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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 02-18-2020, 03:15 PM   #211
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Hi All Way too much bad news on the Weber Smokefire..I was thinking of selling my Shirley and getting a Smokefire. NO way now, i'm selling Shirley after hearing ALL the bad news..
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Old 02-18-2020, 03:30 PM   #212
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At the 40 minute mark on the first cook mine caught fire, who ever designed the grease exit was an idiot to let it run anywhere near the fire pot like that.

I was cooking 10 pounds of chicken quarters @300* when it went up in flames I tried to put the fire out with no luck and then tried to move it a bit further away from the garage.

Suffice to say you ain't moving that hunk of flaming trash anywhere with the dinky little micro casters they put on it.
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Old 02-18-2020, 03:34 PM   #213
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanB View Post
...I was thinking of selling my Shirley and getting a Smokefire. NO way now, i'm selling Shirley after hearing ALL the bad news..
DanB
Well that was a crazy thought you were fortunate enough to not act on. I was tempted to add a smoke fire alongside my Shirley but that would have been insult to injury.
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Old 02-18-2020, 05:38 PM   #214
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This is going from bad to worse guys. And at this point, while I'm hearing some optimism that Weber is going to fix the issues, the issues are coming fast, furious and frequent.

We even have people not only returning the grills and posting up on a BBQ enthusiasts site like this one, we even have people who have decided to not take delivery of already ordered grills.

As such, my prediction, is that Weber is liable to back out of the pellet grill market before they adequately address all of the issues being described in here.

Grease fires are an unpredictable issue which could make them liable for property damage and personal injury. Someone has already made a statement which rang a bell in my head indicating that the grease fire might have been at least partially due to a design flaw. No company wants lawsuits aimed at them claiming a design flaw.

Controller issues, unpredictable shutoffs with no chance for a restart until a long time after the shutdown and pellet cratering, fall under the category of headache, unreliability and nuisance. All look bad against companies which have been in the pellet game for awhile and are considered top notch, or near top notch, yet at a price point not too far from what Weber is asking for their product which is not opening to rave reviews.

Weber has worked long and hard to develop it's reputation. From it's charcoal cookers to it's gassers. Both of which enjoy a solid position in their respective markets, if they don't outright lead the pack.

With that in mind, one has to ask just how dedicated Weber will be to this "Edsel" of a barbecue grill, when they already have a commanding lead elsewhere in the barbecue cooker spectrum, both gas and charcoal? Will they be in it for the long haul?

In short, it would not surprise me, if after a few years, and I'm talking less than 5, that if this trend continues, and they end up "putting out fires" when it comes to this product, pun intended, well it wouldn't surprise me if they were to throw in the towel and say to hell with pellets, and concentrate on improving the products they already have.

I'm wondering how enthusiastic they will be about supporting the product as time and issues go on.

Chevy dealers didn't really support the Volt. We see what happened to it. Eventually they quit making them.

If my prediction comes to pass, well then one will have to wonder where this would leave not only early, but future adopters if this mess continues to go downhill.
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Old 02-18-2020, 05:47 PM   #215
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I’m not going to quote slowmotionque, but I agree with every word!


I said it somewhere else but I’ll say it again here, this may be something they can’t overcome.


What a nightmare...
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Old 02-18-2020, 05:57 PM   #216
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4ever3 View Post
I’m not going to quote slowmotionque, but I agree with every word!


I said it somewhere else but I’ll say it again here, this may be something they can’t overcome.


What a nightmare...

I don't believe that under any circumstances they let this product ding their reputation much longer.

They've worked too long and too hard to build that reputation.

So far, the bad press is contained to sites like this one, but its getting onto YouTube.

If Consumer Reports or some of the big names get ahold of it, it's going to get really bad.

They aren't about to let this grill take them down nor tarnish their rep.

If this continues, then this grill will be gone from their product line just as quickly as it entered it.
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Old 02-18-2020, 06:35 PM   #217
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Being that I've had no problems whatsoever, I find myself massively perplexed about what's going on. I've been following the hysteria on multiple forums and it's completely out of control. Here is where I'm at with this thing:

1. If you know anything at all about failure mode and exception analysis, you can deduce that if a sample of a population has a problem, and not the entire population, and the problem is not consistently reproducible, the problem is not design.

2. This is a new product, and isn't perfect but, in my opinion, is of sound design. That said, the defect rate is going to be higher as Weber workers learn how to assemble this new product. This could lead to a systemic issue around QA, resulting in some/many cookers having a defect. This doesn't mean they all do, because they don't.

3. Many of the people posting on the Internet have absolutely no idea what they're doing. This 100% doesn't not apply here, clearly. However, many are coming from gas grills, Masterbuilt, etc etc etc. They think that you can just start cooking without managing your ash and grease and nothing will go wrong. That is a wild expectation that isn't going to work for any cooker.

4. People aren't following instructions: Justin posts a grease fire and the whole Internet is losing its mind. Weber suggests a drip-pan and clearly states not to cook with the lid open and, yet, he cooks without a drip pan and leaves the lid open and here we are. Can the Smokefire have a grease fire? Absolutely! Should you leave any cooker right next to your home unattended? Absolutely not! There are few cookers that won't have a grease fire if not properly maintained and improperly used.

5. The hopper issue is mind-blowing to me. I have used an entire bag of Weber pellets and two bags of BBQer's Delight and not found the need to touch any part of my hopper. All of my pellets feed and I have had no jams or temperature control issues. Reading comments around the Internet, it's clear that people aren't managing their ash and aren't going through the shutdown process. Just throw some meat on, crank it up to 600F, leave the lid open and let 'er rip fellas!

While I can appreciate that the cost of a Smokefire is not a trivial amount to some, most of us here have invested an order of magnitude more on some very expensive equipment. This is not a premium, high-end cooker. That said, it does work, but I'm certainly not going to jump into untested waters head-first, buy a 'cheap' cooker and then look for every little reason to nit-pick the thing to death.

I think everyone needs to take a step back and use the massive brainshare on this site to really understand what's going on. Ask yourself these questions:

Was the cooker properly assembled?

Is it being used per the documented instructions?

Is it being maintained per best-practice and common sense?

Is somebody rendering a lot of fat with the lid open or on a high temperature?
If not, and there's still a flaring problem, have you vacuumed out your ash before cooking? Have you removed the grease from your last cook?

I honestly don't care about Weber at all. I have a couple of WSMs that I haven't cooked on in years as I prefer other gear. That said, it is my objective opinion that they did a good job with the Smokefire. My only problem here is with watching the BBQ community swirl the drain around a toxic cloud of fear, uncertainty and doubt.

For those of you with some influence, please refrain from posting half-baked assessments without a thorough analysis. The need to quickly get some of these videos up on Youtube has not paid service to the product, or BBQ in general.

Thanks.

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Old 02-18-2020, 06:47 PM   #218
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Not trying to bash them either. but I will say I'm not sure I'd be happy with their product development team (including marketing) if I was in charge.

The WSCG is a really well designed kamado, and priced reasonably against that competitive set. Unfortunately, it was marketed as a combination of a kettle, performer, and WSM. The first two are somewhat redundant and even if you bought all three you were still ahead financially. I don't have any data but my sense is that it hasn't sold overly well. While folks here evaluate it for what it is, I don't think it has the prestige that a BGE has with the general public.

The updated gassers are probably selling in line with their historical performance but I don't know that a lot of people prefer the second generation Genesis over the older model or that it's an upgrade. At best it feels like a wash with some minot benefits and some minor losses.

And then of course there is this situation. By any measure this appears to be a stunningly bad launch
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Old 02-18-2020, 06:52 PM   #219
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Well sir, I respectfully disagree.

Weber marketed this as a solution for the masses, not an experienced bbqer. Most pit boss clearance models bought for under $200 at Walmart work out of the box without these issues. Those manfacturers understand their market and distribution channel and they meet the needs for plenty of people who are not going to follow the instructions. They build them to be idiot proof. Weber did not.

I’m glad yours is working. But please don’t come on here and bash these guys reporting real issues.

IMHO I’ll take their opinion over yours.
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Old 02-18-2020, 06:55 PM   #220
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A couple thoughts...

Are we using these on a flat, level surface? If not that will contribute to the grease drain issue and the pellet feed issue.

I bet Smoke Daddy is developing a heat diverter. Just kidding.

I trust justin and most brethren to follow the instructions but is everyone? Justin... you did go step by step, right?[emoji23] Not saying y'all didn't but did everyone? I know my Copperhead is a real pita if you don't start it up properly. My Pellet Pro is so much easier.

Should Weber stop selling until they figure this out?

I'm a troubleshooter by nature. I like to figure crap out. I'm no expert or engineer by any definition. I really want one of these to play with. Maybe I can be the first to blow one up...

Also for those that don't like the long shutdown, Weber isn't the only pellet cooker that has this process.

Rant over!

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Old 02-18-2020, 06:58 PM   #221
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I don't think there's any bashing going on, and that you think I'm bashing anyone speaks to the intense energy going on around this release. What is being bashed is Weber and, more specifically, the Smokefire. This isn't serving anyone, especially those who are canceling orders or not making purchases because of bad information.

I don't think an idiot should be messing with fire. That said, a grill, cooker, smoker of any type isn't going to run without common sense and maintenance.

You're clearly welcome to take any opinion you'd like, especially being that you don't appear to have a Smokefire. I do have one and have paid close attention to everyone having "problems". Yes, some know what they're doing and do have problems. I'm afraid that most have created their own problem. Go look at the "grease fire" video and then read the manual. The lid is wide open and there's no drip pan. This isn't the first mistake he made. Don't believe me, form your own opinion based on facts, as I have. Justin isn't at fault here, but social media has reared its ugly head yet again and is spreading a bunch of fake news that isn't doing anyone any favors.
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Old 02-18-2020, 06:59 PM   #222
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pjtexas1 View Post
A couple thoughts...

Are we using these on a flat, level surface? If not that will contribute to the grease drain issue and the pellet feed issue.

I bet Smoke Daddy is developing a heat diverter. Just kidding.

I trust justin and most brethren to follow the instructions but is everyone? Justin... you did go step by step, right?[emoji23] Not saying y'all didn't but did everyone? I know my Copperhead is a real pita if you don't start it up properly. My Pellet Pro is so much easier.

Should Weber stop selling until they figure this out?

I'm a troubleshooter by nature. I like to figure crap out. I'm no expert or engineer by any definition. I really want one of these to play with. Maybe I can be the first to blow one up...

Also for those that don't like the long shutdown, Weber isn't the only pellet cooker that has this process.

Rant over!

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The grease running into the firepot seems like a design issue that should've been caught by if not the engineers at least QA. It also sounds like they didn't QA the app (or firmware update system). Everyone thinks QA is too much money until they realize how much not doing proper QA costs them.

The fan blowing ash all over the place also seems like something that should've been caught by QA at the latest. I wonder if they Wiley E'd their QA and had the grill vacuumed out between cooks and then only did hot/fast cooks.
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Old 02-18-2020, 07:02 PM   #223
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Is the grease running into the firepot? It seems that the grease is close enough to the pot that high temp settings and open lids are throwing a big flame that's catching the grease on the way down.
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Old 02-18-2020, 07:08 PM   #224
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OneHump View Post
Being that I've had no problems whatsoever, I find myself massively perplexed about what's going on. I've been following the hysteria on multiple forums and it's completely out of control. Here is where I'm at with this thing:

1. If you know anything at all about failure mode and exception analysis, you can deduce that if a sample of a population has a problem, and not the entire population, and the problem is not consistently reproducible, the problem is not design.


5. The hopper issue is mind-blowing to me. I have used an entire bag of Weber pellets and two bags of BBQer's Delight and not found the need to touch any part of my hopper. All of my pellets feed and I have had no jams or temperature control issues. Reading comments around the Internet, it's clear that people aren't managing their ash and aren't going through the shutdown process. Just throw some meat on, crank it up to 600F, leave the lid open and let 'er rip fellas!


Thanks.
I think you're overstating #1. The sample sizes are too small at this point to really draw any conclusion. It's quite possible that a pattern may develop on some of the issues where it does become repeatable. (I doubt that will be true of the grease fire -- there are just way to many variables)

It wouldn't surprise me though if the temperature variation that some users reported isn't going to be dependent on wind. Absent it or something light from the right direction, everything's fine. Wrong way and it doesn't run well. If true, I would consider that a design problem even though it might be easy to work around (point the cooker a different direction)

On #4, I would again say the sample size is pretty small at this point. It could be that the design is right at the boundary of being steep enough so any small error in manufacturing or assembly can push you over the ledge. Or probably a number of other reasons including people's patio not being completely level and that being enough to make the difference.

You could call either of those user errors if you want but I think that part of a good design is attempting to minimize the opportunities for a problem
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Old 02-18-2020, 07:13 PM   #225
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I didn't watch all of the Baby Back Maniac video, but I caught what I think is the core of the issue. It sounded like during his time at their facility he asked multiple times about the potential for grease fires and was told that it wouldn't be an issue. Seems like he cooked on it as he saw during the demonstration and immediately had major problems.

I consider myself an unbiased observer since I haven't put money down for one of these. I have been reading what users are saying and I wouldn't shell out any cash for this booger right now. Too many people having the same problems to write them all off as operator error. If it were operator error I would expect that Weber would start putting out info to correct the operator error instead of shipping new parts and accepting a bunch of returns.
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