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SmokeFire First Impressions

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    SmokeFire First Impressions

    Starting a new thread to share some pictures and first impressions of the new SmokeFire EX4. I'm not trying to make this a review as I'll leave that to Max Good. Anyone else that has or does pick up a SmokeFire, please feel welcome to add. Please be patient as I'll break this up into several posts and may not do it all in one sitting.

    First, was packaging and assembly. The SmokeFire is packaged very well, not sure it will take a rough shipment, but should be able to be shipped pretty well. It's packaging is pretty well designed and one really cool think they do that I haven't seen done before is tape a very thick piece of cardboard to one end so you flip the grill up onto it's side for attaching the legs. I've assembled several pellet grills and fought this step many times with a barrel wanting to roll away as you try to put on legs.

    Weber did include a special IQ test in the assembly, the two screws that attach the pellet slide to the firepot required different tools

    Obviously, they recommend two people for maneuvering, but I was able to fully assemble solo.
    Attached Files
    Last edited by glitchy; February 9, 2020, 12:44 AM.

    #2
    Construction

    I would classify the construction quality of the grill very very similar to other Weber products. It's not a tank and was not built like my Memphis and probably still a step below other USA built, fully assembled, and pallet shipped pellet grill like Pitts and Spitts, Memphis, etc. However, my initial feeling is that it is better built than the other mainstream pellet grills I have owned like Traeger, GMG, CampChef. I'm pretty sure the metal is thicker than Traeger and Camp Chef and about par with GMG. They definitely have a little engineering trickery in places as they've designed the lid hinge to make the lid feel super heavy. Pretty ingenious cheating IMO. I don't have any special pics here to display anything that sets it apart.

    Comment


      #3
      First Run

      Burn in instructions are 600 degrees for 30-40 minutes. So once I got it to the patio, I filled the hopper and fired it up. Ambient temp was 22 degrees, with a 15 MPH wind coming in (I'm on the side of the house to catch our usual NW winds). It took 22 minutes to reach 600. It was 5 minutes until I saw first smoke though with an empty auger. Pretty impressive for a pellet grill in that weather.

      I did notice one thing right away that Max and Meathead mentioned in their write up from the special Weber visit day, there are hot embers hitting the ash drawer and very occasionally the patio below, especially at searing temps when the pellets are pouring in and fan is blowing hard.
      Attached Files

      Comment


        #4
        First cook

        If you have a keen eye, you might notice my grates. I do not have stock grates. I had stainless grates for my Spirit E-330 and replaced those with full GrillGrates. They are the exact same size, so the nice stainless grates are on my SmokeFire.

        After the burn in, I turned the grill down to 250 and ran quickly to the store for steaks, the wife was getting hungry and after allowing passage for the grill through the house to the patio I need to make some dinner pretty quick. The only thick cut and decent priced steaks they had were some Chuck Eye Steaks. I picked a couple up and came home and threw them on at 250 until they reached an IT of 120. Pulled them off and cranked grill to 525. After about 4 minutes it was at 480, so I quickly threw them on and ran inside to stir other stuff, came back out in 2 minutes, grill was at 525. Flipped them and cooked them another 2-3 mins. Picks are before and after sear.

        Steaks were OK. I've only knowingly had chuck eye like 3 times and one of those was Porter Road. They really should have been tied, but it was already late and I didn't want to keep boss waiting messing around. If I would have known that I would have had a SmokeFire yesterday, I would have pulled a couple of my prime strips from the freezer.
        Attached Files
        Last edited by glitchy; February 9, 2020, 12:49 AM.

        Comment


          #5
          A couple shortcomings

          The app is not very intuitive and is overly complicated. It gives a very poor live dashboard. Hopefully, they really focus on that in the months ahead. You have to click through several screens just to set a target temp for alerts. Not everyone that buys a SmokeFire wants to be treated like a noob. Not sure what I think about those that buy June ovens from this app.

          I completely do not understand how Weber can design a pellet grill with 4 integrated probe ports on the controller and not design a probe slot or channel into the design. Routing them through the top of the slid just seems cumbersome and ignorant in design. I'd love to hear the engineering reason for doing this as I think it's going to ruin a lot of probe cables when you quit watching every time you open and close the lid. Maybe they are trying to create another revenue stream in replacement probes.
          Last edited by glitchy; February 9, 2020, 12:50 AM.

          Comment


            #6
            Very nice, but what did you name it?

            Comment


            • glitchy
              glitchy commented
              Editing a comment
              Haven't made the call yet. I like Mr. Papagiorgio, but not going to say that all the time. Liked the Uncle Lewis idea, so probably between that and Ellen yet at this point.

            #7
            Very good read, love all the ‘real user experiences’, thanks for taking the time!

            Comment


              #8
              Great write up.Thank you for sharing.

              Comment


                #9
                Cool! Very cool!

                Comment


                  #10
                  Excellent write-up. I would be curious to hear your thoughts on the caster wheels. It's the one thing that really stood out to me when I first saw pictures of the SmokeFire. They look like something that came off a piece of luggage. Do they seem more sturdy than they look? I could see these struggling on certain types of patios and paver stones. Also, does the braking mechanism hold the grill firmly in place? The last thing people are going to want is a 600 degree grill sliding around on their patio.

                  Comment


                  • glitchy
                    glitchy commented
                    Editing a comment
                    The casters seem fine so far. Several grills use similar. I’d guess the have a 250-500 pound load rating per wheel. Their size though is what it had to go through house, they will struggle on some rougher surfaces.

                  #11
                  Good stuff here. This is on my list to buy this year so hearing real world views is much appreciated. Thank you!

                  Comment


                    #12
                    Great write up, and I think for how quickly you adjusted temperature, the sear on those steaks looks great! Too bad it wasn't a better cut of meat, but I am sure you will rectify that soon.

                    Comment


                      #13
                      Very nice review and comments. Thanks for starting the topic. It's always fun to see a new toy uncrated and put through its paces, especially by an experienced pitmaster such as yourself.

                      Kathryn

                      Comment


                        #14
                        Awesome write up, and great pics. Thank you!


                        I noticed an extension cord in one of your pics. If you don't mind me asking, what's your rough guess as to how long the stock cord is? I only have one outlet on my patio and I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to configure things......

                        Comment


                        • glitchy
                          glitchy commented
                          Editing a comment
                          It’s a standard PC power cord, so you can ‘make’ it as long as you need. Stock is probably 5-6 feet, but on the wrong side of the grill for my configuration.

                        • JCGrill
                          JCGrill commented
                          Editing a comment
                          My guess would be 6 feet. There's a kind of rule of thumb on certain things. In kitchens code requires outlets every two feet of counter, and toasters, coffee makers, etc. have one foot cords, so no matter where they are you can reach one outlet. Most other rooms it's an outlet every 12 feet, so lamps have 6 foot cords.

                        • BDCarp04
                          BDCarp04 commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Awesome, thank you both for the reply! Glad to know it's just a standard cord that I can swap out for a longer one if I want to!

                        #15
                        Thank you for a great "real world" write up. Have had my eye on this unit since it was first announced.
                        Congrats on the new unit!

                        Comment

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