Amazon Prime Day may be over but you can still get 40% off the Ninja Woodfire BBQ

ninja woodfire review
Get 40% off the Ninja Woodfire outdoor grillNinja

Nothing beats that woody flavour from the barbecue wafting through the air in summertime. But cooking with charcoal isn't always especially convenient; after carefully lighting the BBQ, you have to wait for the coals to heat, then keep it stoked to ensure even temperatures. Sure, you could use gas, but that's expensive, and not overly eco-friendly. So what if there was another way?

Enter the new Ninja Woodfire: an electric barbecue that can be kept outdoors (if covered) year-round. This combination grill, smoker and air fryer can be used in seven different ways: to grill, bake, roast, reheat and air fry, along with smoke meats – and there's a dehydrator function, too.

Intrigued by the concept, House Beautiful's shopping editors put it through its paces, tackling a range of sides, meats and even pasta dishes. Is it worth the £399.99 price tag? Here's how we got on.

Ninja Woodfire: What's included?

The Woodfire comes with everything you need to get cooking. That includes the machine itself, a grill tray and air fryer/crisper basket, grease tray, pellet scoop and two kinds of smoker pellets. Everything sits neatly inside when not in use for easy storage.

Saying that, there are some investments you should make to get the best from your new Woodfire. It’s a tabletop machine, so you’ll need a stand or a table to keep it on. We have an Ooni pizza oven, so we keep the Ninja on our Ooni table when it’s in use. The brand has its own stand available to buy as well.

It’s also worth investing in the cover. The Woodfire is a heavy bit of kit, weighing in at just under 15kg. With no cover to keep it dry overnight, we’ve been lugging it to and from the shed after every use, which is a pain given its weight. Being able to keep it in situ would be preferable.

Ninja Woodfire: Setup

One of the best things about the Ninja Woodfire is how beginner-friendly it is. The machine itself tells you everything you need to do, so it’s difficult to get it wrong. There is no initial setup process; you simply plug it in, ensure the grill and grease trays are in place, turn the dial to your chosen setting and hit go.

Once you've selected your function and set the amount of time you want the food to cook for, the Woodfire will begin to preheat and tell you when to add your food. The timer will automatically start once you close the lid, beeping every time the food needs turning. This handy function was a real favourite of ours (especially if, like us, you get distracted from cooking), but you can always invest in a thermometer (we like this Oxo one) to remove any doubt.

Ninja Woodfire: The results

We’re going to start by stating that everyone we’ve cooked for has loved the dishes we’ve produced on our Ninja Woodfire. This is a big compliment twofold considering one actually runs his own barbecue/smoker business – and we’re not competent at BBQ cooking at all!

It does cook things more quickly than you’d expect, especially if you’re used to a charcoal barbecue that may not maintain such a consistent heat. Notably, four salmon fillets cooked in three minutes flat without needing turning. It was suspiciously fast and left us scrambling to have the sides ready! But they were juicy and moist with crispy skin and perfect char lines.

Vegetable skewers cooked in around five minutes, with a good char and some bite, without needing to flip them. Burgers were done, with crispy crusts, after eight – and the machine even told us when to turn them.

Longer recipes are required for the smoker function to work effectively. We’ve not been able to detect smokiness in food cooked for less than half an hour, but everything with a 30-min plus cook time has had a lovely smoky taste that doesn’t overpower the flavours of the meat.

A whole smoked chicken took on a good flavour – with a beautifully crispy skin without needing any oil whatsoever – in just over half an hour. But a smoked macaroni cheese recipe, taken from Ninja’s website, was a real highlight. The smokiness added a depth of flavour that made it taste like it had bacon in – without the added calories.

One note? If you're doing something like a whole chicken, using the air fryer, or tackling a large number of burgers, there isn’t really space to do sides at the same time. We had a party and had to bring out a second barbecue to tackle everything at once.

On one occasion, we air fried our chips after cooking the meat. They came out crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, and we were impressed with how similar it fried them to a normal air fryer. The downside? Our meat had gone cold as we had to wait until after it was done (you can't smoke and air fry at the same time), and the chips had a slightly smoky taste (which wasn't a hit with all of our guests).

Ninja Woodfire: Cleaning

It's recommended that you clean the Woodfire regularly so it cooks perfectly every time. Personally, we’ve cleaned ours after each use. We did find that it took a bit of time to clean, and you have to wait about an hour for it to cool down before you can start cleaning it. Saying that, each of the components have a strong non-stick coating so giving them a good clean with warm, soapy water after each use is sufficient.

Ninja Woodfire: The House Beautiful verdict

It's a testament to the machine that we’ve used it on at least five occasions without trying all of the functions – it’s a highly versatile bit of kit. We’ve used the roast, air fry, bake and grill functions and each time it’s been a completely stress-free experience with lovely results.

We were dubious that an electric barbecue would give off that classic smell that you get with charcoal, but after setting it off, we were proved pleasantly incorrect.

This no-fuss approach to cooking has made us feel brave enough to try to cook things that we would never have attempted on a barbecue otherwise. It’s both made our summer dining season more adventurous, and removed most of the capacity for getting it wrong!

Overall, the Woodfire gets both shopping editors' seal of approval. Right now, you can pick one up from Amazon for almost half price as part of their Black Friday Week sale. Alternatively, you can also get your hands on one at Ninja, Argos or John Lewis.

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