SmokeFire issues on YouTube.

Dave - Unixadm

TVWBB Super Fan
Weber strayed a bit off the beaten path with the Smokefire:

1. DIrect grilling chamber, versus the more conventional drip pan arrangement. Opportunity for improved grilling performance, but risk to potential grease fires.
2. Less conventional hopper assembly.
3. Use of a smaller glow plug in place of an igniter rod.
4. Electronic controls which in their first iteration may require some tweaking.
5. Adoption of a vertically air fed fire pot with forced air ash pan.

Some of the other companies acquired controllers from another manufacture and simply incorporated them into their earlier pellet grills. That certainly would have reduced the risk. Weber looks to have gone their own path, so they're potentially not only having to work out software issues on a controller, but also two different apps and hardware.

If they can sort out the issues and maintain the smoke output I've seen, I'm going to love the Smokefire. They got a lot right and have a few pretty significant issues that I hope they acknowledge and resolve.
 
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Lynn Dollar

TVWBB All-Star
That's the one I saw but didn't post. I didn't realize he was giving a camp chef when I saw him recommend it. However, the rest seems to be on par with what others have said, which is why I didn't share that one.
I posted his Camp Chef review about a month or two ago, after Rich bought a Camp Chef.

 

Jason in CA

TVWBB All-Star
It makes me wonder whether Weber did any usability testing with actual customers? It's one thing for Weber engineers and staff professionals like Kevin and Dustin to run these grills through their paces, but I can speak from personal experience having done countless usability tests for high-tech that you never really know how customers use your product until you watch them doing it. They do things you never would have expected!

I also wonder what would have happened if BBM hadn't been around when his grease fire started. If the lid were left closed, would the grill have handled it without ruining the meat? That would have been the real test...to trust the grill and see what happens, then make your judgment.
You can never know what people will do with a product once it's in the wild. People do really bizarre things, and want to blame the product for their stupidity But Weber claims they basically had to set up a grease fire. I'm not buying that.

I'm going with they didn't truly do testing, or they knew, and won't admit it. Neither scenario is really acceptable.

I've had grease fires on the Genesis after cleaning.

After thinking about it I'm wondering if the flavorizor bars may have been used so they could get the high heat searing, but aren't ideal for a low slow smoker. Then again, the grease management could just be bad in the Smoke Fire. Maybe a combination of the two.

No matter how you slice it, there does seem to be more issues than there should be. At this point I'm just spectator, but curious how everything is going to shake out, and how Weber is going to handle all of it.
 

Derrick H

TVWBB Fan
It makes me wonder whether Weber did any usability testing with actual customers? It's one thing for Weber engineers and staff professionals like Kevin and Dustin to run these grills through their paces, but I can speak from personal experience having done countless usability tests for high-tech that you never really know how customers use your product until you watch them doing it. They do things you never would have expected!

I also wonder what would have happened if BBM hadn't been around when his grease fire started. If the lid were left closed, would the grill have handled it without ruining the meat? That would have been the real test...to trust the grill and see what happens, then make your judgment.
Great points. Especially about letting customers test it before releasing it.

I work in corp communications, I am eagerly awaiting to see how Weber is going to handle the backlash. I remember posting that it was strange that Weber didn't have some "influencers" making YouTube videos before the launch to hype it up even more. Maybe now I have my answer. Maybe they did know there were issues and didn't want the bad word of mouth before launching the product. BBM's guess that the units they used at the event in Chicago and the one he bought at Lowe's are different would be something if proven true.

It's all speculation, but I do feel for people who spent $1000+ and aren't happy. That is a good chunk of change to throw down and walk away unhappy.
 

J Grotz

TVWBB Pro
Weber wanted to create an all-in-one outdoor cooker, a grill that can sear, a lo-and-slow smoker, and everything in between in one stylish unit. Anything all-in-one is a compromise. It seems obvious now that Weber made a significant compromise to get that 600 degree sear capability---getting rid of the drip tray. And until Weber responded to Dave W, they haven't been honest about it. I don't recall seeing any disposable drip pans under the grates in any of the videos from the Chicago reveal a few months back. BBM was there. Weber taught him how to use the Smokefire. I'll bet, no one ever told him to put a drip pan under pork butt (and similar items). I'm fairly certain it's not in the user manual either. The bottom line on the grease fire issue seems to be that the user must supply their own disposable drip pan (placed under the grate, on top of the flavorizer bars) when smoking fatty foods low and slow.
 

Jason in CA

TVWBB All-Star
I also thought about BBM's comments about the ones shown vs the ones shipped when he mentioned it. But I was thinking maybe that's why they were cooking pizzas and serving premade smoked meat. you're not as likely to have a grease fire sharing a few steaks and making pizza. baking pizza was to ensure there was no fires because they knew it was a possibility. It had ran through my mind but I don't want to believe that Weber was being that deliberately deceptive. However I am beginning to really wonder.
 

Derrick H

TVWBB Fan
Weber wanted to create an all-in-one outdoor cooker, a grill that can sear, a lo-and-slow smoker, and everything in between in one stylish unit. Anything all-in-one is a compromise. It seems obvious now that Weber made a significant compromise to get that 600 degree sear capability---getting rid of the drip tray. And until Weber responded to Dave W, they haven't been honest about it. I don't recall seeing any disposable drip pans under the grates in any of the videos from the Chicago reveal a few months back. BBM was there. Weber taught him how to use the Smokefire. I'll bet, no one ever told him to put a drip pan under pork butt (and similar items). I'm fairly certain it's not in the user manual either. The bottom line on the grease fire issue seems to be that the user must supply their own disposable drip pan (placed under the grate, on top of the flavorizer bars) when smoking fatty foods low and slow.
According to BBM , they told him that a pan would mess with the air flow in the unit and they aren't needed anyway. A week before launch they added a line about recommending water pans to long, fatty cooks to an FAQ on the Weber web site. They also added this language to an answer to a question on Amazon a few days ago. Maybe closer to launch they realized they had a problem. I remember a week before launch there was a guy on Instagram who had a EX6 that had a water pan under the pork shoulder he was smoking. I wondered why, I guess I know now, haha!


I also thought about BBM's comments about the ones shown vs the ones shipped when he mentioned it. But I was thinking maybe that's why they were cooking pizzas and serving premade smoked meat. you're not as likely to have a grease fire sharing a few steaks and making pizza. baking pizza was to ensure there was no fires because they knew it was a possibility. It had ran through my mind but I don't want to believe that Weber was being that deliberately deceptive. However I am beginning to really wonder.
I am going to be honest here. With no explanation for the original delay and then the radio silence up until the release, I do believe Weber knew something was up. Even at the Chicago event, I thought it was REALLY strange not to have atleast one EX6 smoking a brisket the entire time they were there. Have the YouTubers cook steak and salmon, but to the side have a slow and low cook going to show how that works. It was really weird that you ignore a big part of the product at it's "debut". I am having flashbacks to the issues with the red anniversary kettle.
 

Brian B Atlanta

TVWBB All-Star
Weber wanted to create an all-in-one outdoor cooker, a grill that can sear, a lo-and-slow smoker, and everything in between in one stylish unit. Anything all-in-one is a compromise.
Also trying to do that at an attractive price point I might add for trying to do everything.
 

Brian B Atlanta

TVWBB All-Star
I am having flashbacks to the issues with the red anniversary kettle.
Kind of funny I thought of that also as my wife was going to get me one even though I had a performer cause I loved the red. I decided not to have her do it wanted to keep my powder dry for something else. Sometimes you just get lucky.
 

Brian B Atlanta

TVWBB All-Star
Larry, I disagree if it did everything it said it did which currently does not appear to do that without issues and it was a truly an all in one grill with a Weber name on it the price is attractive. Weber is not going to be in a $499 market and a Camp Chef costs at least that move on to Traeger and Rec Tec the price goes up.
 

J Grotz

TVWBB Pro
BBM has a new video up, What went wrong and how it should work.


Edit: OMG:eek: the amount of coagulated grease pooled in the in the bottom of his Smokefire! Is there any slope at all in the bottom?

Edit 2: He says in the comments he is in contact with Weber. There's over 2100 views and the video has only been up an hour.
 
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Derrick H

TVWBB Fan
BBM has a new video up, What went wrong and how it should work.


Edit: OMG:eek: the amount of coagulated grease pooled in the in the bottom of his Smokefire! Is there any slope at all in the bottom?
I just watched that. This seems like a real design issue. He was guessing at a solution and to be honest a customer shouldn't be put in that position, especially when you just paid over $1000. In the comments he said Weber reached out to him after he posted this video.
 

LMichaels

TVWBB Hall of Fame
Larry, I disagree if it did everything it said it did which currently does not appear to do that without issues and it was a truly an all in one grill with a Weber name on it the price is attractive. Weber is not going to be in a $499 market and a Camp Chef costs at least that move on to Traeger and Rec Tec the price goes up.
I just don't see $1000+ there
 

ShaneF

TVWBB Fan
I just don't see $1000+ there
IMO, Comparatively it is probably worth even more...if it didn’t have issues. There’s no better grilling pellet grill out there less than $2500. With the issues, not sure what it’s worth. Funny thing is, the Memphis I had grilled well too...and had numerous grease fires. Getting more heat to food greatly increases the fire risk. I’m really torn at this point and would be much less so if there wasn’t a feed problem too.
 

Jon Tofte

TVWBB Platinum Member
What a story...I will just comment that I also do not personally agree that the SmokeFire is overpriced. If it works even close to what has been promised it offers much more than the HIGHER priced Traeger Ironwood they were aiming for. Nothing against Pit Boss, Camp Chef, etc., but the grills at the ~$500 price point are not directly comparable. That doesn't mean they don't do a good job. A Nissan Altima will do a very good job of getting you somewhere but it is not a Lexus. My Rec Tec goes for $1,199 new, and that's without the fold-down front shelf, just like Weber is doing. I think my Rec Tec is another good benchmark to compare the larger SmokeFire to.

That all said, this start for Weber looks to be turning into a debacle. While I don't like private equity groups (I know , I worked under one for several years:cautious:), I still have an affection for Weber and hate to see this happening. These issues throw the selling price out the window for any comparison.

I have to say, that if George:george: was still there, I think Weber might well be calling these things back home to get these issues resolved. Sad thing is that maybe the engineering was a reach too far and there is no easy fix.

I was starting to feel my Rec Tec - with its old-fashioned grease bucket, smokestack and solid drip shield - was starting to look dated. Maybe not. Could be they have the right idea on at least some of those items and that pellet grills need to be primarily low and slow BBQ machines as we have always thought.
Smokin Rec Tec.jpg

BBQ Ribs.jpg
 

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