Hey there, grill aficionados and meat connoisseurs! Boy, do I have something special for you today. We're diving into the smoky, sizzling world of the PK Go—the best portable smoker I've had the pleasure of cooking with. Don't just take my word for it; let's jump into the nitty-gritty details that make this smoker a must-have for anyone looking to elevate their grilling game.
Why the PK Go is Hands-Down the Best Portable Smoker
First, a little history lesson (don’t worry, it’s cool!). PK Grills has been around since 1952, which means they've had plenty of time to perfect their craft. And perfect it they did. Despite some highs and lows, PK's dedication to building rock-solid, rust-proof aluminum bodies never wavered. Their PK360 model has been a huge hit, and it led to the birth of its smaller but equally stellar sibling, the PK Go.
1 - The Magic of Cast Aluminum
Alright, let's get down to the nitty-gritty of why the PK Go's cast aluminum body really sets it apart. First of all, this isn't some throwaway piece of tin. We're talking about top-grade, rust-free cast aluminum. So, what's in it for you? For starters, this material brings unbeatable durability to the table. When you put your money into the PK Go, you're not just picking up a grill for the season; you're making a lifetime commitment to deliciousness.
But let's not stop at durability. Cast aluminum isn't just tough; it's also a phenomenal conductor of heat. That means it heats up quickly and distributes that heat evenly across the cooking surface. No hot or cold spots messing with your masterpiece! So you're getting consistently cooked meat every single time you fire this baby up. Imagine searing a steak to perfection or smoking ribs that are juicy throughout. Yep, that's the magic of cast aluminum for you.
So, investing in a PK Go isn't merely a purchase; it's a long-term commitment to culinary excellence. You're getting a grill that not only lasts but also elevates your cooking game by ensuring even, consistent heat. In other words, it's the complete package.
2 - Cooking Area: Because Size DOES Matter
Alright, let's not beat around the bush—you and I both know that size does matter, especially when it comes to the cooking chamber of your smoker. So, what's the deal with the PK Go? Well, it steps up to the plate with a hefty 17x12-inch cooking area, giving you more than enough space to go all-out with your ribs, burgers, and hey, even a small turkey can get in on the action!
But wait, there's more. The PK Go also comes equipped with something called a FLIPKIT. Now, this isn't just some gimmicky add-on; it's a genuine game-changer. What you're getting is a two-piece cast iron grate that essentially doubles your cooking area. How, you ask? Simple: just flip the lid over, and you've instantly transformed your PK Go into a two-level cooking beast. Think of it as getting two grills for the price of one. With this ingenious FLIPKIT, you could be grilling your steaks on one side while smoking veggies or even another set of meats on the other.
So, if you're planning some weekend getaways or epic camping trips, this is your ultimate advantage. You're not just getting a portable grill; you're getting a portable, expandable culinary station that satisfies all your meat-loving cravings. No compromises, no limitations—just pure grilling and smoking bliss.
3 - Portability and Ease of Use: The PK Go's Winning Edge
Let's get straight to the point: the PK Go sets the bar high when it comes to portability and ease of use. Its ergonomic carry handles make lifting and moving a cinch—no back-breaking effort needed. Setting up and breaking down? A breeze. Forget lengthy instruction manuals; this grill is all about intuitive design.
But what really makes it stand out is its rock-solid stability. Thanks to its four-point design, this grill won't wobble or tip, whether you're on a rocky campsite or sandy beach.
So, why should you care? Because the PK Go lets you focus on what truly matters: grilling up mouth-watering meals wherever you are, without any hassle. In a sea of clunky, complicated portable grills, the PK Go is a game-changer.
4 - Additional Features and Bonus Points
The PK Go doesn’t just stop at being a fantastic smoker and grill. It has some cool additional features that add great value:
- Meat Probe Port: Slide your meat probe right through the specialized port to snag an accurate temperature reading without ever opening the lid.
- Adjustable Cast-Iron Grates: These heavy, coated cast-iron grates let you easily switch between direct and indirect heat cooking options.
- Top-Notch Details: From its durabilium handle to its molded cradle and dual water-shedding radial exhaust vents, the PK Go boasts premium features that elevate your grilling experience.
PKGo Hibachi Vs. FlipKit: A Showdown of the Best Portable Smokers
Let's jump right in and talk about why the PKGo Hibachi and the PKGo with FlipKit stand out as top picks in today’s market of best portable smokers.
- Searing Excellence, Hibachi Style
First things first, the PKGo Hibachi isn't your run-of-the-mill tailgate or camping grill. This thing is light, multi-functional, and get this—completely made of aluminum. Unlike many charcoal grills crafted from stainless steel, aluminum heats up four times more efficiently. What does that mean for you? Think consistent temperatures and even heat across all those glorious square inches of cooking space. You're locking in juicy meats and grilling veggies to perfection, every single time.
The ease of use on the PKGo Hibachi is a game-changer. Pop off that vibrant orange lid and load up your charcoal fuel like it's no big deal. Swing open the two "Air Intake Doors" for total airflow control. This keeps your fire oxygen-rich and makes the Hibachi a great option for high-heat grilling, perfect for burgers, thin steaks, and veggies. But if you're cooking something like sausages or chicken that need more time at lower temps, then a lid becomes crucial. That’s when you'll want to think about upgrading to the PKGo with FlipKit.
- The FlipKit Factor: Grill and Smoker in One
Here's where the PKGo with FlipKit comes into its own. This unique grill doesn't just keep the signature rectangular design and venting system from the PK grills. It goes above and beyond, doubling as two separate hibachis. Talk about versatility! This is the best portable grill for those wanting to both sear at high temperatures and slow smoke.
On a camping trip and craving a diversified menu? Most portable charcoal grills fall short with limited air control. But the PKGo with FlipKit doesn't disappoint. It allows for searing at higher temperatures and can even tackle larger cuts when you set it up for 2-zone cooking. One side is your hot direct zone, while the other side is more moderate for indirect cooking.
So how does it work? You've got two options. Spread an even layer of charcoal for direct heat, keeping both upper and lower dampers open. Or get fancy with 2-zone cooking: pile the charcoal on one side and adjust the dampers to create a more mellow heat flow on the other side.
- Which One’s For You? PKGo Hibachi or PKGo with FlipKit
Both the PKGo Hibachi and the PKGo with FlipKit bring a lot to the table. Whether you're a beginner searching for an easy-to-use model or a seasoned pro eyeing a high-quality grill with a built-in temperature gauge and extra features, both are fantastic choices. They're not just good—they're the best portable charcoal smokers you could pick for leveling up your outdoor cooking game.
How to Smoke Using The PK Go?
- Setting Up the 2-Zones
First off, setting up the 2-zone cooking system on the PK Go is a breeze, even if you're new to the grilling game. For my indirect heat zone, I popped in a stainless steel pan to act as a barrier against the charcoal. This way, only one side of the grill felt the direct heat. On the other side, I had the charcoal doing its thing right under the grates, perfect for those high-heat searing moments.
Cooking Tip: If you want a consistent temperature in the indirect zone, hardwood lump charcoal is your best friend. I've found it burns longer and more evenly.
- Dialing in the Temperature
Now, let’s talk temps. The PK Go is happy as a clam sitting at around 300°F in the indirect zone, making it a champ for quick cooks like chicken and hot dogs. But if you’re like me and prefer smoking at lower temps, you're in luck. A pro tip from the PK guys: throw in a small piece of wood with your charcoal. It really helps manage those heat zones and keeps you from serving up something closer to charcoal than meat.
Cooking Tip: If you're aiming for low temps, make tiny tweaks to the air intake and exhaust dampers. Seriously, less is more.
- The Temperature Probe Port
Alright, here’s something cool. The PK Go doesn’t come with an onboard thermometer. But wait, it gets better! They’ve cleverly included a small covered port on the rear left corner of the cast-iron lid where you can insert a digital meat probe. I used my trusty Fireboard 2, and let me tell you, it's a game-changer for precise, real-time temp monitoring.
Cooking Tip: Clip your digital probe to the cooking grate in the indirect zone. You'll get the most accurate reading that way.
- The Real Talk: Keeping Steady Temps
While I had a blast with the PK Go, keeping a steady temp over an extended period was a bit of a juggling act. On my PK 360, I usually rely on my Fireboard 2 thermometer and its fan to keep things steady. Unfortunately, they're not compatible with the PK Go. So unless you've got a thermometer with a fan that can fit this model, be prepared to babysit your smoker and fiddle with the airflow.
Don't get me wrong; there's something satisfying about being hands-on with your grill. But if you're juggling guests, kids, or a hyperactive puppy, constantly adjusting your smoker might not be ideal.
Overall, the PK Go is a stellar option for medium roasts and forgiving meats like pork shoulders, whole chicken, sausages, and salmon. Just know that for those long smoking sessions, you might have to keep a closer eye on it.
Cost - The Only Thing to Consider
The PK Go might be a bit pricey for a portable smoker, but hey, you get what you pay for. Top-notch quality doesn’t come cheap, my friends.
PK Go vs. Top 5 Competitors
When it comes to the world of portable grilling, the PK Go is a staple for many outdoor cooking enthusiasts. However, the market today is packed with some of the best portable pellet grills, electric smokers, and even gas grills that give the PK Go a run for its money. To help you make an informed decision, let's take a closer look at how the PK Go stacks up against its top 5 competitors.
1. PK Go vs. Traeger Tailgater: The Battle for Best Overall
The Traeger Tailgater comes with a built-in 15 Amp power source and an integrated meat probe. With a generous cooking area of 429 square inches and a temperature range perfect for grilling and searing, this model is a great addition to any tailgate party.
- Built-in Thermometer: Easy temperature monitoring
- Large Cooking Area: Ideal for cooking much food for a big crew
- Temperature Range: Excellent for both grilling and smoking
- Portability: Foldable legs for easy transportation
- Small Pellet Hopper: At 8lbs, it's one of the smallest on the market
- Controls: Takes a bit of getting used to
Compared to the Traeger Tailgater, the PK Go lacks a built-in thermometer, but makes up for it in high-quality materials and an easy-access charcoal compartment for that authentic grilled flavor.
If you're looking for the best portable pellet smoker with a built-in thermometer and a large cooking area, the Traeger Tailgater is your best bet. However, for charcoal purists, the PK Go's simplicity and durability might just tip the scales.
2. PK Go vs. Camp Chef Pursuit 20: The Runner-Up Challenge
This portable pellet grill comes with PID control, dual meat probes, and a digital control panel. Its cooking chamber size stands at 501 square inches, making it larger than the PK Go.
- Digital Temperature Control System: Eliminates guesswork
- Large Cooking Area: Suitable for various cooking styles
- PID Control: Maintains precise temperatures
- Controller and Hopper Issues: Some minor usability problems
The PK Go doesn't feature the high-tech control systems of the Camp Chef but offers an intuitive, easy-to-use design, perfect for those who prefer a more hands-on grilling experience.
For tech-savvy grillers who value digital temperature control and a large cooking area, the Camp Chef Pursuit 20 is ideal. However, for a straightforward, reliable grill, the PK Go shines.
3. PK Go vs. Green Mountain Davy Crockett: The Budget Showdown
Priced affordably, this portable pellet grill comes with built-in WiFi connectivity, a meat probe, and a 120v power source.
- Affordable: Excellent features in a budget-friendly package
- WiFi Connectivity: A rare added bonus in this price range
- Good Temperature Range: Suitable for various cooking needs
- Temperature Fluctuations: Some inconsistencies reported
The PK Go might not have WiFi connectivity, but it offers durability and ease of use, perfect for those who prefer a straightforward grilling experience.
For those on a budget, the feature-packed Green Mountain Davy Crockett is an excellent choice. But for reliability and ease of use, the PK Go holds its own.
4. PK Go vs. Z Grills Cruiser 200A: The Ultra-Portable Option
This tabletop grill is designed for ultimate portability, with a maximum temperature of 450°F and a weight 22 lbs lighter than many competitors.
- Ultra-Portable: Ideal for camping trips
- Consistent Temperatures: Reliable heat source
- Affordable: Good build quality at a lower price
- Small Cooking Area: Only 202 square inches
While not as lightweight as the Z Grills Cruiser, the PK Go offers a more robust cooking area and is made from high-quality materials.
If portability is your main concern, the Z Grills Cruiser 200A is unbeatable. However, for a more versatile cooking experience, the PK Go is a better option.
5. PK Go vs. Pit Boss Sportsman: The Dependability Factor
This portable pellet grill is dependable and easy to use, featuring an easy-to-use digital control panel and a heat rod lever that can ramp up the temperature to over 450°F.
- Digital Control Panel: Simplifies the grilling process
- High Maximum Temperature: Great for searing
- Dependable: Reliable performance
- Smaller Cooking Area: Less room compared to other models
The PK Go offers a dependable, simple design without the bells and whistles, focusing on durability and ease of use.
For those looking for a dependable, easy-to-use grill, both the Pit Boss Sportsman and the PK Go are excellent choices. Your preference for digital control systems vs. a manual approach will be the deciding factor.
Whether you're in the market for the best portable charcoal grill or the best pellet smokers, knowing how the PK Go compares to its top competitors can help you find the right smoker for your needs. Each grill brings its own set of strengths and weaknesses to the table, but hopefully, this comparison has made your decision a little easier. Happy grilling!
Final Take Away
Alright, it's time to get to the bottom line. If you're searching for a portable smoker that's a culinary game-changer, look no further. The PK Go is a masterclass in design, versatility, and performance. With its top-of-the-line cast aluminum body, genius FLIPKIT feature, and ease of use, this smoker is like that trusty Swiss Army knife you never knew you needed but can't live without. It's not just about the basic features; it's the whole package. It's durable, versatile, and, most importantly, it delivers when it comes to making mouth-watering meat.
So, if you're in the market for a smoker that you can take from your backyard to a campsite without a hitch, and you want a culinary experience that's as reliable as it is delicious, the PK Go has got you covered. Trust me, folks—this is a long-term commitment to flavor, convenience, and pure grilling joy you won’t regret.
Exploring the PK Grill Lineup: Beyond the PK Go
If you've been nodding along while reading about the PK Go, let me spill some secrets about its siblings in the PK Grill lineup. Trust me; if the PK Go has caught your eye, you'll be floored by what else Portable Kitchen (PK Grills) has in the arsenal.
- PK 360: The Crown Jewel of PK Grills
PK 360 Sets the Standard for Premium Grilling
When it comes to high-end grilling, the PK 360 rules the roost. This top-tier model seamlessly blends sleek design with advanced functionality. The capsule-like design isn't just for show; it ensures even heat distribution across the grilling surface. Add in a built-in thermometer, and you've got real-time temperature tracking at your fingertips.
Control Temperature Like a Pro
But the real game-changer? The 4-point venting system. This innovative feature gives you the ability to control temperature settings with precision. Whether you're searing a steak at high heat or smoking ribs on a low setting, the PK 360 offers unmatched temperature versatility.
- PK Aaron Franklin Edition: For the BBQ Connoisseur
Aaron Franklin Puts His Stamp on this PK Model
Are you a BBQ aficionado? Then you've likely heard of pitmaster legend Aaron Franklin. In collaboration with PK Grills, he's designed the PK Aaron Franklin Edition. This is more than just a grill; it's a badge of honor for serious BBQ enthusiasts.
Specialized Features for Smoking Mastery
This model shines when it comes to smoking and slow cooking. With its easy-access fuel chamber, you can effortlessly switch between charcoal and wood chips. And let's not forget the digital temperature control that allows for pinpoint accuracy when setting your cooking heat.
- PK Original: Affordability Meets Quality
A Budget-Friendly Option Without Compromise
If you're new to grilling or are looking for something a bit more budget-friendly, don't overlook the PK Original. This grill offers solid construction and reliability without breaking the bank. It's also compact, making it a great choice for small patios or balconies.
Features That Get the Job Done
The PK Original comes with a basic venting system that still allows for decent temperature control. It may not have all the bells and whistles of the PK 360 or Aaron Franklin Edition, but it delivers where it counts—providing a quality grilling experience.
- Why PK Grills are Worth a Closer Look?
Look, when it comes to choosing the right smoker or grill, the market today is saturated with options. From gas grills to best portable charcoal smokers, you've got your pick. But what sets PK Grills apart are their thoughtful designs, advanced features, and the sheer quality they bring to the table. Whether you're a seasoned chef or a weekend warrior, PK Grills offers something for everyone.
Frequently Asked Questions:
The PK Go is primarily designed for charcoal as its fuel source, but you can also add wood chips for that extra smoky flavor. It's not compatible with wood pellets, gas, or electric smokers.
Absolutely, its compact design and ergonomic carry handles make the PK Go an excellent option for road trips. Its durability ensures that it will last for a long time, and its ease of setup makes it a good choice for quick stops.
Cleaning is a breeze with the PK Go. The cast aluminum body is easy to wipe down, and the grill grates can be removed for easy cleaning. No intricate parts or tough corners make this one of the best ways to maintain your grill.
Yes, the PK Go has a sizable 17x12-inch cooking area that is also expandable thanks to the FLIPKIT. Whether it's ribs, burgers, or even a small turkey, you've got room.