Ninja Woodfire Outdoor Grills are a popular new option for people who want to cook outside, but who are looking for space saving alternatives to a full size grill.
This smaller size, and the multi-purpose function makes it a great option for a lot of people. But, like any smaller grill, there is a risk that this appliance won’t work as well as you were hoping.
There are a few things buyers should know about the Ninja Woodfire Grill before they invest. Here’s what you need to know:
What Is The Ninja Woodfire Grill
First things first, let's talk about what the Ninja Woodfire Grill is.
The first thing most people notice about this grill is its small size. Ninja is well known for making convenient and useful kitchen appliances, but they aren’t shy about using larger footprints on their designs when it’s necessary. So, the small size of this grill is a bit of an oddity.
It’s also supposed to have 7 different functions, including letting users smoke their meals with hardwood chips or pellets.
In addition, the Ninja Woodfire Grill is supposed to function as a grill, air fryer, smoker, oven for baking and roasting, as well as broiling, and working as a dehydrator and to create air crisps. The grill is also electric, which means that you don’t need to have room for storing fuel. It's also safer to use this grill in a small area compared with gas grills since you don't need to worry about ventilation for any electric uses of the grill.
The other big advantage here is that the Ninja woodfire grill needs a very small amount of woodchips to create a smokey environment and flavor. You can use as little as ½ a cup and still get great results.
However, while there are plenty of advantages to using the Ninja Woodfire Grill, there are some things you should know before you buy one for your home.
What You Should Know About The Ninja Woodfire Grill Before You Buy
Not all of these are bad things, but they are features and functions that can change the way the Ninja Woodfire Outdoor Grill works.
The Power Cord Is Relatively Short
Since the Ninja Woodfire Outdoor Grill is electric-powered, and completely dependent on the electricity to work, having a shorter power cord is a significant limitation.
It’s a standard power appliance though, so it’s safe to use an extension cord or a surge protector to give yourself a little more versatility. Just make sure there’s plenty of room between the cooking area and the power cord. The added space will help disperse the heat and protect your power cord.
If you want to cook in an area further away from your home and electrical source, you might need a different setup.
Small Cooking Area
One of the big advantages of the Ninja Woodfire Grill is its small footprint, but that can also be one of the biggest downsides of this grill.
A huge advantage of a grill is that you can usually make a lot of food all at once, which makes it the perfect option for cooking for gatherings or special occasions.
The Ninja Woodfire Grill has enough space for a rack of ribs, if you cut it in half, or a few steaks at a time. There’s enough room for a few full-size corn on the cob or similar sizes of vegetables, but you probably won’t be able to cook for more than a handful of people at a time.
Batch cooking is always an option if you need to make more, so this isn’t a huge drawback. You’ll just need to make sure you know what to expect from each ingredient.
For Some Foods, You May Need To Cut Ingredients Smaller
As a side effect of the smaller cooking area, you might also need to cut some of your ingredients smaller if you’re working with larger items. That’s why you’ll need to cut a rack of ribs into two to put them on this grill.
The nice thing about that is that cutting ingredients into smaller chunks increases their surface area relative to their volume. That reduces cooking time, while also making it easier for flavors to penetrate through the ingredients. Cutting pieces smaller can make processes like smoking faster and more effective.
So, this drawback has a few bonuses too.
But, for naturally small ingredients, this grill is perfect. Want to try something new and different with your new grill? Our recipe for perfectly grilled mango is a delicious side dish, companion to more savory meals, or even as a topping for ice cream and other desserts.
Using More Than One Function At A Time Can Limit Space Even More
It’s possible to use more than one of the attachments at once thanks to the electric heat. However, using more than one attachment can significantly reduce the amount of space you have to work with. That can work if you’re only cooking for a couple of people, but it’s better to prep and cook larger batches of food separately.
No Latch On The Lid
There's no latch on the lid and no upper handle. That's not a huge deal when it comes to cooking. Surprisingly, the Ninja grill does seal in smoke pretty well and is well insulated against the heat as well.
However, not having a latch means that you will always need to use both side handles to move the grill around. That makes it a little less portable, but most of the time it shouldn’t be an issue.
Ninja Wood Pellets Are Pricier Than Average
It shouldn’t be surprising that Ninja recommends you use their brand pellets for their grill. However, in this case, the wood pellets are more expensive than average, and it’s not entirely clear why these pellets are more expensive than others.
You can try to get other wood pellets, but that can risk something going wrong or even voiding your warranty.
Adding Wood Pellets To Other Cooking Settings Is Possible
One of the advantages of cooking in the Ninja Woodfire Grill is that you can use woodsmoke with other cooking modes too, not just the smoker mode.
The trick is that the grill will only automatically ignite the wood pellets in smoking mode. You’ll need to press the ignition button when you want to smoke in other cooking modes.
Of course, this option works well in broil and roasting modes, though you might notice too much smoke flavor in baked goods if you try it with them.
It Takes Time To Master The Smoke Flavor In This Grill
One of the inconsistent things about the Ninja Woodfire Grill is that some people seem to get really great results from the smoking mode, while other people complain that the smoke flavor isn’t as strong as they would prefer.
That’s because there can be a learning curve when it comes to getting good smoke flavor into your cooking, especially since this grill isn’t really the same as most traditional grills.
Of course, having a good recipe can help you get the best flavors. Here are 26 of the best grill recipes you can try.
The Addition Of A Convection Fan Can Change Cooking Times
One of the biggest differences between the Ninja grill and other grills is that this grill has a convection fan to help move heat around.
On one hand, that can help make your food cook faster and more evenly, but it also means that the heat application is a little different than in a normal grill. You’ll get slightly different results, but you can play around with different cooking times and settings to get the results you’re looking for.
Nonstick Grill Grate, Rather Than A Traditional Grill
Another thing to consider is that this grill uses a grill grate. If you’ve ever used a grill pan, you’ll already know that it’s a little different from old school grilling and gives you a different result.
If you’re expecting the exact results you get with a from a traditional grill, you probably won’t get them with this design. However, it does make this a little easier to use.
This Grill In Ninja’s First Outdoor Cooking Appliance
This is less of a specific critique about the grill itself and more information about the brand and what you should expect from this design.
Not only is the Ninja Woodfire Grill a very new appliance, but it's also the first outdoor appliance from Ninja. While they have been one of the most effective brands for kitchen appliances for a while now, this being a new product line for them does mean that there might be some problems with the design that will be worked out in future versions of the grill. Time will tell.
Wanting to grill more often, but looking for lighter weight-loss-friendly recipes? Here are 23 Weight Watchers recipes for the grill!
The Bottom Line: Who Is The Ninja Woodfire Grill For?
Is the Ninja Woodfire Grill going to replace full-size grills for most people? Probably not. Full-size grills and smokers are still more effective for some things compared with this smaller alternative. However, for people who have significant space constraints, this grill could be a good option.
Since the Ninja Woodfire Grill is an electric grill, it’s also a good choice for people who aren’t allowed to use certain fuels, either for space or safety reasons.
This grill is also a good option for apartment living, or anyone who has minimal outdoor space to work with. It’s not going to work as well indoors on the smoking setting, but it can work as an indoor cooking appliance in the other modes.