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2021 Meat-Up In Memphis Canceled

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Glitchy’s SmokeFire Redeux

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  • glitchy
    Club Member
    • Jul 2019
    • 1045
    • Central IA
    • MAK 2 Star General
      Weber Summit Charcoal Grill
      w/ Big Joetisserie, SnS LP, and Vortex
      Weber Q1000
      Fireboard 2 Drive
      Anova Precision Sous Vide
      All the (pellet) grills I’ve loved before:
      Traeger Junior Elite^
      GMG DB
      Traeger Texas Elite
      Memphis Pro§
      Traeger Pro 575
      CampChef SmokePro STX (ugly grills need love too)
      Weber SmokeFire EX4§
      Traeger Select
      CampChef Woodwind WiFi w/SearBox^
      Weber SmokeFire EX4§

      ^ = Favorites
      § = Love/Hate Relationships

    #61
    Sharing another SmokeFire experience. Last Friday night I fired up the SmokeFire to 525 to reverse sear some SV steaks. Weather was around 25 degrees temperature and winds about 15-20 MPH very slightly deflected by the house. The SmokeFire got to temp fine while I was inside prepping other stuff and pulling steaks from the bath and seasoning so I proceeded to follow my usual 2 min per side process at 525. Threw the steaks on, set the handy timer on the grill display ran inside to take care of a couple things and came back out to flip. Noticed that the grill had only made it back to about 450 or so in the 2 mins and the steaks were really sticking to the grates (despite the steaks themselves being lightly coated in oil. Flipped them and shut the lid and the temp was down to about 375 because of the extra time to free the steaks from the grates. Continued to follow normal process, but when went to pull them I noticed they were not seared as nicely as usual so gave them an extra minute per side. Still the end result was not the desired sear once we got them inside with better lighting.

    Added note: In good weather, the SmokeFire is usually back to set temp or at least very close to fully recovered in the 2 mins per side.

    This really brought me back to my Traeger days, except the Traeger would never get to 525 and would have these drops and even slower recovery in 80 degrees with no wind which is why I gave up searing steaks on it even with grill grates.

    Again, this is just sharing an experience. I don't consider this a problem and I really suspected this behavior would happen once I really started using the SmokeFire in the heart of winter for grilling. With the mostly single walled construction, lack of a sealed lid and 3 giant vents on the back the grill just don't have the design to hold heat in and overcome elements in 2 mins. I could have set the start temp to 575-600 and given an extra minute per side, etc. and probably gotten closer to my better weather results. Or I can buy the gasser I've been eyeing the past month or so because MCS.
    Last edited by glitchy; January 26, 2021, 10:42 AM.

    Comment


    • pknj
      pknj commented
      Editing a comment
      To pile on, would grill grates help with this for searing in windy/low temps? Or just too much to hope for a pellet grill when it is that cold out?

    • glitchy
      glitchy commented
      Editing a comment
      pknj I'm not sure. I will say that despite everything I disliked about my Memphis, the cold and wind did not affect it much at all, so it's not all pellet grills. I'm also really curious about how a MAK would perform in this weather, but I know it doesn't have the same searing power to begin with. It's funny you asked about GrillGrates as I was debating trying GrillGrates on it or a cast iron pan. I just haven't used GrillGrates on a pooper since the Traegers and really am not a fan of them.

    • glitchy
      glitchy commented
      Editing a comment
      fzxdoc You are right, but I end up often using a gasser a handful of times a year when I have pellets and charcoal around to compete with it for better flavor and only choose gas when it's not practical to use the others for some reason. I've been debating hard about that new Genesis smart grill coming out though which will probably end up costing me about $50 per use over the next 5 years if I buy it. I might check out the new Weber Traveler with 21K BTUs for 320 square inches.
  • zinfella
    Club Member
    • Oct 2020
    • 90
    • Mesa, Az.

    #62
    Originally posted by glitchy View Post
    Sharing another SmokeFire experience. Last Friday night I fired up the SmokeFire to 525 to reverse sear some SV steaks. Weather was around 25 degrees temperature and winds about 15-20 MPH very slightly deflected by the house. The SmokeFire got to temp fine while I was inside prepping other stuff and pulling steaks from the bath and seasoning so I proceeded to follow my usual 2 min per side process at 525. Threw the steaks on, set the handy timer on the grill display ran inside to take care of a couple things and came back out to flip. Noticed that the grill had only made it back to about 450 or so in the 2 mins and the steaks were really sticking to the grates (despite the steaks themselves being lightly coated in oil. Flipped them and shut the lid and the temp was down to about 375 because of the extra time to free the steaks from the grates. Continued to follow normal process, but when went to pull them I noticed they were not seared as nicely as usual so gave them an extra minute per side. Still the end result was not the desired sear once we got them inside with better lighting.

    Added note: In good weather, the SmokeFire is usually back to set temp or at least very close to fully recovered in the 2 mins per side.

    This really brought me back to my Traeger days, except the Traeger would never get to 525 and would have these drops and even slower recovery in 80 degrees with no wind which is why I gave up searing steaks on it even with grill grates.

    Again, this is just sharing an experience. I don't consider this a problem and I really suspected this behavior would happen once I really started using the SmokeFire in the heart of winter for grilling. With the mostly single walled construction, lack of a sealed lid and 3 giant vents on the back the grill just don't have the design to hold heat in and overcome elements in 2 mins. I could have set the start temp to 575-600 and given an extra minute per side, etc. and probably gotten closer to my better weather results. Or I can buy the gasser I've been eyeing the past month or so because MCS.
    Weber ought'a give you an award. Imean you've hung in there, through thick and thin, withe SF, can't nobody call you a quitter!

    Reading here on AR and on WeberPelletGrills.com. shows too many SF issues cropping up unexpectedly for me. But, my hat's off to you for your loyalty.

    Comment


    • glitchy
      glitchy commented
      Editing a comment
      I scan that forum occasionally too. The best one recently was someone complaining their grill wouldn't work at all. They also said it rained recently and the grill was uncovered and the drip pan filled completely up with water, but he was certain that the two things were not at all related. The SmokeFire has attracted a lot of pellet newbs too. There's more user error and unreal expectations than real problems. Like some people expecting it to hold 500 degrees with the lid open.

    • fzxdoc
      fzxdoc commented
      Editing a comment
      That's what I like about reading your updates on the SF, glitchy . They're always fair and balanced.

      That's perfect for people like me who may be in the market for a SF once more of the issues with it are smoothed out.

      Thanks.

      Kathryn
  • glitchy
    Club Member
    • Jul 2019
    • 1045
    • Central IA
    • MAK 2 Star General
      Weber Summit Charcoal Grill
      w/ Big Joetisserie, SnS LP, and Vortex
      Weber Q1000
      Fireboard 2 Drive
      Anova Precision Sous Vide
      All the (pellet) grills I’ve loved before:
      Traeger Junior Elite^
      GMG DB
      Traeger Texas Elite
      Memphis Pro§
      Traeger Pro 575
      CampChef SmokePro STX (ugly grills need love too)
      Weber SmokeFire EX4§
      Traeger Select
      CampChef Woodwind WiFi w/SearBox^
      Weber SmokeFire EX4§

      ^ = Favorites
      § = Love/Hate Relationships

    #63
    So...

    I finally decided to return the SmokeFire. Weber has agreed to stand behind their SmokeFire Satisfaction Guaranteed promise the CEO made in June. I have a lot more respect for Weber now (and did respect them before too), but somewhat wonder if they are knowingly using buyers as beta testers since this is a whole new world to them. I don't think they offer satisfaction guarantees on gassers and kettles do they? They'll fix a problem, but will they take a gasser that's been used back?

    In the end, don't take my actions as a statement that I feel the SmokeFire is anywhere near a dumpster fire or pile of junk. I think this thread has definitely shown otherwise. The SmokeFire is a great grill and produces some of the best food you'll get off of a pellet grill. I've never seen another pellet grill able to sear anything like it and I stick to it producing as much or more smoke than any other popper you'll find at this time. My decision is solely based upon the infancy and inconsistency of the product as of today. Hardware wise, I never had a flameout with the second grill, had no auger jams, no glow plug failures, etc.

    What I encountered were software bugs and changes in behavior each release that required relearning the grill. The SmokeFire was my regular cooker, meaning until I grew very frustrated with with not knowing what to expect out of it, I used it 3-5 times a week and went through somewhere between 750-1000 lbs of pellets. It was actually far more stable and consistent when I first got it versus after they did the iPhone app redesign and grill firmware updates this past fall. When I got the grill, the probes were very reliable (checked regularly against Thermopen and Fireboard) and I always got notifications. After the updates notifications quit working and I had a couple cooks where the probes just stopped updating temps...they still displayed in the app and on the grill display, but never changed over long periods of time even though the food had raised in temp 20-50 degrees verified by my Thermopen. They were also sometimes off a few degrees after the updates as well.

    I also saw regular changes in the grills behavior, how fast it got to temp, how much it fluctuated from set temp, how fast it reacted after you changed temperature, occasional large spikes in temps, etc. Variables that are frustrating when you are using it regularly and they are constantly changing. I attribute this to them trying to fix one problem and just not having the pellet grill and technology experience yet to understand all the variables to test to determine what other things they are affecting. I also feel they are taking some big swings at fixing things versus smaller adjustments, trying to resolve issues completely ASAP, I understand why they want to do this, but it's not always the best way when hardware and software mix so much together.

    Supposedly, last Saturday's iPhone update fixed notifications again and there's a Firmware update with the Beta testers I watch on another forum that say a lot of the issues I've experienced seem to be worked out. I'm just out of patience waiting for them to be available to everyone and having to learn what new little quirks to something else come with the fixes.

    When Weber gets the technology part of this grill down, it's going to be pretty awesome. I wouldn't be surprised if Gen 3 or Gen 4 moves up to a Gold rating from Max. Maybe even with Gen 2 and a couple more software updates. It's leaky design and huge vents will always open up a few weather variables, but I think they'll get most of the rest of it nailed down pretty solid some day.

    Edit: I also forgot to note (many of you saw the other thread), that I have been very torn on asking for a return, especially after using the grill for 6-7 months. Normally, this grill would have just been sold at a fair price locally. However, I didn't feel that with the issues it has, reputation on the market, the fact that the warranty is not transferable and Weber is supposedly charging pretty high prices for a lot of these parts (unverified, but observed from other forums where people have bought used SmokeFires and had to pay for some of the parts), that I couldn't consciously sell it to someone or even ask someone to buy it knowing it could cost them money out of pocket if they provide more hardware updates and won't provide them free to 2nd owners.
    Last edited by glitchy; February 7, 2021, 12:56 PM.

    Comment

    • carlscan26
      Club Member
      • Nov 2016
      • 27
      • San Diego, CA
      • Webber Gold 22" Kettle
        Webber Genesis Silver Grill
        Smokenator
        Therma Pen
        Maverick ET-732

      #64
      Totally understand your position. Thanks for the great information with your experiences to date.

      Comment

      • glitchy
        Club Member
        • Jul 2019
        • 1045
        • Central IA
        • MAK 2 Star General
          Weber Summit Charcoal Grill
          w/ Big Joetisserie, SnS LP, and Vortex
          Weber Q1000
          Fireboard 2 Drive
          Anova Precision Sous Vide
          All the (pellet) grills I’ve loved before:
          Traeger Junior Elite^
          GMG DB
          Traeger Texas Elite
          Memphis Pro§
          Traeger Pro 575
          CampChef SmokePro STX (ugly grills need love too)
          Weber SmokeFire EX4§
          Traeger Select
          CampChef Woodwind WiFi w/SearBox^
          Weber SmokeFire EX4§

          ^ = Favorites
          § = Love/Hate Relationships

        #65
        Kind of a bittersweet morning. Around 9:30 this morning I helped the driver for the trucking company roll Cousin Eddie down our sloped driveway to the lift gate for the trip back to his maker. I thought about opening the garage door and giving Eddie a push as the driver hit the corner of the truck and yelling "Catch!", but decided Eddie tried hard to be a good friend (having multiple surgeries and tolerating several brainwashing sessions) and I could at least help give him a gentile escort to his ride.

        I hope Weber gets the Firmware and mobile app nailed down soon so all Eddie's brothers and sisters don't meet the same fate. Thanks again to Weber for such stellar customer service in the matter.
        Last edited by glitchy; February 10, 2021, 10:36 AM.

        Comment

        • MTurney
          Former Member
          • Feb 2020
          • 262
          • Grapevine, TX

          #66
          This is quite the thread so, admittedly, I didn’t read every comment. That said, from the parts I’ve read it seems like this cooker has been pretty much 50/50...some amazing cooks and some really extreme frustrations.

          IMHO this thing was rushed to market due to the craze of pellet cookers and they wanted to capitalize which is understandable. But buying a cooker should be a fun endeavor, regardless of the type or brand. People pay the money and get excited and it saddens me that it’s been such a source of frustration for so many.

          I’m a fan of Weber and I cook on my 26” Kettle often, but they dropped the ball here IMHO. Plain and simple. I’m glad they’re trying to make it right tho.

          Comment

          • jasoncross11
            Club Member
            • Apr 2017
            • 26
            • Fort Mill, SC

            #67
            Thank you for taking the time to document your journey! Makes me want to get a smokefire in a few years when all the kinks are worked out.

            Comment


            • glitchy
              glitchy commented
              Editing a comment
              I do think it will be a great grill at some point when the nail down software side, though I think hardware wise is a little weather susceptible if your somewhere with extreme wind and cold.

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          2021 Meat-Up In Memphis Canceled

          We've unfortunately had to cancel the 2021 Meat-Up in Memphis. We are rescheduling for tentatively March 18-21, 2022. Click here for more info: https://pitmaster.amazingribs.com/forum/announcements/misc/1014106-meat-up-in-memphis-2021-canceled
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