posted January 13, 2023
Ninja Woodfire Outdoor Grill Review
Pitmasters! Today, I’m taking a look at the Ninja Woodfire Outdoor Grill. The Ninja brand name is synonymous with high-quality home kitchen devices and appliances, with this latest offering an attempt to step into the outdoor cooking market. Is the Ninja Woodfire any good? How does it stack up to flavor from your run-of-the-mill pellet grills at the steep $459.60 pricing? Let’s get to cookin’ and find out!
Ninja Kitchen sent us this grill for testing and review purposes, however, all opinions are our own.
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Ninja Woodfire Outdoor Grill Features
The Ninja Woodfire is a great grill with a plethora of awesome features, including the following:
- 7 Cooking Functions
- Air Crisp
- Grill Grate
- Crisper Basket
- Includes 2 packs of sample pellets, pellet measuring cup, drip dray, and quick start guide
Ninja Woodfire Outdoor Grill Specs
- Height: 13-1/2 inches
- Width: 23 inches
- Depth: 18-1/2 inches
- Interior Grill Dimensions: 10-1/2 x 14-1/2 inches
- Weight: 28 pounds
- Fuel Source: Electric with option of adding wood pellets for smoke
- Voltage: 120V – 60Hz
- Power: 1760 Watts
- Warranty: 1 year limited
The Ninja Woodfire Outdoor Grill
The Ninja Woodfire grill is the newest addition to the Ninja Kitchen lineup, and let me tell you, it has the potential to be a game-changer for apartment dwellers and backyard space savers alike! It’s got all the indoor grilling power seen in the popular Ninja Foodi Grill, but with a little extra elbow room and the addition of that smoky flavor we all crave. With a plethora of accessories available like the collapsible grill stand, this thing is sure to perform no matter where you want to cook out.
Assembling the new Woodfire is extremely quick and easy. Honestly, it’s one of the easiest assembly processes for a grill I’ve ever gone through! That is to be expected though, as it is pretty small and a Ninja product. Take it out of the box, screw on the handles, plop in the grill grate and you’re good to go! The wrench for the handles is included in the box.
The Ninja Woodfire Controller
The Ninja Woodfire Grill is a breeze to use, just like all the other appliances in the Ninja Kitchen family.
First things first, on the far left, we got ourselves a knob that lets you choose how you want cook: Grill, Smoke, Air Crisp, Bake, Roast, Broil, or Dehydrate.
Just to the right of that knob, there is a button labeled “Woodfire Flavor Technology.” This button exists if you’d like to add smoky flavor to any of the cooking modes outside of the “Smoker” mode on the dial. When in “Smoker” mode, the pellets in the pellet cup will be ignited automatically, but in the other modes this button will need to be pressed to light those pellets up and infuse that smoky goodness.
Down below the monitor, we got the temperature and time settings, which are pretty straightforward, and Start/Stop button on the far right. Easy peasy.
How to use the Ninja Woodfire
It’s literally as simple as: Fill the pellet tray (if you want smoke flavor), turn the knob to your desired mode, set your temperature/time, and press start! The grill will preheat and ignite the pellets, then play a sound letting you know it’s time to put your food on. If you need to, adjustments to the time and temperature can be made throughout the cook by pressing their respective buttons.
Ninja claims in the owners manual that you should only use their branded pellets, but I’ve found that’s not the case. Any pellet made for cooking food will work inside of this tray and perform just as well or better than the Ninja branded pellets.
When your cook is complete, cleanup is incredibly easy. Let the grill cool completely, dump that pellet cup out in the trash, rinse the grill grate and drip tray in the sink and you’re good to go!
Cooking with the Ninja Woodfire
This little grill is an absolute breeze to cook with, and adds a respectable amount of smoke flavor. Usually, the flavor imparted by electric smokers and grills is not a favorable one in my opinion, so I was expecting similar here. The Ninja Woodfire exceeded those expectations, but it still fell short on the flavor that can be achieved from a standard pellet smoker.
Surf ‘n’ Turf
I’ll try and explain myself a bit here. When using wood or wood pellets as the main source of smoke AND fuel, I find you get a higher quality flavor. Flavor that is infused into the meat slowly over time instead of just pasted over the outside like a sauce or seasoning. With a more traditional setup, you’ll find smoke flavor throughout whatever cut you’re cooking, while here you’re more likely to experience a layer of smoke flavor on the outside, and only on the outside.
While the Woodfire did a great job searing the steaks above, I’d love to claim all that color was sear. Within the first half hour this reverse-sear cook, these steaks were completely coated in this dark brown color, similar to what I see from other electric smokers. The smoke sticks heavily to the outside of the meat, but lacks penetration.
What you get with electric smokers/grills like this one I find more akin to plopping liquid smoke into a BBQ sauce. The smoky flavor is there, but it’s not necessarily what you’re looking for. I’m not saying it’s bad, I’m just saying it’s not the best. These steaks and lobster tails were still phenomenal though, and much better than I expected from this little electric smoker
The Surf ‘n’ Turf above was a cook that only lasted about an hour and a half, so I’ll also share a cook that was a good 6 hours long.
First, I’ll start with my only other disappointment with this cooker; the size. It’s just a hair too small to accommodate a rack of St. Louis cut spare ribs. To fit these guys on there I had to trim two ribs from each side.
Now, again, I’d like to tell you that this is what these looked like after their entire cook time, but that’s just not true. The ribs were this dark after only the first hour. They tasted great, but that smoke flavor was confined to the outside which isn’t surprising. Instead of penetrating deep into the meat the flavor was just layered on the outside once again.
I timed the pellet tray through these cooks and learned that the first cup full burns extremely fast(within 45 minutes at most), which is probably due to the ignition process and probably why the coloring and flavor is the way it is. Subsequent fills, which I don’t recommend, seemed to last almost double.
PURCHASE THE NINJA WOODFIRE HERE
What We Like
Here are some of my favorite things about the Ninja Woodfire Outdoor Grill:
- Build Quality. Like all of Ninja’s other products, the Woodfire is very well built and will last a long time.
- Versatility. 7 cooking modes. Need I say more?
- Easy Flavor Addition. Whatever cooking mode you’re in, adding smoky goodness is incredibly simple.
What Could be Improved
Even though this is a great grill, there are a few things that could be improved with the Ninja Woodfire Outdoor Grill:
- Flavor. While the smoke flavor is present and palatable, it’s not as good as other, more traditional options on the market.
- Size. The Woodfire is on the small side. I’d like to see an increase in length here, so I can fit one full rack of ribs on the thing.
Great Recipes for the Woodfire
Do you have the Ninja Woodfire in your arsenal, or are you planning on buying one in the future? If so, I recommend trying these awesome recipes with your grill.
Ninja Woodfire Review: Final Thoughts
I’d recommend the Ninja Woodfire to those working with serious space constraints or are banned from certain outdoor cooking fuels. The Woodfire would be absolutely amazing in an apartment or town home environment. If you fit this criteria and are looking for a hyper-versatile outdoor cooking appliance, look no further. If you’re just pressed for space and can cook with standard wood pellets, I’d suggest you look elsewhere. Portable options like the ASMOKE AS350 and similar will provide much of the functionality while producing a superior end product. The Ninja Woodfire is a great grill, but it doesn’t stack up to wood-fired pellet grills when it comes to flavor. While it falls short there, it makes up for it with off-the-charts versatility.
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