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4 Months Into Owning The Smokefire, My Thoughts


sotv

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4 months into ownership of the Smokefire EX4 and i thought I would update my blog now with my thoughts on how it has performed for me over that time as I think 4 months is a fair time to assess it.

I know there have been some worries and concerns from some owners of Smokefire's for reliability issues etc. I have to say from my own personal experience, I haven't experienced any of them and my machine has worked pretty flawlessly, I have experienced a very occasional electronic failure in the early days, but any software (on most devices) often has glitches and the big Software update that came along in May seems to have ironed that out as well.

There was clearly a problem with pellet feed from early initial reports from America (released a month earlier than the UK) Weber corrected that with an hopper insert that was supplied with my machine when it came and except for the need to push the pellets along if longer than a 6 hour cook, it seems to work pretty well. I find a full bag of 9 kg of pellets will last usually between 14-18 hours depending on temps set and how many start-up/shutdown cycles are used in that time. It is clearly more expensive than charcoal, but ease of use and finished smoke flavour is excellent, in my experience.

The control unit is very responsive and easy to set temps from it or do the shutdown procedure, either at the machine itself or now via the app. The Smokeboost addition seems to quite beneficial to adding a little extra smokiness to your meat on lo&slo cooks at start-up around 150F-190F for an hour or so before turning it up to the actual required temp you wish to cook at, for the rest of the time

The app still has a long way to go before it is the finished article, but the software company JUNE are behind it, so confident over the next 6 months and ongoing past that, it will continue to evolve into something good..

The smoke flavour is nowhere near as pronounced as charcoal and wood chunks, with pellets. But what I like is the consistency of the smoke flavour across all lo&slo cooks. My experience with charcoal is not always that way, when it works well, nothing beats it. But sometimes the smoke can be overpowering and occasionally bitter, there are so many variables with the wood and charcoal used. There is none of that with pellets with my experience so far. A mellow consistent smoke flavour every time (even giving a slight smoky flavour at 550-600F temps for pizza and steaks), is a bonus in my eyes.

Coming from a bullet smoker to pellet, there is a longer cleaning procedure (grills, flavouriser bars) and sweeping/vacuuming out I tend to do this every 20 hours of cooking or 3 long cooks. Between cooks a good grill brush over the the grates once heated up does a good job of removing the remains of the previous cook and gives you a clean working surface, but greasy chicken wings and ribs take their toll on them pretty quickly so a good wash in hot soapy water, keeps them in good condition. Haven't needed to buy a vacuum yet and the ash at the bottom is easy enough to sweep down the holes by the fire pot and collect in the tray beneath them. Never experienced any problems with the grease flow channels and they work as they should, no build up of grease or forming grease lumps giving it a chance of a grease fire. I have had occasional flare ups, but when cooking at 600F and meat fat drippings onto a flame, you need to expect it and that is what flavours the meat in my view. First time it happened was a bit shocking, but after 4 months of use I know what and why it's happening and love the fact it does it.

Would recommend buying a cover for the Smokefire as although it cooks with a consistent temperature whether it's a howling wind or showery rain , there is clearly a weak point underneath the hopper that can let water ingress to the motor over a period of time, by the looks of it.

As said earlier I came from a bullet smoker and although it produced good food, I felt limited in what I could do. This grill, with its cooking area has given me the confidence and ability to cook so much more, than what I did previously and for me that has been the main benefit, whether I want to do a simple 10 minute grilled cheese sandwich or a full brisket this machine does it all and does it well and for that I love it and now a pellet grill convert.

Thanks for reading

 

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