Difference Between the Summit 7171001 E-470 and 7170001 S-470
S models in the Summit line have a hood and doors made of stainless steel with a 430 grade, while the E models have a hood and double cart doors made of black porcelain. Other than that, the S-470 and E-470 are the same in price and features.
Knobs on the main burner are illuminated and your propane tank’s fuel level is displayed on the control panel by an LED gauge.
It appears Weber painstakingly scrutinized the placement and size of the flavorizer bars and gas burners because there’s a definite lack of clearance (at around 1.25”) between the bars and the grates. That means the heat is put just below your meat.
The upper firebox is blanketed by the heavy flavor bars (stainless steel), which provide good distribution of heat at the level of the grate and the number of hot spots are effectively alleviated.
It’s mostly covered by stainless steel 9mm rods incorporated in two heavy grates with a large perforated smoker box 18 inches deep and 3.5 inches wide going back to front that follows the right side. The grate is directly above eight flavorizer bars and a perforated bar on the smoker box constituted at the bottom.
The motor found in the 470’s rotisserie follows up to the side shelf where it drops down into and tucked away when not being used.
The rotisserie comes with an infrared, rear-mounted 10,600 BTU burner. The cooking area is occupied with a 6,800 BTU dedicated burner for the smoker box on the right side.
The searing capabilities provided by Summit are excellent, getting up to 750°F at the center of the cooking surface dialed in on high for each of the main burners. At the center is a sear burner with a main burner on either side. Cranking it will shoot up the temperature past 900°F.
Like plenty other gas-powered grills, the temperature on the sides and in the front takes a slight dip. If you’re at medium on the main burners it’s about 5%.
You’ll generally want to turn off one side with one side on when cooking indirectly on gas. The recommendation by Weber is to set the Summit’s right and left main burners at high while keeping the middle two burners off. This should give off a good temp at the center of 320°F or so for roasting.
As far as the different set ups the 470 can cook with, the burner in the smoke box can even make small boosts in temperature. The versatility of this won’t be fully taken advantage of without an accurate enough digital thermometer.
I recommend to ignore the bi-metal in-hood heat indicator dial (which can be way off), and go with a good, reliable digital.
One of the features most appealing in the Summit
What they call the “Tuck Away Rotisserie System” (an electric outlet is needed for it). The left side shelf has a rotisserie motor that’s folded down into. A small latch can be pulled to get the rotisserie motor to pop up and you’re ready to rock with it snapped in place.
The right side shelf has an opening underneath it that allows access to the spit (housed in the cart). Hooks hang up rotisserie forks within the cart. After easily getting it up and cooking, the spit is removed, the cord wrapped up beneath the motor and with the side shelf you snap back in the cord. That’s it!
One downer, however
The associated window dressing of the smoker box. It’s ineffectual and doesn’t do much besides giving the illusion that your food is getting smoked. To start with, most great smokers aren’t what you usually associate with gas grills for more reasons than one. As opposed to a real smoker, their design allows enough air out and in so there isn’t a chance for the smoke to incorporate its distinctive flavor on the meat surface after they interact.
Summit as a Smoker? Watch Your Efforts Fall Short..
If you do experiment with piling the box up with a bunch of wood chips to get something halfway resembling smoked ribs, chances are you’ll be greeted with a mass of smoke clouds pouring out inches near the smoke box that come through the large holes. Placing wood chip foil packets beneath the grate in the middle is a more feasible route. Getting the box repositioned between the grates at the center isn’t going to be very effective.
What’s particularly frustrating is the extra cooking space you could have had with the 70 square inches this box takes up. A smoke flavor that’s very light is the best you’ll get on fish and other thin meats. Getting more smoke to emit by having your wood chips soaked has been disproved before. There’s more merit with refilling the box of the Weber with wet chips due to how they stick to one another, making it easier to take a pair of tongs to position them in face of a hot grill.
My two cents: get an actual smoker if you still have a lingering desire to smoke.