Ninja Woodfire Outdoor Electric Grill: Compact Size,
Ninja Woodfire Ninja Woodfire

Portable Outdoor Grills like Ninja Woodfire ProConnect XL Outdoor Grill and Smoker (available in Ninja) are the perfect solution for those who have limited space but are enthusiastic about cooking outdoors. This electric grill and smoker combo by Ninja cooks food evenly, whether you’re grilling, air frying, smoking, or baking. However, its compact size and limited surface area make it ideal for certain situations. If you’re on the hunt for the best portable grill that we’ve tested and you’re ready to cook with gas, consider the Weber Q-1200—it may not boast wood-fire activity, but it comes at a great price tag.

About the Ninja Woodfire ProConnect XL Outdoor Grill

  •  Dimensions: 23.62 x 18.58 x 13.31 inches
  •  Cooking Area (Total): 180 square inches 
  • Weight: 38.94 pounds Fuel Type: Electric
  •  Functions: Grill, Smoker, Roast, Bake, Dehydrate, Air Crisp (essentially the same thing as air frying), and Broil

Air fryers and viral Ninja Creamy-like appliances are well-known for their top-notch performance, and Ninja has certainly made a name for itself in the world of cooking. The Ninja Woodfire ProConnect XL Outdoor Grill and Smoker is the latest addition to the brand’s lineup, an upgrade from their previous model, the Ninja Woodfired Outdoor Grill.

This appliance comes with two meat thermometers, a cast iron grill grate, an air fryer basket, a grease tray liner, and three packs of Ninja Woodfire pellets. You have the option to control it via a smartphone app since it’s Wi-Fi enabled.

To use the Ninja Woodfire ProConnect XL Grill, simply power it on using the power button, select the cooking function you want to use, and set the time and temperature (or choose manual settings). The grill will then start preheating (you can skip this step by pressing the start button for a few seconds). Once it’s preheated, it will beep and display “Add food” on the screen. At this point, you can cook your food with the grill lid

Open or closed (the grill will give you a signal to close the lid, but you can disregard it if you prefer to keep an eye on your food).

If you leave the lid open, your food won’t be cooked with convection heat. Midway through cooking, the grill will beep again to prompt you to flip your food, and when everything is done, it will beep to signal the end of the cooking cycle.

This grill retails for $449.75, with the optional stand available separately for $129.99.

We’ve put the Ninja Woodfire ProConnect XL Outdoor Grill to the test

To get a sense of how well this grill performs, we used it to cook dinner every night for a week. We grilled chicken breasts, corn on the cob, and asparagus to test the grill function, including the use of a meat thermometer.

For smoking, we smoked chicken wings and used the Ninja Woodfire Pellets Robust Blend. We also air-fried the chicken wings to present them with an air fryer basket that we used along with the air fryer function. Finally, we grilled Italian sausages with great success.

What we like

It cooks food evenly

The Ninja Woodfire Grill cooks food evenly, thanks to the cast iron grill grates and internal convection fans, both of which enhance heat distribution. The convection fan works much like an air fryer (or a real convection oven), transferring hot air for even cooking. When we sliced the chicken breasts after reading 165°F on the meat thermometer, the meat was consistently cooked. We found no hot spots on the grill’s cooking surface, whether we were smoking, grilling vegetables, or air-frying French fries.

Many functions actually work

Of the grill’s seven functions, we tried four: grill, smoke, air crisp, and bake. The grill function consistently cooked grilled chicken, corn, and asparagus, to the point where it provided signature grill marks. Air crisping was another winner; the French fries were plenty crispy without getting too brown. A heap of chicken wings cooked evenly on the wings’ cooking, and they tasted as if they’d come straight from a standard-sized oven.

The smoke function was a triumph; it provided a full-bodied smoky flavor to a heap of chicken wings in less than 30 minutes. Using the scoop that comes with the grill to add pellets to the integrated smokebox was easy, and all that was left was to press the right buttons.

Ninja Woodfire
Ninja Woodfire

It’s easy to use with some quirks. Operating this grill for the first time while smoking may seem somewhat intuitive, but it’s worth noting that the time for this function is displayed in hours and minutes rather than minutes and seconds since smoking requires relatively low heat and slow cooking.

Cleaning is a breeze

 Cleaning this grill wasn’t a breeze. The nonstick grill grate is removable and relatively lightweight (about the size of a cast iron skillet). We were able to easily scrub away any cooking residue, with a little soap, and a gentle sponge.

As far as the grease tray and disposable tray liner go, they come in handy— we just needed to let things cool down, then remove the liner and dispose of it. It’s worth noting that these liners are also sold separately, but if you’d rather not buy more, you can use aluminum foil to line the grease tray.

Regarding cleanup, any remaining food particles can be instantly removed, and a bit of soap and a light sponge did the trick.

As for the drip tray, a disposable tray liner comes in handy—we just need to let things cool down, then remove the liner and dispose of it. It’s worth noting that these liners are also sold separately, but if you’d rather not buy more, you can use aluminum foil to line the grease tray.

What we don’t like

It’s sold separately from the stand

The foundation of this grill isn’t flat; instead, it has four small legs and indentations where the adjustable Outdoor stand (sold separately) fits. This poses an issue if you’re looking for a flat, heat-resistant surface to place it on while grilling. If the outdoor space you’re using is relatively small, you might struggle to find a table large enough to accommodate the grill properly. The grill is so large that small tables, like TV trays, won’t do the trick, especially when looking at the small legs that extend from every corner.

We’ve improvised a temporary table using two recycling bins, elevating the grill high enough from the ground to allow for comfortable cooking. It’s worth noting that to use this product correctly (and comfortably), it needs to be elevated, so not including the stand with the grill seems counterintuitive.

It has a small grilling surface

Ninja claims there are 180 square inches of cooking space on this grill, which is “enough for two full racks of ribs, 10 burgers, 4 pounds of wings, two 7-pound chickens, & according to the brand’s website, it’s also suitable for a 10-pound brisket. While this may be technically accurate in terms of square inches, the majority of the food items overlap with the grill’s surface, making it challenging to flip things without them falling through the grates, especially when looking at the small legs that extend from every corner.

This compact grill is ideal for a family of two to four people but won’t be ideal for a crowd gathering around the tailgate gate (where a small, portable grill like this could come in handy to some extent).

The cord is short

At only 4.59 feet, this cord is short and not detachable. The user manual notes that it should be plugged directly into a ground 3-prong outlet, so extension cords aren’t an option. And since this grill can only be used outdoors, you’ll want to make sure you have an outdoor outlet or a plan in place before buying it.

Once you’ve found a suitable outdoor outlet, you’ll most likely need an outdoor extension cord because the cord provided is quite short. The whole process can be somewhat tricky, depending on how your space is arranged.

 

What the Owners Are Saying

On Amazon, out of nearly 1,500 reviews, this grill has an average rating of 4.7 stars. One owner says, “Overall, it’s quick to start, easy to get going, impressively cooks whatever you throw at it, but there’s room for improvement in the user experience.”

Another owner ranks it as the best grill they’ve had so far, while another notes, “I have no complaints except that it doesn’t provide much space for cooking.”

On the Best Buy website, this grill has an average rating of 4.8 stars out of 5, with around 330 ratings. One user notes that it’s the best grill for apartments, saying, “We can’t have an open flame, so this was the next best thing.”

Another user appreciates its convenience, saying, “I love its convenience—it’s easy to use and easy to clean.” Meanwhile, another user wishes the cooking surface area were larger and a bit higher.

Warranty:

The Ninja Woodfire ProConnect XL Outdoor Grill and Smoker come with a 3-year warranty.

Is the Ninja Woodfire ProConnect XL Outdoor Grill Worth Your Investment?

It depends—if you need a reliable, electric multi-functional grill that’s portable and space-saving, this grill could be a good choice

It’s great for specific occasions and not ideal for gatherings of more people. Consider buying this grill if you’re cooking for yourself and two or three others.

If you don’t already have an air fryer and are interested in appliances that can do that as well, the Ninja Woodfire is worth considering. It’s also a good investment for apartment or condo dwellers with limited space, or for those who can’t use a gas grill or aren’t ready to invest in a full-size grill just yet.

If you’re looking for the best portable grill we’ve tested, check out the gas Weber Q-1200 or the electric Weber Q1400 for an alternative. Alternatively, explore the best full-size grills to see if a larger option suits your needs better.

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By Areesh

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