To help us provide you with free impartial advice, we may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site. Learn more

Ninja Woodfire Pro Connect XL BBQ and Smoker (OG901UK) review: A versatile all-season barbecue controlled by your phone

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £450
inc VAT

Connectivity and generous cooking space could make the Ninja Woodfire Pro Connect XL your new outdoor grilling go-to


  • Heats up to 260°C
  • App control
  • Can add smoke flavours


  • Parts not dishwasher safe
  • Likely to need an extension cable
  • Heavy

There can be several barriers to barbecuing but the Ninja Woodfire Pro Connect XL BBQ and Smoker (OG901UK) has removed almost all of them. 

It’s a plug-in appliance, so there’s no fuss with lighting and keeping it lit. There’s a digital display and seven adjustable functions, so you don’t have to worry about keeping it at the right temperature for the food you’re cooking. And you don’t have to hang around while the Woodfire Pro Connect XL preheats or cooks, as Ninja’s Pro Connect app lets you know when you can add food – and when it’s done. Plus, it’s weather-resistant for year-round use. 

All of this means if you fancy barbecued food, you don’t need the skies, or time, to be on your side. In testing, it proved to be fantastically convenient and turned out wonderfully grilled results but a relatively high price and a couple of small niggles see it fall short of a perfect score.

Check price at Argos

Ninja Woodfire Pro Connect XL BBQ and Smoker (OG901UK) review: What do you get for the money? 

The Ninja Woodfire Pro Connect XL BBQ and Smoker (OG901UK) costs £450, making it significantly more expensive than indoor electric grills such as George Foreman’s Immersa.

It’s at a similar price point to mid-range barbecues like Weber’s Lumin Compact Electric Barbecue and Weber’s Master Touch, and arguably, is far more versatile.

Based on its predecessor, the Ninja Woodfire Electric BBQ and Smoker (OG701UK), the OG901UK brings several extra features to the table. These include a temperature probe for monitored cooking (it has ports for two, though only comes with one), Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity so you can set and control it remotely from a smart device, and a redesigned crisper basket for air frying that can accommodate up to 1.8kg of food. 

Design-wise, it’s similar to the OG701UK, with a smoker box at one side; a convection fan in the lid to circulate heat, air and smoke around the food; and a removable ceramic-coated grill plate inside. However, there have been a couple of significant changes: the handles on either side are smaller and there’s more grill space inside. The OG701UK offers just 28 x 37cm of area, compared to the OG901UK’s family-sized 45 x 31cm grill, meaning that it can cook up to 10 burgers at a time or two 3kg chickens. 

Overall, the Ninja Woodfire Pro Connect XL BBQ and Smoker (OG901UK) is larger than its predecessor at 57 x 51 x 41cm (WDH) and heavier, too at 18kg. Interestingly, though, it has a lower wattage than the OG701UK: 1,700W compared to the latter’s 2,400W, so is cheaper to run on high heat settings. In my tests, one hour’s usage of the air fry function of the Woodfire Pro Connect XL at 200°C consumed 0.669 kWh of electricity, which at a rate of 29p per unit, would cost around 19p.

The functions/modes are the same (smoker, grill, air fry, roast, bake, dehydrate and reheat), except this time, they’re controlled by a single button rather than a dial. These can be adjusted, depending on the function, from 40°C to 260°C. And, as with the OG701UK, all the OG901UK’s accessories, bar the pellet scoop, must be hand-washed, and are not dishwasher safe. You’ll find a recipe booklet in the box for some inspiration, plus it has a two-year guarantee.


Ninja Woodfire Pro Connect XL BBQ and Smoker (OG901UK) review: What’s good about it?

Something that the majority of Ninja’s appliance range has in common is ease of use and it’s no less true for the Ninja Woodfire Pro Connect XL. While its control panel can look daunting, it’s similar to the best Ninja air fryers: select a function using the mode button, tap either time or temperature and use a knob to adjust them on the digital display before hitting start. This triggers a preheat, before letting you know when it’s up to temperature and you can add the food.

Cooking becomes even easier once the Pro Connect app is synced. This allows you to choose a function and settings, checks you’re using the right accessories, preheats the grill and alerts you when to add and remove food. I started by using the app to preheat the grill for air frying with the crisper basket in place. It heated up in less than a minute and prompted me to add the food: chipped potato, washed, dried and tossed in a little oil. The default for the function was 200°C for 20 minutes. As they cooked, clouds of steam came from the back of the grill.

After cooking time had elapsed, I checked the chips. Some were starting to brown, but some were very pale, so I added another five minutes for the same programme. Even though I set this manually, I could still use the app to monitor cooking and it alerted me when cooking was over. The extra time produced better chips: crispy at the ends, with far fewer pale pieces.

Removing the crisper basket, I then used the grill setting to cook steak and corn on the cob. Instead of degrees, the options for heat are low to high. I chose high for 10 minutes, using the in-app cooking charts as a guide for corn and a well-done steak. The preheat was longer – around 10 minutes. 

I liked that this setting allowed me to cook with the grill lid either open (this uses bottom heat only) or closed. The only downside of this is that the countdown timer starts the moment you open the lid to add the food. This means if it takes a minute or two to add everything, and you intend to cook with the lid closed, the countdown timer has to be adjusted again to the right cooking time. 

The app notified me halfway through to turn the meat and vegetables. This cooking method left distinct grill marks on the steak, and the corn was cooked through. Grilling left parts of the corn pale, rather than having an overall browning effect.

Another plus of the Woodfire Pro Connect XL is its Woodfire smoker box: like the Ninja Woodfire Electric BBQ and Smoker OG701UK, the pellets it burns add flavour rather than serve as fuel, so you only add a small amount. 

I selected this Woodfire option when roasting a medium-sized chicken, as well as using the grill’s built-in temperature probe. The probe connects to the side of the control panel and needs to be inserted into the thickest part of the chicken’s breast before being placed into the grill. Its wire isn’t that long, however, which made getting the bird off a plate and into the grill awkward. At some point during cooking, the Woodfire option was accidentally turned off and I couldn’t find a way to reactivate it while cooking. Fortunately, this was after the smoker box had been ignited, so the chicken still had a sweet, smoky flavour.

Using the probe doesn’t give an idea of how much cooking time is left, only the temperature the meat has reached inside. On the app, there’s a circle that progresses as it becomes hotter, though, which can be used as a guide. The chicken took 35 minutes to reach 75°C inside, with a couple of minutes of resting. It emerged with deep brown crisp skin and was thoroughly cooked, with clear juices, moist flesh and no pink remaining inside. 

READ NEXT: Best air fryer

Ninja Woodfire Pro Connect XL BBQ and Smoker (OG901UK) review: What could be better?

While the grill’s connectivity adds convenience, the process of connecting could be improved. I found it frustrating that there was no option to only run on Bluetooth (short range) and that a Wi-Fi connection was a must. I couldn’t connect the grill to my router while I was outside, so I had to move it inside directly next to my router to complete the process initially. In addition, the connection only works for 2.4GHz, so those with 5GHz alone may be out of luck. 

There’s also no option in the app to add extra cooking time if you think food needs a minute or two longer. Instead, you’ll need to input the full, remaining cooking time needed. For example, if there are four minutes left on the timer and you want to add a minute to bring this up to five, you will need to reset this to five minutes, as you can’t simply add an extra minute to top it up.

Perhaps my biggest issue is that the accessories need handwashing. When everything else about the Woodfire Pro Connect XL is so convenient, this feels like a time-consuming oversight, especially at its price point. 

I found it difficult to see burnt-on grease on the black surface of the grill plate and had to re-wash it once dried. The crisper basket, being made of wire, needed soaking to shift the small pockets of grease in its holes. In addition, the grease tray that sits at the back of the grill can be unpleasant to wash by hand if you’re not using Ninja’s recommended disposable liners.

Check price at Ninja

Ninja Woodfire Pro Connect XL BBQ and Smoker (OG901UK) review: Should you buy it? 

Thanks to it being an easy-to-use, convenient alternative to conventional barbecuing, Ninja Woodfire Pro Connect XL BBQ and Smoker is ideal for those with limited outdoor space or free time to fire up and clean a barbie. 

It’s great for keen entertainers too, who may prefer to chat to their guests rather than slave away over a temperamental flame. You’ll find that, unlike some connected appliances, its app adds real value to the overall offering rather than being a gimmick. 

Whether that and its extra grilling space are worth the uplift in cost from the cheaper Ninja Woodfire Electric BBQ and Smoker OG701UK will come down to your frequency of use and required capacity. If you plan to use it often and you’re catering for a crowd, the Ninja Woodfire Pro Connect XL BBQ and Smoker could be everything you’re looking for in a barbecue and more.

Read more