Traeger has long been the industry leader in wood pellet smokers, ever since Joe Traeger invented the technology in the 1980s. But barbecue legend Weber has just entered the pellet grill arena, launching their SmokeFire with Weber’s patented Flavorizer bars. Is the original still the best? Or has Weber brought something new to the world of pellet grills? Let’s find out.
Traeger Ironwood Overview
The Ironwood is Traeger’s mid-range pellet grill, placed between the Pro and Timberline grills, but it has a lot of advanced features first introduced with the Timberline. The Ironwood has Traeger’s new D2 Direct Drive system, where the redesigned fan and auger work together to create more wood smoke flavor, even at higher temperatures.
The D2 drive enables Turbo Temp, which lets the grill get hotter, faster, and recover more quickly from temperature drops.
The Ironwood has Super Smoke mode, so you can get extra smoky flavor in your foods. The Traeger Ironwood has durable construction, with double side-wall insulation, a stainless steel side shelf with hooks, locking casters, and a brushless motor.
The Traeger Ironwood is a smart grill, with Traeger’s WiFIRE technology. WiFIRE allows you to use the Traeger app to adjust the grill temperature, monitor internal food temperatures, set alerts and timers, and more. It has over 1500 recipes, along with demo videos and tips and tricks.
You can also set up a profile so you can get recipes, follow your favorite pit masters, and shop online with Traeger.
Traeger Ironwood Standout Features
Traeger Ironwood grills have a few standout features that are incredibly useful:
TRU Convection Downdraft Exhaust and Traeger’s TRU Convection optimize cooking times and improve temperature consistency
D2 Drive The D2 drive may not speed up temp times as much as claimed, but it does help the grill recover temperature rapidly after being opened.
Keep Warm The Keep Warm setting is very convenient.
Initiate Shutdown Remotely You can use the Traeger app to start the shutdown process, burning the remaining pellets and cooling down the grill from wherever you are
Weber SmokeFire Overview
The Weber SmokeFire is the first wood pellet grill from Weber, designed to allow you to sear and smoke on the same grill. It has a shorter auger path, with drive technologies that improve speed to temperature and reduce jams.
Of course, the SmokeFire has Weber’s famous Flavorizer bars, which direct heat straight to the grate without diffusing it, and direct grease down into the easy-clean drawer, reducing flareups. Like the Traeger, it has a Smoke Boost function for extra smoke flavor.
As you might expect from Weber, it’s made from incredibly durable porcelain enamel, which resists rusting and peeling, and it’s backed by Weber’s famous warranty and customer service.
The Weber SmokeFire is also Weber’s first smart grill. With the Weber Connect app, you can monitor cooking times, get a notification when it’s time to flip foods, access recipes and video instructions, and more.
Weber SmokeFire Standout Features
The Weber SmokeFire has some great features that pit masters are looking for in a pellet grill, including:
Fast to Temp The shorter auger, direct pellet delivery, and absence of a diffuser tray allow the SmokeFire to come to temperature very quickly.
Wide Temperature Range With temps from 200-600°, the SmokeFire can smoke, sear, and reverse-sear to perfection
Flavorizer Bars As always, the Flavorizer bars do their job, getting heat directly to the grate while preventing flareups
Traeger Ironwood vs. Weber SmokeFire
Both the Ironwood and the SmokeFire grills come in two different sizes, with all other features being identical. Here’s a head-to-head comparison of the SmokeFire EX4 and the Ironwood 650.
|Traeger Ironwood 650||Weber SmokeFire EX4|
|Grilling space (square inches)||650||672|
|Size (lid closed)||47”H x 46”W x 27”D||47”H x 43”W x 33”D|
|Top grate size||22 x 10.5 inches||24 x 10 inches|
|Bottom grate size||22 x 19 inches||24 x 18 inches|
|Temperature range||165 – 500°||200 – 600°|
|Hopper capacity||20 pounds||22 pounds|
|Meat probes (included + capacity)||1||1 + 4|
|Keep warm mode?||Y||N|
|Extra smoke mode?||Y||Y|
|Warranty||3 years||5 years for cook box, 3 years electrical components, grates, etc.|
Traeger App vs Weber Connect
There really is no comparison here, because the Weber Connect app has so few functions, and is unreliable at the functions it does perform.
It does not allow you to remotely adjust the temperature of your grill, or give you a graph or trendline to indicate whether the temperature is rising, falling, or holding steady.
It has an existing library of foods, and when you select your cut of meat, it enables a timer that tells you when to flip, rest, and serve the food.
However, the library is extremely limited, and many users report that the app’s time estimates are very inaccurate.
While the Traeger App isn’t perfect, it does function more as you would expect it to, with the ability to adjust the grill temperature from your mobile device, set timers, get notifications, and has the basic functions you need for a smart grill.
Winners and Losers
Time to Heat SmokeFire heats up faster
Temperature Range SmokeFire gets hotter for better sears
Size and Capacity SmokeFire is larger
Warranty SmokeFire’s warranty is longer, and covers labor and shipping, which Traeger’s does not
Consistent Temperatures Ironwood’s convection and downdraft exhaust give more consistent temperatures for more consistent results
App Functionality Traeger app may not have all the features people are looking for, but Weber’s app is barely useful
The Ironwood Advantage
You might think that, with all these wins, the SmokeFire would be the pellet grill to buy. But the SmokeFire has disappointed a lot of grillers, and not just because of the app.
Some people report wide discrepancies between the display temperature and the actual temperature inside the grill.
The pellets don’t always feed properly. The app can give wildly inaccurate time estimates. It produces great, smoky flavor in the food, but does not live up to what most people expect from a Weber.
The Ironwood has a few flaws, but it’s a reliable workhorse with a lot of useful features, an app that is genuinely helpful, and imparts deep smoky flavor.
The inconsistencies of the SmokeFire don’t live up to what we would expect from a grill in this price range, and Weber needs to work out consistency issues with the grill and the app before we would recommend it.
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