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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, equipment and outdoor cookin' . ** Other cooking techniques are welcomed for when your cookin' in the kitchen. Post your hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures, but stay on topic and watch for that hijacking.


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Old 02-25-2020, 11:25 AM   #16
m_b_b
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I have an EX4. Don't know how many of the above posts saying "nay" have actually used it, versus watching YouTube videos.

I got it on Feb 12, and managed to do a couple short cooks on it before heading out of town for a week. Seemed to work fine, and I was happy so far.

While I was away, the YouTube explosion happened, and made me doubt whether I'd keep it. Since getting back, I've done a couple more cooks, and I realized that my worries were just buying into the online fear, and if I hadn't watched those videos, I'd probably be ok with it. So I'm keeping it. Note that this is my first pellet grill, but I've used weber kettles forever and more recently a WSM. Here's my experience and rationale:

I assembled it myself, including wiping down some of the oil on the heat deflector, then leveled it carefully (my grill area slopes away from the house a bit, so I do this for all my grills). Updated firmware via the app, then did the burn in at 600F for 45 mins. Cleaned it afterwards to get rid of the flakes on the heat deflector. There was ash in the body and in the ash drawer, but nothing terrible.
  • Cook #1: Pork loin chops, about 1.5" thick. Smoked at 225 to an internal temp of 130, then cranked to 600 for a reverse sear. I used the weber "grillmaster" pellets and I was impressed with the smoke flavor, based on what I had heard about pellet smokers. Easy to set temps, pretty good sear. Not charcoal good, but better than I get on my indoor DCS gas grill insert.
  • Cook #2: Quick weeknight burgers. Set to 600F and it was up at temp in about 20mins (it was in the 30s outside). Quick and decent sear, but again not as good as charcoal. But it was perfect for grilling after work - up and running a bit quicker than lighting a chimney and letting the kettle get up to temp, and was cool enough to cover back up after the shutdown process had run through. I would often find myself forgetting to go back out and cover my performer by the time it had cooled, often leading to an ash pan full of water after surprise overnight rains.
  • Cook #3: 8lb pork shoulder at 275F. At this point I had seen the grease fire videos, so I admit I used a drip pan and cleaned the cooker beforehand. It took about 13 hours and ran through a bag of weber Apple pellets. The pork turned out fantastic. Perhaps a bit less smoke flavor, but I chose apple hoping it would be mild and I actually preferred it to the harsher charcoal smoke from the WSM. Afterwards there was ash both in the ash tray and in the body of the cooker. Probably not 70% in the ash tray as weber advertised, but maybe 50% ended up there. I used a whisk broom to brush the ash from the body through the grease drains and then dumped the tray.
  • Cook #4: Chicken leg quarters at 350. Another easy weeknight cook, fired up and ready in 15 minutes and chicken cooked perfectly with some crisp on the skin and just the right amount of smoke. I think on a weekend I would still do this on the kettle, but for a winter weeknight this was just as easy as firing up the oven but with better flavor.

Is it as good as weber claims? No. It isn't. Some comments:
  • Ash cleanup isn't as easy as advertised, but not much harder than on a kettle and definitely easier than a WSM.
  • There are hot spots at high heat. Slightly hotter on the right as others have mentioned. At low heat not really an issue, and I can live with it as I rarely need to sear across the entire grate. It does seem to sear better than other pellet grills I have seen, and without having to remove anything. But like I said, this is the first one I have actually owned, so take that into account when evaluating my opinion.
  • I would definitely use a drip pan for long cooks. Yeah, weber initially said you didn't need to and then back-tracked. But clean up with a drip pan is just much easier. And again, way easier than my WSM which is what I would otherwise be using to smoke.
  • I didn't have pellet feed issues, but those seem to be a bigger problem on the EX6 with its longer hopper. I did keep an eye on the pellets and push them over occasionally on the pork butt cook, but only when I was going out to spritz the meat anyway. I can't make them hang up in the hopper if I try.
  • The app is still lacking. No control of the grill, but monitoring works well. No temp graphs. Easy to sync to wifi. I've used it both just monitoring temp, and with the guided cooks that weber advertises. A cool feature I haven't seen mentioned much is that the guided cooks give predicted times left in the cook, presumably using the algorithm June developed for their smart oven. Of all the issues, this is the most likely to improve, so I can live with it.

The bottom line for me is that the food tastes good. For quick weeknight cooks, it's more convenient than a kettle, but tastes better than gas. For smokes, it isn't as set-and-forget as weber seemed to imply, but flavor is comparable to a WSM and set-up, monitoring and clean up are easier (allowing that you use a drip pan, which takes all of 15 seconds to set up). I find it a good complement to my charcoal cookers.
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Old 02-25-2020, 11:34 AM   #17
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Id shoot for the search function here
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Old 02-25-2020, 12:26 PM   #18
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Did the search function. Just wanted new thoughts on this.
In guess I can wait till Weber fixes the problems.
What I'm looking for a set & forget smoker,mainly for over nights
Thanks DanB

PS Read some things about this one? Camp Chef SmokePro DLX Pellet Grill.
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Last edited by DanB; 02-25-2020 at 12:46 PM..
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Old 02-25-2020, 01:51 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanB View Post
Did the search function. Just wanted new thoughts on this.
In guess I can wait till Weber fixes the problems.
What I'm looking for a set & forget smoker,mainly for over nights
Thanks DanB

PS Read some things about this one? Camp Chef SmokePro DLX Pellet Grill.

New thoughts and old thoughts are the same.. EVERYWHERE!... I am a man that does a lot of research before investing into things.. Spend less money get a Grilla Grillz Silverbac is my opinion.. That thing seems pretty sweet!
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Old 02-25-2020, 02:29 PM   #20
SmokyDick
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m_b_b View Post
I have an EX4. Don't know how many of the above posts saying "nay" have actually used it, versus watching YouTube videos.



All you listed was quick low grease cooks my man.


At this point is a decent grill but I wouldn't want to do long cooks on it.
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Old 02-25-2020, 02:50 PM   #21
m_b_b
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SmokyDick View Post
All you listed was quick low grease cooks my man.


At this point is a decent grill but I wouldn't want to do long cooks on it.
Does the 13 hour pork butt cook not count?

I mean, I used a drip pan. So maybe that's a deal breaker for you, but it isn't for me.
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Old 02-25-2020, 03:12 PM   #22
DanB
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m_b_b View Post
I have an EX4. Don't know how many of the above posts saying "nay" have actually used it, versus watching YouTube videos.

I got it on Feb 12, and managed to do a couple short cooks on it before heading out of town for a week. Seemed to work fine, and I was happy so far.

While I was away, the YouTube explosion happened, and made me doubt whether I'd keep it. Since getting back, I've done a couple more cooks, and I realized that my worries were just buying into the online fear, and if I hadn't watched those videos, I'd probably be ok with it. So I'm keeping it. Note that this is my first pellet grill, but I've used weber kettles forever and more recently a WSM. Here's my experience and rationale:

I assembled it myself, including wiping down some of the oil on the heat deflector, then leveled it carefully (my grill area slopes away from the house a bit, so I do this for all my grills). Updated firmware via the app, then did the burn in at 600F for 45 mins. Cleaned it afterwards to get rid of the flakes on the heat deflector. There was ash in the body and in the ash drawer, but nothing terrible.
  • Cook #1: Pork loin chops, about 1.5" thick. Smoked at 225 to an internal temp of 130, then cranked to 600 for a reverse sear. I used the weber "grillmaster" pellets and I was impressed with the smoke flavor, based on what I had heard about pellet smokers. Easy to set temps, pretty good sear. Not charcoal good, but better than I get on my indoor DCS gas grill insert.
  • Cook #2: Quick weeknight burgers. Set to 600F and it was up at temp in about 20mins (it was in the 30s outside). Quick and decent sear, but again not as good as charcoal. But it was perfect for grilling after work - up and running a bit quicker than lighting a chimney and letting the kettle get up to temp, and was cool enough to cover back up after the shutdown process had run through. I would often find myself forgetting to go back out and cover my performer by the time it had cooled, often leading to an ash pan full of water after surprise overnight rains.
  • Cook #3: 8lb pork shoulder at 275F. At this point I had seen the grease fire videos, so I admit I used a drip pan and cleaned the cooker beforehand. It took about 13 hours and ran through a bag of weber Apple pellets. The pork turned out fantastic. Perhaps a bit less smoke flavor, but I chose apple hoping it would be mild and I actually preferred it to the harsher charcoal smoke from the WSM. Afterwards there was ash both in the ash tray and in the body of the cooker. Probably not 70% in the ash tray as weber advertised, but maybe 50% ended up there. I used a whisk broom to brush the ash from the body through the grease drains and then dumped the tray.
  • Cook #4: Chicken leg quarters at 350. Another easy weeknight cook, fired up and ready in 15 minutes and chicken cooked perfectly with some crisp on the skin and just the right amount of smoke. I think on a weekend I would still do this on the kettle, but for a winter weeknight this was just as easy as firing up the oven but with better flavor.

Is it as good as weber claims? No. It isn't. Some comments:
  • Ash cleanup isn't as easy as advertised, but not much harder than on a kettle and definitely easier than a WSM.
  • There are hot spots at high heat. Slightly hotter on the right as others have mentioned. At low heat not really an issue, and I can live with it as I rarely need to sear across the entire grate. It does seem to sear better than other pellet grills I have seen, and without having to remove anything. But like I said, this is the first one I have actually owned, so take that into account when evaluating my opinion.
  • I would definitely use a drip pan for long cooks. Yeah, weber initially said you didn't need to and then back-tracked. But clean up with a drip pan is just much easier. And again, way easier than my WSM which is what I would otherwise be using to smoke.
  • I didn't have pellet feed issues, but those seem to be a bigger problem on the EX6 with its longer hopper. I did keep an eye on the pellets and push them over occasionally on the pork butt cook, but only when I was going out to spritz the meat anyway. I can't make them hang up in the hopper if I try.
  • The app is still lacking. No control of the grill, but monitoring works well. No temp graphs. Easy to sync to wifi. I've used it both just monitoring temp, and with the guided cooks that weber advertises. A cool feature I haven't seen mentioned much is that the guided cooks give predicted times left in the cook, presumably using the algorithm June developed for their smart oven. Of all the issues, this is the most likely to improve, so I can live with it.

The bottom line for me is that the food tastes good. For quick weeknight cooks, it's more convenient than a kettle, but tastes better than gas. For smokes, it isn't as set-and-forget as weber seemed to imply, but flavor is comparable to a WSM and set-up, monitoring and clean up are easier (allowing that you use a drip pan, which takes all of 15 seconds to set up). I find it a good complement to my charcoal cookers.
Hi Many thanks for detailed write up Ex4..Question would you buy it again?
Thanks DanB
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Old 02-25-2020, 03:19 PM   #23
Hinds15
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I don't own one but spent some decent time messing around with both at lowes. Quality seem pretty good to me and if you check out the facebook page people are turning out some good Que even with the issues.
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Old 02-25-2020, 03:30 PM   #24
m_b_b
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanB View Post
Hi Many thanks for detailed write up Ex4..Question would you buy it again?
Thanks DanB
I would. It makes good food, which is the main point.

I looked at other pellet smokers in the past, and always felt like high-heat cooks on them would be too much of a pain, and I felt I didn't do enough low and slow to make the added convenience justify the cost. The SmokeFire makes both high and low heat cooks convenient enough that I expect I'll now do more of both.

I think the biggest issues here are related to expectation vs. reality. Weber (and the social media folks they invited to preview the grill) hyped this as the end-all-be-all of pellet grills. Then the recent YouTube reviews make it seem like it will inevitably end up in a fire. Reality, as always, is in between. Or maybe I've been lucky and just haven't experienced any of the issues.

I packed my WSM up in the shed to only bring out on the occasions when I really want to manage a charcoal smoke. I'm even debating selling my performer and getting a PK360 for high-heat or 2-zone cooks and all the smoking will be on the SmokeFire.
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Old 02-25-2020, 04:09 PM   #25
SlowmotionQue
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From what Ive seen so far, I wouldn't buy this grill at this point.
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Old 02-25-2020, 04:40 PM   #26
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I have the EX6 and am returning it (and just ordered a Mak).

I had two problems with the Smokefire - first is the well documented pellet feed issue. I tried car wax and silicone spray in the hopper and it still is a problem (although the silicone nearly fixed it). Second, when I turn the temp down (from say 250 to 225), for some reason it just keeps dropping and I have to reset the machine - only on downward adjustments, not up.

I didn't have a grease fire, although I generally prefer low and slow cooks without a water pan to build better bark, so Weber's solution was not perfect for me.

At the end of the day, I don't feel I can trust the Weber on long cooks without giving it a fair amount of attention - which is not what I bought it for. I hope Weber gets the kinks worked out - it would be great for all of us BBQ buyers.
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Old 02-25-2020, 04:48 PM   #27
TBoneMac
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No. I had really high hopes for the new Weber, but it's a definite nogo right now.


MAK all the way.
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Old 02-25-2020, 04:49 PM   #28
Mike in Roseville
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Nay. There are so many other (better) pellet cookers across all price ranges. Rec-Tec, Grilla, GMG, Mak, even Traeger's would be a better option than a Smoke Fire.
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Old 02-25-2020, 05:52 PM   #29
DanB
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Originally Posted by blazinfire View Post
New thoughts and old thoughts are the same.. EVERYWHERE!... I am a man that does a lot of research before investing into things.. Spend less money get a Grilla Grillz Silverbac is my opinion.. That thing seems pretty sweet!
HI Which Grilla Grillx Silver back?
DanB
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Old 02-25-2020, 06:04 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by DanB View Post
HI Which Grilla Grillx Silver back?
DanB

what ever option! If I could afford it.. I would buy the top dollar silverbac right now.. but I'm a cheap bastard and don't have money so I'm going with the original.
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