It’s the smallest and the cheapest pellet smoker in the Traeger line-up. So, if you’re looking for a smoker for your RV, taking car camping, fishing, to the beach, or even for using at home because you’re only cooking for a few, is the Traeger Scout a good option?
In our Traeger Scout review we’ll give you all the information you need to decide if it’s right for you. Here you’ll find the specs, pros and cons, plus all the details on how this micro smoker actually performs.
Before we get started, we’ll just point out that the Traeger Scout is the cheaper, first generation of Traeger’s tabletop-style smokers. The Traeger Ranger is the upgraded version that’s got a larger hopper, a newer temperature controller and comes with a griddle. So, if you’re more keen on that, click here to read our Traeger Ranger review. Or, keep on reading.
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The Skinny on the Traeger Scout
For anyone who wants to be able to cook with pure wood, on the go, without having to build a campfire, a micro pellet smoker is the way to go. And, the Scout, being Traeger’s entry-level but still solid and dependable portable pellet smoker, is a top choice.
With enough space to cook for 4-6 people at a pinch, and a big enough pellet hopper, wrapped up in what’s a reasonably lightweight and compact box, the Scout can easily go anywhere you and your car might venture.
Because of it’s size, it heats up fast. The temperature is reasonably stable for consistent results. And, the included meat probe takes the guess work out of knowing when your meat is fall-off-the-bone ready.
Overall, the Scout keeps things simple but does them really well with the quality you need to withstand life on the road and effectiveness you can rely on to smoke, bake, roast and grill beautifully each and every time.
Features of the Traeger Scout Portable Pellet Smoker
- Strong powder-coated case
- Rust-resistant, easy to clean porcelain-coated grates
- Decent 4 pound pellet hopper
- Sturdy design with built-in tabletop legs
Ease of use:
- Digital Pro Controller automatically regulates the temperature for you
- Wide temperature range gives you the flexibility to smoke, bake, roast and grill
- Lid latches for secure transportation
- One meat probe that plugs into the temperature controller for easy reading
In-Depth Review of the Traeger Scout Portable Pellet Smoker
It’s basically a pellet grill in a suitcase. And, while it doesn’t have all the fancy features of Traeger’s high-end ranges, the Scout does just what you need for hassle-free wood fired cooking on the road.
As Traeger’s cheaper, first generation of micro pellet smoker, you’re looking at a more basic controller and a smaller hopper than you’d get with the Traeger Ranger. But, as a trade-off, it’s also lighter while taking up exactly the same amount of space.
Read on to find out how this compact grill really performs.
One of the biggest issues with portable pellet smokers, or portable smokers of any type, is that they’re often not built that well. They’re pretty much a smaller, lighter version of full-sized grills with what’s often flimsy legs that are more hassle than they’re worth.
But, not the Scout.
Traeger’s built this smoker into what’s a really tough powder-coated steel box. Yes, it can still get dings and scratches. But, it’s got a really strong and sturdy feel like it’s actually made for life on the road.
Inside, you’ve got porcelain-coated cooking grates. They’re rust-resistant so, while best-practice, they don’t NEED cleaning right away. But, when you do, they’re also really easy to clean and it won’t take long to scrape them down with one of our favorite tools.
For transportation, there’s two latches that hold the lid closed. The pellets can spill out of the hopper when you’re holding it by the handle. But, because it doesn’t hold a lot of pellets anyway, we don’t really find it to be a major problem (the upgraded Ranger doesn’t spill though).
In terms of size and weight, the Scout measures 21″ wide by 20″ deep and 13 inches high and weighs 45 pounds.
It’s not super compact or lightweight. But, it’s one of the smallest and lightest pellet smokers you can get. And, it’s not really designed to be taken hiking anyway. Car camping, RV travel, yes!
It shouldn’t come as any surprise to you that the Scout doesn’t have the largest cooking capacity. It is a compact pellet smoker after all. But, you’ll find you can actually fit a reasonable amount on its 184 square inches of cooking space.
So, how much can the Scout hold?
Well, you’re looking at getting about 6 burgers, 10 sausages, 4-6 steaks or 1 rack of ribs (cut in half to fit) on the 184 square inch grate. If you want to cook a larger cut, you can fit 2 smaller chickens on there or even a pork butt that’s on the smaller side.
So, depending on what you cook, you should be able to feed 4 on the Scout easily, 6 people’s not undoable. And, if you’re looking at kids that only eat 1 burger each, you can do more.
In terms of the pellet hopper, the Scout’s holds 4 pounds of pellets at one time. Cooking at a low and slow temperature, you should get about 4 hours of smoking time before needing to refill. Hotter temperatures will burn through the pellets faster, but, you’re cooking time will be shorter too.
The Scout might be small, and, the temperature controller is Traeger’s older style. But, the results you can get on this thing are nothing but impressive.
The Digital Pro Controller lets you set the temperature in 25°F increments. It’s not as precise as the newer Traeger Ranger if that’s a deal-breaker for you. But, 225 or 250°F will do most people for low and slow while cranking it all the way up to its max 450°F is usually what we set it at anyway.
The temperature will fluctuate more than you’d get on the newer model too. You’re looking at seeing the Scout sitting somewhere between +/-20-25°F of your target throughout your cook. We don’t find that it really impacts the results so, it doesn’t bother us. It’s just worth mentioning that the Scout’s not going to give you the precise regulation of the Ranger or a PID-style controller in case those are really important to you.
Because the grill itself is so small, hot spots seem to be very minimal and the Scout cooks fairly evenly anywhere on the grate which means you don’t need to worry about meat placement or rotating things while they cook away.
Overall, we’re really impressed with how the Scout smokes. Maybe it’s just that everything tastes better in the wide-open outdoors… but, Traeger do know a thing to two so it’s probably not just the fresh air and sunshine.
We usually find that grilling on a pellet smoker that only offers an indirect heat mode is pretty average, although better than not being able to do it. But, because the Scout is so small and the grates are closer to the firepot, we’ve found it actually does a pretty decent job of grilling up a steak, fish or anything really.
With a maximum temperature of 450°F, you need to let the grill and grates heat up to get a good sizzle before laying your meat on. The grill marks are pretty decent and you do manage to get a bit of a smoky flavor although the meat won’t be sitting on the smoker all that long.
If you’re mainly buying the Scout for grilling instead of smoking, we do recommend grabbing a griddle plate. They hold the heat better than the regular grates and let you be able to fry things like eggs really easily.
Just keep in mind, if you are grabbing the griddle plate along with a Scout, it’s pushing the price up pretty close to the upgraded Ranger unit which already includes the griddle. And, you get the upgraded controller and a larger pellet hopper as well.
Being the most basic compact pellet smoker in Traeger’s range, don’t expect to get much in the way of extras. But, the Scout does come with 1 meat probe that plugs directly into the control panel so you can watch the internal temperature of your meat climb until it’s perfectly cooked.
While a lot of portable smokers have a shorter warranty period than that brand’s regularly sized versions, you do get Traeger’s whole standard 3 year warranty with the Scout.
Their customer service department’s got a good reputation as well. So, hopefully it’s an easy fix if you do have any problems.
If you’ve seen the user reviews for the Traeger Scout, you might have noticed that they’re not too crash hot.
The main reason for this is people finding the temperature runs too hot or keeps steadily climbing. People have also had problems with grease fires.
We’ve had a good look into these issues and considered not recommending the Scout because of these reports (although our experience with it has been good). But, it looks like, one, these issues were more common a few years ago before the grill was recalled and subsequently fixed before coming back on the market.
Two, most temperature issues seem to have been easily fixed by adjusting the ‘P’ setting on the right side of the digital display. It’s a tiny hole that can be set between 1 and 4 to adjust the rate that the pellets are fed into the firepot. You won’t find information about it in the manual. But, Traeger will tell you about it if you do have any issues.
Thirdly, grease fires are unfortunately a potential issue with all pellet smokers but particularly smaller ones. It’s vital to clean the Scout between uses to minimize the risk.
One easy way to make cleaning the Scout really easy is by using Traeger’s disposable drip tray liners. They also sell mini grease bucket liners so that all you need to do is clean the grates and empty the firepot.
Cleaning the Traeger Scout
As we’ve already pointed out, cleaning smaller pellet smokers like the Traeger Scout after every use is particularly important to prevent grease fires and stop ash from clogging up the unit.
Like all barbecues, start by scraping down the grates. Then, wipe any grease from the drip tray, grease drain and grease bucket. That’s usually easier when the grill’s warm. But, after it’s cooled, you’ll also need to clean the ash out of the firepot and surrounding space.
A vacuum is the easiest way to do it (we like this battery powered one for on the go). But, you can do it with a small shovel or cloth. Just make sure it’s all cold first.
The Traeger Scout manual details how to clean it in much more detail.
What We Like About the Traeger Scout
- The case is really strong and durable so it can actually withstand the portable life
- Easy to setup
- Very sturdy on any flat tabletop surface
- Turns out some great food
- Wide temperature range means it does a good job of smoking, roasting, baking and grilling all one the one unit
- Comes with 1 meat probe so you’ll know when the meat’s fall off the bone ready
- Great warranty, particularly for a portable smoker
- It’s lighter than the newer Traeger Ranger so easier to move around
What We Don’t Like About the Traeger Scout
- The cooking capacity’s obviously limited being a very compact portable smoker
- The first generation Digital Pro Controller doesn’t hold the temperature as tightly as newer controllers. And, you can only set it in 25°F increments
- Pellet hopper is on the small side
- There’s no WiFi – this actually doesn’t bother us because we’re always nearby when doing portable cooking. But, it’s worth mentioning before you buy
Specs for the Traeger Scout Portable Tabletop Pellet Smoker
Barbecue type: Portable wood pellet grill and smoker
Barbecue material: Powder-coated steel
Grate material: Porcelain-coated cast steel
Cooking capacity: 184 sq. in.
Pellet hopper capacity: 4 lbs
Heat Range: 180-450°F
Fuel type: Wood pellets
Price guide: $
Assembled size (in): 21″W x 13″H x 20″D
Weight: 45 lbs
Warranty: 3 years
FAQs About the Traeger Scout
Q. What type of power connection do you need for the Traeger Scout?
Q. How do you empty the hopper on the Traeger Scout?
There’s no easy way to empty the pellet hopper on the Scout. You can burn them through to fully empty it or scoop and tip them out if the grill’s cold.
Q. Do I have to use Traeger pellets in the Scout?
Definitely not. The Traeger pellets are really good. But, any quality smoking pellet will work in the Scout just fine. We’d just recommend sticking to something that’s high quality and low ash to prevent the smaller firepot from getting clogged.
Q. What’s the largest piece of meat you can cook on the Traeger Scout?
We’ve done a cut up brisket before. It was just under 5 pounds. But, you should also be able to squeeze on 2 smaller chickens or 1 pork butt.
Q. Is there a table that’s made specifically for the Traeger Scout?
Not at the moment. But, you can use it on any flat surface. We like this Coleman Ultra Compact Folding Table for something that’s small and lightweight. Plus, you’ll have space to work around the Scout too.
Our Verdict on the Traeger Scout Review
When it comes to very compact portable pellet smokers, the Traeger Scout is a solid option. With a first generation temperature controller and other basic features, it’s not as fancy as some. But, what is there is solid, dependable and versatile, letting you smoke, bake, roast and grill really well on the one unit.
With a decent 184 square inch cooking capacity, you can expect to cater to 4-6 people depending on what you cook. And, the 4 pound pellet hopper should see you through about 4 hours of low and slow smoking time without a refill.
Ideal for anything from small cooks at home to family day-trips, fishing lunches, and, permanent RV life, the Traeger Scout delivers great quality and versatility for a fair price.