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My Initial Thoughts & Worries Since Pre-order And Awaiting Delivery Of My Smokefire EX4


sotv

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Thought I would start a blog about my experience with the new Weber Smokefire EX4 from ordering, setup and hopefully some successful cooks, over time.

This is the first pellet grill I have ever owned and I pre-ordered from Riverside Garden Centre in early January 2020 after seeing all the pre-release promotions that started appearing in November 2019 onwards.

The product appealed to me initially as I have always wanted a grill, pizza cooker and also the ability to cook lo&slo (this has a temp range of 200-600F) and this seemed to fit the bill. I have used a ProQ Frontier (Charcoal Bullet Smoker) for the past 4 years and had some reasonable success with it over that time. But the need to constantly monitor it and refill the charcoal basket (usually at silly o'clock in the early morning) for long cooks, I always found it to be a bit of a bind personally and I am hoping the Smokefire will negate some of that, with its electronics and ability to leave for up to 12-15 hours unattended if necessary. I know the idea of that doesn't appeal to everyone who enjoy's controlling the live fire aspects of outdoor cooking and that is all part of the fun for them doing that. I'm just at that age now, where I want to watch a bit of Sky, enjoy a drink and monitor the cook from my phone and just let the machine do its thing.

I must admit I was getting very worried by some of the early videos and reviews of the Smokefire in the US when it was released in January as the machine seemed prone to grease fires, hopper issues, along with Augur feed problems, and a very limited function Connect App upon release and spending over £1000 on this is a big investment for me and to spend that, on what could be a dud, just began to seem like a big waste of money, when you could buy a tried and tested one already on the market from another manufacturer 

In the last 4-5 weeks since release it has become clear that some but not all greasefire problems were down to user error and what some people were calling grease fires were actually flare ups, when you cranked up the temperature to sear at 500+ degrees. The thought of a greasefire was my biggest concern with the varying temps you cook at and no drip shield and although not ideal a drip pan would certainly help stop that as well as cleaning after cooks. I am fine with using one as I am used to a drip pan with cooking on my ProQ anyway and I don't see it as any hardship or reason to cancel my order.

Weber, certainly in the US have already addressed the hopper issue with an insert they are supplying free of charge, which makes the ramp steeper to feed the pellets better and hopefully if needed with my model will already be shipped out to me, when I get my machine in March. The Augur I won't know about till I assemble the machine and see how it works as it seems limited to certain serial number during manufacture. 

The Connect APP is an ongoing project that can allow for firmware and software updates over the coming months and years and it appears that Weber have big plans for this and I understand that this will take time and will evolve into something special in that period.

So all in all I am feeling much more confident about this machine now and just want to get my hands on it and do some cooking, I am hoping to keep this blog going and update with the assembling of it and some future cooks.

Thanks for reading this initial post and any further ones

Steve

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A thought on the flow of pellets issue, would a little bit  silicone spray make it smoother and slicker to help, or a light wipe coating of oil etc. Only on the parts of the slope where the pellets do not flow down well  just a thought

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As such I can only go on reports from the States on the Smokefire as still awaiting release in the UK. It seems to be the EX6 model that they seem to be focused on with the flow problem at the moment as it is 12 inches longer, but the incline doesn't seem to be steep enough for the flow of pellets, Weber have made an insert for it to increase the angle of descent (reducing capacity by approx 1kg)

As for my model although seen a few reports of flow problems, but nowhere near as many as the EX6, so hopefully it won't be an issue and if it is and no insert available, I will look at some food safe silicon spray to use or as recommended 00 steel wool and a fine scouring pad to help with the flow. 

As I said, I hope it isn't a problem, or if it is, it can be rectified easily enough as leaving a cook unattended, if necessary was a big selling point for me.

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