The Weber SmokeFire barbecue is a modern design classic

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Design
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1 hour ago

The future of outdoor cooking: the new SmokeFire barbecue from Weber

Connected and multi-capable, this smart wood pellet grill delivers a distinctive smoky flavor and features low and slow cooking, high heat searing, smoking and broiling.

In partnership with Weber

For decades a simple but happily effective, decidedly analog collaboration of charcoal, flame and grate, the Weber barbecue now goes digital. Through ingeniously designed heat distribution and direction, Weber’s mission was to create a grill that facilitated low-temperature, slow cooking while providing the ability to sear foods at high temperatures, creating taste experiences. versatile and memorable around ribs or premium cuts of meat. and exotic vegetables.

With a purist aesthetic that references automotive design and industrial machinery, the SmokeFire’s construction is stealthy and rugged with minimalist architectural details and a glossy black porcelain enamel finish. The sturdy construction houses a multi-tasking machine that effortlessly facilitates and modernizes the barbecue experience without diminishing the shared enjoyment of outdoor cooking.

The smart BBQ

How it works? In partnership with a tech start-up called June, Weber created the SmokeFire as a connected cooking system that actually senses the cooking progress of food and provides the user, via an app, with predictive notifications and services step by step.

“SmokeFire’s connectivity was designed to inspire consumer confidence,” says Alex Mecker, senior industrial designer at Weber. “You can walk right in, having never cooked pork shoulder or ribs before, and get step-by-step instructions on food prep, packaging, probing, and turning times. The app also gives advice on temperature regulation, provides a countdown timer and an alert when it’s time to remove food from the grill.

Weber’s design has certainly come a long way in the 70 years since George Stephen, then working for Weber Metal Manufacturing, a buoy manufacturing company in Chicago, made his first conversion of an old pewter float. Frustrated at not being able to cook a steak to his favorite taste, Stephen cut the metal buoyancy vessel in half, drilled holes in it and added a makeshift grill. The ingenious kettle-shaped adaptation, now part of the Smithsonian’s collection, became the model for Weber’s first and now iconic kettle barbecue and launched a legacy of outdoor cooking for the world-renowned American brand. .

Over the years, Weber’s R&D department has stayed true to its classic kettle design, but has also produced a variety of other products – smokers, charcoal grills, gas grills and electric grills. Now the brand is focusing on compressed wood pellets.

Renewable fuel source

With pellet smokers already popular in backyard kitchen culture (rather than grilling, smokers also allow for slow roasting of food, infused with wood smoke flavor), Weber set out to create a top quality pellet grill and smoker combination. Through ingeniously designed heat distribution and direction, the SmokeFire’s mission was to encourage new low-temperature, slow-cooking opportunities, and to create versatile and memorable taste experiences around ribs or cuts of meat from superior quality and exotic vegetables.

“From a design and performance perspective, it’s all built around the cooking process – maximizing what we’ve seen and learned about charcoal, electric and gas and trying to ‘applying that to our pellet products,” says Mecker.

The pellets recommended by Weber are Carbon Trust and FSC certified, sourced and produced in Poland, the company’s goal being to reduce its carbon footprint. The renewable energy source has the added benefit of creating a unique, smoky flavor in whatever its user chooses to cook.

Weber SmokeFire and cooking for taste

The pellet grill project started in 2018 when Weber noticed that people were looking to smoke but were really unhappy with the options that were out there. Weber identified shortcomings in the user experience regarding issues such as cleanability, temperature, range, versatility, cooking performance and uniformity. Then the team rallied to create this first pellet grill, allowing the consumer to achieve unparalleled cooking consistency and flavor and the ability to be carbon neutral every time they grill.

Utilizing Flavorizer Bars, which draw grease and drippings away from the burners, preventing flare-ups and clogging, the SmokeFire provides an even temperature and allows the user an easily accessible cookbox while delivering authentic smoky flavor from the pellets Of wood. High heat allows outdoor chefs to sear at controlled temperatures. Performance and flavor are maximized.

To explore the myriad of gastronomic possibilities offered by the SmokeFire, Weber employs a global team of culinary experts in its Global Grill Academies. Weber then brings together all the regional culinary ideas, techniques, and influences from its academies and incorporates them into the app, fostering recipe development and a multicultural understanding of cooking.

A robust design approach

The beauty of the SmokeFire’s hardware form is in its connectivity, purpose, performance, and skill. “At Weber, we don’t really go overboard with our styling. But we try to emphasize function and efficiency with our design, so many of the most important style elements – like the straps of lid that secure the porcelain enamel lid to the hinges – are actually mostly functional as well The design team tends to go back and forth with the engineering team, making sure we’re optimizing performance, but also by finding ways to highlight elements of the building in the style.

Weber draws his design cues and inspirations from a variety of sources. “We’re definitely heavily influenced by the automobile,” admits Mecker. I think this is one of the most striking comparisons. We also take notes on fashion trends. We look at anything that needs to live outdoors and deal with lots of different weather conditions. ‘With the SmokeFire we were looking to make sure we weren’t making a one-dimensional product. By adding a bit more depth and character via the layers of black, we wanted to express a change in texture and material.

Weber argues that the depth of porcelain enamel – both matte and glossy – cannot be replicated. More than just paint, the SmokeFire’s glass-like finish is baked onto the metal and is able to withstand excessively high temperatures, extreme weather changes and intense rainfall.

The SmokeFire Stealth is a new but integral part of Weber’s ever-evolving design history. a thoughtful, effective and expertly crafted expression. Another outdoor icon in the making. §

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