoorsman.