Long Time Weber owner, brand new Smokefire EX4 Owner

TwoWheeler

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I bought a Weber Genesis Silver A about 15 years ago - it’s still going strong, but it’s been “promoted” to my camp and a new Genesis took it’s place about five years ago. The new Genesis is my workhorse, It’s a grill and an “outdoor oven” when I don’t want to heat the house up in the summer to bake something. It’s used year round - even if I have to shovel three feet of snow off it.

About ten years ago, my wife bought me a Smokey Mountain and, while I've had a lot of fun with it - and actually made some edible stuff- I wanted the ability to do longer, unattended cooks. Things like the “snake” and “Soo’s donut” mean you’re cooking with partially lit coals. White smoke - bleh.

When Weber came out with the SF, I was intrigued. After reading all the stories from early adopter, I decided to wait until it was out of beta. I wasn’t concerned about the missing features - most of them were things I wasn’t interested in anyway and firmware can always be updated. The grease fires were initially a concern, but I came to the conclusion that most of them were self-induced. My biggest concern was the pellet jams. After reading about the revamped auger and the new slide, I decided to take the plunge, last Friday.

The first thing I noticed was when I lifted it out of my truck: the underside edge of the shelf is sharp. An unfinished edge like that is not very Weber-like, in my book. I did the updating - it took an eternity, but went well- and did the burn in. When I went to clean the grill out after the burn in, as I started taking the grill apart to clean it, I was disappointed to see how cheap some of the construction was. The shelf that the flavorizer bars sit on is just thin sheet metal - the sort of thing that could slice you open if you weren’t careful when cleaning. Again, this is not the bombproof Weber construction I’m familiar with. I also noticed that the flavorizer bars on the right were much more bronze colored than the two on the left. Could this be a sign of uneven heating? Time will tell.

My first cook was a rack of “shiners” I had in the freezer- figuring, if I screwed them up, I wouldn’t be out much. Wanting to see if the temp swings I was hearing about were true, I put the probe from my Thermoworks Smoke right next to the grill temp probe on the SF. The Thermoworks read consistently 50 degrees higher, and the temp went up and down. BUT, all’s well that ends well and the ribs came out fantastic- my wife says my best ever.

I cleaned all the ash and grease out of the bottom of the grill. There was maybe, a quarter cup of grease in the drip pan. (The ribs had little meat on them, let alone fat!)

Tuesday, I did some burgers. First thing, my phone and the grill were no longer on speaking terms. I farted around trying to re-pair them and finally gave up, since it was a short cook anyway. About halfway through, I noticed flames coming out of the drawer. WTH? My first high heat cook and I’ve got fire coming out where fire isn’t supposed to be coming out?...and it’s not like I hadn’t cleaned the damned thing. (And they were lean, grass-fed beef burgers!) I can understand the drip pan for fatty stuff, but the whole idea of this thing is to be able to sear stuff like steaks and burgers, as well as smoke. After the cook, I again cleaned out the grease and the ashes. When I pulled the drawer out, the aluminum drip pan was a bit melted. Not good.

I’m going to do a brisket this weekend and we‘ll see how it goes.

All in all, I’m fairly disappointed with the build quality. This seems like another company with name recognition and a reputation getting bought out and accountants and marketing people starting to make all the decision.
 

JpsBBQ

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The Smokefire is an awesome cooker. As with any instrument you will have to familiarize yourself with its particular idiosyncratic tendencies. Most of the exterior of cooker is enamel coated like most all Weber products. This is a great upgrade from painted steel on most moderate priced pellet cookers. I am very familiar with lots of pellet cookers and this one is truly unique and the designs are simple but genius. Nothing is perfect but this cooker can truly do it all very well. Name me another that is so versatile at anywhere near this price point. Good luck. Enjoy the journey!
 

Goneincognito

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You left the grease and ash from the previous cook in the pan or did you clean the pan and draw out before the burger cook?
 
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TwoWheeler

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You left the grease and ash from the previous cook in the pan or did you clean the pan and draw out before the burger cook?
There was about, maybe four or five tablespoons of grease from the previous cook left in the foil pan. I cleaned the ash and grease out from the rest of the cooker and the drawer.

That much grease, in the foil pan where it belongs, shouldn’t be a problem. It’s not for my Genesis gasser.
 
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TwoWheeler

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Name me another that is so versatile at anywhere near this price point. Good luck. Enjoy the journey!
My previous experience with Weber is what sold me this one. They’ve always supported their products well and I just bought replacement parts for my 15 year old Genesis. I knew there were teething problems, but was willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, and I have no doubt it will get better. With their products, there’s also a user base and an aftermarket that will support them, as well - two things that gave them the nod over others.

Still, it feels like they cut corners with this one. How come they can build a Genesis gas grill with a cast aluminum base and a much more substantial cart for less money? This feels like the Summit - a kettle within a kettle for far more than the price of two kettles - a money grab, based on a name and a reputation.
 

Goneincognito

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As you have seen, high heat, fire and grease are not a good mix regardless of the amount.

This isn't a Genesis gasser, its a totally different beast and you need to treat it as such. I would say the same if you had another pellet grill before this.
Keep it clean between cooks (especially if it's a high heat cook), use catch pans and you will be fine.

If you are not happy with it (which is the impression I'm getting), Weber would be more than happy to take it back and you can get something that you feel to be more appropriate for the price you pay.
 
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TwoWheeler

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If you are not happy with it (which is the impression I'm getting), Weber would be more than happy to take it back and you can get something that you feel to be more appropriate for the price you pay.
I know it sounds like semantics, but I didn’t say I was unhappy, I said I was disappointed. There’s a difference.

In the first case, I’d be taking it back to the place I bought it, but I’m not. I’ll keep using it as a smoker and leave the grilling to the Genesis.

I still can’t help feeling like they could have done a much better job - they set that bar with their previous products. This just feels like they’re starting the downhill slide, trading on a brand name - as has happened with so many other companies.
 

Goneincognito

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I know it sounds like semantics, but I didn’t say I was unhappy, I said I was disappointed. There’s a difference.

I know it sounds like semantics, but I didn’t say you said you were unhappy, I said I got the impression you were unhappy. There’s a difference.

Sounds like you have a plan moving forward.
Best of luck to you.
 
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TwoWheeler

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I know it sounds like semantics, but I didn’t say you said you were unhappy, I said I got the impression you were unhappy. There’s a difference.
I was trying to correct that impression...and apparently that didn’t work, either. 🤷🏻‍♂️
 
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TwoWheeler

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So I’m not allowed to say anything negative?

I said I was very happy with it as a smoker. I said Weber has always been a solid company and I’ve always liked their products.

Then I said I was a bit disappointed at some of the construction- and compared it to their other products, not another brand.

Then I said I had a connectivity issue.

Then I said I thought their grease management was kind of lacking. Unlike the early horror stories, where people let the drains plug and did stupid stuff like cook pork shoulders without a drip pan, I cleaned the inside of the cooker and assumed a small amount of grease left in the drip tray -where it‘s supposed to be- would be fine. It wasn’t, but how was I supposed to know that? Isn’t that what a drip tray is for?

But I’m trolling?
 
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