Weber 23510001 SmokeFire EX6 Wood Fired Pellet Grill Review
Weber has been a giant player in the grill industry for decades. Their kettle grill was one of the original home grills to hit the mass market in the 1950s and remains a popular seller to this day. Yet Weber has not been shy about branching out int other niches and types of grills with high-quality units across their broad line.
Their entrance into the increasingly crowded wood pellet grill niche seems a little late. Though when you take a look at their SmokeFire EX6 Wood Fired Pellet Grill, you see Webers’s telltale quality, with engineering features that show they have been taking notes to address some of the common problems you see in some of the competitors.
The Weber SmokeFire EX6 was designed to handle a temperature range as low as 200-degrees or as high as 600-degrees. It can be controlled via the digital control console with an LCD screen or via the “Weber Connect” app for IOS and Android smartphones.
The hopper has a pull-out drawer, which allows you to easily release pellets after smoking. While in operation it delivers a careful stream of wood pellet to an inclined auger. This profile prevents the inconvenient jams that you sometimes experience in other wood pellet grills. Once it reaches its peak the variable speed auger then drops the wood pellets onto a responsive incline.
This profile delivers the wood pellets in a consistent stream directly to the firepot, where they burn efficiently. Some competitor models merely deliver the wood pellet near the fire, which can lead to minor inconsistencies in the burn rate. The way the SmokeFire burns pellets allows for rapid preheating up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit in as little as 15 minutes.
The heat is then distributed into the cooking chamber via a baffle system and a series of “Flavorizer” bars or “Heat Tents” to evenly distribute the heat across the cooking surface. The ash that is produced falls neatly into a slide system that allows it to fall out without interacting with the ambient airflow. This virtually eliminates ash from landing on the food.
The SmokeFire EX6 uses the same stainless steel grates as the Weber Spirit gas grill. The primary grate and the warming rack provide a grand total of 1008 square inches of cooking space. The digital controls also come with a meat probe thermometer.
Smoke leaves the primary cooking chamber via a series of narrow rear vents. The ash and grease that falls out of the primary chamber and smoke pot are channeled to a special pull out tray for easy disposal.
Construction & Ease of Assembly
Weber knew that if they were going to show up late to the wood pellet grill marketplace that they were going to have to marry quality with innovation. You see that throughout the Weber SmokeFire EX6. It has thick gauge steel construction throughout, with Weber’s hallmark porcelainized enamel exterior finish.
The stainless steel grates from the Spirit gas grill might seem like a repurpose of materials, but they are also known for being superior to some of the chrome-plated grates that Weber uses in other parts of their line. It also makes for affordable replacements in the future.
Where you really see the SmokeFire EX6 shine is in the very thoughtful design cues and features that address common problems you see in many of the competitor models.
As you might imagine assembly is a little bit laborious with a smoker and grill of this size and complexity. It’s certainly heavy enough that you will need to recruit at least one if not two people to help you assemble it. While the instructions are relatively easy to read, you should still block out at least two if not three hours to get it fully put together.
The internal engineering of the Weber SmokeFire EX6 gives it rapid preheating time, as well as a top-end temperature that a lot of other wood pellet grills can’t safely reach. It’s rated to be able to burn up to 600-degrees in as little as 15 minutes. Just keep in mind that the hotter you set the temperature the less smoke there will be in the chamber. This is something you see in a lot of wood pellet grills, but it might be more pronounced with the SmokeFire EX6.
At the same time, there are little cues in the overall design that affect the performance, which you shouldn’t overlook. The way the heat is distributed through the baffles and flavorizer bars make it incredibly balanced. Even the far ends of the warming rack could be considered a primary cooking area in mid-to-low temperature applications.
The way the ash falls out of the system without encountering the airflow leaves you with cleaner food. The exhaust vents in the back evenly distribute heat flow better than wood pellet grills with a chimney.
In high heat applications, the stainless steel grill grates can be a little bit sticky with lean meats. You can get around this by lightly greasing them with a little bit of olive oil right before placing the meat.
If there is one possible complaint with performance, it’s the lack of a broiler plate for direct flame grilling. Though if Weber had opted for this feature it would have affected the overall heat distribution. As it stands the 600-degree maximum temperature can impart a superior sear and grid marks on the meat.
Currently, the Weber SmokeFire EX6 isn’t set up to go below 200-degrees for “Cold Smoking” but the claim that they are working on a “Smoke Boost” app that could make this possible in the future.
The primary grill grate and warming rack offer up a staggering 1008 square inches of cooking space.
The inclined variable speed auger with responsive incline makes for faster preheating and more efficient burning, which translates into greater high heat potential.
The baffles, flavorizer bars, and rear vents make for more even heat distribution throughout the primary cooking chamber.
The ash and grease management systems that deliver them to one single pull out drawer also makes for very easy cleanup.
Ease to Clean
One could argue that the Weber SmokeFire EX6 is the easiest cleaning wood pellet grill on the market today. Ash and grease are delivered to a pull-out tray, which spares you tippy cups or having to use a shop vac to extract the ash.
The grates are even relatively easy to scrape down for being somewhat sticky stainless steel.
The Weber SmokeFire EX6 comes with a five-year limited warranty. This is on par with competitors in this price range. Though Weber themselves do offer superior warranty coverage on similar if not lesser traditional grills.
It’s hard to find fault with the Weber SmokeFire EX6. It has all the engineering and quality materials that you want to see in a state-of-the-art wood pellet grill. It’s easy to use, easy to clean and has a temperature range that’s broader than most of the other competitors in the field.
It would’ve been nice if the cold smoking feature was ready on the rollout debut. The lack of a broiler plate is understandable given the dynamics of the grill. The five-year warranty feels a little light when you consider that Weber does offer 10-year coverage on some of their other high-end grills.
Beyond those minor foibles, it’s pretty hard to argue against the Weber SmokeFire EX6.
- Quality materials
- State-of-the-art design
- Ash doesn’t interact with airflow
- 200 to 600-degrees
- Preheats to the maximum in under 15 minutes
- Ash and grease divert to a pullout tray
- Only a 5-year warranty
- Heavy to assemble
- Stainless steel grates are occasionally sticky