Should you deprive yourself of all those delectably scrumptious smoked/roasted/baked meals when you're on the road camping in your tent, trailer, 5th wheel, or RV? Not me! My quest for a tailgate unit that met my needs, expectations, weight, and budget started years ago. I only have experience with 2 tailgate units so I will limit my Have Tailgate Wood Pellet Smoker-Grill will Travel post to those units.
Note ... There are many great wood pellet smoker-grill tailgate units on the market but being on a fixed budget I will discuss my migration from an entry level unit (Traeger PTG) to a mid-range unit (Green Mountain Grill Davy Crockett) and to the upcoming cream of the crop/top of the line unit (MAK Grills MINI-MAK).
All wood pellet smoker-grills can produce great results so long as you take the time to learn your grill. Be aware, however, that not all controllers are remotely equal and that in my humble opinion the heart of any smoker-grill is the controller!
Traeger Portable Tabletop Grill (PTG)
I bought my Traeger PTG (Portable Tabletop Grill) in December of 2012 for the primary purpose of using it on the road with our RV. While getting to know my PTG I found large temperature swings with the unit and issues with flame-outs at lower temps. I decided to modify my PTG with a PID Controller - click to see my PTG modification posting. My PID modified PTG gave me infinitely more control of the unit but required a hands on approach for the cooks.
As you can see from the images above, I was able to produce wonderful results using my modified PTG. But the constant monitoring requirements to maintain desired temperatures drove me to find another tailgate unit.
Warning ... Any and all modifications that I made on the PTG are not authorized by Traeger or anyone else and nullified my warranty. Perform any modifications at your own risk.
Green Mountain Grill Davy Crockett
After doing extensive research I bought my GMG Davy Crockett grill in December of 2013. This pellet grill is a great product and now comes with a WiFi controller, open flame technology grease tray, a meat probe, and a peaked lid allowing for larger cuts of meat and poultry. It can run on 12 VDC or 120 VAC so it's perfect for home, camping, tailgating, and/or hunting just to name a few. Note some of the stunning results in the images above - all cooked to perfection!
Initially my Davy Crockett's left side of the grill ran noticeably hotter than the right side. After contacting Green Mountain Grill's outstanding customer support they immediately sent me a new heat deflector that helped greatly to minimize my heat issues. I have produced a vast array of wonderful meals on the road and home with this unit. Just like needing 2 ovens now and then for a meal I've often used used my Davy Crockett in conjunction with my MAK 2 Star grill to produce out of this world gourmet meals.
MAK Grills MINI-MAK
Am I happy with my Davy Crockett smoker-grill? For the most part the answer is yes - then why am I anxiously awaiting the release of the new MAK Grills MINI-MAK tailgate unit? The answer is simple ... I'm spoiled!! I have owned a MAK 2 Star General Wood Pellet BBQ Smoker-Grill since March 2011 and truth be told, I've always wanted to be able to take the technology of the 2 Star on the road with me! To date, MAK is the most awarded pellet grill in the barbecue industry. They just won their 4th Vesta Award - peer reviewed awards given each year during the Hearth-Patio-Barbecue Association’s annual trade show and convention. The last award is for their MINI-MAK prototype. I for one can't wait till the unit comes out so that I can put it through it's paces.