When searching for the best pellet grills, it’s important to asses all of its features compared to price. The Camp Chef Woodwind 24 is one of the best pellet grills under $1,000. The features available (for an additional price) also make it one of the more versatile pellet grills that allow you to cook with high heat, make pizzas, or even a griddle with the Sidekick feature. It isn’t without its flaws, but when you weigh the pros and cons you get a lot for what you pay.
Camp Chef sent this grill and accessories as a media sample, all opinions are our own.
Pellet grills are a big financial commitment. Matching the right grill for the right price is about understanding what you want to cook and getting the most features for the right price. You can review our list of the best pellet grills for more options.
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Camp Chef Woodwind Pros
- Easy to clean out ash from the burn box. Most other pellet grills require you to remove the heat shield and grates to vacuum out the burn box. Camp Chef designed a clever base that allows you to dump ash into the bucket and then twist the bucket to dump the ash. We recommend cleaning the ash out every cook to avoid flame outs.
- The ability to control levels of smoke at low temperature gives you the freedom to add more smoke influence to lower temperature cooking.
- The hopper is large and accommodates a lot of pellets (22 pounds to be precise), compared to similarly priced grills.
- There are four temperature probes versus two or three, which is great for a large cook. Most other comparable grills have only two.
Camp Chef Woodwind Cons
- Lack of shelves is a challenge. If you use the Sidekick feature, which we recommend, then you have the top of the hopper or the Sidekick.
- The WiFi is glitchy. From setting up to occasionally crashing, the app and WiFi works, but inconsistently. You just need to reset the app or reconnect the device more frequently than ideal. But having a WiFi feature is nice when it works. And it provides easy to use features to adjust the smoke and temperature.
- If you live in an area with a lot of rain, like us, a large design flaw is the lid being set too close to the opening of the cooking chamber. Most other pellet grills are set further back, and deflect rain away from the cooking chamber. The Camp Chef is set so it barely covers the cooking chamber, so water in heavy rain can easily drop into the cooking chamber. We wish they would either set it further back, or put a rain guard on it.
Dimensions and Details
- Unboxed Weight – 150 pounds (without Sidekick or pellets)
- Cooking Surface – Lower Rack 429 Sq. In. | Upper Rack 382 Sq. In.
- Height – 42 inches
- Hopper Capacity – 22 pounds of pellets
- Side Shelf – 16 x 12 inches (note with the Sidekick you lose that shelf completely)
The Camp Chef Woodwind 24 was the model we tested. It arrived in good shape and well packaged. The steps to put the smoker together were pretty straight forward. We were able to put the unit together with one person, although when lifting the main body, it’s recommended you have two to help lift it.
- The grill has a nice handle on the pellet hopper which makes it easy to move around.
- There are two wheels on the grill versus four, so you’ll be lifting and moving the grill around versus other units on casters.
- The metal
We recommend when using the grill to leave the grill at least 10 feet away from any structures. Always use a grill or smoker outdoors.
All grills have temperature fluctuations. The better grills and smokers have more enhanced electronic controls that minimize those fluctuations, or allow you to adjust smoke influence for a better user experience and flavor preference.
The Camp Chef had minimal temperature fluctuations, staying relatively true to the target temperature. As you would expect, there will be small spikes as the hopper is fed with new pellets.
If you use the advanced smoke setting, but adjusting the smoke level, you will see larger swings, but generally speaking it’s a best in class smoker for tight temperature ranges.
As with all pellet grills, along the edge of the cooking grates it will run 15 degrees hotter because the heat deflector plate is forcing the heat from those smaller spaces. If you fill the cooking space, to include the edges, simply move the food around so they aren’t getting blasted with higher heat. This is important when cooking pork shoulder or brisket.
Most pellet smokers are great for low and slow cooking. And this is no exception. The Camp Chef PID* controller has some preset options in addition to specific temperature ranges.
- Low Smoke – Low smoke tended to range around 150 – 160 degrees F, which is great for smoking liquids like cream or nuts (like smoked almonds).
- High Smoke – High smoke tended to range from 200 – 220 degrees. In some other units this could be called “Super Smoke” to add more smoke to meats like pulled pork, or smoked brisket.
- Smoke Control – On the app or PID controller you can adjust the smoke setting as well to get more specific smoke influence. This means at a higher number, more smoke is infused into your cook at some sacrifice in temperature fluctuations. The lower the number the more focused the controller will be on the target temperature. This is a nice option to play with more smoke influence for longer cooks.
You can also adjust the temperature in 5 degree increments up to 450 degrees. After 450 degrees the setting is “High”.
* Proportional–integral–derivative – fancy for better quality temperature cotrol system.
As Pellet Grills evolve, they all need to find ways to get better direct heat for higher heat cooking. The Woodwind has a grill slider. When you pull the slider out, the heat deflector plate is removed from covering the burner pot creating direct heat. The drip pan was designed with holes in it to allow that direct heat.
For the best sear marks, you’ll likely need grill grates as the coated grates that come with the grill aren’t conducive for getting that sear mark.
We clocked the highest grill temperature at 500 degrees Fahrenheit, with the grill slider out, and no foil covering.
The WiFi feature connects the Camp Chef to your WiFi through Bluetooth. When connected, this allows you adjust the temperature after you have finished the start up procedure.
Is it about to rain? You can adjust the temperature or smoke setting directly from your phone app, from the comforts of the inside of your home. It’s a nice convienence to be able to adjust from your phone versus going outside to your smoker.
What we really enjoy about this smoker is the Sidekick accessory. There are a few Sidekick options like a grill grate for searing, a small pizza oven for high heat pizzas, and a griddle attachment for flat top cooking. The Sidekick is fueld by propane which sits on the back of the Woodwind.
The Sidekick is also compatible with other Camp Chef products like their portable pro 14 propane burners. This is great when camping or hanging at a park and being able to use the same accessories as being at home.
- Pizzas – We have turned out some great Neapolitan style pizzas using the attachment. The pizza dome is good for smaller, 10-inch, pizzas (one at a time) and the gas makes it easy to hold temperatures. Although you will want to make sure to keep the temp of the pizza oven under 750 degrees to avoid peeling off the logo.
- Grill – The feature is nice, especially if you are reverse searing. The reality is that if you wanted to go from a 250 degree smoke setting to a high sear in the actual smoker box, it takes a good 20 minutes for the temperature to rise and another 5 or 10 to get the sear temp on the grate. Fire up the grill burner and you can go right from smoke to sear in seconds for that high heat finish and all the flavor.
- Griddle – Throw down your favorite smash burgers, or maybe some breakfast burritos, by adding the griddle accessory, which provides a decent amount of flat top real estate.
These features are great because you don’t have to buy all these other grills or pizza ovens if you have less space outside.
Overall for the price, we think this is one of the best pellet grills under $1,000 and if you add the Sidekick accessories, you have a very great smoker with the ability to cook a variety of recipes outside. You’ll be pleased with the flavor imparted in the Camp Chef Woodwind. And what we get excited about most, is your ability to smoke, grill, make pizzas, smash burgers, and high heat grilling with the Sidekick.
About Camp Chef
Camp Chef has been making quality outdoor cooking products since 1990. It started with the creation of a propane portable burner called the PRO60. From there, Camp Chef continues to wake up every day thinking of ways to improve the outdoor cooking experience, from quality pellet grills, outdoor ovens, cast iron products, and more. They know how to make outdoor cooking experiences and we love their products.