Z Grills ZPG-700D Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker Review
Wood pellet grills and smokers continue to grow in popularity with people who cherish the marriage between convenience and smoky flavors. The Z Grills ZPG-700D Wood pellet grill & Smoker comes with a custom-shaped patio cover.
It works like most other pellet smokers, in that you load professionally prepared wood pellets into a special hopper with a 20-pound capacity. Once the unit is plugged and activated, a small internal auger moves the wood pellets into a firebox. A small electric igniter then starts and maintains a fire with the help of an integrated fan. Heated air and smoke then rise up to the main cooking chamber to affect the food being cooked.
The Z Grills unit is capable of low temperatures around 180 degrees for barbecue applications, as well as being able to soar above 400 degrees for high heat applications. This means you can slow smoke a brisket, bake a pizza, smoke a fillet of fish, or grill a chicken. If you were to include a small pot of water in the primary cooking chamber you could even use the grill to braise food!
The primary cooking area measures 19.2-inches by 26-inches for 513 square inches of cooking space. This is more than enough to smoke a full-size brisket or even grill two medium-sized pizzas. The Z Grills wood pellet grill & smoker also has a 187 square inch warming rack.
The rate at which it burns wood pellets varies depending on the desired temperature and the duration of the grilling session. It is rated to produce a very efficient 20,000 BTU’s per hour. You merely set the temperature you want, allow it time to come up to temp and you can place the food in the cooking chamber. The internal hopper and fan will handle the rest of the operation essentially allowing you to set it and forget it.
Construction & Ease of Assembly
The Z Grills Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker comes in two separate boxes. With some basic tools and a little mechanical aptitude, you should be able to assemble it in 60 to 90 minutes. The frame and shroud of the grill are made from heavy gauge steel.
When it comes to smoking, baking, and even braising it’s hard to find a grill that is better suited. The Z Grills ZPG-700D Wood pellet grill & Smoker can handle just about any indirect heat cooking method you desire.
The standard wood pellets used are available at a friendly price point. If you are a barbecue purist and you feel that a brisket should only be smoked with mesquite or a pork shoulder needs hickory smoke to truly sing, there are wood pellets available with trace amounts of specialty woods integrated into them.
One area where it might not exceed expectations is in its ability to sear. Because it uses indirect heat, you don’t get exactly the kind of mahogany crust or steakhouse sear lines that you will find with the direct heat of a traditional charcoal or gas grill. It will cook them through and the general heat absorbed by the grates will impart some sear characteristics.
One way to address this is to use a reverse sear technique, where you grill the steak or chicken breast to within 5 to 10 degrees of the desired temperature. Then simply give it a quick sear on a frying pan or a hibachi. One other small thing to note with the Z Grills Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker is that it doesn’t come with a dedicated grease collection cup. There is a hanger included, but a specific cup for it costs around $7 to $10. However, the hanger itself will easily hold an old soup can or a plastic disposable cup.
The cast iron cooking grates have a special type of porcelain glaze to help reduce the chances of the food sticking to them. The main cooking grate measures 19.2-inches by 26-inches for 513 square inches of cooking space. There is also a 187 square inch warming rack, for a total of 694 inches of grilling space.
Beyond the technological elegance of the pellet hopper, auger, and fan system, the Z Grills Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker comes equipped with smart smoke technology. You simply start the grill per the provided instructions, set the desired temperature and the unit handles the rest all on its own.
Ease to Clean
The Z Grills Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker is much easier to grill than say a traditional wood fired smoker or even a charcoal grill. At the end of each cooking session you will need to turn the unit off and unplug it. Then shut down all the dampers to starve any lingering embers of oxygen. Allow the firebox time to completely go out and cool down. You can then use a standard shop vac to simply suck the lingering ash out of the firebox. It’s also worth noting that any remaining wood pellets in the hopper might be susceptible to high humidity or other moist conditions, which can sometimes break down the natural lignin bonding the wood pellets together. If the forecast calls for humid conditions or rain, you might want to also scoop any unused wood pellets out of the hopper.
The grill grates can be gently scraped down with a wire or nylon brush. If they are particularly messy or there is some burned on material that simply won’t release from scrubbing, you can always pull the grates out and soak them in warm soapy water. The special porcelain glaze will protect them from rusting.
Z Grills offers a 30-day satisfaction guarantee, as well as a 3-year warranty on their Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker
If you love convenience combined with smoky flavors, it’s hard to look past the Z Grills Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker. With smart smoke technology and the automation of a wood pellet grill, you truly can set it and forget it.
- Durable construction
- Smart smoke to set it and forget it
- Smoke, bake, grill, and braise in one unit
- Nice price compared to other wood pellet grills
- Comes with a custom cover
- Doesn’t achieve a traditional sear
- You supply the drippings cup
- Pellets might break down in high humidity
- Ash MUST be cold before removal