Let me just say that this is a great smoker and if you are looking for an easy to use smoker that uses REAL WOOD pellets for both heat and smoke, then this is the smoker to buy.

As you read down the page, I will talk about the various aspects of this smoker but if already know that you want one, then why not go ahead and get one on the way. With FREE shipping and a super awesome 3 year warranty, you really can't beat it!

Note: We do get a small commission when you purchase some of the products on this website, this one included and for that reason, I am very careful to promote ONLY the products that I absolutely love and recommend.

Here's  what showed up on my doorstep on delivery day.. boy was I excited!

Sweet!

Putting it Together

It took me a couple of hours to remove the packing and put the grill together but of course, I was taking pictures and notes so that slowed me down some.

The assembly instructions are all of (2) pages with each section clearly explained and shown with pictures. Like most men (and some women I suppose), I tried to figure it out first and only consulted the directions when I got stumped =)

 

Seasoning

During unpacking, I noticed that several of the bare metal parts such as the grease drain pan were covered in oil and had to be wiped off with a paper towel. This is to prevent it from rusting during storage and shipping and is why it is extremely important to run the pellet grill for a couple of hours at normal smoking temperatures or a little higher before using it to cook food.

This “seasoning” process allows the oil to burn off so the flavors in your food come from smoke rather than manufacturing oils.

To season the Woodwind:

Camp Chef says to run the pellet grill at 350℉ for 30 minutes before cooking food to burn off oils used in manufacturing and to cure the paint.

After this seasoning process, the Woodwind is ready to use.

My Review

Most pellet smokers work on the same premise in that there's a hopper full of pellets. Those pellets get pulled into the firepot via an auger where they burn and that provides both heat and smoke.

To judge the other pellet smokers against smokers in the Camp Chef lineup, specifically the Woodwind, you have to look at the features, available add-ons and even the smoke production and level of smoke flavor.

Camp Chef has come to the table with several add-ons, features and capabilities that push them to the top of the pile in my opinion.

Here's the official feature list from the website:

  • Electric auto-start ignition
  • Dual LED temperature readout
  • Easy setting selection system
  • Automatic pellet auger
  • Included warming rack
  • Included meat probe
  • Patented Ash Cleanout system
  • Large capacity pellet hopper
  • Included recipe booklet
  • Pellet hopper cleanout and purge
  • 160º F up to 500º F temperature range for slow smoking to grilling
  • Included bottom shelf
  • Four wheeled legs for easy movement

Smoke

Ultimately, when it comes to smokers, it's the resulting smoke flavor that sells me on the product.

The Camp Chef model has  a typical looking pellet grill controller but when you look at it closer,  it has a couple of extra settings. One for “Hi smoke” and one for “Lo smoke” both of which are engineered to produce more smoke while maintaining the set temperature

The Lo Smoke setting maintains an average of 160℉ and should be perfect for jerky, cool smoking fish, etc.

The Hi Smoke setting maintains an average of about 220℉. I have been using the Hi Smoke setting and not only getting great smoke flavor but beautiful smoke rings as well.

Like most pellet smokers, the chimney cap can be adjusted to allow more or less smoke out and this can make a difference in the smoke flavor as well.

Features

Dump Shoot for the Hopper

This may be a feature on some other brands of pellet smokers at higher price points however, it is not a feature that I have seen on other brands of smokers at the same price point.

I can't even tell you how many times I have used a plastic cup or my hands to dip out handful after handful of pellets in an effort to change out the pellets on other pellet smokers such as the Traeger. Doable but it's a slight aggrivation.

On the Camp Chef Woodwind, you will notice a chute at the rear of the hopper, located at the bottom and angled downward. Pull out the knob on the side of the hopper and the pellets come pouring out into whatever container you choose.

There's even a hook on the drain chute so you can hang a plastic pail to catch them in. Sweet!

You no longer have to dip out the pellets or forego pellet changes until they all burn up, you want a different flavor of pellet today? No problem!

Ash Cup

Most other pellet smokers have no method for catching the ashes and easily emptying them after each use. I have been vacuuming out my Traeger after every use since I've owned it. Heck, I even have a special vacuum for it that can withstand reasonably warm ashes so I don't have to wait to long to clean up after I'm done cooking.

Note: If you have a pellet smoker that requires vacuuming, you need one of these! The canister is made of metal and the ends of the hoses are metal so you can vacuum ashes out of the smoker, fireplace, or grill before they cool down completely.

Enter the Woodwind– there's a really handy little ash cup on the bottom that catches the ashes.

Like the chute on the hopper, there's a knob on the right side of the smoker that allows the ashes to drop down into the cup when you pull it open.

You can still vacuum out the inside of the pellet grill from time to time to keep it clean since some ashes do end up  in the bottom of the smoke chamber but you no longer have to do it in order to cook. The ash cup keeps the ashes out of the firepot so it can work like a brand new one every time you fire it up.

It seems like such an easy fix for a problem that's been plaguing pellet grill owners for a long time, Camp Chef solved it and it's a brilliant feature that saves me a ton of time.

Sear Box

This is an add-on but one that I highly recommend.

How many times do we get finished smoking things like steaks, chicken, etc. and we need to put a sear on something or crisp up the skin on the chicken or get some grill marks on the burgers or hotdogs? I don't know about you, but I usually fire up the grill or use the broiler in my oven to take care of these items that need a little extra something.

Camp Chef has created a somewhat small but very useful propane fueled grill that attaches to the right side of the unit. This sear box is capable of temperatures as high as 900℉ and with the heavy duty cast iron grate you can lay out some awesome grill marks and a nice sear without ever leaving the pellet grill.

The surface area is about 12″ x 16″ and 184 square inches of cooking area.

There's a piece of metal between the flames and the grate that contains hundreds of small holes to allow the heat thru but discourage the grease from dripping through and causing flare ups. It's called the flavor screen and does a pretty good job in my opinion.

This pellet grill also comes with a probe input on the control panel and a meat probe. This allows you to monitor the temperature of the meat you are cooking via the control panel.

The probe is passed into the smoke chamber via a small port in the top left side of the smoke chamber.

You can also push a button on the control panel to see the meat temperature or the pit temperature as you desire.

Along with the features I have mentioned, here's a few specs on the smoker that may interest you:

Hopper

Holds about 16-18 lbs of pellets. At normal smoking temperatures, you can expect to go through about 1 lb of pellets per hour.

Cooking and Warming Grate

The cooking grate is coated with porcelain and is 19.5″ x 22″.

The smoking/warming grate sits above the cooking grate and is 6″ deep and 24″ wide. It can be used for cooking or to keep things warm while the other food cooks. This comes standard on the Woodwind and is NOT an add on. Many of the other pellet grills require you to purchase extra grates.

The Camp Chef Woodwind is capable of temperatures between 160 degrees and about 500 degrees making it the perfect unit for cool smoking, hot smoking, braising, baking, grilling, barbecuing and searing.

In case you can't tell, I'm a huge fan of the Camp Chef Woodwind simply because it's easier to use and maintain. I can maintain and use the Traeger and other pellet grills in the same way, but I just work a little harder doing it.

If you haven't watched their video, it'll demonstrate most of what I've mentioned above. Check it out at http://www.smoking-meat.com/woodwind.

I love to promote great products and this here is one of those products that I love to use and I know you will too.

I will add more to this review as I use it and find out new tips and tricks.

Cost and How to Purchase

The unit is $899 if you get the sear box with it, or if you opt to get the unit without the sear box, it's only $699. A steal of a deal in my opinion considering what you get and how well it works not to mention all of the new friends that will start hanging around your house. You just can't put a price on that!

Now go on over to the Camp Chef website to learn more or you can purchase it and get your new “baby” on the way today with FREE shipping and an unheard of 3-year warranty.

Please let me know if you have further questions about this pellet grill.

I would also like to hear your own personal reviews and feedback on the Woodwind pellet grill in the comments area below.

About the Author

Long time Industrial Engineer turned self-proclaimed fire poker, pitmaster and smoke whisperer and loving every minute of it!

19 Comments on this article. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Dean Elliott October 15, 2017 at 7:58 am - Reply

    Hey Jeff- thanks for the super job on the review of the CC Woodwind. I saw the video when it first came out- thot THAT would be a great grill someday and filed it mentally. SOMEday is here and I’ve looked everywhere and couldn’t find the “smoke god guy grill!” Then I just stumbled onto your blogs of reviews and reading your entire piece- I said THAT’s the one I want!! And when I clicked on buy now… and BAM!!! up pops the “smoke god guy!!!” Haha!!! Must be the one to get- double confirmation!!

    I currently have an older (very nice) propane grill that needs to be replaced. We use it several times a week; which means just clearing a path in the snow during our Michigan winters!!! And I also have a great “Smokin It 2”. However I really do miss the bark crisp you get from a wood smoke VS. an electric smoke.

    4 questions: 1) Would the CC Woodwind (with the sear box) be a good way to combine a conventional grill and electric smoker?
    2) Do you get the “crisp/bark” on ribs/chicken with a pellet smoker?
    3) Does the CC Woodwind perform well in cold climates of the north? One of the many impressive features of the the Smokin It smokers is it’s doubled wall insulation and it’s ability to perform consistently regardless of the outside temp/conditions!
    4) is there a way to rig up a rotisserie? We do a lot of rotisserie cooking! That ever-basting process is so delicious.

    Is my dream of “rotisserie-ing” and smoking and getting a good crisp all on 1 unit in freezing winter months achievable???

    I’ve been a huge fan of yours since you started!!! Congrats on your success in the smoking/grilling world; your doing a great job of keeping us backyard smokin/grillin guys going!!! I especially enjoy your (relatively) new review blogs! Is it possible to get an autographed copy of your “Smoking Meat” book??

  2. joel September 13, 2017 at 7:57 pm - Reply

    Hi

    I’m researching smokers. I am new to this smoking and have a question. What is the purpose of all the temperature setting beside the lo/hi smoke? is it just smoking at a higher temperature and the food is ready that much faster? is the high smoke option the same as setting the dial at 225?

    • Jeff Phillips September 13, 2017 at 10:12 pm - Reply

      Joel,

      It is my understanding that the lo/hi smoke settings are special settings that are engineered to produce more smoke than on the normal settings while still maintaining the set temperature. I can tell you from using the Woodwind that the Hi Smoke setting produces more smoke than most other pellet grills I have used and maintains 225°F at the same time. The Lo Smoke setting maintains about 180°F while producing plenty of smoke.

      I have not used the regular 225 setting thus far but I might if I was cooking something that needed a lighter smoke flavor.

      Let me know if you have further questions about this.

  3. Johnny Stevens September 3, 2017 at 7:58 pm - Reply

    Jeff recently bought the woodwind. Boy do I love it. What a quality piece of gear. Find nothing wrong with it. Love everything about it.
    Johnny

  4. Kevin Brown August 20, 2017 at 12:22 am - Reply

    Jeff, just wondered if you have tried a Yoder smoker? Saw one today, they’re built like a tank, but expensive.

    • Jeff Phillips August 22, 2017 at 9:44 pm - Reply

      Kevin, I have not had the opportunity to use a Yoder. I have heard great things though.

  5. NewtoQ August 17, 2017 at 6:06 pm - Reply

    Hi Jeff I also recently purchased the woodwind and have not been as lucky as you with performance. I was get wild temp swings +/- 40 degrees which they initially attributed to damp pellets. They sent me new ones and still the same issue. They then sent me a new burn cup as mine had a longer holder for the hot rod which was forcing pellets to the side. My temp swings are now only about 20 on both sides however I noticed the middle of the grill when measured with maverick is about 20 degrees hotter than the controller. Do you get the same temp readings?

    • Jeff Phillips August 18, 2017 at 12:52 pm - Reply

      Robert,

      My swings tend to be +/- 20°F or so but I usually just look for the average temperature I am getting. On the Hi Smoke setting, it spends most of it’s time at or near 225 and occasionally it will drift up to 245 or so and down to 207, 208 ,etc.

      I watch the reading that the controller is giving me but I almost always have a ambient probe right where the meat is sitting so I know exactly what heat is being experienced in that location which is usually somewhere near the center of the grate and sometimes it’s a little different at first but it usually settles in pretty close to what the controller is telling me.

      I often start up my pellet grill an hour or more before I’m ready to cook to give it time to heat the metal and settle in to the temperature I want to maintain.

      It is possible to tune some smokers so the heat is consistent front to back and side to side but usually, there’s some differences and that’s just part of knowing your smoker. I learn my hot spots and I just use that to decide meat placement. You will find this to be the case even in your kitchen oven. It’s rarely right on target and the temperatures fluctuate from rack to rack and in different locations on each rack.

      I try not to worry about it too much. I just look for a good range and as long as the average temperature is maintained, I’m pretty happy with it.

      I am very glad to hear that Camp Chef’s customer service is such that they are working hard to help you iron out the wrinkles you are seeing in the temperature fluctuations. That says a lot about a company.

  6. Bill August 10, 2017 at 4:46 pm - Reply

    use ours for everything and so far no problems, You did forget to mention the burn cup is stainless, Will last a lifetiem! Good article and I agree witrh you , Good product

  7. Mike F. August 10, 2017 at 11:33 am - Reply

    I have a WSM. I am very interested in the Woodwind after reading several positive reviews about it. Can any brand pellet fuel be used successfully in this smoker or does one have to order pellets from Camp Chef?

    • Jeff Phillips August 10, 2017 at 6:42 pm - Reply

      Pellet grills operate by burning pellets.. this creates heat and smoke which is exactly what you need in a smoker.

      The only other thing they need is a power source to turn the auger but the draw is very small and you can easily use a power inverter in your vehicle to use if for tailgating or camping or anytime you are away from electricity.

      The pellets are easy to find and quite inexpensive.. you can get them at Walmart, Ace Hardware, Amazon, Costco, etc.

      • Harv August 11, 2017 at 11:43 am - Reply

        Jeff check Dick’s sporting online $12.99 per 20lbs. And free shipping

        • Jeff Phillips August 11, 2017 at 12:48 pm - Reply

          Thank you, Harv! That’s a very decent price for pellets.

  8. Bob Bailey August 10, 2017 at 8:53 am - Reply

    I have had my woodwind for a week. Cooked pizza the first day and it was great.
    Did or should I say tried a pork butt the next. The temp control went bonkers. At 225 the temp went less than 190 and up to 312. I switched to hi smoke. The smoke produced was beyond a lot it was crazy. I shut it down and finished the pork butt in the oven. Here is the good part. I am sure the controller is defective and called Camp Chef. They figured the probes were bad but just in case sent a controller with the probes no questions asked. Things should be fine for the weekend. Excellent customer service

    • Jeff Phillips August 10, 2017 at 6:50 pm - Reply

      I am glad to hear that they took care of you!

  9. Bill Spevak August 5, 2017 at 3:38 pm - Reply

    I ordered the woodwind smoker with the sear box just a few days ago. I am very impressed with the smoker overall. Super fast shipping(two days!!!) and quality packing. Assembly was relatively fast and easy. Reverse seared rib eyes and burgers are fast and simple. Ribs going on today. My old recommendation would be hooks on the front for tools! There were a few loose fasteners on the lid and random unused rivets inside the body but easy fixes. Overall, high quality product. When are you going to integrate wifi into the control box?

    • Jeff Phillips August 6, 2017 at 9:49 pm - Reply

      Thank you for the great review, Bill. I agree that wifi enabled controller and tool hooks would be excellent features to make this pellet smoker even better!

  10. jalu July 29, 2017 at 2:56 pm - Reply

    I pushed my Traeger back when I unboxed a Camp Chef Woodwind with the Sear Box a couple months ago and have 11 smokes on it so far (12 counting the two pork butts that are smokin’ up out on the deck as I type this!) and have been very impressed with the Woodwind so far.
    The one thing that has impressed me the most is this smokers ability to maintain such constant temps throughout the entire smoking cycle. On both the LowSmoke and HighSmoke settings this smoker really produces a nice blue smoke.
    The Sear Box can turn out some amazing steaks (reversed seared) and burgers, although there is a learning curve with this attachment that takes a little time to master but well worth the time when you do.
    Very satisfied with this smoker so far….Gotta go check the probe.
    Keep On Smokin’
    Jalu

  11. Patrick Maxon July 19, 2017 at 9:07 am - Reply

    When can we expect to see your review of the Woodwind?

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