If you’re looking to make the neighbors jealous this spring, Weber just unveiled a souped-up smart grill at CES in Las Vegas and it’s unlike anything I’ve seen in my years of testing cooking gadgetry. The Summit FS38X Smart Grill, which I saw in action this week, has the brand’s first-ever full touchscreen control panel along with interior sensors, which track and adjust internal temperature, and smart tech that ensures all burners are functioning properly.
But the star feature on Weber’s most tricked-out grill to date is a blazing infrared broiler, a first of its kind. The broiler can be raised and lowered to add a quick, heavenly crust to steaks, fish and chops. I watched one of Weber’s in-house chefs demonstrate the boiler and three fillets of salmon formed perfect crusts in minutes. (I was able to snap the pic below before a frenzied mob of hungry food-tech writers descended on it.)
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 using the novel feature, I’m predicting it’s one 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.
Other grill additions to Weber’s 2024 lineup unveiled at 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 big addition to Weber’s 2024 lineup is a pellet grill. The Searwood Grill, which starts at $899, allows for high-heat grilling and smoking. Like the Summit, it also monitors the cooking progress, self-adjusting and maintaining temperature while you enjoy a cold 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 BTUs to its excellent Weber Q, the best small, portable grill CNET has yet to test. 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.
Here’s all the latest and greatest at CES 2024.