Weber has long dominated with its range of gas and charcoal grills. With the upcoming launch of the SmokeFire smart WiFi-connected grill, Weber is looking to compete with Traeger for the competitive pellet grill market.
This is a great development for us consumers, as more competition (especially from a dominant company like Weber) puts pressure on Traeger and other companies to keep their quality high and prices low.
- SmokeFire grill will be available in January 2020 in over 25 countries around the world.
- Pre-orders is now available at Amazon, Weber.com and Lowes.com.
- Two sizes are available, the SmokeFire EX4 24″ with 672 square inches of cooking space and the SmokeFire EX6 36″ with 1008 square inches of cooking space.
- The grills will be priced at $999 and $1,199 respectively and come with a 5-year limited warranty.
The first wood pellet smoker from Weber
Rumors have been floating around about this new grill for a while now so we were excited to finally get some details from Weber.
SmokeFire Specs & Features
- 22lb Pellet hopper
- Plated steel cooking grates
- Stainless steel flavorizer bars
- Easy-clean ash & grease drawer
- 200-600°F temperature range
- Includes one meat probe with capacity for up to four
- Porcelain-enamel heat distribution plate
- Webert connect smart grilling technology
We’re happy to say that the only difference between the two grills is the size of the grill grates so you don’t get punished for buying the cheaper option.
It always annoyed us that Traeger reserve some features for their more expensive models.
At first glance, the design of this grill looks similar to the Traeger Ironwood series. It’s clear that Weber are looking to compete with Traeger who is currently dominating the pellet grill market.
The Weber looks competitively priced, with the more expensive model offering more grilling space than the Traeger Ironwood 650.
- Traeger Ironwood 650 – $1,199.99
- Weber SmokeFire EX6 1008 – $1,199
- Traeger Pro 780 – $999.00
- Weber SmokeFire EX4 672 – $999.00
The SmokeFire offers a few features that look to set it apart from the rest of the competition.
You can see an overview in this marketing video from Weber, and we’ll go into more detail in the sections below.
Finally a pellet grill with built-in searing capability
We’ve always objected to the name “pellet grill” as these cookers make far better smokers / outdoor ovens.
Simply put, most pellet grills we’ve looked at struggle to properly sear a steak.
Manufacturers have tried to get around this limitation. Camp Chef is known for its searing station attachment, although you have to purchase that separately.
Pit Boss pellet grills use a sliding plate to allow searing over an open flame, but the flame area gives you limited space for searing.
The Smoke Fire gets around this design flaw in two ways.
First off you have the higher max temperature of 600°F (most pellet grills top out at 450-500°F).
More importantly, Weber has made good use of their stainless steel flavorizer bars (used on their gas grills) to help direct heat from the firepot to the cooking grate.
Improved grease and ash management
Cleaning up grease and ash has always been a major problem for pellet smoker owners. The SmokeFire has a few nifty looking innovations that look to help solve these problems
- The angled flavorizer bars and heat deflector channel ash and grease separately through the center of the grill, before it is divereted into a removable pan that slides out from the front.
- The deflector over the firepot helps ash from getting in the cooking chamber
- The bottom of the firepot has perforations to allow ash to drop down into the pan
Weber refers to this feature “Bucket-free grease & ash removal” which is a reference to the grease bucket commonly seen on pellet grills.
We’ll have to wait and see how well this system works in the real world. In the photo above it looks like the ash and grease are separate, but it will be interesting to see if this is actually the case or if it ends up making more mess.
Pellet hopper and auger design reduces jams
If you were wondering why the box on the side was so small, it’s because Weber has placed the 22-pound pellet hopper at the back of the grill.
This allows them to use a shorter, inclined auger which is aimed at reducing pellet jams.
We’re happy to see you can open the hopper at the bottom to remove unused pellets or if you want to swap to a different type. This is a great feature as many pellet grills require a shop vac to clean out old pellets.
The auger includes a sensor to let the companion app know when pellets drop below a certain level.
WiFi connected smart grill
Weber has already dabbled in this area with the acquisition and development of the iGrill Bluetooth thermometer line, however, this is their first attempt at a truly WiFi-connected grill.
The grill will connect to your WiFi and then you’ll be able to control it through the Weber Connect App.
Weber has partnered with smart cooking technology company June to offer an app with temperature doneness reports and ETA on when food will be done based on food and grill temperature.
None of this sounds revolutionary, with all current-generation Traeger grills offering similar capabilities.
Weber hope to set themselves apart with detailed recipes and step-by-step instructions built into the app.
One feature that caught our eye was “flip notifications”. That could definitely come in handy.
We’ll have to wait until the release of the SmartFire in early 2020 before we can reach a final verdict, but from what we’ve seen it looks promising.
The searing capability looks like the killer feature that will make this grill stand out from the competition.
Weber has clearly played to their strengths here, and by partnering with a food technology company the Weber Connect features look to be at least as good as the best smart grill offerings from other brands.
The price makes this grill competitive with Traeger, although starting at $999.00 this definitely isn’t a budget option.
Sale for the Smoke Fire starts in January 2020.