Dave's Camp Chef Woodwind 36 WIFI Experiences

Dave - Unixadm

TVWBB Super Fan
So today wasn't a day of significant progress. I had to spend time cleaning up my garage. Holy moly, that was a lot of cardboard and styrofoam. After that I decided to tackle the door fitment issues, as I don't mind leaking around the top or sides of the door, but I hate leakage on the bottom. It discolors the lid and I'm OCD, so no.

I grabbed my trusty Wiss 24" sheetmetal folding tool and an old 2x4 so that I could "adjust" the door. Using the 2x4 across the chamber body at the last bend point of the door, I reshaped the stainless lid to improve the fitment considerably. I then used some Nomex gasket and while it's not perfect, it's a lot better than it was upon delivery.






With the door fitment improved, I turned my attention to the grates. To be honest, I hate them. Thin, coated, meh. I did some searching for replacement grates, but like the SmokeFire, I would have had to buy two sets. Unlike the Smokefire, I would have had to cut them down width wise, as most are available in 19.5x12.9?, where you need 19.5x11" for the Woodwind 36.

Now sometimes your luck can actually work out, but I acquired a BBQ Galore Grand Turbo BBQ over the summer. It's a big stainless beast, but guess what it has? It came with an extra set of stainless steel grates with 9mm bars (heavy duty). I decided to pull the extra set of grates out of the drawer on the thing and wouldn't you know it, they fit pretty dang good! I'd say less than an inch off from width, but I need run anything right to the edge anyways. They need to be heated up, cleaned and oiled, but SCORE!




I will say that the Camp Chef controller and app is a bit temperamental. For example, yesterday it said the grill needed an update. However, later it said it was at the current firmware level. Today when I powered it up it prompted for an update on the app. I did it and then it lost the wifi settings and you have to go through and reconfigure (it doesn't tell you this, I just figured it out). At present time, the app is still leaps and bounds better than the Weber Connect app since you can actually control the grill from the app. With that said the BT/WIFI switch and somewhat less than idea WIFI reception do make it less reliability connectivity wise than the Smokefire.

I did log a request to Camp Chef for some assistance last night and as of today, they did not respond.

One last thing I noticed is that Camp Chef has only perforated the hole into the stack. The airflow out of the stack is pretty limited in comparison to other pellet grills. I don't know if they did this for temperature management within the cooking chamber, but I'd say half the airflow escapes from the gap around the lid and grease drain tube, in comparison to the stack itself. I'm going to leave it alone for now, but don't be surprised if I get my hydraulic punch out and remove those perforations at some point. 💢
 

Ken M

New member
CAMP CHEF WOODWIND 36 WIFI RECEIVED AND ASSEMBLED...

I received the grill today from Camp Chef direct, along with the Sidekick and front folding shelf. I'm writing this while I go through the burnin cycle at 350 degrees for about 30ish minutes. I'm then going to cook a marinated pork loin at 250 degrees, Smoke 10 until 130. I'm then going to remove it, bump the smoker to 350-400 with the direct grill function and sear it.

Assembly of this versus the Smokefire is much more tedious IMO. There is really no comparison from the instructions to the procedures. It's not hard, just time consuming. Everything fit together pretty well with the exception of the Sidekick. One screw hole gave me some issues. It's just a lot of odd angles. I didn't install the hopper guard because I'm not dumb enough to stick my hand down by the auger, but I'll keep it should I get bored some day. lol.

In terms of build quality, the Smokefire again wins out. While the Woodwind is nice, it has some cheapness about it. Thinner metal, the door fits really poorly, the handle on mine for the door is manufactured incorrectly, so one side is about 1/2 longer than the other. It was packed well, but FedEx did manage to bust some stuff loose inside of the cooking chamber, creating some dents on the backside of the smoker. All of these issues will be brought up to Camp Chef later this evening and I'm pretty confident that they'll fix me up and likely credit me a bit for the dings, since I'm not going to go through replacing the body of the smoker. Design wise, it's functional and has some nice features, like the ash dump, direct flame slide diffuser, etc. It reminds me more of a GMG or lower level Traeger, but that's what I was expecting. The Smokefire has a higher quality feel about it, but we've seen that feel and function don't always go hand in hand.















In terms of the setup of the controller and app, it was easy. It needs to do an update, but I'm going to cook my dinner first. Overall, if Camp Chef takes care of a few of the issues (or I do what I do and fix it myself) and it cooks well, I'm going to like it. The side burner is a huge win, because I get rid of my outdoor stove. That's awesome in itself. The front shelf isn't anything special, but is very functional. The controller display is very nice and the app seems decent. Let's get a cook underway and see what happens.

Please note that this post was edited to put the initial build up front. I'll skip to the last page of this thread to provide further updates.
Hi Dave, any more thoughts on the Woodwind? I was going to get one, but than really like the concepts of the SmokeFire, until I saw many comments and a multitude of different issues. This is going to be my first pellet grill, and it be on our composite deck. Your initial review sounds the WW is a little flimsy and compared it to a low level Traeger. We saw a Costco Traeger and thought it was too flimsy. Thanks
 

Dave - Unixadm

TVWBB Super Fan
Hi Dave, any more thoughts on the Woodwind? I was going to get one, but than really like the concepts of the SmokeFire, until I saw many comments and a multitude of different issues. This is going to be my first pellet grill, and it be on our composite deck. Your initial review sounds the WW is a little flimsy and compared it to a low level Traeger. We saw a Costco Traeger and thought it was too flimsy. Thanks
Ken,

I've only had it for a couple of days, so I don't want to jump to any conclusions. I stand by what I said about build quality and the assembly process. Does this thing feel like a low-end Traeger? No. Is the build quality at the same level as the Smokefire or something like a Traeger Timberline 1300? No. It's somewhere in between.

What I can say is that it seems to work pretty well and puts out decent levels of smoke. Again, not as much as the Smokefire, but it also appears to be consuming less fuel. I consider the Smokefire a bit fuel hungry, but I'm OK with that due to the smoke output. I really like the controller display and the fact Camp Chef gives you four probes that you don't have to spend additional money on. For example, Weber gives you one, and each additional is like $15.

The grates are not my favorite in the Woodwind, but I'm picky and they in no way are not functional. I do like the fact they give you a very roomy second shelf, where that's often an option or something you have to cobble together. It's just personal preference. The Woodwind is more of the traditional style of pellet smoker and that's OK. It has some nice features, like the ash dump and direct flame setup. It also reaches and maintains teams quickly. I mentioned earlier that the app and WIFI is a bit finicky, but given this is their first attempt and we're about a quarter into the product's release cycle, I'm happy with the maturity thus far.

In terms of function, I like the layout of the Woodwind. The accessory capability is nice (Sear Box or Side Kick). The front shelf didn't break the bank and was easy to install (I'd consider it mandatory as it's such a good addition). You have plenty of space to sit a tray to put food in or take food out of the smoker. With that said, there are some build quality cheapness items. For example, Camp Chef went crazy with nut-serts. They are used throughout the assembly process. On the Smokefire, you don't see open hardware or hinges, but on the Woodwind, you have nuts and bolts clearly showing. I don't personally have an issue with that, but I would if the price was a bit higher.

The ultimate proof will be how well it cooks and I don't think I'm going to be disappointed, but I also don't think it's going to produce as good of BBQ as the Smokefire. The Smokefire has frustrated me, but it does turn out some damn good results for a pellet smoker. Everything I've cooked has been really good. I say that because I often found when I cooked on a pellet smoker, I was compromising flavor for convenience. I don't feel that way with the Smokefire. I told that to the technical support guy at Weber yesterday. They've done something that I've not found in any other pellet smoker, but they also missed the mark. Camp Chef took a conventional route and are working on refining the user experience and not so much the aesthetics. If you touched the Woodwind 36 and Smokefire EX6 side by side, I think most people would indicate the Smokefire has better quality.

Other than the assembly process which wasn't hard, but was definitely not a favorite of mine and the controller connectivity weirdness, the Woodwind 36 worked out of the box with a couple of issues my OCD detected. No issues with pellet feeding. No crazy ash issues. No temp control problems. No failures to ignite. No flameouts. Now I know I've only had it a couple of days, but I experienced those issues with the Smokefire during the first two days for comparison.

If Weber can fix the Smokefire, it will be my preferred smoker (of all I own) because of the quality of food I know it can produce. However, if I had to smoke a brisket overnight without worry, I'd choose the Woodwind without trepidation. There's no chance of me trusting the Smokefire at this point. I trust the reviews and user experiences of the Woodwind, plus the maturity of the mechanical aspects of the smoker more than I do Weber's offering in its current state. I will continue to update this post as I put it through its paces.

Hope that helps.

David
 
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Dan Leighton

TVWBB Super Fan
Dave:
Sorry you've had some fit issues with your new Camp Chef. I would have called them and asked for a replacement lid. Their telephone support and chats are pretty good. Remember they are an hour ahead of us since they are in the Mountain timezone. Yes, the lower grates are just coated metal, but if you only do a handful of smoking cooks a year, they work. If I was doing a lot more cooks, I'd want to upgrade them. What sold me on the Camp Chef was the full price was half of the SmokeFire when not on sale. Also, the pellet hopper dump feature and easy firepot cleanout. I couldn't care less about the sear feature which I have my Genesis for, so no sidekick burner for me. If my controller ever fails, I definitely would upgrade to the WIFI controller and have to get a phone that it would work with. Right now, my Thermoworks Smoke does the job.
 

Rich Dahl

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
Dave:
Sorry you've had some fit issues with your new Camp Chef. I would have called them and asked for a replacement lid. Their telephone support and chats are pretty good. Remember they are an hour ahead of us since they are in the Mountain timezone. Yes, the lower grates are just coated metal, but if you only do a handful of smoking cooks a year, they work. If I was doing a lot more cooks, I'd want to upgrade them. What sold me on the Camp Chef was the full price was half of the SmokeFire when not on sale. Also, the pellet hopper dump feature and easy firepot cleanout. I couldn't care less about the sear feature which I have my Genesis for, so no sidekick burner for me. If my controller ever fails, I definitely would upgrade to the WIFI controller and have to get a phone that it would work with. Right now, my Thermoworks Smoke does the job.
I bought my Camp Chef tor the same reasons Dan did. The pellet dump and the ash dump work great plus I have a pellet view window so I can see how many pellets are in the hopper with out opening it up so that gives me another shelf.
I use one of my four mavericks to monitor the grill.
One and done also for the sear feature, did a steak just to see if it would work and it did fine. The performer and my two Genesis gassers will handle the high heat stuff.
 

Ken M

New member
Ken,

I've only had it for a couple of days, so I don't want to jump to any conclusions. I stand by what I said about build quality and the assembly process. Does this thing feel like a low-end Traeger? No. Is the build quality at the same level as the Smokefire or something like a Traeger Timberline 1300? No. It's somewhere in between.

What I can say is that it seems to work pretty well and puts out decent levels of smoke. Again, not as much as the Smokefire, but it also appears to be consuming less fuel. I consider the Smokefire a bit fuel hungry, but I'm OK with that due to the smoke output. I really like the controller display and the fact Camp Chef gives you four probes that you don't have to spend additional money on. For example, Weber gives you one, and each additional is like $15.

The grates are not my favorite in the Woodwind, but I'm picky and they in no way are not functional. I do like the fact they give you a very roomy second shelf, where that's often an option or something you have to cobble together. It's just personal preference. The Woodwind is more of the traditional style of pellet smoker and that's OK. It has some nice features, like the ash dump and direct flame setup. It also reaches and maintains teams quickly. I mentioned earlier that the app and WIFI is a bit finicky, but given this is their first attempt and we're about a quarter into the product's release cycle, I'm happy with the maturity thus far.

In terms of function, I like the layout of the Woodwind. The accessory capability is nice (Sear Box or Side Kick). The front shelf didn't break the bank and was easy to install (I'd consider it mandatory as it's such a good addition). You have plenty of space to sit a tray to put food in or take food out of the smoker. With that said, there are some build quality cheapness items. For example, Camp Chef went crazy with nut-serts. They are used throughout the assembly process. On the Smokefire, you don't see open hardware or hinges, but on the Woodwind, you have nuts and bolts clearly showing. I don't personally have an issue with that, but I would if the price was a bit higher.

The ultimate proof will be how well it cooks and I don't think I'm going to be disappointed, but I also don't think it's going to produce as good of BBQ as the Smokefire. The Smokefire has frustrated me, but it does turn out some damn good results for a pellet smoker. Everything I've cooked has been really good. I say that because I often found when I cooked on a pellet smoker, I was compromising flavor for convenience. I don't feel that way with the Smokefire. I told that to the technical support guy at Weber yesterday. They've done something that I've not found in any other pellet smoker, but they also missed the mark. Camp Chef took a conventional route and are working on refining the user experience and not so much the aesthetics. If you touched the Woodwind 36 and Smokefire EX6 side by side, I think most people would indicate the Smokefire has better quality.

Other than the assembly process which wasn't hard, but was definitely not a favorite of mine and the controller connectivity weirdness, the Woodwind 36 worked out of the box with a couple of issues my OCD detected. No issues with pellet feeding. No crazy ash issues. No temp control problems. No failures to ignite. No flameouts. Now I know I've only had it a couple of days, but I experienced those issues with the Smokefire during the first two days for comparison.

If Weber can fix the Smokefire, it will be my preferred smoker (of all I own) because of the quality of food I know it can produce. However, if I had to smoke a brisket overnight without worry, I'd choose the Woodwind without trepidation. There's no chance of me trusting the Smokefire at this point. I trust the reviews and user experiences of the Woodwind, plus the maturity of the mechanical aspects of the smoker more than I do Weber's offering in its current state. I will continue to update this post as I put it through its paces.

Hope that helps.

David
Thanks for all your insights....
 

Dave - Unixadm

TVWBB Super Fan
I got home from work and sold something on CL (Camp Chef Somerset IV 4 burner stove), so I had some money burning a hole in my pocket. I decided to run down to the new butcher shop which is WAYYYY too close to me. Gives me something to cook on the Woodwind and Smokefire this weekend. I told him I'd be back tomorrow for some more of those filet mignon.



For tonight, I'm going to smoke a try-tip which was marinated in like a garlic teriyaki mixture. Never tried it before, so here it goes!




I'm going to cook it at a lower temp until 110 degrees, then I'm going to pull it while the grill comes up to 400+, then back on with some oil to sear the outside. Rest for 10ish minutes and I'll reheat some leftover pasta from the other night to go along with it.

 

Dave - Unixadm

TVWBB Super Fan
MY FIRST WOODWIND 36 MODS....

The first thing I did was cut that dang mesh out from the smokestack hole. I'll deal with it using a blast gate to meter air if it becomes a problem, but it annoyed me that most of the smoke came out from every other orifice than the smoke stack. Milwaukee M12 "Dremel" style tool to the rescue. With eye and ear protection, along with 10 minutes of work, that had been remediated:




Who would have guess, but now smoke actually comes out of the stack.

Next up I lowered the lid so that it didn't leak so much smoke at the top. I added some stainless washers which fit perfectly around the nutserts, thus pushing the lid downwards from the hinge. Easy peasy.





Before:


After:


That halved the gap on the lid, so "problem" solved. I also took a moment to adjust the lid a bit more by loosening up all of the hinges. I have the lid fitting pretty well now, especially after reforming it last night.
 

Dave - Unixadm

TVWBB Super Fan
Whoa... this thing rocks. I'm pretty happy with this smoker. I had it smoking at like 225 / Smoke 10 until it hit 110 degrees. I then kicked it up to HIGH and opened the direct flame deflector. The Grand Turbo 9mm grates did a killer job with the sear on this tri-tip. I seriously wasn't expecting it to be this good, but the grates and the Woodwind performed EXCELLENT. Came up to over 400 degrees pretty quickly. I drank one beer in the time I was searing.









Time to rest for 15 minutes. No...... not me! The tri-tip. About the time I post this, I can go in and get to slicing. Across the grain folks, across the grain and thin. :)

I am pretty dang happy with this thing. It runs like a top.
 

Bruno

TVWBB All-Star
One of the first things I noticed about the grill was those weak coated grates but damn those SS grates look bad ***.

I had a tri-tip in mind for Sunday and YEP that’s what I’m gonna do!!
 

Dave - Unixadm

TVWBB Super Fan
Wow, this is awesome. Not as good as Swingles, but damn close. I give the Woodwind an A for this cook. Good smoke flavor even on marinated meat. Amazing sear, though take that with a grain of salt as the stock grates wouldn't do this as well as these beefy Grand Turbo grates. Talk about luck that I had an extra set.






Dinner and it's not 10 PM - winning! Back to my feast. :)
 
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LMichaels

TVWBB Hall of Fame
You might want to take note on this. I used to have a one of the Turbo from Grand Hall. The grates were really heavy and did nicely but they were not solid SS. They were wrapped cast iron. Some folks had them explode describing a firecracker like sound and finding the SS tubing split open. Others like myself had the internal CI corrode somehow and turn to a powdery substance internally. Though before these things would happen they worked great errr grate. So if you start noticing some weird rattling sounds when you take them off to clean you'll know it's happening. However worst case you could always contact Dave Santana for a really nice fully solid set. The give away on the Grand Hall grates is the rounded polished end caps on the bars
 

Dave - Unixadm

TVWBB Super Fan
Another day, another cook. I was installing the new auger and chute assembly in the Smokefire, but I also needed some grub. I smoked three chicken apple sausages I bought from the butcher shop down the street. 225 / 10, then up to 375 with the flame deflector open when they hit 160. Pulled at 170 with a little sear on them.

Really tasty. Once again, the Woodwind performed perfectly. Nice smoke and great flavor.





 

Dave - Unixadm

TVWBB Super Fan
You might want to take note on this. I used to have a one of the Turbo from Grand Hall. The grates were really heavy and did nicely but they were not solid SS. They were wrapped cast iron. Some folks had them explode describing a firecracker like sound and finding the SS tubing split open. Others like myself had the internal CI corrode somehow and turn to a powdery substance internally. Though before these things would happen they worked great errr grate. So if you start noticing some weird rattling sounds when you take them off to clean you'll know it's happening. However worst case you could always contact Dave Santana for a really nice fully solid set. The give away on the Grand Hall grates is the rounded polished end caps on the bars
i checked this out. Mine are solid stainless. Thx for the tip tho.
 

Dave - Unixadm

TVWBB Super Fan
With the morning cook of bacon all I had planned today from a pellet smoker standpoint, I got an idea when I was getting things ready to make spaghetti and meatballs. Why not use the Woodwind 36 and the Side Kick.

I fired it up to 375 degrees, made my meatballs with all kinds of goodness and baked them sitting on some aluminum foil. When they were close to done, I got the olive oil heated up in a stock pot so I could sauté fresh garlic and then add my San Marzano tomatoes, along with some herbs, etc. It worked out really well. I'm waiting on the spaghetti to boil, so I gotta post quick!













I made some extra meatballs so I could vacuum seal and freeze them. I'm gonna be eating good tonight! I thought this might be a little different than what might show up around these parts. lol
 

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