Z GRILLS Party Wood Pellet BBQ Grill & Smoker 700 Review
Wood pellet grills are all the rage these days. They tend to draw the attention of barbecue enthusiasts who love competition level smoked meat, as well as the average Joe, who simply wants an easy way to cook outside.
This means the wood pellet grill market is a little bit flooded with options. At first glance, you might even feel a little spoiled for choice.
Z GRILLS offers a diverse line of various sizes, with a few bells and whistles laced in for effect. Their 7002B Party Wood Pellet BBQ Grill & Smoker is one of their biggest units to date. It’s designed to cater to individuals and families, who need to produce a large amount of food all at one time.
It includes a digital elite controller dial with an LED digital readout. When you set the temperature the grill’s internal hopper and fan adjust their rates to either increase or decrease the fire. In a relatively short amount of time, the internal temperature will come to within +/- 20 degrees of the intended setting. Placing the grill somewhere that isn’t going to be affected by the wind or adverse cold will also help improve temperature accuracy.
The Z Grills 7002B also has a heavy duty, high capacity wood pellet hopper. I know this might not seem to be that big of a deal, but most wood pellet bags are 20-pounds. So, if you have a unit with a 15 to 18-pound capacity, you are always left having to fiddle around with the little bit that just won’t fit in the hopper.
The Z Grills 7002B drip bucket solves a minor, yet common conundrum with wood pellet grills. Some wood pellet grills comes with a reusable metal cup that just hangs from a little hook. You then have to pour out the grease and hand wash the cup after every use, which some people find to be a bit of a hassle. Yet other wood pellet grill manufacturers will just provide you with a hanging cage. You then put a disposable cup in it and simply pitch it in the trash can when you are done grilling. Of course, this makes some people complain that they would feel like they are getting more for their money if it came with a reusable metal cup.
With the Z Grills 7002B, you get a disposable metal cup, that sits in a hanging cage. If you don’t want the metal cup, and you prefer the disposable option, you can simply put a plastic or paper cup in the cage. I know that seems like a really minor thing. The fact that Z Grills went to the trouble of providing both options, means that they are listening to feedback from the market, and trying to work on the all-important little details in their products.
Not for nothing, but the Z Grills 7002B also comes with a free custom grill cover. This is also nice when you consider the vulnerability of wood pellets in the rain.
Construction & Ease of Assembly
For the most part, Z Grills did their best to use quality materials and components throughout the 7002B.
The assembly instructions are pretty difficult to read. If you just go by the instructions, you will get frustrated. However, the design is very much intuitive and if you have a little mechanical sympathy, I think you will find it easier than the instructions lead you to believe at first glance.
Still, it’s the sort of thing you want to have a friend help you with. Two people who work well together should be able to get this grill put together in a little over two hours.
The Z Grills 7002B does everything you expect from a high end, large capacity wood pellet grill. Just be sure to give it enough time to fully preheat. This might be only 10-minutes for a low temperature, or as long as 20 to 25 minutes if you want to work with really high heat for something like a fresh pizza.
One minor complaint is the amount of smoke production at certain temperatures. It’s highest smoke setting tends to be a little on the low end of the temperature scale, around 180 to 200 degrees. This is maybe a little under what you want for something like a brisket or a bone in pork shoulder.
One thing to factor in here is that meat takes on smoky flavors when smoke-rendered fat works its way down through the meat fibers. Thus the more fat a piece of meat has, the more smoke it can take on. The more fat that is rendered out or crusted over into the bark, the less smoke can transfer into the interior of the meat.
If you want to really soak a piece of meat in smoky flavor there are some things you can do. I would recommend some shallow crosshatch lines in the fat cap, which should be placed up. Then, set it to the low temperature smoke setting. Let it sit in low temperature mode with maximum smoke for up to three hours to saturate smoke into the fat. Then you can turn it up a little higher, to finish it off to your desired internal temperature.
The Z Grills 7002B has a primary grill rack of 513 square inches and a 187 square inch warming rack for a grand total of 700 square inches of cooking space. Also, you shouldn’t let the name fool you, the “Warming Rack” is just fine for grilling food and makes a nice place to put a big mess of riblets or chicken wings.
Ease to Clean
In my opinion, the little cage is best used for holding a disposable cup. Then you can use the metal cup for things like basting sauces.
The grease pan that feeds the little cup will need a good wipe down after every use. Once everything is cooled down a minute or three with a shop vac will clean out the small amount of ash left in the firepot.
The Z Grills 7002B comes with a three-year warranty. This is pretty much on par with other competitor grills in this class.
The Z Grills 7002B doesn’t necessarily come with any added bells or whistles to make it stand head and shoulders above its competitors. Still, it’s a quality wood pellet smoker that is worth the money and should be able to do pretty much everything you want it to.
- Has a reusable or disposable grease cup
- A built-in grease management system
- Quality materials
- Large enough to prepare a lot of food
- Doesn’t stand out from competitors
- Maximum smoke is at low temperatures
- Needs time to come up to high heat