Photo from Camping Australia
Originally Posted On: https://campingaustralia.com.au/blogs/buying-guides/woodwind-pro-24-full-review
The Good, The Bad and the Exceptional
IS THIS THE PELLET SMOKER TO CHANGE THE GAME?
With a pinch of skepticism and a dash of curiosity, I found myself considering a major shake-up in my barbecue routine – moving my cooks to a pellet smoker. The question was simple but significant: could it produce enough smoke? Would the barbecue process, which I’ve always savored, still have its charm? More importantly, could the food still have those delicious, smoky flavors that I perfected with my trusty charcoal barbecues?
You see, my week typically involves a few sessions with the charcoal grills, and I’ve grown rather accustomed to the unique tastes and cooking styles that they provide.
This move to the pellet smoker felt like a bold step into uncharted territory, a culinary experiment that could shake up my familiar cooking routines. Could I lose those flavor nuances I have grown to love and spent time to master, or perhaps could I discover new ones?
Well, all my worries were put to rest after my first cook. Low and Slow, reverse sear, even a fast smoke the woodwind pro with a sidekick can do it all, but does it beat charcoal?
Check out this review to find out how the woodwind pro is as a smoker and how it compares to someone that’s charcoal obsessed.
Low and Slow, reverse sear, even a fast smoke the woodwind pro with a sidekick can do it all, but does it beat charcoal?
– Damiral Briket Bear
Basic Review Breakdown
The basic run down for the time sensitive readers… the woodwind pro is a solid unit, well built and easy to use. The setup, build, general use and even the camp chef app are all easy to understand and control. The parts that are lacking are limited and almost petty, but I’ll mention them regardless. Stainless steel is a PAIN to keep clean compared to a coated finish it looks great and is durable – it’s easy to maintain, just a pain to keep clean. The smoke box could be easier to clean out excess ash
- Build quality – solid unit with a simple build process.
- Wi-Fi and Bluetooth control – easy to learn and navigate.
- Sidekick – added functionality of cooking with side gas burner.
- Smoke box – a pellet smoker game changer, a built-in box to add additional smoking wood chunks or charcoal at any time during a cook without opening the smoker’s door.
- Side kick can be heavy and awkward to switch between cooking options – direct flame, grill, pizza oven.
- Stainless steel shows stains easily.
- Smoke box ash catcher could be easier to clean out.
Most Importantly – How Does it Cook?
I have put this bad boy though its paces from reverse seared ribeye tomahawk steaks to a low and slow brisket, this smoker has seen a lot of cooks over the past few weeks and hasn’t missed a beat. The flavours I can produce from this smoker are exceptional The tempreture consistency makes achieving perfectly rendered down fat on a brisket or steak a breeze. The flucuations are minimal if at all and the responsiveness to a temperature or smoke change you set and instantanious, keeping you in full control of the outcome of your cook.
The camp chef app has a fluid functionality and is easy to use, no dropouts or connection issues over Bluetooth or wi-fi.
Being able to change the smoke level and cooking temp from the app is great. Even for a BBQ nerd like me, just checking on the cook’s history on these graphs to see the progress or monitor a cooking stall was so handy and insightful.
The design of the app is clear and uncluttered making a quick glance to check your temps and smoke setting easy. One of my favourite features of the app is when setting up the internal cook probes you have the option of selecting your protein e.g., beef, chicken, pork, and a sub option of type e.g., Brisket, rib eye, roast and so on, from there it will recommend the internal temperature for a safe cook, but you can adjust to your liking. This is perfect for someone who may be unsure or forgetful with internal cooking temperatures. For the forgetful chef, the app also sends you notifications… a very handy feature.
Bacon Wrapped Pork Porchetta
stuffed with a maple syrup and bourbon Sautee of apple, onion, garlic, rosemary, parsley, macadamia nuts.
Smoked for 3-hours at 126c.
Jalapeno & Blue Cheese Shotgun Shells
brisket mince mixed with diced jalapeno and blue cheese stuffed in cannelloni shells wrapped in bacon.
smoked 1-hour 130c.
The flavours I have achieved from this pellet smoker are second to none, there has been no compromise in flavour at all. With the smoke box addition, I have added a couple charcoal briquettes, wood chunks and even wood chips to add the smoky profile I am used to, and this smoker did not disappoint.
The smoke box is rather large and has no problem fitting a good few large wood chunks, you can add as much or a little as you like. Once you turn the handle directly under the box a small door opens allowing the already burning pellets to ignite the smoke box contents.
I genuinely love this feature and it’s the highlight of the pellet smoker for me. I love to play with flavour profiles and change wood flavours each cook, not having to change the entire pellet hopper for a different flavour or hitting your cook with multiple smoke profiles is literally a pellet smoker GAME CHANGER.
Build Quality / Design Features
With a stainless-steel body and a solid overall structure this smoker is impressive. Others on the market have felt thin or tinny and nowhere near as sturdy. It’s a solid unit and the best part the coaster wheels make it a breeze to move around. After daily use I feel like I’m using a machine that can easily be passed down to my children.
The design is not only visually appealing, I really feel like camp chef have addressed so many taboo issues surrounding pellet smokers. These are some of my top improvements I have noticed:
- Smoke box – extra wood / charcoal smoke flavour
- Pellet hopper quick release – handle to pull to dump the entire hopper’s feed means you don’t have to reach in and scoop them out.
- Ash catch can – another lever to dump the burnt off pellets after each cook, reducing the frequency of full unit clean outs.
- Sidekick Grill – large side grill running on gas with the ability to add even more accessories like a pizza oven.
Another cool design feature of this smoker is the Fan Mode, which allows you to cold-smoke food like cheese or salmon as well.
You just need to add a few chunks of charcoal or briquettes to the Smoke Box, a few chunks of wood on top.
Then fire up the grill as you normally would. Once the start-up has finished, go into the temperature settings, and choose “FAN ONLY” mode and add a tray of ice to your grill.
This will allow you to ignite the Smoke Box while not increasing the smoker’s temperature.
Should You Buy The Camp Chef Woodwind Pro?
I can’t recommend the smoker enough. The ease of use makes this smoker fit a novice, new to the barbequing experience that just want to plug and play and reap the barbecue goodness…while the smoke box and precise adjustability to the smoke setting for the pellets satisfies a barbecue purest, wanting to dial in specific flavours they haven’t been able to achieve on any other pellet smoker on the market.
The internal cooking area is large enough to fit several large cooks, I used up only ½ of the top cooking area with a 7kg brisket.
The racks are designed to customise the cooking area for any size cook and are easy to adjust.
The sidekick is large and so versatile with the ability to remove the cast iron grill and convert to a gas stove top. You can even add a pizza oven, making this smoker a cooking all-rounder. Smoke, grill, sear all in the one unit with ease.
In my opinion this is the best smoker on the market currently, with the features / build quality and design this smoker surpasses anything in its price bracket. I couldn’t recommend this enough.