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The Best Portable Pellet Grills of 2023: A Comprehensive Guide

Portable pellet grills let you take that wood pellet flavor anywhere. You can grill and smoke on these little pellet grills at the park, beach, or any place where they can get power. Yes, with one exception (see below), they still need to be plugged in though 12-volt adapters are available for some models. The best portable pellet grills will let you get the smoky flavor you want to BBQ while on the road.

Best Portable Pellet Grills
Best Portable Pellet Grills

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Love to grill on the road? Not happy with those weak portable gas gills? What about all the flimsy portable charcoal grills? Portable grills are notorious for low power and limited smoke flavor. But what about a portable pellet grill? Pellet grills have been all the rage lately, and the idea that you can pack one up and take it camping, to the park, or practically anywhere seems appealing. And you get that wood-fired flavor. Let’s weigh the pros and cons first.

Pros of Portable Pellet Grills:

  • Portability: Obviously, portable pellet grills can be taken almost anywhere. But one of the things you should also consider is that these small pellet grills fit into small spaces. If you don’t have the space for a full-sized pellet grill, think about one of these.
  • Temperature Control: Most portable grills are bad at temperature control. But with built-in digital temperature controllers, these units can give you a greater level of accuracy. These are easier to monitor and take the guesswork out of grilling and smoking.
  • Versatility: Pellet grills are the blending of grill and smoker. They let you grill burgers or smoke ribs. And while the portable versions don’t offer much cooking space, you will find that with a good portable pellet grill, you will be able to grill, bake, smoke, and (with an optional griddle) even cook eggs and pancakes.

Cons of Portable Pellet Grills:

  • Power: Wood pellet grills need power. And I’m not talking about a couple of double A’s here. While one of the units listed below can be battery-powered, most must be plugged in. Yes, 12-volt adapters are available, but you can’t wander off into the woods and expect to run your portable pellet grill without electricity.
  • Price: These are among the most expensive portable grills on the market. This is due to the complexity of a pellet grill. They have many parts, particularly electronic ones, that drive the price. At the bottom end, you will be spending more than $200USD and can go over $600 easily.
  • Maintenance: Pellet grills are harder to maintain than any other kind of grill. They need to be cleaned out regularly to remove ash and food particles. The portable version of the pellet grill requires more cleaning and maintenance than the full-sized version. Plus, these are an investment, so you will want to put in the effort.
  • Weather: Portable pellet grills are vulnerable to wind and rain. Wind can keep them from heating up and can interfere with pellet combustion. Rain can get wood pellets wet and make them useless.
  • Weight: These grills are not hiking-friendly. They weigh a lot and are only portable because you can take them in your truck, car, or RV. You will not want to carry them any great distance.

Two Types of Portable Pellet Grills:

  1. Barrel Style: These are basically mini versions of their full-sized brethren. They have a barrel-shaped body and are simply smaller pellet grills on folding legs. These are more expensive but give you larger cooking areas. I recommend these for tailgating for RV pellet cooking. You won’t want to move them far, but they can fold up and be packed away easily.
  2. Suitcase Style: While still heavy, these smaller portable pellet grills are great for picnics and camping. They are basically tabletop pellet grills. The cooking area is small, but you can do most grilling tasks with them. You can also smoke smaller foods like ribs.

The Best Portable Pellet Grills

1. Traeger Ranger

From industry leader Traeger, the Ranger portable pellet grill was first introduced in April 2020. Designed as one of the first very small pellet grills, this has been a popular seller and boasts a 4.6 rating on Amazon. Small, but ultimately the best tabletop pellet grill.

Traeger Ranger Portable Pellet Grill
Traeger Ranger Portable Pellet Grill

Specifications for the Traeger Ranger

  • Cooking area: 184 square inches
  • Temperature Range: 180°F to 450°F
  • Pellet Hopper Capacity: 8 Pounds
  • Power Source: 110V, 20A, 60Hz
  • Cooking Grate Material: Porcelain-Coated Steel
  • Weight: 60 Pounds
  • Dimensions: Height 13”x Width 21” x Depth 20”
  • Warranty: 3-Year Limited
  • Country of Manufacture: China

Pros of the Traeger Ranger:

  1. Compact Design: The ranger is only 21 inches wide, 20 inches deep, and 13 inches tall. It gives you 184 square inches of cooking area (the space to grill 6 burgers) in a small box that can be stored easily. And the lid locks in place.
  2. Temperature Controller: The Traeger Digital Arc controller allows you to set the cooking temperature in 5-degree increments between 180°F to 450°F. Under most conditions, the grill will be within 10 degrees of the set temperature. The controller also has a keep warm mode setting so you can hold food at temperature until you are ready to eat.
  3. The Traeger Company: Traeger is the industry leader in pellet grills. They have more experience than any company. Their service and support is excellent, and while this grill has only a 3-year warranty, it is better than many of the competitors.

Cons of the Traeger Ranger:

  1. Price: The Traeger Ranger is more expensive than many of the other portable pellet grills on this list. However, it is an excellent value due to superior quality as well as support.
  2. Power: While it is possible to connect this grill to a power inverter or mobile power station, it no longer comes with a 12-volt converter. Traeger recommends connecting this grill only to a grounded 120-volt power outlet.

Summary

The Traeger Ranger is a great option for the person who wants to grill and smoke on the road. It takes up little space, and though heavy, it is one of the more portable of all portable pellet grills. The cooking area is small, however. It will handle six burgers, four steaks, a rack of ribs, or a whole chicken (cut up). Some people have smoked small but whole briskets on the ranger. This grill is good for a small family on the go, however. Depending on the cooking temperature and weather conditions, this pellet grill can run as much as 8-hours on a single load of wood pellets.

2. Green Mountain Grills Trek

Green Mountain Grills is the little pellet company that takes on all the competition. The Trek (originally called the Davy Crockett) was first introduced in 2019. The Trek is unique among portable pellet grills. This portable comes standard with a Wi-Fi-enabled controller and actual accessories available, including a pizza oven attachment. The Trek is small but versatile. And it enjoys a 4.6 rating on Amazon.

Green Mountain Grills Trek Portable Pellet Smoker
Green Mountain Grills Trek Portable Pellet Smoker

Specifications of the Trek:

  • Cooking Area: 219 square inches
  • Temperature Range: 150°F to 550°F
  • Pellet Hopper Capacity: 8 Pounds
  • Power Source: 120 volt or 12 volt
  • Cooking Grate Material: Stainless Steel
  • Weight: 63 Pounds
  • Dimensions: Height 24”x Width 32” x Depth 16”
  • Warranty: 3-Year Limited
  • Country of Manufacture: China

Pros of the Trek:

  1. Wi-Fi-enabled cooking system with smart app: You can remotely monitor and control this portable pellet grill. Most portables don’t have this ability. This means you could go for a hike while cooking, and if you have connectivity, you can keep cooking and still do all your favorite outdoor activities. And it has a meat temperature probe for more accurate cooking.
  2. Accessories: Most portable pellet grills are just that. Green Mountain Grills offers a cart, extension legs, and a pizza oven insert, so you can do more with this grill than almost any other on this list.
  3. Versatile Power: Out of the box, the Trek allows you to plug this grill into a standard outlet or a 12-volt plug. You can run it off your car without an adapter or converter.
  4. Large Cooking Chamber: Being built more like a traditional pellet grill and less like a portable one, the Trek has a large cooking chamber for its size. You can even squeeze a small turkey in this unit. But plan on about 4 to 6 steaks or two racks of ribs.

Cons of the Trek:

  1. Wi-Fi Problems: Outdoor applications of WiFi can be a problem. Take it on the road, and connectivity and the elements can take their toll. While I have not had issues with Green Mountain Grills, several people have reported that the app and connectivity have been a little frustrating.
  2. Portability: This little grill weighs just over 60 pounds and yet has only two small handles to move it.

Summary

Green Mountain Grills since 2008, and pellet grills have been their focus. They innovated Wi-Fi connectivity and several features that have become standard on modern pellet grills. Their portable grill, the Trek, is built as simply a smaller version of their full-sized grills. Looking at it, it seems bigger than it is or like a mini grill. But this grill has the power and the features. It is hotter than most and offers a large cooking area for a portable. Of all the grills on this list, you really need to take the Trek seriously. With this little model, you can grill, smoke, bake, roast, and even put a griddle inside for everything else.

3. Halo Prime300 Countertop

The Halo Prime300 is a revolutionary new portable pellet grill. It can be run on battery power. Yes, it is possible to take this grill to a place where plugs don’t exist. This is actually accomplished by using a completely new type of pellet ignition. Spark. No more power-demanding glow plug. Of course, it isn’t cheap. And worse, the battery is extra.

Halo Prime300 Countertop Pellet Grill
Halo Prime300 Countertop Pellet Grill

Specifications of the Prime300

  • Cooking Area: 300 square inches on two levels
  • Temperature Range: 180°F to 500°F
  • Pellet Hopper Capacity: 10 Pounds
  • Power Source: 110V or Battery Power
  • Cooking Grate Material: Porcelain Coated Steel
  • Weight: 49 Pounds
  • Dimensions: Height 17”x Width 30” x Depth 19”
  • Warranty: 5-Year Warranty
  • Country of Manufacture: China

Pros of the Prime300

  • Battery Power: The Halo can be run on a 12-volt 5Ah lithium battery promising up to 20 hours of grill operation on a single charge. The battery charges in the grill, so you will have to plug in the grill to charge the battery. They do say that a charging station will be available soon.
  • Power Consumption: This pellet grill has been designed to use less power than all the others on this list. So even if you are operating off of a plug or power converter, it is more efficient.
  • Direct Flame: You can sear on the Prime300 by shifting a knob to expose the direct flame of the fire onto foods.

Cons of the Prime300

  • Price: This portable pellet grill isn’t cheap. At around $550USD it is one of the most expensive. Now add another $70 for the battery. No, the lithium battery is extra.
  • Innovation: The Prime300 contains a new type of pellet ignition system. Instead of the typical glow plug design, this one uses an electrical spark to start the fire. The auger also runs differently. All of this is done to reduce the power demand of the grill. With any new technology, there is a risk that it won’t work in the long term. Be aware of this before buying.

Summary

The Halo is very innovative. The basic rules of pellet grills are changed with this grill. If it works, it could be revolutionary. However, this is a new grill, and only time will tell how it holds up. On the other hand, if you want to do pellet grill cooking without access to power, this is the only unit you can buy.

4. Grilla Grills Chimp

Grilla Grills started out as a company that literally reinvented the pellet grill. Now it is a full-fledged brand with a wide range of products. That includes the Chimp, first introduced in 2017. The Chimp is one of the largest portable pellet smokers. It is also one of the most expensive.

Grilla Grills Chimp Portable Wood Pellet Smoker
Grilla Grills Chimp Portable Wood Pellet Smoker

Specifications of the Grilla Chimp

  • Cooking Area: 460 Square Inches – 340 Main – 120 Upper
  • Temperature Range: 180°F to 500°F
  • Pellet Hopper Capacity: 15 Pounds
  • Power Source: 110v
  • Cooking Grate Material: Stainless Steel
  • Weight: 90 Pounds
  • Dimensions: Height 24”x Width 37” x Depth 20”
  • Warranty: 2-Year Limited
  • Country of Manufacture: China

Pros of the Chimp:

  • Wi-Fi: The Chimp is one of the few portables that offers Wi-Fi connectivity and an associated app. You can remotely monitor and control the grill and meat temperatures with a single-temperature meat probe.
  • Full Pellet Grilling Capability: This really is just a mini pellet grill. It will do anything a full-sized unit will, just with less capacity. Still, the 340 square inches of primary grilling space gives a lot of room to work with.

Cons of the Chimp:

  • Expensive: At around $600USD you could buy a full-sized pellet grill for this price. You could buy a pair of portable pellet grills. You get a lot with the Chimp, and owners love this grill.
  • Temperature Control: The Chimp does have a tendency to run hotter than it says. This means you might have trouble keeping it at very low cooking temperatures and may have to adjust to get good low and slow smoking.
  • Portability: The Chimp skirts the line between being portable and being a small pellet grill. You decide if this is the grill that fits your needs. Just think about the weight

Summary

The Grilla Chimp is a fully functional portable wood pellet grill with all the bells and whistles in a 90-pound package. True, it isn’t very portable, but it is small enough to take in your RV or tailgating. Grilla has always had a problem with temperatures and their grills run a little hotter than they say. This is something you have to account for, but once you get the hang of it, the Chimp will be able to give you great grilled and smoked foods.

5. zGrills Cruiser 200A

zGrills is one of the largest manufacturers of pellet grills and has made grills for several companies. You can see the similarities in several models they sell under their own name. While zGrills might not be innovators, they can make a pellet grill for much less money. The Cruiser is more primitive but similar to the Traeger Ranger but costs more than $100USD less.

zGrills Cruiser 200A Wood Pellet
zGrills Cruiser 200A Wood Pellet

Specifications of the zGrills Cruiser

  • Cooking Area: 202 square inches
  • Temperature Range: 180°F to 450°F
  • Pellet Hopper Capacity: 8 Pounds
  • Power Source: 110V, 60W to 280W
  • Cooking Grate Material: Porcelain Coated Steel
  • Weight: 51 lbs
  • Dimensions: Height 13”x Width 25” x Depth 20”
  • Warranty: 3-Year Limited
  • Country of Manufacture: China

Pros of the Cruiser 200A:

  • Inexpensive: It is the selling price of well under $400USD that makes this an attractive portable pellet grill. It isn’t the cheapest, but the Cruiser certainly has value for the price.
  • Portability: Lock the lid in place and grab the handle. You are ready to go. Yes, this portable grill weighs 52 pounds, but the Cruiser is more portable than most.

Cons of the Cruiser 200A:

  • The Controller:  It is easy to compare the Cruiser to the Traeger Ranger. The biggest difference is in the controller. The Traeger uses a digital unit to set the temperature in 5-degree increments. The Cruiser uses an analog (dial) controller that runs in 25-degree increments. While precision is an illusion, this controller might be primitive and unyielding.
  • Small Cooking Area: As with this style of portable wood pellet cooker, the area you have to work with is small. A whole rack of ribs will probably have to be cut down to fit. It will accommodate up to 6 burgers, but little more. Make sure you know what you want to cook before you buy.
  • Lightweight in the Wrong Places: The body of this grill is thin. Being portable, it will end up in the backs of trucks, stuffed into RV storage spaces, and carried about. The body, particularly the lid, isn’t built to take much punishment.

Summary

The zGrills Cruiser is a great choice for those who want simple grilling over wood pellets. This basic pellet grill is highly portable and easy to operate. It lacks some of the technology you find in others, but it is hard to argue with the price. Taken care of, it should last for several years. But the lightweight body parts can’t take much punishment.

6. Traeger Tailgater

Traeger’s Tailgater has been around for several years. It is a barrel-style pellet grill, built with folding legs. It does suffer from some of the vices of this era of Traeger Grills. Namely, thin metal and less than precise temperature control. On the other hand, it offers a large cooking space.

Traeger Tailgater
Traeger Tailgater

Specifications of the Tailgater

  • Cooking Area: 300 Square Inches
  • Temperature Range: 180°F to 450°F
  • Pellet Hopper Capacity: 8 Pounds
  • Power Source: 110V, 20A, 60Hz
  • Cooking Grate Material: Porcelain Coated Steel
  • Weight: 62 Pounds
  • Dimensions: Height 36”x Width 37” x Depth 18”
  • Warranty: 3-Year Limited
  • Country of Manufacture: China

Pros of the Tailgater:

  • Large Cooking Area: The grill grate space on this is big. The 300 square inches are all one surface, so you can really make the most of this space. This is a portable pellet grill that will smoke a few racks of ribs (get a rib rack) or a whole brisket.

Cons of the Tailgater:

  • Controller: The Tailgater still uses a very primitive pellet controller that lets you guess at the cooking temperature. It may also be necessary to adjust for the outside temperature. On a cold day, turn it higher than the temperature you actually want to cook at.
  • Construction Quality: The Tailgater relies on some thin metal for the body. This doesn’t hold in heat well and on cold days, the grill will struggle to reach a high temperature.

Summary

Traeger is the big name in pellet grills. They invented them, after all. The tailgater was first introduced in 2011, and it hasn’t changed much since. The Ranger (listed above) is smaller but uses more modern technology and design. Plus, the Ranger is less expensive and more portable. However, if you need the size, the Tailgater isn’t a bad choice.

7. Camp Chef Pursuit 20

Camp Chef introduced their Pursuit 20 portable pellet grill in 2020. This barrel-style pellet grill enjoys a 4.4 rating on Amazon and is reasonably priced for its size. Of all the portable pellet grills on this list, the Pursuit 20 is one of the largest.

Camp Chef Pursuit 20 Portable Pellet
Camp Chef Pursuit 20 Portable Pellet

Specifications of the Pursuit 20

  • Cooking Area: 501 square inches on two racks
  • Temperature Range: 160°F to 500°F
  • Pellet Hopper Capacity: 10 Pounds
  • Power Source: 110V, 20A, 60Hz
  • Cooking Grate Material: Nickel-Plated Steel
  • Weight: 82 Pounds
  • Dimensions: Height 32”x Width 38” x Depth 18.5”
  • Warranty: 1-Year Mechanical Parts, 3-Year on Body
  • Country of Manufacture: China

Pros of the Pursuit 20:

  1. Size: The Pursuit 20 is one of the larger portable pellet grills with a total of 501 square inches of total cooking surface. This is divided between two cooking grates, however. The primary grid is 253 square inches, and the upper rack is 248 square inches. This gives you the space to grill or smoke a lot of food.
  2. Direct Flame: The Pursuit 20 has a slider that exposes the direct flame of the burn pot at the cooking grate. This gives you high-temperature searing capabilities. This means that this pellet grill can cook at high temperatures over a small area. Perfect for steaks.
  3. Folding Cart: Folded up for transport, the wheels allow you to drag the grill without lifting it off the ground. This is a great feature considering the 82-pound weight of this unit.

Cons of the Pursuit 20:

  1. Portability: The Pursuit 20 is one of the larger and heavier portable pellet grills. It is great for small patios where a full-sized pellet grill may not fit. It is even great for tailgating. It will, however, take up a lot of space in your RV or on that camping trip.
  2. Efficiency: The thin metal lid and large rear vents make the Pursuit 20 less efficient than many pellet grills. On windy or cold days, you will burn through more pellets, and it might be difficult to reach high temperatures.

Summary

Camp Chef has been in business since 1990 and is known for making a wide variety of affordable cooking equipment. In fact, they started with camp stoves, so portability is built into their DNA. The Pursuit 20 is large, so you can do a lot with it. It is portable enough for many applications. With this pellet grill, you really will be able to do real barbecue and a lot of it. The construction quality isn’t great, but when you compare size and price, this is a good value.

8. Pit Boss Mahogany 150PPS

First introduced in 2018, making this one of the older products on this list. Pit Boss is known for making inexpensive grills, smokers, and griddles. In fact, they make almost everything in outdoor cooking. The Mahogany is one of this list’s most affordable portable pellet grills.

Pit Boss Mahogany 150PPS Pellet Grill
Pit Boss Mahogany 150PPS Pellet Grill

Specifications of the Mahogany

  • Cooking Area: 256 square inches
  • Temperature Range: 180°F to 500°F
  • Pellet Hopper Capacity: 5 Pounds
  • Power Source: 110V, 20A, 60Hz
  • Cooking Grate Material: Porcelain Coated Steel
  • Weight: 52 Pounds
  • Dimensions: Height 15”x Width 24.7” x Depth 19.1”
  • Warranty: 5-Year Metal Parts, 3-Year on Electronics
  • Country of Manufacture: China

Pros of the Mahogany:

  • Direct Flame: With the flip of a lever, you can open up the firepot to the cooking grates. Pit Boss claims that this gives you 1000°F of searing power, but that is an obvious exaggeration.
  • Inexpensive: The Mahogany is very inexpensive. It has more cooking area than the Traeger Ranger at nearly half the price.
  • Warranty: The Pit Boss Mahogany has the longest warranty of all the products on this list.

Cons of the Mahogany:

  • Quality: The price and size of this grill should tell you something. While pretty basic in features, you are getting a lot for the money. This could be value, but it really isn’t. The Mahogany isn’t a great portable pellet grill in terms of quality construction.
  • Small Pellet Hopper: Portables are not built for long-term smoking, but the hopper on this unit is small. On a cold, windy day, it will burn through that hopper pretty quickly so you will need to keep more pellets handy.

Summary

As with most Pitt Boss products, it’s all about the price. This is a cheap portable pellet grill, and you can see that in the construction. Yes, it has a large cooking area but is limited in what it can cook. The lid fits flat over the cooking area, so foods must be thin. This is a limitation of this style of portable pellet grill. A problem made worse by a tiny upper rack that serves no function. Personally, I would remove that and throw it away.

9. Cuisinart CPG-256

Cuisinart Outdoor is not what you think it is. This is the Cuisinart company but based in mass-market retail. They do not build good products. That is a simple truth. Their portable pellet grill is small, lightweight, and simple. It uses a primitive controller and will grill.

Cuisinart CPG-256 Portable Pellet Grill
Cuisinart CPG-256 Portable Pellet Grill

Specifications of the Cuisinart CPG-256

  • Cooking Area: 256 square inches
  • Temperature Range: 180°F to 500°F
  • Pellet Hopper Capacity: 4 Pounds
  • Power Source: 110V, 20A, 60Hz
  • Cooking Grate Material: Nickel Plated Steel
  • Weight: 45 Pounds
  • Dimensions: Height 16”x Width 27” x Depth 18”
  • Warranty: 3-Year Warranty
  • Country of Manufacture: China

Pros of the CPG-256:

  • Inexpensive: You can buy this pellet grill for as little as $260USD or as much as $500. It all depends on where you buy it. They are not very consistent or even honest about pricing. At anything over $400, this is a hard pass. At $260 (see the link below) it is okay.
  • Lightweight: Few portable pellet grills weigh less than this one.

Cons of the CPG-256:

  • Quality: The Cuisinart portable pellet grill is not well built. Cuisinart has the power to flood the internet with fake reviews to make their products, including this one, seem good, but they are not.

Summary

I don’t try to hide the fact that I don’t like Cuisinart outdoor products. They are using the reputation of a strong brand name to sell cheap goods to unassuming customers. But aside from that, this really isn’t a good portable pellet grill. The hopper is tiny, the construction is weak, and the temperature control is not there.

Other Portable Pellet Grills

ASMOKE A350

This is no different from the Cuisinart CPG 256 or the Pit Boss Mahogany. In fact, I assume that they are all produced in the same factory. ASMOKE’s website lists its company address as a restaurant in Katy, TX. I assume this is a drop-ship product.

Notice:

The specifications listed on this page are subject to change over time and could vary depending on the model and the region. It’s always a good idea to check the manufacturer’s website or contact them directly for the most up-to-date information.

Safety

When using a portable pellet grill, it’s important to be aware of potential safety issues. It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for safe use, including proper ventilation and not overloading the hopper with too many pellets. It’s also important to keep the grill away from flammable materials and to never leave the grill unattended while in use. Additionally, Portable Pellet Grills generate heat, so it’s important to keep them away from children and pets, and to be aware of the surrounding area, to avoid accidents.

Electrical requirements

Portable pellet grills generally require an electrical connection to operate. This is because the grill uses an auger to feed the pellets into the firepot and a blower to keep the fire burning. Some pellet grills have a digital controller that allows you to set the temperature and cook time. This controller typically requires an electrical connection to a power outlet. It’s important to check the electrical requirements of the portable pellet grill you are considering, as some models may require a higher voltage or amperage than others.

Additionally, it’s important to ensure that the outlet you plan to use is properly grounded and that the circuit is not overloaded. Using an extension cord is not recommended, as it can reduce the voltage and cause the grill to malfunction. It’s also important to note that many portable pellet grills come with a 12V adapter that can be used to power the grill if you are using it in an off-grid location.

About Me

I have been writing about Barbecue & Grilling for 25 years. I have cooked on almost every grill or smoker ever built. In that time, I have endeavored to match people with the grill or smoker that is right for them. I believe that the right product is the one you find easy to use, capable of doing everything you want, and has all the reliability you need. If you have a good first experience, you will be back for more. In this way, we grow barbecue for the next generation. I want you to make memories that your children will cherish.

Affiliate Disclosure

This article and the website it appears on use sales affiliates to cover the cost of operation. If you choose to purchase a product through the links provided, a portion of that sale will go to me. It helps me create content to help you and others have the best barbecue experience. I am grateful to all my readers over the years who have been so kind as to assist me in exploring outdoor cooking. Thank you.

Derrick Riches
Derrick Riches

I began writing about Barbecue & Grilling in 1997 with one mission, to help the backyard chef have the best experience possible.

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