Pellet grills continue to grow in popularity and after scouring the web in search of a new grill, I recently settled onto the Camp Chef Woodwind 36. It was time to replace my Z-Grill and the Camp Chef has been a great improvement. This came as no surprise, as I rarely make a large purchase without researching the product and the competition, which leads me to help share my experience with my new grill with you.
Camp Chef Woodwind 36 WIFI Pellet Grill Review
The Camp Chef Woodwind 36 WIFI Pellet Grill is the perfect blend of technology and innovation that will help you perfect your backyard grilling techniques. The Slide and Grill Technolgy has been equipped with WIFI, allowing you to control the temperature of your smoker/grill from virtually anywhere and the large cooking surface is great for cooking a variety of foods at one time.
■ Total rack surface: 1,236 sq. feet
■Direct Flame Grilling up to 650 degrees
■ 4 temperature probes
■ Adjustable smoke settings
■ 160º F – 500ºF temp range
■ Ash cleanout system
■ 3-year warranty
Unboxing and Assembly
When the package was delivered my initial thought was “Wow this is way heavier than I expected.”, This grill weighs an impressive 177 pounds! Granted, it was delivered in multiple boxes, which allowed me to maneuver it without issue.
After unboxing the and I realized why it was so heavy. This thing is built like a tank! All of the bare metal is coated with an anti-corrosion coating. Every part was packaged very tightly and well protected. The instructions were not great and could use an update as some parts didn’t line up with the directions as it should. In my line of work, quality and concise procedures are a must and Camp Chef should revisit this area.
Assembly was manageable because all of the more technical pieces were already in place by the manufacturer. Basically, you are only adding things to the shell. The entire process took me around an hour. The only potential issue I see with assembly is the installation of the hopper lid and handle. You have to be very careful not to drop the screw down inside the hopper because it could potentially fall into the auger. I recommend placing a paper towel across the hopper grate as I did in the picture below. It will help prevent any screws from falling into the hopper and making them extremely difficult to retrieve. It is recommended to have two people for setup to help things go smoother like I said the grill has some weight to it and it will be an overall better experience.
Let’s start to the left side of the grill and work our way over.
The Hopper holds 22lbs of pellets and comes with a viewing window that allows you to see how many pellets are left. There is a pellet hopper Clean Out that makes it very easy to swap out pellets to a different flavor. Bonus there is already a bottle opener installed.
Despite the mixed reviews, I found the Wifi Control to be very effective. I wanted something easy to use, minimalistic and effective which is exactly what the Camp Chef provides. You can view and control the temperature of the grill as well as the four probes that come with it, including the ability to set the desired temperature for each probe. I have not experienced any of the connectivity issues that others have described. It looks like Camp Chef may have worked out the majority of the bugs that existed before my review. Also once the grill is started you can operate the grill from the app anywhere as long as you have service to the app now I’m not encouraging you to leave the grill unattended. However, I have had the wife help me smoke by her overseeing a butt or brisket while I’m watching and/or changing temps at work from the app its really amazing and one of my favorite features.
Smoke Control is another feature of this grill that I really enjoy. You can control it from the digital control on the grill or by connecting to the app which can be changed at any point. This grill can roll the smoke!! In my opinion, this feature could be most useful when you only need to have a short cooking time but want to infuse a lot of smoke flavor. In my case, I smoked a spiral ham for approximately two hours to heat it up but cranked up the smoke and you would have thought I had smoked it for 8 hours. Another time, I used it I was making smoked queso. I only needed to melt the cheese and get a good consistency. I didn’t need it to be on the grill for more than an hour so I cranked up the smoke again and it was awesome.
Back to the four Probes mentioned before, I found them to be very close in temperature to what my Thermoworks probe was getting. I also like that you are able to feed them through a hole in the side to keep them out of the way of the lid. Not only will this allow you to maintain the seal on your lid, but it will prolong the life of your probes by not forcing them to be pinched or pressed against a hot surface.
In regard to the main compartment, there are 1236 Square Inches of total grilling space. The top two shelves can be adjusted by about an inch to allow more or less height clearance as needed with 573 square inches. The bottom main section is 663 square inches.
Another useful feature of the main compartment is the Slide-n-Grill. This allows you to be able to move the metal plate that covers the flame and helps distribute the heat more evenly. When you move the plate it allows the flame to be more direct and acts as more of a propane or charcoal grill style heat allowing you to get a higher temperature for those burgers and steaks. The drip pan has slits cut in on the left side that allows the flames to come up. However with that being said you have to be careful when doing so because the grease can drip to the fire pot if the drip pan isn’t cleaned properly I recommend placing heavy duty foil over the drip pan and cutting the slits out to make things easier.
Ash Clean Out
A feature that does not get enough credit is the Ash-Cleanout System that makes cleaning out the leftover ash from the pellets as easy as pulling a bone out of a perfectly smoked rack of ribs. Which surprisingly a lot of other brands do not have as of the time of this review I’m sure that will change in time because it is a huge game-changer. Now you still will need a small shop vac and clean under the drip pan after a few small cooks or after a long brisket because the fan will throw some ash.
Now on to what can really set this grill apart, the side attachments. The Sidekick and Sear Box are incredible. Mine came with the Sidekick. This attachment puts out a whopping 28,000 BTUs. I think my wife might have been even more excited about this attachment than even I was. Now I’ll be able to do all of my deep-frying outside on this burner where I can avoid smoking up the house. This also comes with a hook that attaches to the back of the grill to hang your propane tank. A flat top griddle that has been seasoned and is ready to go is included
How is Camp Chef’s customer service?
During shipping, two out of the three grates I received were bent on the edges. They weren’t bent terribly bad and were still usable, but enough that I reached out to Camp Chef to let them know what happened. I simply emailed Camp Chef about the issue and they sent me a whole new set of grates for my grill. Not just to replace the two that were damaged but all three new ones. They even let me keep the original grates at no extra charge!
From my experience, Camp Chef’s customer service was amazing and they were really easy to deal with. I have also joined a few Camp Chef related FaceBook Groups and there have been multiple people talking about how amazing their customer service is, even years after their purchase, which is a huge bonus in my opinion because a lot of big companies lack great customer service.
Would I recommend the Camp Chef Woodwind 36 inch WIFI Grill?
I’m glad I invested in the Camp Chef Woodwind WIFI 36 inch grill and it’s helped me create some delicious meals, saving my family money going out to eat. If we want a good meal, we simply fire up the Camp Chef and wait! The Camp Chef is a huge upgrade from my Z-grill and it holds heat a lot better. The Slide and Grill Technology is a lifesaver that produces the heat that competitor pellet grills lack at times.
Thanks to the creative ash cleanout, I don’t have to tear the grill apart every time to clean it. The pellet drop saves me time when it’s time to change out the pellets. On other grills that I’ve used, I’ve wasted a lot of time and money trying to change out the pellets when making a change.
Accessories really make this grill great! For instance, the sidekick is perfect for small cooking tasks and there are several other options to improve the cooking experience. If you decide to go with a Camp Chef Woodwind WIFI 36 Grill you will not regret it.
Thanks to James for writing this unpaid gear review. Hunting Gear Deals is funded by affiliate commissions. We may receive a small commission when you buy from our partners using the links provided. There is no additional cost to you. Thanks for supporting us by using our links when making your purchases.
James lives in Ohio with his wife and their children. For his day job, James is a pipeline operator in the Oil & Gas Industry. When James isn’t working or wrangling kiddos, he’s throwing meat on his Camp Chef and smoking some delicious home-cooked meals for his family!