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Ninja Woodfire Outdoor Grill review: A portable grill that can char a steak, air fry wings, and fit in your car

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The Ninja Woodfire Outdoor Grill against a gradient orange background.
Ninja's Woodfire Outdoor Grill is a compact multi-cooker that is built for the outdoors.

Any grilling enthusiast will tell you that cooking outdoors on one of the best grills is one of life's great joys. The Ninja Woodfire Outdoor Grill is the perfect mix of a portable grill and several indoor kitchen appliances. Get an extension cord, find an outdoor outlet, and you'll be ready to cook outside in seven different ways.

I loved almost everything about the Ninja Woodfire, except for the fact that you'll need to provide extra storage for grilling tools and a side table. The Ninja Woodfire Grill also brings stereotypical indoor cooking methods to the backyard; I effectively air-crisped and dehydrated foods, keeping the heat and cooking smells out of my kitchen. It's a model that can do as much as the best multicookers and doesn't put a limitation on where you choose to cook.

Design and specs

There are a few different Woodfire sets available for purchase. The basic Ninja Woodfire Grill comes with the appliance, a grill cover, and roasting lifters. We did not test the Pro XL, which has a companion app and Bluetooth compatibility. Neither the standard Ninja Woodfire nor the Pro XL comes with a grill stand or side table, though you can purchase the Pro XL with those accessories for an additional fee or buy them separately.

I received a stand along with the grill, which was the only part that required real setup. Once I popped the stand's legs together, I just had to decide which surface to test out first. The stand comes with wheels and can be pivoted from patio to storage. Even without the stand, though, the grill is fairly moveable and compact relative to full-size grills. Ninja also offers carrying cases for storage or travel options. 

With seven ways to cook in a single model, we went from smoking a rack of ribs to air-frying tater tots in one outdoor, portable grill. The grill is electric and has a wood-pellet burning option. 


Side by side images of steak and potatoes on the Ninja Woodfire Grill before and after finished cooking.
It certainly won't feed a crowd, but the Ninja Woodfire is more than equipped to handle a family of four for a single meal.

First and foremost, the Ninja Woodfire is a great grill for anyone with limited outdoor space, who only cooks for small groups, or is a beginner outdoor cook. It's easier to use than almost any other of the best grills — you just choose a temperature and get cooking.

My steak was probably the most beautiful one I have ever cooked; I couldn't begin to repeat the beautiful lines on even the best charcoal grill. I was worried about the meat overcooking with the lid closed, but it stayed impressively rare. With the nonstick surface, there's no need to get a grill basket or wrap veggies to avoid falling through the cracks. Just plop them right on the grates and let them get charred and tender.

Meanwhile, grease travels down the trap hole to a grease tray in the back of the grill. The grease tray should be emptied after each use and washed with soapy water. While hosting company I'd opt for our full-sized smoker, but I'm definitely going with the Woodfire as the best portable grill. 

Air crisping and dehydrating

Side by side images of the Ninja Woodfire Grill, showing air crisping tater tots and dehydrated fruit slices.
While the Woodfire Grill may be small as a grill, it's absolutely massive as an air fryer.

Multicookers often struggle to replicate the functionality of the best air fryers and efficient dehydrators. The Ninja Woodfire impressed me with both settings. 

On the air-crisping setting, I successfully heated leftovers, crisped up tots and fries, and made delicious chicken wings. The grill got the outside crisp without overcooking the inside, leaving the wings perfectly moist and crunchy all at once. My least favorite thing about my air fryer is that it releases a ton of heat, so I was thrilled to move the process outside. 

Dehydrating is another noisy and smelly indoor task. Meanwhile, the model can also dehydrate. By cooking on low heat for a long period of time, you can create jerky, dried fruits, and more. The Woodfire Grill made apple chips in a third of the time that my regular dehydrator does. With a bigger fan and larger airflow surface, it's able to pull more moisture faster.  

Cooking surfaces

Each cooking surface is completely removable and coated with a non-stick surface, which means easy cleaning. I popped them in my sink, sprayed a layer of dish soap, and watched most of the gunk come off with only water. A gentle wipe grabbed the rest. The surfaces can be placed in the dishwasher, but we recommend hand washing for anything nonstick. 

Cons to consider

The Woodfire Grill comes with a sturdy cord, but it's fairly short, especially if you don't have an outdoor outlet nearby. I took one look at it and immediately grabbed an extension cord. 

I was also irked by the lack of storage for cooking or the trays themselves. I ended up placing them in the storage section of our full-sized smoker. Of course, offering this on the Woodfire stand would defeat the purpose of making it so mobile, but a carrying case or any integrated storage would be nice to have. 

What are your alternatives?

A Weber traveler grill in a leaf-strewn backyard.
The Weber Traveler is the ideal camping grill.

Finding a portable grill that performs as well as it travels isn't easy, but we've discovered a few others that are up to the task. 

  • Best portable gas grill: Weber Traveler — See at Amazon
    To grill on the go, this is the best option because it's foldable and features two wheels for portability. Once it's set up, it offers plenty of cooking space.

  • Best portable smoker: Traeger Tailgater — See at The Home Depot
    This Traeger has folding legs, two wheels, and a more compact body for smoking and grilling on the go. Plus, the porcelain-coated grill grates are a breeze to clean.

The bottom line

A clear image of the closed Ninja Woodfire Outdoor Grill.
The Ninja Woodfire Grill is incredibly versatile, travel-friendly, and offers a ton of cooking styles that all performed well in our tests.

I can't wait to load up the Ninja Woodfire for our summer camping trips and cook while hanging outside. It's a great crossover grill for anyone with limited outdoor space or who cooks for small groups. Just remember to have a table nearby and that you'll likely need an extension cord on hand. Overall, it's easy, portable cooking without sacrificing flavor or quality. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

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