EX4 Experience

Todd J

New member
This is my first pellet grill. Typically grill on my Genesis and smoke on the WSM. Honestly never really had much interest in pellet grill until I found out about the Smokefire. I was late in the game and didn't see the release until they were available for sale. I ordered from Lowe's and received it the next day (2/14).

Assembly was almost fun. Very well packaged and the assembly was well thought out. The box was crushed on the top and part of the side, so I was worried about damage. I had the delivery driver open the top to take a look before I accepted it. Nothing visible, but I didn't dig too deep. In the end, one of the bent plates that hold the flavorizer bars was deformed and one of the plastic alignment caps for the front handle was destroyed. Assembly took about 45 min by myself with no issues.

The unit powered up and easily connected to my phone (S9+). It required a firmware update and that went through without any issues. When complete, I cycled the power as requested and it came back on without issue. Then I loaded the pellets, set the temp to 600 and did the burn in. It was 3 deg and the grill came up to 600 deg in 22 mins. I let it burn for 45 minutes and shut it down. It held the temp the entire time. The pellet hopper was full to the top when I started and I didn't have issues with it.

First test was simple hamburgers. Set temp to 450, seemed to take longer to get to 450 than 600, but I wasn't timing it. Grilled the burgers for 4 min a side and shut it down. I had no issues. The app stayed connected, but really doesn't offer much on a cook like this.

Second test was a decent load. 2 half racks of St Louis style ribs, a dozen buffalo turds, some pig candy and a potato. I cleaned the grill prior to starting it up and emptied the ash\grease tray. I topped off the pellets and set the grill to 225. 3 hrs and no issues. Pulled the ribs, wet them down with some apple cider vinegar, topped with brown sugar and wrapped in foil. Back to grill for 2 hrs. I added the turds, potato and bacon about 30 mins before removing the foil. After another 30 mins, I bumped the temp to 275 to help finish off the turds, bacon and potato. Another 30 mins, I pulled everything from the grill and shut it down. Randomly throughout the day, I did open the pellet hopper and level out the pellets. Not that it stalled, just seemed like the thing to do. Everything except the potato came out great.

So far, I just haven't had any of the problems I'm see others talking about. Happy with the system and look forward to doing some longer cooks.

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Derrick H

TVWBB Fan
Good to hear a positive experience. I am sure many people are having a great time with theirs as well. The part about you having to level out the pellets does concern me though.
 

Derrick H

TVWBB Fan
As I said in the SmokeFire issues on YouTube thread, I wonder if the slope of the EX4 hopper is steeper than the EX6 hopper. The EX6 hopper is longer, thus a shallower slope?
I thought the same thing. But there is a guy on YouTube who has an EX4 and has the same problem. He said he has to push them down. He showed a clip of how it looked before he pushed it and it was about to "run dry" before he leveled it out. I will attach a link later. I don't know, but we shouldn't be trying to figure this out, lol. It should have been figured out in testing.
 

Todd J

New member
My longest cook was a little more than 6 hrs, so I'm not the best judge on the hopper. I wasn't aware others were having issues when I did the cook. I was just checking the hopper level out of curiosity to see how much it was using. I noticed they weren't level, so I leveled them with my hand.
 

ShaneF

TVWBB Fan
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As I said in the SmokeFire issues on YouTube thread, I wonder if the slope of the EX4 hopper is steeper than the EX6 hopper. The EX6 hopper is longer, thus a shallower slope?
Am I on everyone’s block list or something? My apologies if I’ve said something to make everyone here just ignore my posts, I have an EX4 and have had both forms of the pellet feed problem. I’m also pretty sure I was the first to share the info about the Kevin Kolman interview on BBQ Central and bit my lip when multiple others were given thanks for sharing it. This is a tough crowd to try to break into I guess.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a pic of the void since you don’t know it’s there until you touch the pellets and see them collapse, but here’s a pic of the failure to slide I caught.
 

Jason in CA

TVWBB All-Star
View attachment 435

Am I on everyone’s block list or something? My apologies if I’ve said something to make everyone here just ignore my posts, I have an EX4 and have had both forms of the pellet feed problem. I’m also pretty sure I was the first to share the info about the Kevin Kolman interview on BBQ Central and bit my lip when multiple others were given thanks for sharing it. This is a tough crowd to try to break into I guess.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a pic of the void since you don’t know it’s there until you touch the pellets and see them collapse, but here’s a pic of the failure to slide I caught.
I saw that you mentioned it. I think with all the excitement it may have been lost in the shuffle.
 

ShaneF

TVWBB Fan
I do get where the question comes from though. Most companies reuse the same hoppers for all the different sizes of grills in a 'family' and my first thought is Weber would have too since they have the same look and advertised capacity, but then I wasn't thinking about the spacing between the edge of the barrel and the firepot being different and it being in the center of both grills...that logic would say the EX6 hopper should be 6" longer. So, maybe the problem is much worse on the EX6, but it's definitely present on the EX4 too...if it's worse on the EX6, shame on Weber, there's no way they didn't encounter it numerous times in thousands of testing hours.
 

Bruno

TVWBB Pro
View attachment 435

Am I on everyone’s block list or something? My apologies if I’ve said something to make everyone here just ignore my posts, I have an EX4 and have had both forms of the pellet feed problem. I’m also pretty sure I was the first to share the info about the Kevin Kolman interview on BBQ Central and bit my lip when multiple others were given thanks for sharing it. This is a tough crowd to try to break into I guess.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a pic of the void since you don’t know it’s there until you touch the pellets and see them collapse, but here’s a pic of the failure to slide I caught.
Shane I very much appreciate all your information.
 

Jon Tofte

TVWBB Platinum Member
View attachment 435

Am I on everyone’s block list or something? My apologies if I’ve said something to make everyone here just ignore my posts, I have an EX4 and have had both forms of the pellet feed problem. I’m also pretty sure I was the first to share the info about the Kevin Kolman interview on BBQ Central and bit my lip when multiple others were given thanks for sharing it. This is a tough crowd to try to break into I guess.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a pic of the void since you don’t know it’s there until you touch the pellets and see them collapse, but here’s a pic of the failure to slide I caught.
Shane,

I think Jason said it well. This is just such a huge unfolding story for us Weber & grill fanatics that it is hard to keep up with everything being said. I certainly appreciate your posts. Keep 'em coming.

What do you think of these pictures of my Rec Tec RT-700 hopper in comparison to your SmokeFire? I have never had the problems being mentioned with my grill. Do you see anything obviously different? You can see that Rec Tec also used caulk in their hopper.

I plan to post more about my Rec Tec for comparison to the SmokeFire for people to evaluate in a day or so.

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Lew Newby

TVWBB All-Star
Shane, I don't have a block list. As others have said the Smokefire is a high interest story. I've ever seen anything take over this forum like this has.

When I look at pics of the Weber pellet bin I think I see a shallower angle than the Rec Tec and pellets don't have a low coefficient of friction. FWIW I have had trouble with pellets creating an empty cone above the auger opening and flaming out. Two things I did. Using a very slick wax I waxed the interior walls and floor of my pellet bin and between 4 and 5 hours into a cook I manually mound pellets on the auger opening side. That helps a lot but don't know if it will help the Weber..
 
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ShaneF

TVWBB Fan
Jon, I would love to hear more about your Rec Tec. I’m considering returning the SmokeFire and getting a Stampede, a Woodwind, or a Traeger Ironwood. I can’t decide on which. I’ll miss the grilling ability of the Weber though, but one grease fire and I’ll be fuming mad.

Lew, I had the same issue with my SmokePro, I think removing the safety grate might have helped some, but I knew I was only keeping it a few months, so never bothered. However, I never trusted it for an overnight cook. I never had a flameout, but knew I had to shift pellets every 3-4 hours. The void problem is the concern with the Weber. Many are reporting it happening just trying to preheat.

...and thanks for the positive feedback, I just wanted to make sure I hadn’t done something I didn’t realize.
 

Todd J

New member
I did level out the pellet somewhere around the mid point of the cook. Here is a pic of the hopper as it sits now. This is probably 3 hrs of use. It does funnel at the low point, but you can also see that they are sliding down.

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Jon Tofte

TVWBB Platinum Member
Lew,
I do notice that the Rec Tec hopper gets very steep the last third of the way down. Maybe that's what helps it. I have done some pretty long cooks with no incident.

Shane,
The Rec Tec Stampede does look like where Rec Tec is heading. The one downer is that it does not have the rear hopper which I have always felt was one of Rec Tec's strong features. I applauded Weber for adopting it - I guess not very successfully, however:confused:. I also like that Rec Tec's rear hopper lid opens all the way flat.
 

Jon Tofte

TVWBB Platinum Member
What metal is the SmokeFire hopper made out of? Maybe it has a higher drag than what I guess is powder coated steel in my Rec Tec. It is fairly slick.
 

Dave - Unixadm

TVWBB Super Fan
What metal is the SmokeFire hopper made out of? Maybe it has a higher drag than what I guess is powder coated steel in my Rec Tec. It is fairly slick.
That's what I was thinking. It looks almost like a galvanized metal or aluminum. I have not checked with a magnet, but it isn't overly smooth. I have some UHMW tape on the way to see how it compares. If it's slicker, I may line the hopper with it. I'm also thinking about a divider above the auger hole to reduce the pellets from pushing against one another due to the V shape. Just throwing out ideas. :)
 

Jon Tofte

TVWBB Platinum Member
Yes, I think the divider my Rec Tec has (which only goes down 2/3 of the way) may help prevent these problems. You have essentially TWO funnels feeding the auger, so if one sticks for a while, hopefully the other keeps feeding long enough for the first one to break loose. I have never had these problems with my Rec Tec. Not saying it couldn't happen or that it never has for others.
 

LMichaels

TVWBB Hall of Fame
So here is an interesting thought. There are pellet furnaces sold for heating homes. They're designed to work pretty much like any other furnace. Basically "hands off". So what is different between a pellet grill and a furnace? Honestly the only thing I can tell is the types of wood used. Pellet grill is designed to use fuel to provide heat AND flavor with safe smoke. Pellet furnace only heat. Otherwise both are the same. As for the mechanisms a pellet is a pellet. If pellet furnaces had these kinds of issues with the feeding of their pellets there would be lawsuits all over the place. But 0 zip nada.
As for the grease fires when I saw the photos of the design of the EX I thought to myself "What is Weber thinking?" I knew this thing had grease trap written all over it. Why if a totally uninvolved person like me can see this faux pas can see it couldn't some VERY highly paid engineers?
 

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