The most popular range of pellet grills provided by Camp Chef is their Woodwind series. However, just like the Traeger Pro Series pellet grills the Camp Chef Woodwind range is offered with first-generation controllers and current generation PID WiFi controllers. Therefore I wanted to create a comprehensive post not only covering the different models in the Camp Chef Woodwind pellet grill range but also the differences between units with and without the PID WiFi controllers. What are the pros and cons of the different models to help you determine if you want to spend the extra cash for the WiFi features or not?
UPDATE: You can now upgrade first-generation Woodwind pellet grills with the Gen 2 WiFi controller which also features PID functionality.
Camp Chef is definitely ‘up there’ with some of the most popular wood pellet grill brands available today such as Traeger and Pit Boss. For instance, I’ve previously written about the Camp Chef Pursuit 20 which is one of the most popular portable pellet grills around. As you will see below, Camp Chefs approach to the design of their pellet grills is quite different to the competition with features not seen on Traeger or Pit Boss grills. A typical example would be their patented ash cleanout system. However, there are quite a few other unique features on Camp Chef pellet grills which you don’t find from other manufacturers.
Introduction To The Camp Chef Woodwind Pellet Grill Range
With the Woodwind range its pretty clear that Camp Chef is trying to make a wood pellet grill/smoker more attractive to BBQ owners who have only previously used propane grills. With all but the most die hard wood/charcoal grill owners, wood pellets have won the war. With pellets, you can get precise temperature control and a grill that feeds its self with fuel. With pellets, you are getting the same great flavour from cooking with wood logs, chips and charcoal. The significant difference being as the commercial above states, anybody can produce great tasting food on a pellet grill. Whereas it takes a lot of experience/time to produce great tasting BBQ on traditional wood/charcoal grills.
With hardwood BBQ wood pellets you get the great taste of cooking with wood/charcoal but with the convenience of cooking with gas/propane: Image – Amazon
Now while there are very few people who would suggest a propane grill can compete with a wood pellet grill in terms of flavour. There are some aspects of a propane grill which a pellet grill lacks. For instance, propane grills are great for searing meat and vegetables and they are also very convenient. With a propane grill, you turn it on and within just a couple of minutes your cooking. Whereas even the fastest warm-up pellet grills currently available today will take around 10 minutes before your ready to start cooking. Therefore, with the Woodwind range, Camp Chef is offering something unique. A pellet grill with the option of either a propane Sear Box or Side Kick. In other words, the benefits of great taste and flexibility of cooking with pellets and the convenience and searing with propane in a single grill!
Woodwind Pellet Grill Features
So let’s discuss some of the specific features of the Camp Chef Woodwind range that sets it apart from the competition. Well first, let’s discuss the patented ash cleanout system. Now on other pellet grills after say 4-5 normal cooks or 2-3 long/slow cooks there is going to be a steady build of ash sitting in the bottom of the grill. On most grills, you will have to take out all the racks, drip liner and baffles and get your ash/shop vac in there. Well not with the Woodwind range. While every now and again you will want to thoroughly clean the grill. However, in most instances, you can just empty the ash pot as seen in the video below. Now, this feature is found on other pellet grills in the Camp Chef range including the SmokePro. However its not found on grills/smokers outside of the Camp Chef brand.
Direct Flame Grilling/Broiling
Another feature found on Camp Chef pellet grills which is missing from most of the competition is direct flame grilling. If you look at Traegers, for instance, they feature solid drip pan trays and fixed heat baffles over the firepot. Therefore, on a Traeger direct flame grilling/broiling isn’t possible. However, on Camp Chef pellet grills a leaver can move the heat baffle which normally sits over the firepot to one side. Furthermore, the drip pan on Camp Chef grills has louvres (gaps) which let the direct heat/flame/smoke from the pellet fire reach the food your cooking. You probably won’t want to use this feature in all cases, it obviously depends what you’re cooking. However, with this feature available you can broil your burgers, chicken steak etc at 650 degrees.
Woodwind WiFi and Camp Chef Connect
Now, as I referenced at the start of this post there are two generations of Windwood grills, and the first generation (without WiFi) is still on sale today. Therefore, please bear that in mind. I’ve noted below covering the whole range of Woodwind grills which have and which do not have WiFi integration. The video below from Camp Chef may sell you on the idea or you may determine its an additional expense you don’t need. Hence, its why I think Camp Chef are still offering both versions of the Woodwind with and without the upgraded control panel and WiFi features.
Camp Chef Woodwind Pellet Grill Models
As I’ve stated above, the Woodwind range has been around for a few years now and has seen upgrades along the way. Therefore, instead of referencing the grills below in size order, I wanted to discuss the first generation of Woodwind grills (without WiFi) and then move onto the second generation with WiFi. First-generation Woodwind grills are still available on the Camp Chef website so its worth discussing them. After all, they do cost a bit less than the latest Woodwind grills. So if you like the general construction and features of these grills but your budget is on a tight leash, they may still be worth considering.
Woodwind Classic 24, SG 24 Side Kick and SG 24 Sear Box
The only size available of Woodwind which uses the original control panel as seen in the ‘Grill God’ commercials is the 24. The Classic provides a total cooking area (upper and lower rack) of 570 square inches. Whereas the SG 24 provides a total of 811 square inches. Therefore, the SG models do provide quite a bit more cooking space. The Classic 24 is basically the no-frills version and cheapest Woodwind pellet grill you can buy. In other words, it doesnt come with either the propane Side Kick or Sear Box accessory. However, you can always add it at a later date if you choose to.
Other notable differences between the Classic and SG is the pellet hopper size. The Classic holds 18lbs where the SG can hold 22lbs. That may not sound like a big difference but it can play its part. For instance, pellet bags are 20lbs, hence, with a Classic, you cannot actually fit a whole bag of pellets into the hopper. Secondly, when cooking something low and slow like brisket, that additional 4lbs of pellets in the hopper is going to cover you without needing a top-up. Furthermore, the first generation controller fitted to the Classic only has one external meat probe connection. Whereas the SG 24 models have two meat probe connections.
Woodwind WiFi Range 20, 24 and 36
We’ll now look at what I refer to as the second generation of Camp Chef Woodwind pellet grills with the upgraded PID WiFi controllers. Other than the WiFi 20 both the WiFi 24 and WiFi 36 are available as stand-alone units or with the optional propane Side Kick or Sear Box. It is worth noting that the WiFi 20 is the only Woodwind pellet grill that is not compatible with the optional propane Side Kick/Sear Box. Therefore, you have to think carefully before choosing this model, as you won’t be able to add that feature at a later date. As you have probably guessed already the WiFi 20 is the smallest offering. That means it has the smallest total cooking area (501 square inches) but also the smallest pellet hopper capacity (10lbs). While not marketed as a portable pellet grill (no folding legs) due to its low weight (90lbs) it can be easily moved around to different locations.
If you are looking for the extra utility and capability the propane Side Kick or Sear Box can offer you will be looking at the larger WiFi 24 or WiFi 36. If your budget is limited you can opt for either model as a stand-alone unit and add the propane Side Kick or Sear Box at a later date. With the WiFi 24 you are getting a total cooking area of 800 square inches and a pellet hopper capacity of 22lbs. With the WiFi 36 you get the same 22lbs pellet hopper capacity but an increased cooking area of 1236 square inches. I’ve included both of the promotional videos for the WiFi 24 and WiFi 36 below so you can see the visible difference in the available cooking area.
Woodwind Pellet Grill Reviews
When I do my research for my pellet grill posts I like to find good quality reviews from both BBQ professionals and your average back yard BBQ owner to provide as wider perspective as possible. In this case with the Camp Chef Woodwind range its a bit more complicated. As I have discussed above, some versions of this pellet grill are fitted with the first generation controller and some are fitted with the second-generation PID WiFi controller. Therefore, please keep that in mind when watching the reviews below.
BBQ Guys Camp Chef Woodwind Pellet Grill Reviews
Back in 2018, the BBQ Guys did their first review of a Camp Chef Woodwind pellet grill the SG 24. Therefore, this grill features the first generation controller (no WiFi). The review clearly shows the settings and controls on the first generation SG 24 controller. Note the low and high smoke settings at 160 and 220 degrees respectively and how the temperature range increases in 25-degree increments.
While the SG 24 is going to produce excellent BBQ this review in hindsight also highlights the improvements of the second generation PID WiFi controller which has 1-10 smoke settings for any set temperature. Furthermore, the temperature can be controlled in just 5-degree increments. In 2019 the BBQ Guys did their second review of the Woodwind range on the second generation WiFi 36.
As the above review shows, the WiFi integration and App adds a significant amount of versatility and flexibility to an already feature-rich range of pellet grills. Its worth noting that the Woodwind WiFi range are the only pellet grills you can get with WiFi monitoring of four meat probes. Even the Traeger Ironwood and Timberline range can only provide WiFi monitoring of two meat probes. Furthermore, those pellet grills do not have the option of the Sear Box accessory which the video review above does a good job at showing the wide range of circumstances where you would want to use it.
Woodwind Pellet Grill Owner Reviews
The first owner’s review I wanted to reference is by Scott Gregg. Its of a first-generation Classic 24 which Scott has been using for over a year. I much prefer to reference long term owners reviews when I can find them. They provide so much more insight in terms of what its really like to live with a particular grill on a day to day basis and over an extended period of time. The professional reviews above are mainly overviews. Furthermore, as you can see from Scott’s review below, he’s providing feedback on not only the features he does like but his impressions of the drawbacks with this grill.
For Scott, the convenience of the removable ash pot under the grill is a significant benefit. And he’s right, to clean a pellet grill you normally have to take out all the grates and get an ash vac in there, but not with Woodwind range. Scott also discusses the benefits of his attached Sear Box. Just before the food has finished cooking on the pellet grill he’ll remove the chicken, burgers etc and finish them off on the Sear Box. His comments on the potential ‘flame out’ issue are worth paying attention to and I intend to write a specific post on that topic in the future. But for now, the second owner review I wanted to share is from Everyday BBQ & Cooking on the second generation WiFi 24 Woodwind.
As Mike mentions at the start of his review, you do need to take your time when unboxing and assembling any pellet grill to make sure everything is aligned properly. Otherwise, you could be stripping threads on the screws etc. At some point, I’ll get round to writing a post on the Woodwind assembly process. Mike highlights the pellet viewing window on the hopper to quickly view the level. Champ Chef, however, don’t as yet have a pellet sensor which plugs into the WiFi control that Traeger’s have for instance. Though what the Camp Chef Woodwind range does have which Traegers don’t at this price point are stainless steel grill racks. Furthermore, the Woodwind range has a stainless steel lid, again not found on other grills at this price point. There is also the direct flame grilling which is possible on the Woodwind, again a feature not found on any current Traeger models.
Conclusions On The Camp Chef Woodwind Pellet Grill Range
Compared to the competition at this price point, the Woodwind range has several features and abilities you will currently not find on any other pellet grill/smoker. For instance, the added convenience and utility of the optional Sear Box/Side Kick should not be overlooked. While the direct flame grilling as a feature of the Woodwind range at 650 degrees is not found on many other pellet grills, with the Sear Box/Side Kick you also have the option to finish/caramelise your food at 900 degrees. Now the Camp Chef Woodwind range does not feature a twin-wall insulated body such as that found on say a Traeger Timberline/Ironwood. Therefore, in colder climates, especially when using Woodwind grills during the colder months of the year you’ll want to consider the insulated jack accessory. However, in warmer climates/summer months you should be fine.
That’s it! Thanks for reading. For all the details on these grills just visit Campchef.com. They also have some pretty reasonable finance deals so you don’t have to pay for the grill all upfront. I’ve also got a post on the Camp Chef Sear Box vs SideKick you may want to check out. If you would like to learn more please check out my wood pellet grill/smoker guide. 🙂