What we know about Weber's new Pellet Grill
On September 16th, the official Weber Grills Twitter account posted:
"Breaking: Where there's smoke, there's SmokeFire. Check back to see what happens when the smoke clears. #webersmokefire"
In comments following this tweet, we know that it is about the much-rumored Weber Pellet Grill. Let's talk about what we know so far.
The official information we have so far is spotty at best. I have combined information I have gotten through my contacts with those of others. In particular I want to thank Chris Allingham over at the Virtual Weber Bullet for the information he has provided. As always, when it comes to Weber, he is the man in the know.
We can officially announce that the names for the two models of the Weber Pellet Grill are:
- Weber SmokeFire EX4 Wood Pellet Grill Black
- Weber SmokeFire EX6 Wood Pellet Grill Black
These names include the GBS or Gourmet Barbecue System designation. In both Weber's charcoal and gas grills this has meant that the grill includes a multi-function cooking grate that can be used to hold an array of accessries. It is possible that there will be a none GBS version in some areas, but it does tell us that Weber is planning on a number of addons that will be available with their pellet grill. I am assuming this will include the heavy cast iron cooking grate section that would give this grill very good searing capabilities. I will include more accessory information as it becomes available.
With the addition of the word 'black' in the name, it is also possible that there may be color variations available in the future. This full name as chosen to be expandible.
It is confirmed that there will be two models of Weber pellet grills. They will be in line with the new pellet grills from Broil King, offering two different sizes. When it comes to pellet cookers, it would appear that size matters.
The two models will be similar in appearance. There will be a 24 and 36 inch models. At 24 inch wide we can expect around 400 to 450 square inches of total cooking space depending on the size of the upper rack. The area could be smaller, however. At 36 inches wide the cooking area could be as much as 875 square inches. These sizes would put the Weber pellet grills in line with similarly priced grills from Traeger.
In 2016, Weber acquired the iGrill technology from iDevices. All Weber gas grills now come standard with a port to plug this Bluetooth enabled device directly into the grill side table. The technology behind the iGrill isn't stunning, but Weber has maintained research and development in house for this temperature control mechanism and its associated app. This upgraded technology is now known as iConnect .The Weber pellet grills will use this technology, but there will be an additional accessory unit with improved functionality that will communicate with Amazon's Alexa. Yes, you will be able to ask Alexa how the brisket is coming along.
As for the pellet feed system, it is being reported that Weber is going to be using a vertical auger with an ash cleanout system that is said to be better than Traeger. We will have to see how such a system works, but I assume it has been tested thoroughly. What we know is that pellets feed upward at an angle and fall into the firepot. That firepot has a cleanout system that appears to work similarly to that of the Broil King pellet grills.
Weber knows that they have to be able to offer something better than Traeger. Word is that the Weber pellet grill will be able to reach temperatures around 600 F and do so in about 15 minutes. This is certainly an improvement over Traeger and a fast heat up time. Pellet consumption might, however, be very high. Weber is generally fuel efficient and that will come down to the body design.
Weber does not follow the pack. Don't expect the Weber pellet grill to look like any other. In fact, it may be a complete departure from competing designs. The Weber Q became one of their most successful products, and it was unlike any other portable unit at the time.
We know from teaser images and reports from people who have seen this pellet grill that it will have a similar look to the Genesis Gas Grills. This includes the chrome banded edges with a shiny black body. The overall shape is the typical barrel configuration seen on most pellet grills.
Internally, Weber is throwing around the 'flavorizer' term for heat distribution. From the sound of it, there might be a multi-part diffuser inside the grill. Again, this is similar to the design by Broil King and possibly part of the reason that Broil King rushed their pellet grills to market.
While Weber maintains manufacturing for their charcoal grills in the United States, much of their gas grills are made in China. Weber is staying that the SmokeFire Pellet Grills will be assembled in the United States with parts sourced globally. How much of the grill will be imported will be nearly impossible to tell. But it is good news that they are at least keeping some of the production in the United States.
We know from Weber that we can expect this pellet grill in the first quarter of 2020. I would bet on availability beginning in February or March. Traditionally, Weber holds a press event in the first week of December to make big
announcements. However, it is looking like a formal announcement will be made in November. This announcement will include all the information about these two pellet grills as well as a host of accessories and Weber brand wood pellets.
Currently the pricing for the two models of these grills are around $1,000 and $1,200. This may change, but my prediction is that Weber wants to be highly competitive out of the gate. They are taking on Traeger after all and need to keep prices as low as possible. This will allow them to build a following and convert Traeger fans over to their products. If these grills are successful, prices might go up for 2021 or more models could be introduced.
Newly leaked information shows the warranty on the Weber SmokeFire Wood Fired Pellet Grill as:
- 5 years: Cook box and all components not covered below: no rust-through/burn-through
- 3 years: Electrical components: (Weber Connect controller, auger motor, fan, probes)
- 3 years: Cooking Grates
- 3 years: All remaining parts: (glow plug, burn pot, fuel grate, pellet slide)
To put this in context, Traeger offers a complete 3 year warranty on their pellet grills. It would appear that Weber is trying to raise the bar here too.
Weber might be late to the pellet grill market, but no one has a larger distribution network than they do. If they choose to do so, the Weber pellet grill could show up in over 100 countries simultaneously, and on the floor of every major retailer. Never underestimate the power of Weber. As it stands, the Weber SmokeFire will be released in North America and across Europe in early 2020.
Of course, the rollout will more likely come in phases. Some markets are familiar with pellet grills, and Weber needs to sell the idea that they can build a good one. Other markets are familiar with Weber, and this is where they need to introduce the idea of pellet cooking. The United States is the largest pellet grill market, and it is here that they will focus their initial attention.
I intend to keep this page updated with everything I learn about the new Weber Pellet Grills. If you have any information or questions, please leave a comment below.