Editor choice

Ninja Woodfire electric grill review

Advertisement
blank

BTTR is independent, but when you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Find out more.

9.5Expert Score
Smokin'!

Ninja’s outdoor grill is one of the most versatile on the market, though it’s too small to manage a whole meal in a single session.

Design
9
Performance
10
Pros
  • So many cooking modes
  • Smoking function adds flavour
  • Easy to use and clean
Cons
  • Small footprint means you need to cook in batches
  • Woodfire pellets aren't cheap
  • Electric grill requires a powerpoint

I spent a lot of my teenage years playing with fire. Responsibly, of course – I was a Boy Scout, and an Army Cadet. I went camping, trekking and hiking all over the surrounds of Sydney.

It’s also how I learned to cook… Well, the fundamentals, anyway. There’s something exceptionally satisfying about the subtle flavour enhancement you get from cooking on an open fire.

Since hitting adulthood (and in particular, having kids) I don’t get to cook on open fires as much. So when Ninja offered up the Woodfire outdoor grill for review, I was intrigued. Can an outdoor electric grill offer up the subtle flavour enhancements of the open flame?

Turns out it can, to a degree. And it does so as a pretty versatile device that can also do everything from smoking to roasting to dehydrating to air frying your food outdoors.

I’ve been testing the Ninja Woodfire for over a month now, cooking everything from brisket to steak to roast vegetables and making jerky. It’s added a nice flavour to the family meals over that time, and it’s fun to experiment with different dishes.

It’s not perfect, but it’s certainly impressed me enough to say it’s worth consideration, though with a few conditions, as I’ll outline in the review.

Ninja Woodfire review: Design

The Ninja Woodfire is a remarkably compact little outdoor grill. It’s roughly the size of a Weber Baby Q, though taller and thinner.

It follows the same design ethos as Ninja’s indoors cooking appliances, with a black, metallic body with stainless-steel highlights.

The grill has a couple of noteworthy design elements, including the rounded square vent at the top of the grill’s hood, and the electronic control panel on the front of the device.

There is a handle on either side of the Woodfire you need to attach when you first unbox it, which makes transporting in and out of storage effortlessly. 

If you want a more permanent setup, however, there is a collapsible stand available as an optional extra, as well as an outdoor cover you can use to keep it protected from the elements.

If you do need to move it around, it’s a manageable size, measuring in at 60 × 47.2 × 33.8 cm. But it’s reasonably heavy, too, at 13.9 kg.

Just remember that this is an electric grill. You’ll need a power point nearby, or at the very least an outdoors-grade extension cable.

Inside the Woodfire’s lid, there’s a grill grate and an air fryer crisper basket. Around the back is the removable drip tray, and on the right-hand side is the black smoking box, which gives the appliance its name.

The front panel of the Ninja Woodfire

Smokin!

The real “Woodfire” smokiness you get from this appliance comes from small Ninja-branded pellets that are scooped into the smoking box on the side of the grill’s hood.

You get two sample bags in the box – an “all-purpose” blend and a “Robust” blend. Replacement bags will set you back $25 each, though I was relieved to discover those bags are significantly larger than the sample packs in the box, which last about 4–5 meals each.

There’s a dedicated measured scoop in the box you use to fill the smoke box so you use the right amount every time.

One of the best (and worst) features of the Ninja Woodfire is that you can use the smoking function when you cook anything. It’s not limited to the Smoking function.

Cooking steak? Add a smoky flavour! Air frying some chips? Make them smoky! Dehydrating some herbs? I am not sure why you would, but you can smoke those up too!

In my excitement to test the Ninja Woodfire, I may have added smoke to pretty much everything I cooked. Occasionally, I regret to inform you, it was too much.

Ninja Woodfire Smart probe in a steak

Functions and features

Ninja’s indoor appliances are all the modern picture of versatility, but it’s still a bit of a surprise to see so many features on what is essentially a barbecue.

The Woodfire will grill and smoke food, obviously, but it can also air fry, dehydrate, bake, roast and reheat food.

It also comes with a built-in “Smart Probe” meat thermometer, which is preset to let you cook to the perfect level of wellness for your steaks, or set a manual internal temperature if you’re smoking up a brisket.

You control the Woodfire using the control panel at the front of the appliance. The dial on the left cycles through the settings. 

The wood pellet container

If you want to add smoke to a setting other than “Smoker”, there’s a big button with a flame (you can’t miss it) you press before you start cooking.

There are a couple of other up/down buttons that control temperatures or wellness settings if you’re using the smart probe thermometer too, as well as displaying the countdown timer for other cooking functions.

Speaking of the thermometer — it has its own little shelf that slides in and out of the front, and plugs into the side of the control panel. The metal cord seems pretty strong, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t wish it were a wireless thermometer.

Cooking steaks on the grill

Ninja Woodfire review: Performance

Over the past month, I’ve cooked at least twice a week on the Ninja Woodfire. There has only been one disaster, and that was completely user error – a roast pork that I’d set the internal temperature far too high on (I used a pulled pork temperature instead of a roast pork. Yes, I’m embarrassed).

The first attempt was a lamb shoulder that absolutely melted on my tongue. It was a traditional roast with the smoke flavour fired through, and while it looked like a lump of char when I took it out, the meat itself was perfectly tender and tasty.

Since then, I’ve smoked a brisket, grilled steaks and burgers, air-fried chips and other vegetables, dehydrated some jerky and more.

Marinated beef in the air fryer for jerky

Because you can add the smoke to anything, I did. But you probably shouldn’t. 

Typically, you want your food to be cooking for a while to really get that smoky flavour… which means air frying and even grilling steaks didn’t get the most from the smoke pellets.

And some things just don’t need the smoke flavour, so you’ll need to be stronger than me and use your willpower to avoid adding the pellets in.

Smoke everywhere

Beef brisket on the Woodfire after smoking

It’s not that bad, really. The small measure of pellets do create a decent amount of smoke for such a small little appliance, so you need to think ahead where you actually place the Woodfire before you turn it on.

You want somewhere well ventilated, away from your open doors and windows (and probably away from your neighbours doors and windows, too). 

Actually, even with that, you’ll most likely want to close up your doors and windows because the smoke can be quite overpowering.

The catch with cooking in a well-ventilated area is that, again, this is an electric grill. That means your options for plugging in are limited by the location of your power points and the length of your extension cord. 

For me, it also means I wouldn’t want to use it in an enclosed pergola too often, as the smoke is likely to dirty the panels above.

For those in apartments, the small footprint is an attractive selling point, but the smoke function is likely to annoy your neighbours. 

Because of the smoke function, you’ll also want to wash the components after every use. As soon as you bring the grill plate inside, your home will smell like delicious smoked meats. 

Smoked Beef brisket from the Ninja Woodfire

Not a one-stop cooking station

Despite the fact the Ninja Woodfire is probably the most versatile outdoor grill on the market, it has one major flaw: its size.

While the compact body is enough to cook four sirloins concurrently, you can’t cook anything else at the same time.

That means our going to need to cook your side dishes inside. If you wanted to grill some burgers and then air-fry a side of fries in the Woodfire, you could do it. But the burgers would end up resting for 30 minutes or so while the chips cooked, and you’d need to reheat them.

Of course, the flip side to this is portability and compact storage. You can’t please everyone, I guess.

A stack of smoked beef jerky from the Ninja Woodfire

Ninja Woodfire review: Verdict

The Ninja Woodfire does more than your average barbecue. And that’s a huge selling point. Even better is the fact it does it all well.

My smoked brisket was delicious. My steak — with the help of the Smart Probe thermometer – was cooked to perfection, something I still haven’t quite mastered after 30 years of cooking steak.

My beef jerky was so moreish I had to fight back the urge to chew on the whole batch in the first day.

But the fact it’s electric is a challenge for me. I needed to run a 10-metre outdoor extension cable from my garage to plug it in, as I don’t have any external power points. 

I’m also worried that the neighbours will call the fire brigade on me from the strong smoke aroma it sets off. 

But for outdoor cooking, the versatility and flavour of this electric grill is fantastic. It’s just a shame it’s not a little bigger to let you cook more at the same time.

Buy the Ninja Woodfire online

AU $649.00
Free delivery
as of 27 May 2024 1:37 am
Amazon.com.au
AU $699.00
+ Delivery *
Thegoodguys.com.au
* Delivery cost shown at checkout.
Product disclosure

Ninja supplied the product for this review.

Author

  • Nick Broughall

    Nick is the founder and editor of BTTR. He is an award winning product reviewer, who has spent the last 20 years writing, editing and publishing technology and consumer content for brands like Finder, Gizmodo and TechRadar.

    View all posts
Advertisement
blank
Advertisement
blank
BTTR
Logo
Compare items
  • Total (0)
Compare
0