We’re in the heart of winter, but if you’re already dreaming of summer cookouts, Weber has a new product that could make you the star of the grilling season this year. The $4,000 Summit FS38X Smart Grill, which I saw in action at CES earlier this year, has the brand’s first full touchscreen control panels. It also has interior sensors, which track and adjust internal temperature, and smart technology that keeps all burners functioning at high efficiency.
But the star feature on Weber’s pricey tricked-out grill ever is a blazing infrared broiler, a first of its kind. The broiler can be raised and lowered to add a quick, heavenly crust to steak, fish and chops. I watched as of Weber’s in-house chefs fired up the boiler and three fillets of salmon formed perfect crusts in minutes. (I was even able to snap the below pic before a mob of hungry food and tech journalists descended.)
As far as we can tell, this is the first outdoor grill with an infrared broiler. After chowing on a spread of beautifully textured dishes made with the novel grilling feature, I’m predicting it’s a grilling trend we’ll see more of in the coming years.
The Summit Smart Grill is also the first in the brand’s line to get a host of in-grill sensors that process and feed critical data to your mobile device. This means you can set and change temperatures remotely without lifting the hood and losing precious heat or disturbing the temperature on a slow cook.
The Summit even suggests an optimal cooking method — direct or indirect — and shows you exactly where on the grates to place food for the best results. It also senses when one of its five burners goes out, and it tries three times to reignite it. If that doesn’t work, the Summit will shut off gas flow to the stuffed-up burner, and alert you.
And if you’ve had enough barbecue for one summer (not a thing, right?), the Summit transforms into a rotisserie when you lock in the included motorized spit. As a whole chicken rotates under the top-down broiler, it crisps and browns evenly while locking in glorious juices.
The smart grill has five main burners and a powerful side burner. Supersized “flavorizer” bars — which I can only assume are manufactured in Flavor Town — catch drippings from whatever is cooking above, vaporize them and create smoke and sizzle that enhances flavor.
More additions to Weber’s 2024 lineup unveiled for CES
For those who prefer a griddle to grates, Weber announced a powerhouse new Slate Griddle with a thick carbon-steel surface. The full-sized griddle-top grill also has a digital display and is capable of reaching 500 degrees F. Buyer beware, carbon steel is a sensitive material so this model will require more diligent care than your average backyard cooker.
Another major addition to Weber’s 2024 lineup is a pellet grill. The Searwood Smart Grill, which starts at $899, allows for high-heat grilling and smoking. Like the Summit, it also monitors your cooking progress, and self-adjusts to maintain temperature while you enjoy a beer on the other side of the yard.
Two updates to Weber’s portable grills were also on display. Weber added more surface space and power to its excellent Weber Q, the best small, portable gril I’ve tested yet. The Q2800N Plus grill is available for $499. There’s also a smaller, lighter version of the Weber Traveler, a foldable, wheelable, semiportable gas grill that I reviewed in 2021. The compact Traveler can be had for $299.