Long Time Weber owner, brand new Smokefire EX4 Owner

JpsBBQ

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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?

If you can give your opinion then so can I.

I simply don’t believe your story. I have cooked on mine for over a year and intentionally not cleaned it for long periods. Also done briskets and butts without drip pans followed by steaks at over 500. No issues at all. Maybe I’m wrong. If I am wrong then you are right and you can have that satisfaction. I believe the temp fluctuations part and that’s all. Next time you have flames shooting out the bottom drawer after cooking ribs do me a favor and snap a quick photo. It’s hard for me to imagine any discernible grease actually in the tray from a single rack of lean ribs”shiners”. I would have to see it to believe it. Therefore, I dismiss it. I will try to keep an open mind regarding your future cooks and the corresponding photos. Cheers!
 

Bruno

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Traeger is selling some tiny looking, cheap looking smoker for $799 at Home Depot, I can tell you that an EX4 for the same price or an EX6 for $999 is an amazing deal.
Yes I’m counting the sale price that Weber honored for me and the price Weber is currently offering.
 

Dassman5

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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.
Sorry to read that you feel that way. I have had my EX4 for almost a year and well over 90 smokes/cooks and it has performed flawlessly except for one incomplete software download that was quickly rectified.

Admittedly I use mine about 85% of the time for smoking, but this unit turns out food — the only true measure in my mind — every bit as good as all of the other Weber grills and smokers I own.

I have found that the ex4 holds temperature rock steady after giving it a chance for the PID controller to “settle in” — remember you are dealing with solid fuel, and there is a natural time offset between dialing in your set point and achieving steady-state.

As for maintenance, I seldom, if ever clean out my unit and other than checking the firebox and grease drains and ash/grease tray, I just let it do its thing...just like my other smoker.
 
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Amyga

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I am resurrecting that thread, since the tittle applies to me and the issue raised about grease fire or scarry flare-ups just applied to me on my first cook, and I know some of you never had that problem, but it's real. Maybe it's my inexperience, I've only used the charcoal kettle for 10 years before that, never had a gas grill, but otherwise I've been enjoy reading the posts on this forum over the past couple days in preparation for my first cook.

It started well, assembly went well, pairing went well, initial burn went well, using Weber's pellets. Then 2 days after that, my first cook with WSF started well with chicken thighs at 250F for 1h and some (was using the meat probe alarm at 160F), turned the grill to 450F and set the probe to 170F. Went back inside the kitchen to finish the sauce with the goal to add that to the chicken when the probe alert me.

First thing I see when going back outside is smoke that seems to appear from the pellet box, second thing I see is grill temp indicating 650F. So I initiate the shutdown, open the cover for the pellet chute, thankfully there's no fire or smoke in there, next open the grill, flames are high, skin is burnt, the silicon piece on the meat probe is in flame and disintegrating, and white bubbles are forming on the probe wire. The chicken meat was salvageable, juicy and flavorful, it could have been great.

Thoughts and tips are welcome, but I am worried about cooking burgers or high temp in general on that thing. This was my first time cooking on it, so there was no accumulated grease from a previous grilling session. There was only 8 thighs, dry rub, no oil...

Edit: changed grease fire to scarry flare-ups
 
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Bruno

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I am resurrecting that thread, since the tittle applies to me and the issue raised about grease fire or scarry flare-ups just applied to me on my first cook, and I know some of you never had that problem, but it's real. Maybe it's my inexperience, I've only used the charcoal kettle for 10 years before that, never had a gas grill, but otherwise I've been enjoy reading the posts on this forum over the past couple days in preparation for my first cook.

It started well, assembly went well, pairing went well, initial burn went well, using Weber's pellets. Then 2 days after that, my first cook with WSF started well with chicken thighs at 250F for 1h and some (was using the meat probe alarm at 160F), turned the grill to 450F and set the probe to 170F. Went back inside the kitchen to finish the sauce with the goal to add that to the chicken when the probe alert me.

First thing I see when going back outside is smoke that seems to appear from the pellet box, second thing I see is grill temp indicating 650F. So I initiate the shutdown, open the cover for the pellet chute, thankfully there's no fire or smoke in there, next open the grill, flames are high, skin is burnt, the silicon piece on the meat probe is in flame and disintegrating, and white bubbles are forming on the probe wire. The chicken meat was salvageable, juicy and flavorful, it could have been great.

Thoughts and tips are welcome, but I am worried about cooking burgers or high temp in general on that thing. This was my first time cooking on it, so there was no accumulated grease from a previous grilling session. There was only 8 thighs, dry rub, no oil...

Edit: changed grease fire to scarry flare-ups
I’ve had a couple grease fires but it was from not cleaning my grill and being lazy both times. I can’t imagine your first cook having the issue but anything is possible.
Good luck stay with it.
When cooking fatty foods a drip pan is recommended at this point.
 

Amyga

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Thanks, drip pan it will be, or I will take the food out between the low temp and high temp, just to burn anything in the grill w/o burning the food. I've been watching videos, more likely I was scared by the size of the flare-ups, the SF is beast compared to the kettle, so I agree that this wasn't a grease fire. I am just going to get back to it, with burgers flare-ups and all.
 

Dassman5

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I am resurrecting that thread, since the tittle applies to me and the issue raised about grease fire or scarry flare-ups just applied to me on my first cook, and I know some of you never had that problem, but it's real. Maybe it's my inexperience, I've only used the charcoal kettle for 10 years before that, never had a gas grill, but otherwise I've been enjoy reading the posts on this forum over the past couple days in preparation for my first cook.

It started well, assembly went well, pairing went well, initial burn went well, using Weber's pellets. Then 2 days after that, my first cook with WSF started well with chicken thighs at 250F for 1h and some (was using the meat probe alarm at 160F), turned the grill to 450F and set the probe to 170F. Went back inside the kitchen to finish the sauce with the goal to add that to the chicken when the probe alert me.

First thing I see when going back outside is smoke that seems to appear from the pellet box, second thing I see is grill temp indicating 650F. So I initiate the shutdown, open the cover for the pellet chute, thankfully there's no fire or smoke in there, next open the grill, flames are high, skin is burnt, the silicon piece on the meat probe is in flame and disintegrating, and white bubbles are forming on the probe wire. The chicken meat was salvageable, juicy and flavorful, it could have been great.

Thoughts and tips are welcome, but I am worried about cooking burgers or high temp in general on that thing. This was my first time cooking on it, so there was no accumulated grease from a previous grilling session. There was only 8 thighs, dry rub, no oil...

Edit: changed grease fire to scarry flare-ups
A grease fire, in my long experience with Weber and other manufacturer’s grill — including stick burners, as well as my WSM 22”, Summit S-670, Q-100, and SmokeFire ex4 — can only occur under a very few conditions: (1) Excess grease accumulating in to drip pans and collectors, (2) Excess fuel in the burn pot or stick burner chamber, or (3) Unattended greasy food.

Since grease combust at around 375F, excess grease in the drip pan or accumulating in the drain holes could be a potential source ( possible but not with a new grill) . Likewise, skin-on chicken left unattended at a temperature above 375 could cause a flare-up, and I have had that happen twice on my Summit gas grill with poultry as well as greasy burgers and sausag. Finally, but less likely you might have had a run-away pellet feed.

In 12 months of smoking on my SF with over 100 sessions, I have yet to experience a grease fire. However, as already suggested, I always use a drip pan on the lower grate and tend to smoke and cook on the upper. In addition, I always cook/ smoke with a second ambient are probe connected to port #4 and set to alarm on higher than desired temperature as a way to keep an eye on my unit when not outside.

Just my thoughts… but don’t be afraid of the grill.
 

bbqking

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I ALWAYS USE drip pans. Became a HABIT when using my kettle grills. Who’s want grease drippings in there grill? Messy hard to clean. I’ve never had one single flare up/grease fire…on my EX6 I also use wire cooling racks/pans to put food on. If I cook on top shelf drip pans underneath. Why would you let grease drip down is my question? As for fire shooting out where it shouldn’t be…check and make sure where pellets burn is correctly aligned. I’ve had smoke actually seep back up through the hopper. That kind of freaked me out. But since auger replacement, that hasn’t happened. Just an explanation, a lot of us love the SF, and we’ve been there from the beginning. Thick and thin. So some are a bit prickly when we here any one nay saying, or dogging Weber…and the SF. You may have legit concerns. I for one think the design is great. Grilled/smoked on mine like crazy. Love it. I was once a hardcore kettle head only. Then got Weber gas for convenience…now the pellet is a must have for me. Good luck. Post pics of issues dude, Weber cs is the best.
 

JpsBBQ

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I must admit that I feel like a bit of a failure. Since some people posted issues with “grease fires” I’ve made it my mission to be completely negligent and purposefully lazy when it comes to cleaning and maintenance. I have yet to achieve a grease fire. I’m saying easily 100 cooks without cleaning or drip pans. Mixed cooks of BBQ and searing. Multitude of proteins ; beef, pork, chicken, fish.

Now I will say I have not rendered out a few pounds of bacon and immediately cranked it up to 600. That said, I have purposefully not cleaned it between low and slow cooks followed by hot and fast. I’ve had maybe two good grease fires on my Summit grill center from lack of cleaning in the past 10 years but never my smokefire. Both of the grease fires on the summit were obvious negligence on my part. Obvious in retrospect I should say. It takes a good amount of grease to accumulate to have a meaningful fire IMO. It’s just hard to accumulate that kinda grease without doing a couple pork butts or briskets or loaded with 80/20 burgers or the above mentioned mass amounts of bacon. Also ,as stated in an earlier post, it is very difficult to achieve at temps below 375.

Well, I’ll carry on being negligent in my relentless pursuit of this “Bigfoot” experience.

Cheers!🥃
 

Bruno

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Call it a grease fire or a whatever, I had to shut my EX6 down twice to, in my opinion save it from a Dutchie type disaster.

One was me not watching and one was me not cleaning.

I knew better the 2nd time but oh well.
 
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