Found a little something while cleaning my SmokeFire.


 

Bruno

TVWBB Gold Member
I love my SmokeFire but while I was cleaning it I noticed a lot of the interior just flaking away. Weber is sending some parts but they are back ordered. I don’t feel like they took my initial email as serious as I thought they should, they sent a bag pellets that I have 200 pounds of.
Any thoughts on the severity of what you see? The ramp damage blows my mind, no way this thing makes it much longer than the 3 year warranty.

Part of the reason I bought the new performer is that I don’t know if the SmokeFire can even handle high heat cooks.
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Lew Newby

TVWBB Guru
I don't do much grilling on mine so I'm not seeing that kind of erosion. You're not the only one seeing that and it has some folks worried. Members of the FB group have posted pictures of worse erosion after 1.5 years of heavy use. How's your welded abatement (flame arrestor) holding up? I've seen some bad pictures of erosion on it. It's made in China. Weber's choice of materials is the cause and they are going to be replacing a lot of internals over the next year.
 

Darian Hofer

TVWBB Fan
They use some thin crappy materials in key high heat places. Then push the marketing to say it sears at 600 degrees.
Sure it will, well 550 for mine…but at what cost? See above photos. The stamped sheet metal that holds the internal V bars in front and back of grill is also soooo thin. You have to be careful not to bend it when cleaning the inside.
I also hate the 2 little screws that hold the pellet ramp in place. You have to remove them in order to clean out the fire bowl assembly. I love Weber grills. I have cooked on and owned kettles of all sizes, the Smokey Mountain bullets and 3 different gassers. Over The last many years you can see where some bean counter made the choice to cut corners with low grade materials to save a couple bucks. Even the kettle grills are thinner material. They are no longer built to last. They gamble to build them only to last through the warranty.
Hope you get your new parts soon!
 

Dave in KC

TVWBB Wizard
Preach on, Darian. I agree 100%.
Those flaws look like the perfect opportunity for
someone with a little bit of skill in metal working
to create a nice little niche market.

My EX4 is exclusively a smoker. 275 and below, and
shows very little wear on the inside so far.
 

Jon Tofte

TVWBB Hall of Fame
That’s pretty disappointing to see. It seems to confirm that - at least as constructed - marketing the SmokeFire as a regular high heat grill may have been a reach too far. If I had one, I would be like Dave and use it as a bbq smoker only. Save the searing for a Weber gas grill, and thrown a smoker tube for some extra flavor.
 
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Rich Dahl

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
Really hate to see that. As much as I love my three Weber gassers and my Performer, I'm so glad i bought my Camp Chef pellet grill.
2 + years of moderate use no corrosion or hiccups. Certainly not as fancy as the SmokeFires but gets the job done faultlessly.
Although I can sear on it, I've only done it once to see how it worked, which was good but I have my other grills for that type of cook.
 

Bruno

TVWBB Gold Member
In hindsight i think it’s best used as a smoker, as one of the first owners I did want to see what it could do as a grill and with the weber cast iron grates I bought it grills very well. It’s not clear what parts Weber is sending, I have received a few from an earlier issue, the pellet ramp problem just showed up this week though and that just doesn’t cut it.

With the holidays and all I wont bug Weber too much, they have treated me more than great for many years.

It is my plan to have every thin piece of metal replaced and at least get my full 3 years out of it. I’ll have to treat it gently as a smoker because I do have some not cheap custom add ones.

The good news is it’s a hell of a smoker and proved that on the insane pork butt I just did. The guys at work know I’m a BBQ nut but when they tasted it they were all very impressed And we all know that’s fun!

I wasn’t sure I was going to post the pics but clearly it’s important to show all sides. I live in probably the mildest climate left in the good old USA, I always say its 70 degrees 70 percent of the time, probably not always true but feels like it. So moisture and humidity, I feel can be completely ruled out.
 

Rich Dahl

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
Maybe it is better to use it as a smoker, but you bought it to be the all in one grill and it seems to me that the SmokeFires do a great job at doing that. The fact Weber went cheap on the materials is on Weber not on the end user.
Sure hope they are aware of what's going on and will get some upgraded replacement parts out to owners to correct the problems.
 

ChuckO

TVWBB Olympian
High heat cooks take their toll, just ask my 18" WSM. While the component failure is disappointing, my concern is for the lack of replacement parts being readily available
 

Bruno

TVWBB Gold Member
High heat cooks take their toll, just ask my 18" WSM. While the component failure is disappointing, my concern is for the lack of replacement parts being readily available
WSM’s didn’t have a Harry Soo grilling party to introduce them. 😂
We all know I should use it only as a smoker but is that what I bought? The old instructions called for a 600 degree burn off, it was a hell of an example of what the beast could do!! 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥again I love all my Webers and this changes nothing really, I just felt it should be shared. God knows I did my share of hype work with all my cooks.

Perfect world Weber makes the parts out of stainless and sends them to everyone. Probably won’t happen.
Maybe I get an S6 when this going goes. We shall see.
 

Jon Tofte

TVWBB Hall of Fame
Bruno,
We have all enjoyed your amazing cooking results with your SmokeFire. You have been patient with issues, so I am glad that you were rewarded with a lot of great cooks. But, you are also honest in sharing this disappointing finding. I hope you can get your grill parts replaced. Keeping it going, it seems, may mean abandoning those high searing cooks and concentrating on low and slow bbq. It certainly has done that well for you and others here.

I have said some of this before, but here are a few observations from my on the sidelines viewpoint:

1) The design of the SmokeFire was daring and innovative. It would have been easy for Weber to make one like everyone else's and stick a Weber badge on it. Instead, they tried to up the bar like they did back in the early 80s when they developed the first Genesis gas grill. Unfortunately, pellet grills are trickier and I don't think Weber did anywhere near enough real world testing.

2) The SmokeFire is one of the most stylish pellet grills out there. I do really like my Recteq with its "grab the bull by horns" polished, stainless bull horn handles. I would have to admit, though, that the smoke stack and especially the hanging grease bucket look out of date in comparison to the SmokeFire. I thought it was interesting that the new Z-grill came within a hair's breath of litigation in making their new pellet grill LOOK like a SmokeFire. Those of you who have looked at it, though, probably noticed that they went conventional using the same large shield as most other pellet grills and used a side hopper. They just copied everyone else and then copied Weber for STYLE!

3) As Darian noted above, the SmokeFire isn't the only product to reflect the "bean counter" influence that seems to me to be dragging Weber down. I suppose it is true that anymore most people don't expect grills to really last, but it pains me to see the results of chinsing on materials. I bought a crimson kettle this past summer. Pretty disappointed in the matte, thin finish that does not live up to the high quality, glassy smooth porcelain that Weber kettles were famous for. I don't think you will see many of these newer kettles being passed on to another generation. George Stephen :george: would not be happy about where things are going.

Gas grills are showing some of the same issues. The Genesis II line is very stylish, but from what we have been seeing here with early corrosion and thin metal, I don't expect the cottage industry of restoring Weber grills to carry on when the supply of the classic old ones finally dwindles completely away.


I am a Weber guy. If Weber really reads any of our posts, I just wish they would, at a minimum, offer options for high grade stainless steel upgrades - maybe bring back the "Platinum" name. And then use thicker, better stuff everywhere else and charge more. We already have an ocean of also-ran cheap grill companies. A grill with the Weber name on it should reflect the proud heritage that implies. Now for that, :george:George would be happy!
 

Tony-Chicago

TVWBB All-Star
I would like to see the smokefire with its flavor attributes. But the shield/fan issue needs to be addressed. Better software too ...
I would be happy if they limit high heat to 400 or even 375 or maybe even less.
But not cause of materials. They could get better materials. It's more the fan speed, and early versions risking embers....
Is there a way to keep the "direct air flavor" profile and have a fool proof system? This would also allow full use of the grates and space. Well, let's just make this simple. Vote Jon Tofte onto the board!
We probably could buy enough influence/stock...
 
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