Z Grills is a little company that specializes in wood pellet barbecues and smokers. In their estimation, the versatility of the wood pellet operation outweighs the potential advantages of other grills. We’ll examine one of their popular offerings, the ZPG-700E, to get a better idea if a pellet grill is right for you.
Z Grills ZPG-700E Features
Wood pellet grills operate differently than the more common charcoal or propane barbecues. The fuel source, of course, is compressed hardwood pellets. These don’t burn quite as long as charcoal, but they are convenient and can be imbued with different smoke flavors. Plus, it’s much easier to add more pellets than more charcoal or propane.
Hopper Feeding System and Burner
Whereas a charcoal grill’s grate must be opened up to add more fuel, the pellet grill has an automatic hopper. An auger screw draws pellets as needed over to the burner. Z Grills take this design a step further by connecting the auger to a digital thermostat. Choose your desired temperature, and the grill will feed itself as necessary to keep it there.
Z Grills advertises a 20-pound capacity for the hopper— about enough for 20 hours of cooking. The burner is designed to maintain anywhere from 160 to 450 °F (71-232 °C), so you can smoke or char-grill to your heart’s content.
The burner in the center of the grill is as unique as the hopper. A heated rod automatically ignites the pellets. Then the grill’s induction fan works to evenly distribute the heat and smoke throughout the grill’s barrel.
The downside to this style of grill? The burner and auger must get their power from somewhere, and that somewhere is an outlet. Grilling traditionalists may cringe at the thought of plugging their grill into the wall.
The main grilling area is 504 square inches and the upper rack is 190 square inches.
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Exterior Finish and Construction
Though much of the grill is finished in black lacquer, most of its parts are made of stainless steel. This helps prevent rust even if the lacquer is chipped. As an added protection, Z Grills also includes a weatherproof grill cover.
A pair of doors enclose an under-grill storage area. Since there’s no propane tank, you have more room to work with. On the right side are a grease drain and the chimney. Unfortunately, though, there is no integrated shelf area.
The ZPG-700E has a robust set of wheels on the bottom. This is critical since the fully-assembled grill weighs a whopping 146 pounds (66 kilograms). It’s delivered in two separate boxes. Assembly is a simple process, though, and the package even includes the necessary tools.
The ZPG-700E is covered by a 30-day return guarantee and a 3-year warranty.