Lots of automation
App is easy to use
App doesn’t always allow customization
Only two probes included
We purchased the Weber SmokeFire EX4 (2nd Gen) Wood Fired Pellet Grill so our reviewer could put it to the test in her backyard. Keep reading for our full product review.
Grills and smokers are great for cooking a variety of foods from burgers to chicken wings to pizza. Pellet grills combine the best of these two appliances and allow users to have a one-stop appliance for all their grilling, roasting, and smoking needs. I’ve smoked food using everything from an indoor smoker to a kamado grill to an electric smoker, so I looked forward to testing the Weber SmokeFire EX4 (2nd Gen) Wood Fired Pellet Grill. Steaks, burgers, and sides were planned, pellets were ready, and I found a perfect place to set up the grill. After thorough testing, I’ve got the details you need.
Setup Process: Assembly required
This grill came in a large, sturdy box with mostly recyclable packaging. It required assembly and suggested that it would require two people. Great suggestion, but I decided to attempt it solo. There were two times—when laying the grill on its end to attach the legs and when standing it up on its legs—when a second person would have been useful simply because of the weight. But with careful handling, it was possible to do it on my own. The total time for the assembly was two hours, working at a comfortable pace. None of it was difficult, and the only extra tool needed was a Phillips head screwdriver. When the assembly was done, I was left with an Allen wrench and two spare ignitors.
Once the grill was assembled, I downloaded the Weber app, connected the grill via Bluetooth, and then connected the grill to my home wireless network so it could be monitored from a greater distance. The last step was seasoning the grill. The app walked me through the steps and notified me when it was done and again when the grill had cooled enough to turn off. After the initial seasoning, there was just a little bit of ash in the drawer, so it’s obvious this can be used for long cooking sessions without worrying about how much ash is generated.
While it may be possible to purchase the grill assembled or pay extra to have it done, the upside to do-it-yourself assembly is that now I know exactly how easy it is to replace the igniter when it’s necessary, and I know which parts are removable.
Grills aren’t built to be a fashion statement, but this grill looks attractive enough for anyone’s yard or deck. It’s mostly shiny black with a stainless steel side table and a digital control panel.
Inside, there’s a lower rack for higher-heat cooking and an upper rack for more gentle cooking or warming. While it’s not a huge grill overall, there’s plenty of cooking space to feed a crowd.
Below the grill, disguised by a panel that’s the same shiny black as the rest of the grill, is a tray that collects ash and a pan that collects grease and drippings. The grease pan is disposable, so there’s no need to actually clean it. Unfortunately, only one disposable pan is included, but they’re inexpensive.
The pellet hopper runs across the back of the grill and is easy to access from either side. Since pellets come in a variety of wood “flavors,” this has a pellet release door that allows the pellets to drain out of the bottom of the grill. The door is a bit stiff to operate, but that’s better than having it too loose and prone to accidental release.
Thanks to WiFi, it’s possible to monitor the grill temperature, recipe progress, and temperature probes from a distance, so there’s no need to hover over the grill to see what’s going on.
While the hopper holds 20 pounds of pellets, it’s wise to keep extra on hand. I had the hopper completely filled at the start of testing, and went through grill seasoning followed by cooking burgers, potatoes, and chicken before I decided to do a long and slow cook of baby back ribs. About an hour before cooking was done, I got a notice from the grill that it was low on fuel. I checked the hopper and pushed the remaining pellets down their ramp, but ran out of pellets before the cook was done. A small plastic spatula is included that can be used for moving pellets, but it’s not necessary.
The recipe continued, even though the grill had started cooling off, and when I opened the grill I got a temperature drop error that told me to close the lid and check the hopper. Shortly after, the grill shut itself off for safety. It’s good to know what will happen when the grill runs out of pellets, but it’s better to have a spare bag tucked away.
The grill was easy to move on flat surfaces thanks to the wheels, but it was a little less easy on bumpy ground. Still, there shouldn’t be much need to move the grill very far since it needs to be close to an electric outlet.
This grill doesn’t have a bottom shelf or any kind of enclosed storage, so the only place to hold food or condiments is on the side table. That was fine while grilling, but I would have loved a place to store the power cord and temperature probes when they weren’t in use.
There are four connections on the grill for temperature probes, but the grill only came with two probes. For many people, two will be enough, but it would have been nice to have extras, especially considering that temperature probes tend to fail.
Features: App control
Like so many new cooking products, this grill comes with an app. While it’s not as comprehensive as some I’ve used, there were enough selections to cook the basics. Thanks to WiFi, it’s possible to monitor the grill temperature, recipe progress, and temperature probes from a distance, so there’s no need to hover over the grill to see what’s going on.
The app reminded me when the grill was up to my preset cooking temperature, and when foods needed to be flipped over during cooking, it announced that as well. When the food reached the proper temperature, it gave me another nudge.
After cooking, the grill needs to cool down before it is turned off and unplugged, so that was yet another reminder, and possibly the one I found most useful because it was easy to forget that I needed to unplug the grill once dinner was over.
The cooking programs and recipes were nice, but I also liked that I could set my own cooking temperatures when I wanted to.
The app also can be used to set a timer or set a custom temperature for food. The SmokeBoost feature is used for low-and-slow cooks. It adjusts the temperature at the beginning of the cook to add extra smoke flavor.
While the app allows some customization for the thickness and doneness of specific foods, I would have liked that option for more foods. Some food types were missing, too. For chicken programs, I could choose boneless or bone-in chicken breasts, ground chicken thighs, and whole chicken. I’m fond of chicken wings on the grill and can cook them without an app, but it would have been nice if wings, thighs, and legs were included.
While there are instructions for cooking red meat, pork, poultry, lamb, and fish, there are no cook programs or recipes for vegetables or sides. It’s easy enough to throw a potato on the grill to cook it along with the main dish, but it would have been nice to have some non-meat options in the app.
Performance: It practically operates itself
Overall, the grill was super easy to use, thanks to the easy lighting and the fact that it controlled the temperature on its own. The probes made it a breeze to watch the temperature of the food. The cooking programs and recipes were nice, but I also liked that I could set my own cooking temperatures when I wanted to.
When I cooked half of a chicken, I opted to use the bone-in chicken breast program since my chicken was very small. I put a probe in both the breast and thigh. One probe was assigned to the recipe while the other simply monitored the temperature. The result was a nice smoky chicken.
While the chicken was grilling, I cooked some cheesy potatoes in a small cast iron pan, first putting it on the upper rack to warm through and get smoky, and then finishing it on the grill next to the chicken to melt the cheese on top. It all worked well.
The burger program and the cheeseburger recipe both suggest well-done cooking with no option to change it. While I like my burgers less done, I used the cheeseburger program anyway. The burgers were indeed well done and the cheese melted nicely. Next time I’ll cook them my way, but for people who do like a well-done burger, the program worked.
This grill retails for around $999. There are plenty of pellet grills that come in at a lower price point, albeit with fewer features. While this might not be a beginner’s choice because of the price, it would be a great upgrade when it’s time for something better.
Weber SmokeFire EX4 (2nd Gen) Wood Fired Pellet Grill vs. Traeger Grills Pro 780 Pellet Grill
The Traeger Grills Pro 780 Pellet Grill is very similar to the Weber I tested and has nearly the same price point (it retails for $1,000). On the plus side for the Traeger, it has two larger wheels that would be better over rough ground, has a slightly larger cooking capacity, and can be controlled using Alexa. On the plus side for the Weber, it has a side table, the grease collection is internal and easy to clean, and it can heat to 600 degrees compared to 450 for the Traeger. While I love voice-controlled gadgets, I have to give a slight nod to the Weber for the higher heat for searing.
Smoke signals say yes.
Overall, I liked the Weber SmokeFire EX4 (2nd Gen) Wood Fired Pellet Grill but wished the app was more robust. Still, I’ve grilled for years without needing an app, so it’s a minor quibble, and the app may be updated in the future. For someone looking for solid performance, I’d recommend this, perhaps along with a cookbook for grilling and smoking.
- Product Name Smokefire EX4 (2nd Gen) Wood Fired Pellet Grill
- Product Brand Weber
- MPN 22510201
- Price $999.00
- Product Dimensions 47 x 43 x 33 in.
- Dimensions (Lid Open) 62 x 43 x 33 in.
- Material porcelain enameled steel, stainless steel, and plated steel
- Warranty Electric components, cooking grates, pellet slide, burn pot, heat baffle, pellet grate, and controller bezel, 3 years; Cookbox and components not listed, 5 years
- What's Included 2 temperature probes, 2 spare ignitors, 1 plastic spatula
- Cooking Area 450 sq. in.
- Temperature Range 200-600°F