Having preordered the new Weber SmokeFire EX6 (the big guy) I was eager to set it up this weekend and give it a run. I’ll cut to the chase below about my opinions, then go into some of the details for those who want to read more.
Tech Dad CO’s Take
Overall, this hybrid wood griller/smoker from the Weber SmokeFire series shows a lot of promise for me. I am all about versatility in my gadgets, as well as, having stuff that gets better over time, and I think Weber has accomplished just that, combining a wood pellet fueled device that can reach 600 degrees and hold it (for searing meat to perfection), while also being able to dial it back for low and slow cooking. Throwing in the ability to bake cobblers and cook fresh pizza is just a bonus!
This is the first device with WeberConnect integrated into the entire system (to connect cooking and food temperatures and grilling steps/alerts to your smartphone) and it is all run by June OS. June is a startup who makes the June Oven (which is also amazing and a favorite in the @techdadcolo kitchen – @techbroca also has one) and their amazing software that is continuously updated, runs the SmokeFire Pellet Grills.
There has been plenty of early adopter backlash, on the forums and Amazon reviews, when this was released in February 2020, but that is to be expected with any new device to the market. And the most important thing to remember is that any online feedback is going to be HEAVILY weighted to those who are having issues, rather than those who are happy with the product. Us humans are very good complainers, and we rarely give unsolicited praise.
“I think this hybrid device with some cleaver engineering makes a compelling argument to be your primary wood fired backyard cooker.”TechDadCO.com
Hard-core guys and gals who smoke regularly may not be a fan of the Weber SmokeFire (since it deviates and differentiates from a traditional pellet smoker), but combining a rock solid company (Weber) with even more solid support and warranty coverage, I think this hybrid device with some clever engineering makes a compelling argument to be your primary wood fired backyard cooker. Read below for details on setup, burn-in, and my first two nights with this grill.
Unboxing and Setup
Unboxing and setup are a one-person operation, with the exception of just a few steps (see photo below of grill on side for leg/wheel installation). It took me just over an hour to install and get it plugged in and powered up (I did pre-read the instructions the night before.)
You initially pair the grill with the WeberConnect app on your smartphone via Bluetooth (you can then connect the app to your home WiFi for extended monitoring, and out of network connection will come with a software update in the future – think pre-heating your grill on your way home!) This pairing was seamless and instant, and the software immediately prompted that there was a grill firmware update that would take about 25 minutes. That gave me time to break down all the cardboard into my recycling pile.
Once the firmware was updated it prompted a power cycle of the grill and I was ready to move it to the backyard for the recommended initial burn-in (600 degrees for 30-45 minutes). I hailed my neighbor to help move it up a threshold out the garage side door and ran into my first problem…it will NOT fit through a standard door 🙂 No problem, out the main garage door and through the wider gate and onto the back patio (which conveniently has an outdoor power outlet in the prime location).
Prep and Burn-in
“The burn-in was the first test: How long would this take to reach the claimed 600 degrees?”
The burn-in was the first test: How long would this take to reach the claimed 600 degrees? I loaded up the hopper and fired it up and set the temp to 600. It took about 10 minutes to reach 100, so I was at first worried. But my backyard smelled amazing so I sat with some friends over a beer or two. I was shocked at 17 minutes when the grill beeped and let me know it had reached 600 already! I let it burn for about 45 minutes at 600. The pleasant aroma of the wood pellets soon shifted to some of the not so pleasant volatile manufacturing oils, but I knew it was doing its job. After the process was completed I pressed the controller nob and chose to shut down. It warns you it may take 15 minutes to shut/cool down as it continues to run the convection fan and the pellets turn to a fine ash. Below is a video I took after the burn-in when I booted it back up.
The first night I fired it up to preheat to 550 degrees to make some hand pressed burgers for the first go around. It only took about 15 minutes so I threw the burgers on and closed the lid. I flipped them in about 5-6 minutes and cooked for another 6-7 minutes. Topped several with some cheese and turned off the grill.
They turned out a perfect medium doneness. I served up the kids and before I could take my seat both of them were wrapping up their first burger (Note: they are 6 and 8). All in all I was impressed with the first dinner night. This grill passed the grill test for standard quick burgers and they were made to perfection and delicious.
Night Two: Pork Tenderloin
The next night I was planning to do some baby backs low and slow. Unfortunately my trip to Costco revealed they were out of pork spare ribs! So I opted for another one of my previous Weber Summit Natural Gas favorites, Pork Tenderloin. I dry rubbed them up and let them sit for an hour, then fired up the grill to 425 degrees. This time I used the WeberConnect app and temperature probes (Thankfully this unit uses the same iGrill temp probes that I already had, so now I have 4 I can use at a time if needed!) for the two tenderloins. Strangely, the WeberConnect app shows a picture of a completed and sliced pork tenderloin, but they do not have tenderloin yet in their presets. No worries, I just chose the pork loin, medium option since the meat temp is what I was most interested in, and followed the app instructions. It was as simple as could be by walking you through the steps (see video below).
Once you place the meat probe and plug into the controls unit, it immediately recognizes the temp. In the app you press you are done with that step and you close the lid and wait for the beep on the grill (or the push notification in the app) to indicate time to flip.
They were both ready to flip within a minute of each other so I flipped them over and marked each step done in the app. A little heat was lost from opening the grill, but it quickly reached target temp again in a couple minutes. I enjoyed the light humor letting me know I had 9 minutes to relax until the next step 🙂 .
“They were a perfect medium internal color/doneness with a nice sear on the outside and an amazing smokey taste that was buttery tender.”
Both tenderloins finished within a minute of each other so I took them off and wrapped them in foil to rest. Sliced them up and they were a perfect medium internal color/doneness with a nice sear on the outside and an amazing smokey taste that was buttery tender.
Overall, color me impressed with the Weber SmokeFire Wood Pellet Grill on night two as well!
I know this is NOT the fun part of a grill or smoker. But Weber includes a little plastic scraper with the unit. After cooling completely down after dinner, I removed the grates and moved the larger center “flavorizer bar” (that covers the ash pot and auger) to the side, along with the metal cover for the ash box and the other 3 smaller “flavorizer” bars. Using the scraper it was super easy to move some of the cooked meat and ash down to the drain cutout near the center on each side.
I reversed the process on the other side and it almost looks new 🙂 Well not really, but it was pretty clean. I pulled out the ash drawer and emptied the small amount of ash and debris into my garbage since it was nice and cool by this point. Simple cleanup for sure! I know this will be different with a long and slow fatty meat, but after two cookings it was a breeze to clean.
Take a look again at my overview at the top, but I can say I am pretty happy so far! I’m looking forward to making some homemade pizza, ribs, pork butt, and many others on this grill to come. As well as show it off to friends and neighbors!
Below are the list of items I got with this purchase for reference:
- Weber SmokeFire EX6 Grill
- Weber Smokefire EX6 cover
- Weber Grillmaster Blend Wood Pellets
- Weber Handle Grill ‘N Go Light (Newest Design)
Please post your comments and thoughts below or reach out anytime! Grill on!
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