Weber's Smart Grill Line Makes Cooking on a Gas Grill Cool Again
We tested out the brand-new Weber Spirit SX-315 Smart Grill, and found a renewed sense of fun grilling with gas.
Tested by T.K. Brady for Food Network Kitchen
Weber is a household name when it comes to grills. For many homeowners, their very first grill purchase is a Weber, whether they choose gas or charcoal. The brand has been churning out grills since 1952 when it first introduced the iconic kettle grill to the market. Since then, Weber has released a slew of new grills in various styles — and gas grills are among some of the most popular options now.
Most recently, Weber released an all-new Smart Grill line. The line comes with eight different grill options in some of the brand's most popular styles, including the Genesis and Spirit lines. All of Weber's Smart Grills are gas-operated. Like Weber's other gas grill options, these can be hooked up to a natural gas line or can run on propane. We tested the Weber Spirit SX-315 Smart Grill to find out if its bells and whistles really make it worth buying.
First, Setup is Pretty Simple
If you're buying this Smart Grill online or in the box from the store, the setup is pretty painless — as long as you follow directions. The grill comes with an assembly booklet and you can download the Weber app for video step-by-step instructions if you need more visual assistance. Keep in mind, this grill does come with some technology assembly, so it's extra important to make sure the wires for the digital reader and other smart features are hooked up correctly.
We do recommend assembling the grill with another person (as does Weber). Some of the pieces are heavy and can't be assembled with just one set of hands.
Finally, don't misplace the probe included with your grill parts. It's key to using many of the smart features of this grill.
Next, You'll Need to Download the Weber Connect App (Yes, Need to)
Without this app, the Smart Grill pretty much becomes a standard gas grill with a higher price tag, which makes the Weber Connect app a non-negotiable in this process. Download the app and pair it with your grill via Bluetooth or WiFi after setup to push through any updates before you start grilling. This took us all of 10 minutes, including an update. Once you connect the app, you'll be able to choose what kind of meat you're grilling and start timers and temperatures specific to that cut. Use the included probe for even more accurate temperature readings on your meat, so the app can tell you exactly when you're steak is done or when it's time to flip your burgers.
The Temperature Reading Is Extremely Accurate
Once you get your grill set up and connected to fuel, getting grilling is simple. Just turn on the fuel source and light the burners. The digital screen on the side of the grills gives you an exact temperature reading for the grill down to the single degree, making it easy to adjust in large or small amounts. Because you can get such an exact reading on the grill, you can really treat you grill like an oven. Try baking on this grill — you can feel confident your dish is cooking at the right temperature.
It Takes Some Trial and Error
If you've never used a smart appliance before, it's not always the most intuitive process the first few times around. We found using the Weber Connect app for larger cuts like brisket or expensive meats like filet mignon to be helpful in ensuring the meat didn't overcook and that the grill maintained the correct temperature throughout the process. For someone new to grilling burgers or grilled salmon (pictured above), the smart features may be helpful the first few times around, but we could imagine they would feel uneccesary and cumbersome after a while. If you're a vegetarian, a Smart Grill won't serve many of your needs, as the cooking programs are solely dedicated to meat.
Take Advantage of the Fuel Monitor
For those grilling on propane, the fuel monitor is a huge win. Follow this video to ensure you hook up your propane to the regulator, which will monitor how much fuel you have and alert you when it's time to refill. If you've paired your Weber Connect app to the grill and are following one of the cooking programs, the app will alert you if you don't have enough propane to finish cooking the meat you've chosen. (This came in handy right before a summer barbecue where we planned on grilling for a couple of hours.)
Don't Expect Major Changes in Flavor
Remember, you're still cooking with gas here. While Weber's Smart Grill line can amp up your gas grilling experience in many ways — most notably, making it feel like a serious affair — it's no match for charcoal when it comes to smoky flavor. You'll get grill marks and the taste of a meat cooked over a flame, however, it still won't be the same flavor experience as cooking with charcoal or a smoker. That said, we felt a lot more comfortable experimenting with new cuts of meat on a Smart Grill as opposed to a standard gas grill thanks to the level of accuracy provided through temperature checks and the app assistance.
Who Should Buy a Weber Smart Grill?
We found this grill to be perfect for anyone new to grilling and serious grillers who like the convenience of gas fuel. The accurate temperature reading is ideal for someone taking on a larger, more temperamental cut of meat, but also perfect for someone who's never grilled a burger before and needs some more hand-holding. However, we do not recommend this grill for the occassional griller, serious charcoal grillers or non-meat eaters. With prices starting at $849, this grill is an investment. Like other Weber grills, the materials on this grill are built to last and comes with a 10-year warranty on most parts.