posted July 01, 2022
ASMOKE AS350 Review
Pitmasters! Today, I’m taking a look at the beautiful ASMOKE AS350 Portable Pellet Grill. The AS350 is the new-and-improved version of ASMOKE’s previous AS300 model, featuring their special ASCA vapor system that they claim uses “superheated steam to better retain moisture in your food and automatically dispose of ash for a cleaner, more efficient burn.” Does it work as advertised? How does this portable pellet machine stack up against the competition? Let’s get into it.
ASMOKE sent us this grill for testing and review purposes, however, all opinions are our own.
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ASMOKE AS350 Features
The AS350 is a great pellet grill with a plethora of awesome features, including the following:
- ASCA System
- Superior build quality: features stainless steel and premium porcelain non-stick coating
- Portable compact design
- Programmable meat probe
- Color LED digital temperature controller
- 3+2 year extended warranty
ASMOKE AS350 Specs
- Size: Width: 24.4” Height: 16.0” Depth: 17.5”
- Weight: 49.0 lbs
- Material: High-quality Stainless Steel
- Cooking Area: 256 square inches
- Temperature Range: Temperature Dial Ranging From 180°F to 500°F
- Hopper Capacity: 4 lbs of Wood Pellets
- Power: Corded Electric 230W AC&DC
The ASMOKE AS350
The AS350 is ASMOKE’s updated version of their older model AS300 and is their take on the portable, table top style pellet grill. The AS350 is very well built and is fully constructed from stainless steel. It’s slightly heavier than the ZGrills Cruiser we reviewed earlier, coming in right at 49lbs, but still lighter than most other competition on the market, including the Traeger Ranger.
Popping open the lid; the first thing you see is that beautiful porcelain coated grill grate. The AS350 provides 256 square inches of cooking space, thanks to the included removable upper rack. The lid is also extra deep, to help you smoke those thicker cuts like pork shoulder. There is a felt gasket around the lid to help keep the smoke and heat exactly where you want it.
Move to the left and you’ll find the pellet hopper. Unfortunately for ASMOKE, this is where the competition takes the cake. An abundance of competition for the AS350 features a hopper size that is double what you’ll find here on this unit which has a 4lb capacity. That’s not all bad news though! You trade a larger hopper for more cooking space here, and while using this out camping I learned I’d rather have the latter. At 225, I was able to squeeze around 5 hours out of this small hopper, which gives plenty of time between top-offs.
The sharp eyed reader might have noticed the tray that sits between the front legs of the grill by now. The AS350 features a removable ash and water pan (more on this later) that allows you to dump ashes mid-cook if you need to. Trust me, you’ll want to get rid of the ashes before refilling the hopper on long cooks. The pan fills up quick.
The suitcase/tabletop construction and light-weight lend to the AS350’s portability. This grill weighs in at only 49lbs, and the way the legs attach on the bottom create some convenient handles to help you move it. The lid has a latch system to prevent it from flopping around while in motion.
The AS350 only has AC for power, so if you’re looking to use it in a remote location, you’ll have to use a power inverter for your car or bring along a different mobile power solution.
The AS350 Controller
This grill features an absolutely beautiful LED color controller. Operation is just like any other pellet grill; just turn the knob to your desired temperature and you’re off to the races! I have some nitpicks here though, and it may be due to the controller or the controller combined with the small cooking area.
As you can see in the image above, the grill likes to run HOT. These photos were taken after setting the grill to 400 and letting it stabilize there for 30 minutes after hitting that target. As you can see, we’re overshooting temperatures by almost 40 degrees! This is probably more of an issue with the tiny amount of space we’re trying to keep at temperature, but the programming in the controller could probably be fine tuned to a higher degree to help mitigate this.
The grill performed with a similar overshoot when set to 225. The AS350 I have holds 30-40 degrees over the setting pretty much all the time. While this fact is a teensy bit annoying, it’s not really a deal breaker. As long as you’re aware of how your grill performs, you’ll be able to compensate by any overshoot/undershoot with a temperature setting adjustment. On my unit, if I want to cook at 225 I set it at 200, and if I want to cook around 350 I’ll set it to 300, for example.
Cooking with the ASMOKE AS350
Using this grill is a pleasant experience. It’s simplicity in a small package. With its 256 square inch cooking surface, you’re not going to feed an army, but it should be fine for 2-4 people depending on what you’re grillin’. It’s plenty of room for a half dozen chicken thighs, or this 8lb pork shoulder shown below. My wife cut this guy in half to help it cook faster, as we had a dozen hungry campers salivating over the delicious wood-smoke smells.
Since we’re talking cookin’, let’s have a look at that special ash tray and ASCA system that ASMOKE is so proud of. ASMOKE says that their system provides more moisture to the cook chamber, helping to cook your meats more efficiently with less moisture loss and helping to trap more ash. The firepot is located directly above the ash tray, which is split in half; one side to catch ashes and the other to hold your liquid.
ASMOKE specially designed the firepot in the AS350 with the bottom constructed of offset stainless steel rods. This is done so that ash can fall through the gaps, but not full, still smoldering pellets. This works well for the most part, however I did have a few burning pellets fall through the cracks during testing. No biggie.
The secondary reason for the firepot design is to give that precious steam from your water pan a way into the grill. That steam not only helps to keep your meat moist, it also helps to keep the grill and your food a little more ash-free. As the steam passes through the firepot, it hits the ashes and hydrates them just a little bit. This action helps the ash to fall down through the bars in the firepot and into the ash tray instead of getting blown all over the grill interior by the fan.
While this tech is a cool innovation, I honestly couldn’t tell if there was a difference in flavor or moisture content in the meat when compared to the other portables I’ve tested, but the cooking chamber definitely had less ash in it.
Another neat feature that puts this portable grill above others on the market is the direct grilling capability. It’s one of, if not the only, suitcase-style portable grills on the market that has a deflector plate designed to allow direct access to the flame if you so desire. Part of this deflector plate just slides right out of the way, providing access to the firepot. While this is a great feature to have if you need it, you need to be really careful with it. Direct flame grilling on pellet grills can be a recipe for disaster especially if you don’t keep the grill as clean as possible. If you’re out camping you need to pay extra careful attention if you’re using the grill for this purpose. Don’t start a forest fire!
What We Like
Here are some of my favorite things about the AS350 from ASMOKE:
- Ash Cleanout System – Sometimes it’s really nice to be able to empty out the ashes during your cook
- Super Portable – I camp A LOT. It’s nice to have a simple, light-weight pellet-fed option for the trips that can accommodate it. The size is just right for me by myself, or with a few more mouths to feed.
- Value for your Money – The AS350 rivals much more expensive options while keeping the price palatable.
- 3-Year Warranty Extendable to 5 Years
What Could be Improved
Even though this is a great grill, there are a few things that could be improved with the ASMOKE AS350:
- Power Options – It’d be super nice if portable pellet grill manufacturers would develop grills with a 12 volt power option. That’d make the AS350 just that much more versatile.
- Controller Inaccuracy – It’s really hard to keep this small of a cooking area at a precise temperature, but I’m sure ASMOKE could get closer than they have.
Great Recipes for the ASMOKE AS350
Do you have the AS350 in your arsenal, or are you planning on buying one in the future? If so, I recommend trying these awesome recipes with your pellet grill.
ASMOKE AS350 Review: Final Thoughts
I’d recommend the ASMOKE AS350 to anybody looking for a great portable grill option. It punches much higher than its price-point would suggest, rivaling higher-tier options like the Traeger Ranger. It’s also a great option if you live in an apartment or townhome that has limited space for grills. It’s hard to go wrong with the AS350 when shopping for a solution with a small footprint!
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