I'm passing on SmokeFire for now

J Grotz

TVWBB Pro
...
It is hard to see any quick solution for Weber to implement. They may not be able to afford a complete recall. Even if they do that, what can they do to overcome so many design issues? The software can - and will - be fixed, but some of these problems seem to be inherent in the daring design ideas utilized. You are talking massive scrapping of already manufactured parts, disassembly costs to keep what could be salvaged and engineering that obviously needs a lot more time to design, test and implement any changes. And where will all this work to rebuild theses things be done? Will it be outside Chicago or crated and shipped to China? I feel really bad:cry:...
Jon, one quick action Weber could take today is to stop selling Smokefires. I also think Weber and its private equity overlord could afford a recall now. Smokefires have been in user hands for about a week. There are only a few thousand out in the wild. A recall will only get more expensive as time goes on. Every 1,000 cookers they sell will be at least $1,000,000 to recall.

The blowing ash/embers, missing "filter" issue, the hopper issue and the grease drainage issue are not things that can be fixed without major changes to the design of the cooker.

A big social media mea culpa, stop sales, and recall would lead to short term pain, but would save their reputation and give them a chance at profitability in the future.
 

J Grotz

TVWBB Pro
I wonder, is Weber's CEO Chris Scherzinger even aware yet of the unfolding debacle? How would he know? Has their social media team reported to him what is happening online? The youtube videos are overwhelmingly negative, but twitter mentions of Weber SmokeFire are evenly split. Has customer support experienced an uptick in inquiries? I assume so. But has that been reported to the CEO? Everyone here is at the front lines and knows what is going on, but has the news traveled back to headquarters?
 

Rich Dahl

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
I agree with J and Jon. We don't know how many are out there but Weber knows who the shipped theirs too and so does Amazon and Lowes and anyone else that sold them knows who the owners are. Have the sellers notify the new owners to not use them and make arrangements to get them back. Weber needs to stop all future sales and notify the new owners of the ones already out there not to use them.

The reviews on Amazon are telling it all
 

Brian B Atlanta

TVWBB All-Star
We got so many pellet threads going on unsure where to put this but: Doing a lot of surfing today other forums all talking about the SmokeFire at least 4 or 5 are returning them another 5 or 6 canceling orders, many looking for suggestions on what else to buy. So far from what I see a few the Camp Chef Woodwind but the majority the Rec Tec 700 which some members own here.

I'm guessing these companies including Traeger were waiting to see the impact the SmokeFire would have. Ironically its probably working in their favor, people waiting till the Weber came out to buy a pellet grill for the upcoming season pushes them to look for an alternative.
 

Bob Swaskoski

TVWBB Fan
We got so many pellet threads going on unsure where to put this but: Doing a lot of surfing today other forums all talking about the SmokeFire at least 4 or 5 are returning them another 5 or 6 canceling orders, many looking for suggestions on what else to buy. So far from what I see a few the Camp Chef Woodwind but the majority the Rec Tec 700 which some members own here.

I'm guessing these companies including Traeger were waiting to see the impact the SmokeFire would have. Ironically its probably working in their favor, people waiting till the Weber came out to buy a pellet grill for the upcoming season pushes them to look for an alternative.
I'll be honest, I was not in the market for a pellet grill until Weber announced the SmokeFire last year but after further research here and on other sites, I was ready to take the plunge. I was forced to scale back my grill/smoker collection last year and this was going to be my first step back. While the Rec Tec gets good reviews, their support does not and I admit that I am spoiled by historical Weber service. I'll need to read up more on Camp Chef.
 

Jon Tofte

TVWBB Platinum Member
That is one of the few negative comments I have heard about Rec Tec’s support compared to many praising their efforts to fix a problem. I don’t know if they do it anymore, but they literally used to give you an owner’s cell phone number. I have never had to call, but I feel confident they would support me like the family business they are. I don’t intend to use this board to promote Rec Tec, but I do plan to contrast the differences in the design of my RT-700 compared to the SmokeFire to help in sorting out what has happened. I will say I can recommend the Rec Tec grill that I own.
 

Jason in CA

TVWBB All-Star
I wonder, is Weber's CEO Chris Scherzinger even aware yet of the unfolding debacle? How would he know? Has their social media team reported to him what is happening online? The youtube videos are overwhelmingly negative, but twitter mentions of Weber SmokeFire are evenly split. Has customer support experienced an uptick in inquiries? I assume so. But has that been reported to the CEO? Everyone here is at the front lines and knows what is going on, but has the news traveled back to headquarters?
Perhaps he is working on the copy paste corporate response still.


Here at Weber we are committed to providing the highest quality products and value to our customers. Yada yada.

We value the opinions of ext,ext,ext.

It's recently come to our attention that one of our products may not be bla bla bla.

Know that here at Weber customer satisfaction is our top priority and so on and so on and so on.

For more information please visit WWW. You get the idea.



Or worded something like that anyway.
 

Timothy F. Lewis

TVWBB Hall of Fame
I’m just as happy to be a cheapskate and be happy with the equipment I have, anytime I have jumped into the first run of ANYTHING I’ve been burned (sorry, bad pun) so, I dodged the bullet this time. I’m sorry to hear all these less than stellar happenings. Maybe the construction was done in Wuhan and the workers were suffering a fever? Sorry again, bad joke.
 

Chris in GA

TVWBB Super Fan
Just looked at Amazon really bad reviews.
Like everyone said it needs a redesign. Probably the top and bottom round body and legs can be salvaged and stay the same but the mechanism will have to be redesigned.
Only problem is fire is the main event here and people can get really hurt. I think recall would be best even that is costly.
Curious what will happen.
 
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Lew Newby

TVWBB All-Star
I'll be honest, I was not in the market for a pellet grill until Weber announced the SmokeFire last year but after further research here and on other sites, I was ready to take the plunge. I was forced to scale back my grill/smoker collection last year and this was going to be my first step back. While the Rec Tec gets good reviews, their support does not and I admit that I am spoiled by historical Weber service. I'll need to read up more on Camp Chef.
I had a Rec Tec portable and gave it to my son because he needed a portable and I have my Camp Chef. I bought my Rec Tec used and when I called customer service I got outstanding support. I bought a WIFI controller from them and had a problem. 2 days after I called I had a new controller at my door. Now, I never yell at customer service people so maybe that's why they've been outstanding for me and probably 99% of people that have called them.

If you want a sear capability I think the Camp Chef is a great option. Also good customer support. If you want a Stainless steel smoker then the Rec Tec will give you stainless steel grates, body, and internals plus a ceramic igniter and an outstanding wifi controller. Either way you go I think you'll be happy with your choice.
 

LarrySTX

New member
Thank you for posting that cartoon, it used to hang in our department at HP when I was doing usability testing years ago. :D
You're welcome. I suspect most ITers of a certain era are familiar with the cartoon. The panel regarding beta testers seems particularly appropriate.

Pure speculation, but I'm wondering if Weber is considering riding out the (alleged) grease fire issue on long, fatty cooks by emphasizing use of drip pans. Changing language in the manual & in the Weber Connect guidance for brisket, pork butt, etc to always use a drip pan beneath the food might be enough.

For example, the current language in my version of the manual is:
"NOTE: When grilling or smoking over a longer period of time, WEBER encourages the use of a water pan inside the cookbox."

could be changed to something like:
"NOTE: When grilling or smoking over a longer period of time, ALWAYS use a drip pan placed inside the cookbox beneath the food to reduce risk of fire."

Seems likely that Weber has analyzed the SmokeFire market. For the typical SmokeFire buyer, could it be that packer briskets & pork butts are forecast to be the exception with quick, higher temp cooks the rule? If so, asking the customer to add a drip pan every so often might not be thought burdensome if the manual encourages it.
 

Lew Newby

TVWBB All-Star
To make clean up a lot easier I use a disposable Aluminum pan with a Jerky rack across the top. I set the meat on the jerky rack and smoke can circulate under the meat. Clean up is just the pan and grate. This is a procedure I carried over from my WSM to the pellet grill. Since it's just me and the wife most of my cooks are 1 hunk of meat. I don't use it for multiple racks of ribs.
 

LarrySTX

New member
If that's true, then Weber should provide the long cook drip pan. Why should every owner have to BYOD?

Where would you put it? Resting on top of the flavorizer bars?
Once again we're talking pure hypotheticals but with that in mind, Weber providing the drip pan sounds good to me. Saw a post on another forum where Weber was (I think) recommending the pan be placed on bottom below the flavorizer bars. It may be a water pan rather than just a dry drip pan. I'm not quite sure. In any case if it truly is the bottom, it would make sense for Weber to design and supply the pan(s) to ensure that grease fires would be prevented (assuming a regular throwaway is insufficient) since this is somewhat similar to pools of grease on the bottom.

Don't really want to speculate further. I was really more curious as to "How widespread are grease fire issues likely to be?" & if assuming there is an issue "Short of a recall, what actions should Weber take?"
 

Chris Allingham

Administrator
Staff member
My local Lowe's finally got an EX4 assembled and on the sales floor. In all of the online videos and photos, I had a hard time understanding the scale of the interior parts. The fire pot is much larger and deeper than I thought. And the grease channel is almost as wide as a business card where it exits the cooking chamber. I can see how grease would flow toward that channel and exit were it not for ash and solids dripping off the meat that might inhibit that flow.

IMG_9434[1].JPG
 

Brian Johnson

TVWBB Super Fan
My Questions
  • How could anyone at Weber see the amount of ash and embers flying out of this cooker and think that it was not a problem? Was this not a problem with pre-production units?
I haven't seen (first hand or otherwise) how much ash/embers fly out of the cooker, but I wonder if that subsides over time. Analogous to how a WSM leaks a lot around the door until you get a few good cooks to "gunk it up" a bit. Not that embers flying anywhere is a good thing, but still if indeed the cook chamber (assuming that's where it's coming from) seals up with more use, I wonder if that's how the Weber team determined it wasn't an issue. (Not that it's any consolation to someone who has a fire because of it).

  • Pellets have to be "helped" down the bin toward the auger intake. Did anyone see this as a problem, or was this a design trade-off in order to achieve the long narrow bin hidden behind the unit?
Again, is this something that "fixes itself" with use? Sawdust or something to act as a lubricant? Ok, I can't justify that one, change the slope of the hopper and be done with it.

  • Did Weber load these grills to the max with untrimmed pork butts to see how they handled grease during low & slow cooking? I would assume they did, but...
  • Were actual customers involved in usability testing of these grills early in the design process? You can't bring people in after the design is complete and hope to solve any significant problems that are found.
Yeah, I'd like to assume the answer to both of these would have to be yes. But who knows... I thought I heard (on the "lets invite YouTube influencers to Chicago and cook for them" videos of the launch event, that Weber talked to actual users of pellet cookers, though I could have made that up too. Actually, I have to imagine that Weber had to load these cookers up with something fatty, and more than just one. I just don't get it.
 

timothy

TVWBB Hall of Fame
Ya know I was interested in pellet grills before Weber came out with this toilet show. Between the videos/ and comments on this subforum I had to take a look at the manuals on weber.com.
Pretty standard on the safety/warnings as in "don't use indoors" or "operate within 2'" of any "combustible materials" like wood/composite decks, porches or patios.
Thing that really caught my eye was all the "stuff" you have to do on startup, shutdown, troubleshooting and error codes.
What I mean is you have to have a screwdriver and the manual or a smartphone to fix most problems when it's not working properly.( more stuff)
Me, I'll stick with charcoal on my WSM's and kettles. If it's not heating properly, well that's an easy fix, add more charcoal. ( less stuff);)

Tim
 

BFletcher

TVWBB Wizard
.. you have to have a screwdriver and the manual or a smartphone to fix most problems...
Maybe this helps illustrate why Jon's occasional thought that his Bull is dated may not be a bad thing. By the way; I, too, have a Bull and it is a treat to use and look at.
 

timothy

TVWBB Hall of Fame
Yea, I had a chance to get a Rec-Tec last year ( at a great price), but the seller decided to gift it to his son in law.
When I learned weber was coming out with one with more bells and whistles I was listening and reading.
So far no good.

Tim
 

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