ASMOKE AS350 Portable Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker Review
Wood pellet grills are the newest and fastest-growing trend in the world of backyard grilling. Engineered to be both a smoker and a grill they offer an impressive amount of versatility for the price. Models like the ASMOKE AS350 can be set up to BBQ, Bake, Roast, Braise, Smoke, Sear, Broil, and Char-Grill. It does this via carefully burning wood pellets that are delivered consistently to an internal fire pot via a controlled auger system.
The ASMOKE AS350 features a digital control system with an analog control knob. This gives you the kinesthetic response that you want in a controller, with the digital accuracy you need to make sure the temperature is precisely dialed for the food you are cooking.
The ASMOKE AS350 was also designed to be compact with the potential for portability in mind. It only weighs 52-pounds and has a very small footprint. This puts it in range for use as a tailgating grill, camping grill, or even a grill you can bring along in your RV. Not to mention fun trips to the beach.
One of the tradeoffs in all this compact design is the fact that it only comes with a 4-pound hopper. This is enough to smoke a full broiler-fryer chicken or a trimmed rack of spareribs. Though you will need to quickly reload if you want to do something like a pork shoulder. ASMOKE was also wise enough to design the lid to be tall enough to accommodate a small chicken without it touching the underside of the lid.
One of the other innovations built into the ASMOKE AS350 is the Micro-Particles Vapor Technology. This lets you can choose any liquid seasonings, such as wine, or diluted sauces, to steam into the primary cooking chamber to impart additional flavors and humidity.
The ASMOKE AS350 was also engineered with an Auto-Ashes Cleaning system that includes a side bucket to collect extra oil and grease. The ASCA System has a built-in auto clean ashes function that draws micro ash particles out of the smoking chamber to keep them off the meat, while also speeding the cleaning process in the end. This is next-gen engineering that you typically only find in larger, high-end wood pellet grills.
Construction & Ease of Assembly
The material build quality of the ASMOKE AS350 is in the mid to upper part of the spectrum of what you would expect for a wood pellet grill of this size and price. It doesn’t have the thick gauge steel you see in some of the slightly larger models in this niche, but it still isn’t made from thin metal. The dome of the primary cooking chamber is thick enough to not cause thermal inefficiency issues. Though it’s probably not thick enough to smoke efficiently in cold weather where the outside temperature dips to freezing.
When it comes to assembly, the ASMOKE AS350 is a little easier than a lot of wood pellet grills, which tend to be a chore. You should be able to fully put it together in under an hour. Perhaps half an hour if you happen to be particularly handy.
Wood pellet grills are prized for their versatility, and that shows up with the ASMOKE AS350. It does a great job of smoking and giving you superior temperature control. At the same time, it can also bake and roast with ease. The ability to steam in your favorite sauces and other enhancements is also a nice touch. The airflow in the primary cooking chamber also does a great job of keeping ash off the food, while also making cleanup easy.
Though like a lot of wood pellet grills, the ASMOKE AS350 doesn’t offer direct flame. This can be an issue if you are a steak purist who wants to experience that deep rich crust that only comes from direct fire grilling. Though if you let the grill heat up for a solid 15 to 20 minutes at 400 degrees or higher, the metal of the porcelain coated grill grates will indeed sear off a steak nicely.
If there’s an honest complaint about the grilling performance of the ASMOKE AS350 it’s the relatively small hopper. Only capable of holding a maximum of four pounds of wood pellets, you will need to reload several times just to do something like smoke a pork shoulder.
It’s also worth noting that the ASMOKE AS350 was ideally designed to work with their in-house brand of applewood wood pellets. Though you can get by with standard wood pellets if you find a better deal on them somewhere else.
On paper, the ASMOKE AS350 offers a total of 350 square inches of grilling space. Though this includes the small warming rack, which could easily get in the way when smoking anything taller than a thick-cut steak. With it removed, there is sufficient room to smoke a small pork shoulder or a modest broiler-fryer chicken.
The Micro-Particles Vapor Technology allows you to choose any liquid seasonings, such as wine, or diluted sauces, to steam into the primary cooking chamber to impart additional flavors and humidity.
The Auto-Ashes Cleaning system draws micro ash particles out of the smoking chamber to keep them off the meat,
Ease to Clean
For the size and price the ASMOKE AS350 is surprisingly easy to clean. The Auto Ashes Cleaning system does a great job of pulling away ash. The grill grates are also coated with semi-non-stick porcelain which makes them easy to scrape down.
The ASMOKE AS350 comes with a 5 year warranty, which is at the top end of the range for a wood pellet grill this size and price. It makes a strong statement about the backing of their engineering and material selection.
The ASMOKE AS350 isn’t the biggest wood pellet grill out there, but it does represent the cutting edge of innovation in a wood pellet grill that can truly be “Portable.” All at a price that won’t put a hurting on your bank account. Just be prepared to reload the small four-pound capacity pellet hopper multiple times in a long smoking session.