Smokers haven’t been around for long, but they are becoming increasingly popular. Most experienced grilling enthusiast associate pellet grills with luxury. And a luxury they certainly are, considering their price.
Typically, they are not cheap, but reasonably so. The technology they employ is fairly new, the competition isn’t exactly fierce, and the whole concept is yet to be perfected. All of those factors are the reason why they are so expensive.
But they do have a lot to offer in return. Not only are they the simplest and easiest grills to use, but they infuse the meat with a special, smoky flavor. Each kind of pellet has its own distinctive flavor.
Currently, there are about half a dozen worthy smoker manufacturers on the market. Camp Chef is without a doubt one of them. The camp chef woodwind is their most famous model.
It’s classic, yet beautiful design, robust structure, and innovative features are just some of the distinctions that have earned it its good reputation. But then again, there are other similar models on the market, and buying it is a significant investment. So what exactly makes it worth it?
Camp Chef’s classic mid-sized pellet grill.
- Stainless Steel
- Smart Smoke Technology
- 160° to 500° Heat Range
- 570 sq. in Cooking Area
- Pellet Hopper Cleanout
- Patented Ash Cleanout System
Why Get It?
For starters, considering its size and capabilities, it’s one of the more affordable models in its category. Even though it’s still more expensive than a charcoal or gas grill, it could be a lifetime investment.
With proper care, it will pay itself off eventually. Unlike gas grills, there are no burners that will break down sooner or later, and the cooking process and cleanup will never be painful (as it is often the case with charcoal models).
The Woodwind takes care of most of the work itself. The temperature control unit allows you to set the temperature and forget all about it. You can even customize it according to the kind of meat or vegetables you are trying to cook.
The set-it-and-forget-it feature is one of the greatest things about this smoker. There are no flare-ups to worry about. You are free to roam around the yard and mingle, lay back and drink a beer, or whatever you please, until the food is done.
Relax and let the Woodwind do all the “dirty work.” Since it’s a smoker, it can’t reach high heats, but it does have an impressive temperature range. It’s between 160° F to 500°. The Smart Smoke feature ensures that the temperature will never vary more than 15°.
The temperature range also gives you more cooking options. You can use the Woodwind to roast, grill, smoke, braise and bake. There’s also a meat probe included. It’s a feature that is typically sold separately. Unlike the ones that come separate, this one is quite durable.
The probe allows you to check the temperature on the inside of the meat, so you can know when the meat is ready. And you can do all that without disturbing the temperature of the cooking surface, thanks to the digital temperature control system. The Box Lid Thermometer allows you to gauge the temperature of the chamber, making sure nothing will get pass by you.
The grill has an automatic pellet feeding auger. Another task you don’t have to bother yourself with. The system feeds the firebox with pellets and maintains the set temperature.
The feature also allows you to cook in adverse weather. The day can turn cold all of a sudden and wind start to blow, but the grill will make sure the temperature is stable.
Cleaning a pellet grill is easy, but not as easy as a gasser perhaps, because of all the ash that accumulates. Camp Chef has successfully solved that problem as well.
The model features a patented ash cleanup system that takes care of most of the work for you. Again! All you need to do is open the trap door and empty the ash into a garbage can and you’re done.
As you know by now, the taste depends on the kind of pellets you use. This smoker allows you to easily switch from, let’s say, apple pellets to mesquite pellets. That’s made possible by the convenient pellet draining system.
The model comes with an extra box that allows you to store all of your tools and spices. The smoker is also surprisingly mobile. It comes with castor wheels which allow you to effortlessly move it around the back yard.
The main cooking area is 429 square inches. The grill is also equipped with a 141-square-inch warming rack. That’s enough to cook twenty burgers or four rib racks. Not bad at all for a pellet smoker.
The warming rack is removable, allowing you to cook large food such as whole chickens or turkey, large roasts or beef. Not only is the temperature consistent, but it’s evenly distributed. There is a fan included that ensures proper airflow.
The chimney helps with that as well. Thanks to that feature, you can rest assured knowing that every piece of meat will be properly cooked.
Assembling the grill won’t take more than one hour, and you should be able to do it all by yourself. The cleaning process is as easy as it gets.
Aside from the ash, the system is designed to take care of the grease as well. All of the excess juices drain into a bucket. All that’s left for you to do is empty the bucket and clean up the grates.
Pros & Cons
- Easy Assembly
- Excellent Heat Control
- Smart Smoke Technology
- Easy Cleanup
- Easy to Use
- Storage Shelves
- Stainless Steel
- Durable and Robust
- Overall 84% 84%
- No Wi-Fi
- Sear Box Sold Separately
“I have fallen in love with every single feature on this smoker. The first thing I did after the assembly was load up the grill with apple wood pellets and smoke me some pork shoulders and sausages. The taste was absolutely delightful.
I’ve tried other pellets since, but I prefer sticking to apple wood as I just adore the sweet flavor. But hickory definitely comes second with its deep smoky taste. The ash removal system is what got my attention and why I ended up buying this particular model.
The dump trap door is excellent because it allows me to spice things up a bit. Well, smoke them up, I mean. When I feel like it, I change out the pellet flavors to experiment a bit.
The taste is excellent and all, but the simplicity is why I decided to shell out a couple of extra bucks on a smoker and throw out my old rusty charcoal grill.”
Most people buy smokers for the ease of use, but stick to them for the taste. After experiencing that rich, smoky touch it adds to the food, it’s hard to go back to a gasser.
Hickory and apple wood are excellent choices. But as Ron pointed out, one of the best things about the model is that it allows you to experiment a bit by mixing pellets. That way, you can keep on discovering new flavors each time you start up the grill.
What to Watch Out For
Pellet grills cannot sear on their own. The taste is exceptional, but you won’t be able to get those gorgeous sear marks. There’s no pellet grill that can deliver temperatures greater than 500°.
Luckily, Chef Camp understands that beautiful sear marks are, for some, an essential part of grilling, even though they don’t really affect the taste some of the time. The manufacturer sells a sear box separately.
No WiFi Feature
This seems a bit like nitpicking, and perhaps it is, but considering that a lot of smokers can be paired with their very own smartphone apps, perhaps the feature could have been included here as well.
It’s a worthy investment for sure. However, it could have been an included feature, instead of an optional one, considering the price of the setup.
A Piece of Advice
Get a proper cover for your smoker. The Woodwind is equipped with sophisticated electronic components which need to be protected from the elements and especially from humidity. That way, you’ll be able to keep it safe even better and ensure its longevity.
This right here is an expensive toy, and well build for sure, but it still has some vulnerabilities. A little bit of precaution will help you protect your investment.
Camp Chef has managed to set themselves apart from other smoker manufacturers. The company has managed to give us a product that is cheaper than the competition and packed with a couple of unique features.
It’s easier to navigate and maintain than most of the smokers, and that tells us a lot considering that simplicity and convenience is part of their very nature. The optional features such as the sear box could help make it better than any gasser or charcoal model in every way possible.