Tried & Tested

On trial: Ninja Woodfire Electric BBQ

Holly Rains,-Senior Editor

Grab your apron – you’ve pulled some pork

Being of part-Australian descent, barbecuing is in my blood. There’s nothing more life affirming than quietly surveying your surroundings, proudly tending to some meaty skewers while everyone around you loses their heads over condiment distribution and placemats.

One thing I don’t love about the alfresco dining experience is the barbecue prep and the subsequent clean-up process. Hours have been wasted trying to light the thing, not to mention the amount of prawns I’ve lost to fiery charcoal embers on the quest to make the whole thing burn hotter. So yeah, there may have been flaws in my technique. But not any more. The new Ninja Woodfire Electric BBQ Grill & Smoker delivers maximum BBQ flavours with minimum effort, so you can spend more time eating and less time cleaning.  

What is it and why do you need it?

As the name suggests, the Ninja Woodfire Electric BBQ Grill & Smoker is a multitasking hero. In short, it’s an outdoor electric grill that gives you all the flavour without the fuss of gas or charcoal – as it’s powered by mains electricity. It looks like a normal BBQ (albeit a cool one), delivers the same searing and charring properties of a normal BBQ, but has some serious benefits. 

It offers seven customisable cooking functions which could make you rethink cooking indoors forever.

Smoke (don’t worry, this bit gets its own special section later on)
Air fry

The range of cooking options may at first seem overwhelming, but along with the instructions comes a handy recipe book which offers some great ideas for getting the most out of your Grill & Smoker, along with timings and handy preparation guidelines for a wide range of food stuffs (for example, sliced apples will take 6-8 hours to dehydrate). Yes, I’m already obsessed with the concept of dehydrating food using a BBQ.

Is it easy to use?

In a word, yes. As it’s powered by mains electricity the Ninja Woodfire Electric BBQ Grill & Smoker is easy to operate, using a simple interface and dial control which displays the seven cooking functions on offer. Grill with the lid open for that classic alfresco BBQ experience, or keep the lid down for a fuss-free dinner when cooking some veggie sausages from frozen or a larger piece of meat – it takes the guesswork out of outdoor cooking.

How do you use the Ninja grill as a smoker?

OK, so on to arguably the most exciting element of the Ninja. Its incredible smoker capabilities. 

If, like me, you typically associate smokers with the whole ‘low and slow’ movement (I once waited the best part of a weekend for some smoked pork at a wedding), thanks to some serious innovation, the Ninja Woodfire Electric BBQ Grill & Smoker cuts the smoking time down by hours, imparting that BBQ smoky flavour quickly and simply.

The innovation comes in the form of an integrated smoker box which burns natural wood pellets teamed with a convection fan which evenly circulates heat and smoke around the food, resulting in richly smoked wood flavours. To use this function, fill the dedicated pellet scoop that comes with the grill, add to the smoker box, then press the dedicated ‘Woodfiire Flavour’ button anytime you want to go smoky. 

The grill comes with two packs of Ninja’s signature Woodfire pellets: one All-Purpose Blend (I tried this on some salmon fillets and can confirm it was a sweet/smoky delight); one Robust Blend, which, as the name suggests, is less subtle and packs a classic BBQ punch.

The metrics that matter
Grime-free grillingIt features a non-stick grill plate, removable grease tray and zero charcoal mess. And remember it’s electric, so it heats up quickly. Really quickly.
Feed your friendsThe main grill plate is large enough for a proper barbecue party (28cm x 37cm). Specifically it fits eight burgers, 16 sausages or two racks of ribs.
It's portablePerfect for camping as well as in your garden, it comes with a 1.6m power cord, so you can plug in and go (no charcoal, gas or flames required).

Is it worth it?

If you’re a fan of a barbecue, and love the idea of cooking whatever the weather, this is most definitely worth it. The ease of creating authentic BBQ flavours with guaranteed results every time is enough in itself, then throw in the multiple cooking functions along with the innovative smoker and you have yourself the MVP of outdoor cooking. 

With the long Easter weekend coming up, we’re hoping for sun, although you can still host the family BBQ whatever the weather brings (hi, UK!) because the Ninja is made to withstand year-round outdoor cooking and is water-resistant to rating IPX4. It also comes with a two-year guarantee. What’s not to love?

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