By Athena Wisotsky / June 30, 2018 5:00 am

As any seasoned grillmaster knows, it’s tough to get accustomed to cooking with the best at home, only to go camping and settle for food prepared on a glorified hot plate. And the “best at home” often means a rig with a Traeger nameplate affixed to it: BBQ kings love their pellet grills in particular because they provide an accessible way to smoke, roast and bake your way to charry bliss. Only problem? Traeger’s pellet grills range in size from tabletop-friendly to “gonna need a 4×4 hitch for this.

But now they offer two (relatively) new portable options: the Ranger ($400) and the Scout ($300), and they might just be the smallest footprint for wood-fired flavor you’re gonna find — though they still weigh a piece.

The Ranger is 60 pounds, but has easy-to-use digital controls that can change by five degrees at a time, rather than the 25-degree increments of the 45-pound Scout (a more standard measurement in general).

You’ll still need electricity to run ‘em, making them a bit travel-prohibitive unless you’re a really prepared camper. Perhaps the ideal real estate for them is a patio.

One more thing to note: in researching this piece, a troubling bit of recent news surfaced from West Richland, Washington. A grilling enthusiast by the name of Randy Mechell witnessed his Traeger Pellet Grill explode while being put to normal use. It was not a mini version, but something closer to the Texas Elite Pellet Grill 34 model. Mechell told his local news KEPR that when he contacted Traeger, they admitted that this has happened before, though attributed it to “user error.”

“People need to know these can explode … And I don’t believe that there’s anything that the Average Joe should be able to do to turn it into a bomb.”

Traeger responded to inquiries from KEPR by referencing the User Manual, which advises about proper use (a copy was included in their coverage).

The more you know.

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