Z Grill – How Good Are Z Grills? A Half-Priced Traeger?

z-grills-review

This is my Z Grill review which includes a Z Grills comparison, how to start it the first time, warranty, and some helpful videos. I came across the Z Grill in Australia, of all places, after speaking to a great guy named Mick, who runs Z Grills Australia. I’ve never met anyone more passionate about what they sell!

Z Grill Reviews

There’s a whole Aussie Z Grill Owners Facebook page, full of people loving their Z Grill with a ton of great reviews. But I couldn’t help but wonder, is it too good to be true? How could 1 simple, not even very expensive, appliance grill, bbq, smoke, bake, roast, braise and sear? How good are Z Grills, really? Could they be a half-priced Traeger?

To see how not-very-expensive they are, see the prices here. You even get $20 off at the moment when you spend more than $100 – coupon ZG20OFF.

Z Grills Comparison

 Z Grills ZPG-1000EZ Grills 700EZ Grills 7002EZ Grills 450AZ Grills 550A
Price$806$559$521$350$398
BuyZPG-1000E700E7002E450A550A
ImageZ grills 1000E_COVER_600xZ Grill 700E_COVER_600xZ grills 7002E_COVER_600xZ Grills 450A_160xZ Grill 550A
Total cooking area1060 sq inch (2 removable and adjustable racks)694 sq. in.694 sq. in.452 sq. in.590 square inches grilling area
Main cooking area432 sq. in.19.2 x 26.25 inches=504 square inch504 sq. in.324 sq.in.
Smoking/Warming Rack Dimensions:6.9 x 27.5 inches = 190 square inches6.9 x 27.5 inches = 190 square inches128 sq.in.Foldable, working shelf
Cooking temp180°F to 450°F180°F to 450°F180°F to 450°F 180°F to 475°F
Hopper capacity20 pounds20 pounds20 pounds15 pounds16 pounds
Warranty3 years3 years3 years3 years
Storage cabinet?YesYesNoNoNo
Cover included?YesYesYesYesNo

I’m not usually a fan of anything that multi-tasks. Usually they do it all OK, but they don’t do anything great. Jack of all trades, master of none…

Well, the Z Grill has proved me wrong. There ARE multi-task appliances that can perform several tasks and perform them well.

Here’s my man Mick with his Z Grill, giving us a run-through!

Let’s go through the features.

How Good Are Z Grills?

The Z Grill is a wood pellet grill. Wood pellet grills give you that beautiful, smoky flavor that you just don’t get on traditional grills (like charcoal or gas). There are a variety of wood pellets available with different flavors, and you can get them from Z Grills direct (see their current special below) or there’s a range of pellets suitable for z grills on Amazon.

You can use the Z Grill to grill, bbq, smoke, bake, roast, braise and sear, pretty much anything you’d cook in your kitchen. People are smoking their own bacon and salami, baking cakes, searing cakes, slow-cooking meats, your imagination is your limit, really. There are a lot of recipes on the website

You can cook your food low and slow, like ribs, pulled pork and briskets. You can make your own smoked ham or bacon, or sausages with a smokey flavor. Cook pizza, cake, and steak, it’s a grill and oven in 1.

Learn more about how Z Grills work on their website! 

They market themselves as “the affordable wood pellet grill” and judging by the prices and the functionality, this is quite true. You can find a price comparison above, and on their website. Their official video:

There are videos for the assembly of your z grill too, like the Z grills zpg-7002e below.

What Can I Cook on a Z Grill?

Anything. Well, pretty much anything anyway. I really liked the idea of being able to use this as an oven as it gets really, stinkin’ hot in my kitchen in summer and it’s no fun being inside with the oven on for an hour (or 3).

We’ve done pizza’s on ours too and they come out really nicely. You can turn the smoking feature off to bake cakes (unless you want smoked cake, then, by all means, leave it on). This was our first year raising a cow, which is in the freezer now, and next year we’re planning on having a couple of cows and a pig as well. With the z grill we’ll be able to grill our steaks but make our own ham and bacon too!

Some examples of what you can cook:

How to Start your Z Grills the First Time

  1. Remove everything. Open the hopper and grill lids. Take out the grilling racks, the grease tray and the plate that sits over the fire pot.
  2. Turn the controller dial to the shut-down cycle. Turn the switch on.
  3. Turn the dial to “smoke” and wait for the fan to start up.
  4. The auger should now slowly rotate, check to make sure. It might turn on or off a couple of times when you turn the dial to “smoke”. This is normal in the first minute or so. When the auger motor is on you might also be able to hear it.
  5. Make sure that air is blowing out of the fire pot by holding your hand over the top of it.
  6. Check that the ignition rod, which is at the bottom of the fire pot, is getting hot. Don’t touch it, it should be hot, but you should be able to see it turning slightly red (like a “hot” color) after a few minutes of being on the “smoke” setting. There might be some smoke too, this is normal during first operation.
  7. Time to add wood pellets! Pour the pellets into the hopper. You don’t need to fully fill it, 4.5lb will do for the first burn-in. Pour enough pellets in to reach the safety grate. Your wood pellets as best kept in a sealed container or bag when you’re not using them, so only fill the hopper completely when you’re using your grill for a long time.
  8. Close the lid of the hopper.
  9. Run the augur a bit longer to push wood pellets into the fire pot by turning the controller dial to “high”.
  10. The pellets will start to drop into the fire pot after about 7 minutes. Wait until you have a small pile of 10-15 pellets. It’s normal to see some smoke or even a flame or 2.
  11. Time to burn! Ignite your wood pellets by turning the controller to “shut-down cycle” and then to “smoke” straightaway. This starts up the ignition rod and your wood pellets will burn.

How to Burn-In Your Z Grill

  1. Put all your things back into the grill, the grease tray, grill racks, etc. and close the lid.
  2. Turn the controller to “high” and run it for 45 minutes. You’ll need to burn off any left-over oils from when your grill was made. It won’t smell very nice for the first 10-15 minutes, but it should disappear after this period of time.
  3. After 45 minutes, turn the controller to “shut-down cycle”, but don’t turn the power off.
  4. Leave the power on; the fan will run for 10-15 minutes to make sure all the wood pellets have burned out.
  5. Your Z Grill will automatically turn off. Once it has turned off, remove the grill racks and wipe them down with a moist cloth.
  6. Cover the grease trays with some heavy duty aluminium foil to make clean-up nice and easy.
  7. You’re ready to cook!

Here’s a great step-by-step video for how to start your Z Grills.

Z Grills Repairs & Parts

Z Grills has videos on replacing the hot rod ignitor and the controller assembly.

You can download the owner’s manuals online as well.

Where are Z Grills made?

This is a tricky one actually. There is no info on the Z Grills website that I could find, which is a little dubious because it seems like they are maybe trying to hide it?

However, I did find a post by BBQdryrubs who was clever enough to grab a screenshot a while back when the company did mention that

“we are a US-based brand that has been making high-quality grills and smoker for 30 years.”

And:

“We’ve made grills for other brands you may have heard of: Traeger, Rankam, Landmann, and Kenmore.”

So, despite this still not mentioning where z grills are made, if you think the Traeger is a good-quality grill (which they obviously are, just look at the fan club!), you’re in pretty safe hands with the z grill.

Buying Z Grills Online

You can get your Z Grill home-delivered anywhere within the continental US. They don’t ship to Hawaii or Alaska, nor do they ship to p.o. boxes.

Shipping is generally free for all orders, but double-check the product detail pages for the grill you are buying to make sure.

What if you don’t like your z grill?

Unlikely, but hey, it happens! All Z Grills come with a 3 year warranty, which applies to defects in all materials and workmanship. If you have a warranty issue during those 3 years, Z Grills will either repair or replace defective parts or units.

You’ve also got kind of a cooling-off period of 24 hours. Say you bought a z grill at night, had a few too many drinks and changed your mind the next morning, you can cancel your order by calling customer service. A bit of piece of mind 😀

If you don’t like your z grill or you have a problem, email z grills directly and they will help you through the process of returning your grill. You can also call the customer service department on 1-833-947-4557.

Note that this only applies if you buy your grill directly from zgrills.com, it doesn’t apply when you buy it somewhere else, like Amazon. You’ll need to deal with them direct.

Some Important Z Grill Info

  1. Always start your grill on “smoke” with the lid or door open.
  2. If it runs out of pellets, turn it off.
  3. Follow the start-up firing instructions before using the grill. They’re listed in your owner’s manual.
  4. When you’ve finished cooking, turn the controller to “shut-down cycle”. This way, the fan will keep running for 10 minutes or so to burn the left-over pellets. The grill will automatically turn off.

What’s your opinion, are Z Grills half-priced Traegers? Do you own a Z Grill? What do you think of it? Any features on them that you’re missing?

If you’re ready to buy:

Buy a Z Grill from Z Grills!

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