Ninja Kitchen is known for making quality kitchen appliances, and now they’ve leveled up their game with the new Ninja Woodfire Outdoor Grill.
This electric grill packs a lot into a small footprint. It’s a pellet smoker, a grill, an air fryer, and a dehydrator, and it can even be used to bake. But, the real question is: “Does it do it well?”.
I will be sharing my experience with the Ninja Woodfire thus far, what I like about it, and whether it missed the mark anywhere.
Ninja Kitchen sent me this grill for free in return for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Ninja Woodfire Grill: Overview and First Impressions
Upon opening the box, I was pleased to find that the Ninja Woodfire comes standard with everything you need to start grilling immediately and there is minimal assembly required. This, for me, is a huge plus.
If you’ve ever assembled a grill before, you know that it can be tedious and frustrating work. The fact that I could pull the Ninja right out of the box and it was ready to go definitely earned a few bonus points from me.
The only assembly required is that you have to install the handles. It comes with an Allen wrench and takes all of about 3 minutes to screw them into place.
|Grill Grate Dimensions:||10 x 14 inches|
|Cooking surface||141 square inches|
|Temperature Range:||105°F to 500°F|
|Price||Check latest price|
They included the grill grate, the air fryer crisper basket, two sample-sized bags of wood pellets, a pellet scoop/measuring cup, the drip tray, and a Quick Start Guide and Recipe Book.
You opt for the base model, which includes a veggie tray and roasting lifters, or you can spend a little extra and get a built-in thermometer for measuring the temperature of your food plus a grill cover.
The Ninja control panel
The control panel is extremely easy to use and is reminiscent of other Ninja Kitchen appliances.
There is a knob on the far left that allows you to select the type of cook you want to do: Grill, Smoke, Air Crisp, Bake, Roast, Broil, or Dehydrate.
Just right of the control knob there is a button labeled “Woodfire Flavor Technology”.
When the grill is on the smoker setting, it automatically ignites the pellets. But, if you want to add woodfire flavor to something you are grilling, air frying, or baking, you need to press the Woodfire Flavor button to ignite the pellets.
Below the monitor, there are both temperature and time settings, which are pretty self-explanatory. Then on the far right, there is the Start/Stop button.
I was very impressed with the information the Ninja provides during every step of the cooking process. It will let you know when it is igniting pellets, when it is pre-heating, then it will say “Add Food” to prompt you to put the food on the grill. When the timer finishes, it will say “Done” and give you the signature little Ninja sound that their other appliances do.
The seven cooking functions
The Ninja Woodfire has seven different cooking functions, which allows for a lot of versatility so you can cook more things outdoors than ever before.
1. Grill – steaks, burgers, hot dogs, chicken
2. Smoker – chicken, roasts, pork tenderloins, ribs
3. Air Crisp – wings, French fries, salmon, anything you would normally air fry
4. Bake – cakes, pies, cobblers, breads
5. Roast – similar to the Smoker function, but without adding smoke flavor
6. Broil – melting cheese, finishing the sear on a roast, reheating pizza
7. Dehydrate – beef jerky, dried fruits
Ninja Woodfire Wood Pellets
Ninja has co-branded their own wood pellet blends with Bear Mountain BBQ and the grill comes with both varieties: All-Purpose and Robust.
The All-Purpose blend is a combination of cherry, maple, and oak and has a smoother, sweeter flavor. The Robust blend combines the same woods as the All-Purpose but adds a touch of hickory for more smoky and rich flavor.
Ninja recommends sticking with their own pellets, but I’ve already experimented with other brands and haven’t had any issues so far.
Each sample-sized bag is enough for three smoke sessions, according to the package.
Ninja includes a scoop/measuring cup for the pellets. You just fill the pellet scoop, lift up the Woodfire smoke box, and pour the pellets in.
One thing to keep in mind with the Ninja is that the pellets are for flavor, not for fuel. It’s a fully electric grill, and the pellets are simply there to add Woodfire flavor to your cook.
They do not affect the temperature of the grill in any way.
So, How Does it Cook?
I have done four cooks on the Ninja and was pleasantly surprised with the results.
I started by smoking chicken wings, then air frying them at the end to crisp them up. They were, quite honestly, the best wings I’ve ever made.
I was skeptical about the whole “Woodfire Flavor” claim, but this little grill packs a punch. My wings were full of smoky flavor and after I finished them on the Air Crisp setting they were perfectly crispy, but still juicy on the inside.
My next cook was a smoked pork tenderloin. I left the grill on the Smoker setting for the entire cook and it took about 50 minutes at 250°F to get the tenderloin up to 145°F internal. The pork was tender and juicy and had a noticeable smoky flavor.
I wanted to play around with the Air Crisp setting some more after I had such great results with the wings, so I decided to air fry a New York Strip steak.
The crust left much to be desired, and I anticipated a bolder crust because an air fryer is essentially a convection oven, but it did not crisp up as much as I would have liked. I can’t blame Ninja for that one because no one told me to try to air fry a steak, but I felt like I should report the results all the same.
The latest cook that I did on the Ninja was a small, blueberry cobbler. I used the Bake setting and baked the cobbler for about 45 minutes. The crust was crispy and cooked to perfection, so I can say that the Bake function on the Ninja works as it is intended to.
How to Clean the Ninja Woodfire
One thing I have to say is that clean-up is a breeze. The grill grate is removable, as is the Air Crisper basket. Once the grill cools down, you can just bring the grate inside and clean it in your kitchen sink. It’s not dishwasher safe, but a little dish soap and water do the trick nicely.
As for the grill’s exterior, you can use a damp towel to give it a good wipe-down.
If you opt to use the Woodfire Flavor function with wood pellets, you need to remember to empty the smoke box. It’s as simple as pulling out the box and dumping it into the trash, so no hassle there.
Finally, the drip pan. Similar to just about every other grill, the drip pan is removable, and you can dump the drippings as you normally would. It can also be cleaned with soap and water.
Final Thoughts and should you buy?
Overall, I’m impressed with the Woodfire. I went in a little skeptical, but I’m always skeptical around a new grill.
Ninja executed the design with both quality and versatility, and for the price point, I would say it’s excellent value. If you wanted to buy appliances/grills to do each of the 7 functions separately, you would have to spend at least 3x as much.
Being able to grill and smoke on a single electric grill opens up a world of possibilities for apartment dwellers or anyone who doesn’t have the freedom to cook with gas or charcoal.
The only critique I have is the size. I wish it were just slightly bigger. I think I would struggle to fit a larger rack of ribs on the cooking space provided, so a little more length would be nice. But, it is a portable, tabletop grill, so it’s made for ease of mobility and to have a smaller footprint.