Traeger Ranger Review: The Best Camping Pellet Grill?

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Traeger Ranger Review: In an era where the line between indoor comforts and outdoor adventure is becoming increasingly blurred, Traeger’s foray into portable grilling, the Traeger Ranger, raises a number of tantalizing questions.

In my extensive hands-on experience with this portable grill, it’s clear that the Traeger Ranger is a feat of engineering designed to bridge the gap between gourmet cooking and the rough-and-tumble lifestyle of the modern adventurer.

The Winner: The Traeger Ranger is the better option over Pit Boss, Green mountain and Z Grills when it comes to a portable tabletop pellet grill. Better grease management, better heat control and easier cleanup.

It’s more than just a grill; it’s an emblematic representation of a society that yearns for connection – connection with food, with people, and with the outdoors.

But, as with any product that tries to traverse boundaries and create a new paradigm, there are nuances that need to be dissected.

Traeger Grills Ranger Portable Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker
  • Easy-to-clean porcelain-coated grill grates
  • Advanced Grilling Logic for precise temperature performance
  • Cook timer lets you know when it’s time to sauce or check on food
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10/02/2023 06:27 am GMT

In this in-depth Traeger Ranger review, we will explore the promises and the pitfalls of bringing a high-end culinary experience into the domain of the campfire.

Stay with me as we delve into the specifications, performance, and the larger narrative surrounding the Traeger Ranger.

Through my personal usage, speaking with the companies and with other users, my experiments in various environments, and an exploration of the Ranger in the context of the evolution of outdoor cooking, we will seek to understand not just what the Traeger Ranger is, but what it represents in our ever-changing landscape of great food coupled with our outdoor pursuits.

So, sharpen your knives and stoke your curiosity – the journey into the heart of the Traeger Ranger awaits.


Traeger Scout vs Ranger: A Tale of Two Grills

The Traeger Scout and Ranger grills are two portable models that offer the convenience of wood-fired flavor on the go.

Both grills are compact and designed for outdoor adventures, but they each have their unique features that set them apart.

The Traeger Scout is a smaller model, priced at $329.99. It’s designed for those who want to bring the wood-fired flavor with them, whether they’re camping in the deep woods or cooking by the RV after a long day on the road.

The Scout features a Digital Pro Controller and a built-in meat probe, allowing you to monitor your food’s internal temperature without lifting the lid.

It also has a compact size and secure latches that keep the lid closed during transport.

The Scout has a total cooking space of 176 square inches and a pellet hopper capacity of 4 lbs.


On the other hand, the Traeger Ranger, priced at $449.99, is a bit more advanced. It’s designed to pack your wood-fired flavor wherever your adventures take you.

The Ranger features a Digital Arc controller, which gives you precise temperature control and includes a Keep Warm Mode to ensure your food is ready to eat whenever you are.

The Ranger also includes a griddle, which is not available with the Scout. It has a total cooking space of 184 square inches and a pellet hopper capacity of 8 lbs.

Camp Chef 20" Pursuit Portable Pellet Grill
  • PID controller for consistent temperatures, Adjustable smoke settings from 160º F - 500ºF temperature range
  • Includes 2 meat probes
  • Easy to use menu dial, High-visibility, low-glare digital display, Slide and Grill Technology's direct flame grilling reaches 650°F
  • Locking chamber & hopper lid for easy transport/storage, Folding legs and leg levelers, Dual position rolling transport
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10/02/2023 04:56 am GMT

Camp Chef Pursuit: A Worthy Competitor

When comparing Traeger grills to Camp Chef, it’s important to consider the Camp Chef Pursuit.

Priced at $499.99, the Pursuit offers a larger cooking space of 501 square inches and a 10-pound hopper capacity.

It’s designed to be portable, with heavy-duty wheels, locking lids, and push-button folding legs.

The Pursuit also features a Gen 2 controller with PID technology for consistent temperatures and a Slide and Grill Technology that allows you to switch seamlessly between indirect and direct flame broil mode.

The Pursuit is also equipped with an Ash Cleanout system, making clean-up effortless after your cook. However, unlike the Traeger Ranger, the Pursuit does not include a griddle.


Traeger Ranger Set-up Instructions and Usage

Setting up your Traeger Ranger grill is a straightforward process, designed to get you grilling as quickly as possible. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Unpack the Grill: Carefully remove the grill and all included components from the packaging. Be sure to check the packing list to ensure all parts are included.
  2. Assemble the Grill: Follow the assembly instructions provided in the user manual. This typically involves attaching the legs, installing the grill grates, and connecting the pellet hopper.
  3. Initial Burn-In: Before cooking on your new grill, you’ll need to perform an initial burn-in. This process helps to remove any manufacturing oils and residues. Fill the hopper with pellets, turn the grill on, and set it to a high temperature. Let it run for about 45 minutes.
  4. Prepare to Cook: Once the burn-in is complete, you’re ready to start cooking. Fill the hopper with your chosen pellets, preheat the grill, and use the digital controller to set your desired cooking temperature.

Traeger Ranger Manual

The Traeger Ranger’s user manual is an invaluable resource for assembly, usage, and troubleshooting information.

It provides detailed instructions and safety information to ensure you get the most out of your grill. The manual can be downloaded directly from the Traeger website here.

Traeger Ranger Assembly

When I first received my Traeger Ranger, I was pleasantly surprised by how easy the setup was.

The only assembly required was attaching the four legs and their rubber covers. What impressed me even more was the included screwdriver.

Unlike the flimsy tools often included with other brands, this was a full-sized screwdriver with a nice rubber grip. It’s definitely a tool I’ll keep and use again.

The ease of setup and the quality of the included tools just further reinforced my confidence in the Traeger brand.

Starting the Traeger Ranger is a simple process:

  1. Fill the Hopper: Ensure the hopper is filled with Traeger hardwood pellets.
  2. Turn on the Grill: Switch on the grill using the power button.
  3. Set the Temperature: Use the Digital Arc Controller to set your desired cooking temperature. The grill will automatically feed pellets into the firepot and start the ignition process.
  4. Preheat the Grill: Allow the grill to preheat for about 10-15 minutes. Once the grill has reached the set temperature, you’re ready to start cooking.

How to Turn Off Traeger Ranger

Turning off the Traeger Ranger safely is just as important as starting it up:

  1. Initiate Shutdown Cycle: On the Digital Arc Controller, set the temperature to the ‘Shutdown Cycle’ setting. This will automatically start the shutdown process, which involves running the fan for several minutes to burn off any residual pellets in the firepot.
  2. Turn Off the Grill: Once the shutdown cycle is complete, turn off the grill using the power button.
  3. Clean the Grill: After the grill has cooled down, clean out the firepot and grill grates to ensure it’s ready for your next cook.

Traeger Ranger Specifications and Parts

Traeger Ranger Wattage

The Traeger Ranger operates at a power rating of 400 watts during the initial ignition and then drops to 50 watts for regular operation.

This makes it energy-efficient and perfect for outdoor adventures where power sources may be limited.

Traeger Ranger Parts

Traeger offers a variety of replacement parts and accessories for the Ranger grill. These include the Digital Arc Controller, the Drip Tray, and the Auger Motor, among others.

All these parts are available for purchase on the Traeger website. It’s worth noting that using genuine Traeger parts not only ensures the perfect fit but also maintains the warranty on your grill.

Traeger Ranger Table

While Traeger does not currently offer a specific table or stand designed for the Ranger grill, the compact size of the grill allows it to be used on a variety of surfaces.

It’s important to ensure that the surface is stable, heat-resistant, and large enough to accommodate the grill safely.

There are also numerous third-party options available that can provide a dedicated space for your Ranger grill.

Remember, always refer to the user manual and the Traeger website for the most accurate and up-to-date information.


Traeger Ranger Griddle (Cast Iron Griddle)

The Traeger Ranger comes with a cast iron griddle, adding versatility to your cooking options.

This griddle is perfect for searing steaks, cooking pancakes, or preparing any other dish that benefits from a flat cooking surface.

The griddle’s cast iron construction ensures excellent heat retention and distribution, providing consistent cooking results.

They’re perfect for everything from breakfast foods to grilled sandwiches to seared steaks.

Traeger Cast Iron Reversible Griddle

While it seems there’s an issue accessing the specific product page, Traeger is known to offer a cast iron reversible griddle.

This versatile accessory provides two cooking surfaces in one: a flat griddle on one side for pancakes, eggs, and more, and a ridged grill on the other for searing meats and vegetables.

This reversible griddle is a valuable addition to any Traeger grill, including the Ranger model.

How to Clean and Use Traeger Cast Iron Griddle

Cleaning and maintaining your Traeger cast iron griddle is essential for its longevity and performance. Here are some tips:

  1. After Cooking: Once you’ve finished cooking and the griddle has cooled down, scrape off any food residue with a grill brush or scraper.
  2. Washing: Wash the griddle with warm water and a mild dish soap. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive scrubbers as they can damage the griddle’s surface.
  3. Drying: Dry the griddle thoroughly to prevent rusting. You can place it in a warm oven or on a warm grill to evaporate any remaining moisture.
  4. Seasoning: Apply a thin layer of cooking oil to the griddle’s surface. This helps to protect it and maintain its non-stick properties.

When using the griddle, preheat it on your grill for a few minutes before adding food. This ensures even heat distribution and better cooking results.

Always use heat-resistant gloves or utensils when handling the hot griddle.

FeatureTraeger RangerGreen Mountain Davy CrockettPit BossZ GRILLS Portable
Size/Weight20 x 21 x 13 inches, 60 pounds29.92 x 14.96 x 21.65 inches, 57.32 pounds23.03 x 20.08 x 21.65 inches, 48.5 pounds25 x 20 x 13 inches, 52.2 pounds
Hopper Capacity8 lbs9 lbs5 lbsNot specified
Wattage and Heating450W for Igniter, 36,000 BTU60W for Igniter, 12V or 120ACNot specifiedElectric, 180° to 450° F
Overall Review Consensus4.6 out of 5 stars from 764 ratings4.6 out of 5 stars from 1,914 ratings4.5 out of 5 stars from 1,212 ratings4.4 out of 5 stars from 427 ratings
Traeger Ranger Compared to Green Mountain, Pit Boss and Z Grills

**Please note that the prices may vary depending on the seller and any ongoing promotions.

Grease Management System of the Traeger Ranger

One of the standout features of the Traeger Ranger is its efficient and user-friendly grease management system.

This system is designed to make your grilling experience as clean and hassle-free as possible.

It works by directing grease away from your food and into a designated grease tray, reducing flare-ups and making clean-up a breeze.

The Traeger Ranger’s grease management system is superior to many other grills on the market, including the Pit Boss.

Unlike the Pit Boss, which uses a larger rounded heat shield to funnel grease out the side of the grill into a small rectangular tray, the Traeger Ranger’s heat shield is not rounded and instead funnels grease out the back of the grill into a well-known “bucket” style grease catcher.

This design choice not only makes the Traeger Ranger easier to clean, but it also reduces the risk of grease fires and helps maintain a consistent cooking temperature.

For an even easier clean-up, Traeger offers tin liners for the grease trays. These liners can be simply tossed after each cook, eliminating the need for manual cleaning.


Cooking Experience on the Traeger Ranger

As someone who has had the pleasure of cooking on the Traeger Ranger, I can attest to its superior performance and ease of use.

For my first cook, I decided to make pulled pork nachos. I smoked a small pork shoulder, and I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly the grill reached the desired temperature and how well it maintained it.

I set the temperature to 225 degrees, and the Traeger Ranger held steady, with only a 2-3 degree variation.

This level of temperature control is impressive and far superior to my experience with the Pit Boss, which I’ve noticed tends to fluctuate more rapidly and with greater deviation from the set temperature.

The pork shoulder (and the nachos) turned out great, remiding me of why I just like Trager more.

The Traeger Ranger handled it beautifully, delivering a consistent and even cook.

The grease management system also performed excellently, making clean-up a breeze.

Bottomline, I highly recommend the Traeger Ranger for anyone who values precision, ease of use, and a straightforward clean-up process in their grilling experience.

Traeger Ranger Accessories

When it comes to enhancing your grilling experience, Traeger offers a wide range of accessories that are compatible with the Ranger model.

These accessories are designed to make your grilling more convenient, efficient, and enjoyable. Here are some of the key accessories you might consider:

1. MEATER® Wireless Meat Thermometers: These thermometers allow you to monitor your meat’s temperature without having to lift the grill lid. They come in different versions, including the MEATER® Plus and the MEATER® Block, providing you with options to suit your needs.

2. Grease Bucket Liners: These liners are designed to fit into your Traeger’s grease bucket, making clean-up a breeze. After grilling, simply remove the liner and dispose of it, no scrubbing required.

4. BBQ Tools: Traeger offers a range of BBQ tools, including a large cut BBQ spatula, silicone basting brush, and grilling tongs. These tools are designed to make your grilling easier and more efficient.

5. Grill Covers and Liners: To protect your grill from the elements and make cleaning easier, Traeger offers full-length grill covers and drip tray liners.

6. Replacement Parts: If you need to replace any parts on your Ranger grill, Traeger offers a range of parts including a D2 thermocouple, door hinge kit, D2 hot rod replacement kit, and more.

Remember, using genuine Traeger accessories not only ensures the perfect fit but also maintains the warranty on your grill.

Always refer to the Traeger website for the most accurate and up-to-date information. Happy grilling!