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Z Grills 700E-XL Smoker Overview

The Z Grills 700E-XL is the largest, top of the range smoker in our Aussie lineup. Featuring excellent temperature stability, efficient pellet usage and handy storage cabinet this is the bees knees and by far our most popular model!

Z Grills 700E-XL Pellet Smoker
Z Grills 700E-XL Smoker with optional front folding wooden bench.

700E-XL Smoker Grill Overview

Key Features

  • Premium stainless steel finish that complements any backyard or patio
  • Large cooking space perfect for feeding a large crowd
  • Huge 10kg hopper capacity enough for even an epic 18 hour brisket
  • Double-wall insulation reduces pellet consumption
  • Heavy-duty caster wheels for easy moving around
  • Versatile cooking from low temp smoking and high temperature BBQ
  • Heavy duty quality components
  • Silicon nitride ignition rod for fast startup up and reliability
  • PID controller for automatic temperature control
  • Fast heat up time takes only 15 minutes to >200ºC

Dimensions & Weight

  • 123cm wide x 57cm deep x 130cm tall
  • 66kg with no pellets in hopper. Pellets will add up to 10kg
700E-XL overall dimensions

Electricity Requirements

  • 240V AC (not DC)
  • Minimum 300W power supply from battery pack (high power draw for ignition rod during initial startup)
  • Average power draw after startup 40 to 50W.
  • To run the grill for 8 hours at least 400Wh of battery capacity will be required.

Wood Pellet Hopper

The 700E-XL hopper can hold up to 10kg of wood pellets, enough for 20+ hours of low temperature cooking or 7-10 high temp cooks.

It is not advisable to fill the hopper right up each cook, instead just add enough for each cook.

How fast are pellets used?

  • Low temperature operation = 0.3 to 0.5kg/hour (0.7 to 1.1lbs)
  • High temperature operation = 1 to 2kg/hour (2.2 to 4.4lbs)

Click here to learn more about wood pellets

Burning out all the pellets is recommended if not planning to use the grill for several weeks or longer, especially in humid climates.

Click here to jump to the cleaning section to learn how.

Grill Racks

  • Twin bottom grill racks: Total of 66cm wide x 49cm deep.
  • Top grill rack: 66cm wide x 34cm deep
  • Total cooking area: 0.55m2
700E-XL Twin Grill Racks

Why twin grill racks?

  • Smaller sizes make them easier to fit in basin or dish washer for cleaning
  • The left grill rack can be removed and the BBQ Hotplate Kit dropped in its place

Can the top grill rack be removed?

  • Yes it just slides out
  • It is advisable to leave the top rack out when not in use as it makes accessing food on the bottom rack easier.

Grease Tray

The grease tray sits just below the grill racks, sloping from left to right. Gaps along the front and rear sides of the grease tray allow the hot air flow from below to rise up into the cooking area.

Vented grease tray

Starting with Version 5 of the 700E-XL smoker, the grease tray features vents on the left hand side for high temperature searing.

During normal cooking these vents should be covered with aluminium foil. Covering vents ensures even temperatures through the grill and and avoids grease dripping down close to the fire-pot which could cause a grease fire.

If a grease fire occurs, keep the grill lid closed and turn the grill to SHUT DOWN and the power OFF to stop the fan feeding the fire with more oxygen.
– Wait until the fire goes out.
– Do not apply water or try to smother the fire.
– If the lid is already open a dry chemical (A-B-E) fire extinguisher can be used to put out the fire if required.
– Do not open the lid if there is an active grease fire as it may flare up.

Click here to learn more about the vented grease tray design.

Grease and juice drips from food on the grill rack down on to the grease tray and drains left to right down to the V channel then through the spout into the grease bucket.

To make cleaning easy the grease tray can be lined with foil. It is important that the foil is wrapped tight at the edges though, as the gap front and back of the grease tray must be open to allow hot air to rise up.

Click here for cleaning instructions.

How It Works

The controller monitors the temperature in the grill and intermittently operates the auger motor, rotating the spiral auger shaft to push pellets from the hopper into the fire-pot.

The wood pellets are lit by the ignition rod and a fire is then automatically maintained. Even at low smoking temperatures a fire is active in the fire-pot.

Firepot ignition process

A fan underneath the hopper blows air through a number of holes in the fire-pot, feeding the fire with oxygen.

After circulating around the grilling area, the hot air and smoke is vented out through the chimney.

How To Use

Controller Operation

Z Grills Pellet Smoker PID Digital Controller with Labels

The Z Grills 700E-XL uses a digital PID controller to manage the operation of the grill.

Click here for a more detailed overview of how the controller works.

Current grill temperature is shown on the LCD display.

Food probe temperatures(if plugged in) are shown on the LCD display by pressing the FOOD PROBE TEMP button. Pressing the button multiple times will cycle through the display of P1, P2 then the grill temperature. After several seconds the display will return to the grill temperature.

Setting the temperature is as easy as turning the dial to the desired setting. The LCD display shows the temperature in degrees Celsius, but the temperature dial has both ºC and ºF in case working to a recipe in Fahrenheit.

Controller Settings

  • Shut Down: Controller must be set to Shut Down when plugging the power in otherwise ER2 error will be displayed. Turning to Shut Down after the grill has been operating will run the fan for 10 minutes to let the fire burn down. Only turn the power switch off or unplug the grill once the fan turns off.
  • Smoke: Turn to this setting to fire-up the grill. Smoke setting also provides the maximum amount of smoke with a temperature of 70 to 90ºC (160 to 195ºF) depending on the outside temperature.
  • 82ºC will provide the most stable lowest temperature (more-so than SMOKE). In hot weather the grill not be able to maintain such a low temperature as the smallest fire provides too much heat.
  • 107 and 121ºC are the most commonly used temperatures for low and slow cooking and will still provide some good smoke in batches ever few minutes.
  • 135 to 232ºC will provide very little smoke as a constant fire is burning.

Priming the grill with pellets

The first time the grill is used, and after each time the pellets totally run out, the grill needs to be primed with pellets. Priming means feeding pellets from the hopper through the auger tube into the fire-pot.

Z Grills smoker auger motor turning auger
Auger motor slowly rotates the spiral auger shaft to feed pellets from the hopper into the fire-pot

Follow the instructions below to prime the grill with pellets:

  • If the grill has previously been used, vacuum out the hopper and fire-pot.
  • Pour fresh, dry pellets into the hopper. The hopper does not need to be filled right up, just add enough for each cook.
  • With the grill lid open, turn the controller from Shut Down to Smoke. The auger motor will intermittently run to feed pellets from the hopper through the auger tube into the fire-pot.
  • After 5-7 minutes (depending the length of the pellets) they will begin to drop into the fire-pot.
  • To fire up the grill, turn the controller back to
  • Shut Down then Smoke to turn the ignition rod back on again.
  • If LER (low temperature error) is shown on the display, just turn back to Shut Down and Smoke again.

Startup the grill

Open grill lid

  • It is important to open the lid to allow fresh air to circulate during the start up process.

Check pellet level

  • Make sure there are enough wood pellets in the hopper. Click here to learn more.
  • If the grill has not been used for a long time check to ensure the wood pellets are loose, dry and shiny. If any signs of moist pellets remove them all, run the grill empty and use fresh, dry pellets.

Clean fire-pot

  • Always check to make sure the fire-pot does not have too much ash accumulated.
  • It is best to vacuum out before each cook.

Plug in and turn controller to SMOKE

  • Turn the dial to SMOKE to begin the startup cycle.
  • Pellets will intermittently drop, the fan will run and the ignition rod will get red hot to light the fire.
  • If smoke is not released within 3-4 minutes, remove the grease tray and check the fire-pot.

Smoke and fire

  • Wait to see a cloud of smoke to been released and then hear the roaring sound of the fire.
  • Close the grill lid and set controller to the target temperature.

Wait for heat-up

  • Wait for the grill to reach the target temperature before placing in food.
  • It is normal for the temperature to rise above the target before settling back down.

Keep the lid shut!

  • As the saying goes, “If you keep looking, you’re not cooking, so keep the lid shut!
  • Use the food probe to monitor the temperature rather than opening the lid too often.
  • The temperature will drop each time the lid is opened and may spike back up above the target if the lid is opened for too long as lots of pellets will have been delivered into the fire-pot.

Normal operation

Once the grill has successfully started up and exceeded 60ºC the controller will turn off the ignition rod and commence normal operating mode.

The operating logic is basically as follows:

  • IF LOWER than the target temperature, deliver more pellets into the fire-pot
  • IF HIGHER than the target temperature, deliver less pellets into the fire-pot

Each time pellets are delivered into the fire-pot (roughly once every 60 to 90 seconds) and begin to burn, heat is released resulting in small temperature swings around the target, which is normal. 

Shutdown the grill

The grill needs to ensure the fire is totally burnt out by running the fan for 10 minutes before turning itself off.

Always follow the correct process outlined below when shutting down the the grill.

Temperature above 160ºC

  • If the grill is currently above 160ºC, turn the grill down to Smoke for 10 minutes to allow the fire to die down, then turn the controller dial to Shut Down.
  • The fan will run for about 10 minutes then turn itself off.
  • Always wait for the fan to turn off before turning the power switch off or unplugging the grill from power.

Temperature below 160ºC

  • If the grill is currently below 160ºC, turn the controller dial to Shut Down.
  • The fan will run for about 10 minutes then turn itself off.
  • Always wait for the fan to turn off before turning the power switch off or unplugging the grill from power.

Power cut mid cook?

If during a cook the grill is accidentally turned off or power is cut, it needs to be turned back on to allow the fire to safely burn out.

Power off for less than 30 seconds

  • If the power is off for less than 30 seconds the fire is most likely still burning.
  • Leave the grill lid shut and turn the controller to Shut Down then directly back to the target temperature.
  • The startup cycle will run again, so if the target temperature is low (<121ºC) the temperature may spike back up above before settling back down.

Power off for longer than 30 seconds

  • If the power is off for longer than 30 seconds, the lack of air flow from the fan may have resulted in the fire going out.
  • It is important to OPEN THE GRILL LID to allow good air flow during the grill firing back up again.
  • Turn the grill to Shut Down then back to SMOKE.
  • As soon as a confirmed the fire is established (after cloud of smoke) shut the grill lid and turn back to the target temperature.

Power can’t be provided

  • If power can’t be provided within a couple of minutes, extra care must be taken when turning the grill back on, as burn back resulting in a smoky hopper can occur. This is more likely if the grill was operating at a high temperature with big fire when the power was cut.
  • Follow the procedure outlined above for the “longer than 30 seconds” but also open the hopper lid and check to see if any smoke appears.
  • If the grill fires up as normal and no smoke appears from the hopper, continue with the cook as normal.
  • If any smoke appears from the hopper, scoop out as may pellets as possible (removing the top of the hopper if required) and then run the grill until empty. Once the fire is out and the grill has cooled down, vacuum out the hopper and fire-pot and then prime with fresh pellets.

Temperature Stability

The controller’s PID software has been refined to maintain the most stable temperatures possible, but like any pellet smoker, temperature swings around the target are normal.

In hot weather the grill may not be able to maintain temperatures below 100ºC (on SMOKE or 82ºC setting) as even the smallest fire still provides lots of heat.

Stable temperature tips

To maintain the most stable temperatures, follows these tips:

  • Avoid opening the lid too much (can result in temperature spikes once lid is shut again).
  • Keep the grill out of direct cold wind, as it can impact the temperature regulation.
  • Keep the grill out of direct sunlight (if exceeding the target temperature).

Click here to learn more about how the controller works to manage the temperature.

Changing from HIGH to LOW temperatures

If the grill has been operating at a high temperature and is then set to a lower target, the grill will take a long time to cool down as fire in the fire-pot will keep producing heat.

The temperature will drop much slower in hot weather.

To drop the temperature more quickly:

  • Open the lid to release heat until the controller displayed temperature drops close to the new, lower target, then shut the lid and continue cooking. 
  • Do not keep the lid open too long as if the temperature drops below the new target then too many pellets will be delivered causing a temperature spike. 

Temperature spikes

Temperature spikes up to 120ºC are common in the first 10 to 15 minutes after startup even when set to a lower target due to the large amount of pellets delivered into the fire-pot.

  • Open the lid for a minute to release some heat, or just wait for the temperature to gradually come back down, which may take 5 to 10 minutes. 
  • Next time, leave the lid open a bit longer after the initial cloud of smoke clears to release some more heat. 
  • The grill will gradually settle at the desired target but small swings of +/- 5ºC are normal.  Because the heat is indirect this temperature cycling will not adversely effect the cooking of food. At higher temperature larger swings are common, especially in windy weather.

Temperature display vs grill rack

The temperature on the LCD display may differ by +/- 10 to 15ºC from the grill rack temperatures, especially during the heating up phase.  This is normal.  Relax!

Temperature Issues

A number of factors can contribute to the temperature not being a stable as normal. Click here to help troubleshoot temperature issues.


Keeping the Z Grills 700E-XL smoker clean is very easy.

Grease Tray & Bucket

  • Remove foil from the grease tray and wipe off any surface grease. 
  • Dispose of any grease in the grease bucket and wash clean with warm soapy water. For easy clean up, line the bucket with foil.
  • Clean the V channel that the grease tray drains into as well as the spout leading to the grease bucket. To clean the spout just push through a cloth or paper towel.

Grill Rack

  • Use a Koala Claw wood scraper or other gentle material to scrape off any large chunks.  
  • Do NOT use a stainless steel wire brush as it can damage the ceramic coating.
  • Wash in hot soapy water or just wipe down with a moist cloth or BBQ cleaning wipes.
  • Do NOT use acidic or strong chemical cleaners as they may damage the grill rack ceramic coating.


  • Ash accumulates in the fire-pot and surrounding area and needs to be vacuumed out after each long cook or every 3-4kg of wood pellets usage. 
  • Only vacuum out ash when the grill is cold, switched OFF and unplugged.
  • Some wood pellets produce lots of ash so may need to be cleaned after every cook.
  • If any grease has dribbled down into the fire-pot area, clean with BBQ cleaning wipes. 


  • Once every 50+ hours of use, remove the chimney cap and clean the chimney pipe with an old toothbrush to remove accumulated soot.


  • If wood pellets sit for a long time (weeks) in the hopper they can become moist. This is especially the case in humid climates. Click here to learn more about wood pellets.
  • So if not planning to use the grill for more than a few weeks (especially in humid climates) it is a good idea to run the grill empty of pellets.
  • Scoop out pellets until you reach the protective guard.
  • The guard can be temporarily lifted out by removing the 4 screws (two front, two rear) that are just under the lip as shown in the photo below.
Screws securing the hopper guard in place
  • Scoop out most of the pellets, then run the grill until they are all burnt out and the temperature drops (fire is out).
  • Turn the grill to Shut Down.
  • If the controller display shows LER, just turn to Shut Down and unplug from power.
  • Once cooled down, vacuum out the hopper entry and fire-pot.
  • Before the grill is next used it will need to be primed with pellets. Click here to learn how.

Grill Surfaces

  • Wipe down the inside and outside of the grill with BBQ cleaning wipes, or warm soapy water and moist (not too wet) cloth.
  • Cover the grill with a protective cover when not in use if stored outdoors.  The grill must not be exposed to rain. 
  • Gently clean the temperature sensor inside the grill with wire-wool to ensure accurate temperature readings. 

Food Temperature Probe

  • Food probes must be scrubbed thoroughly after each use with hot soapy water to avoid food contamination.  
  • Do not immerse the entire probe or cable in water. 
  • Avoid twisting or kinking the cable as it may be damaged.

Click here for more information on Z Grills smoker cleaning.


If there is a problem with the operation of the grill an error will be shown on the controller display and the grill with turn off.

LER: Low temperature error (click here to learn more)

HER: High temperature error (click here to learn more)

ER1: Temperature sensor signal error (click here to learn more)

ER2: Controller system error

  • This will occur if the power is plugged in when the grill is already turned to a temperature setting.
  • If happening mid cook, there may be a problem with the power supply or the controller.
  • Click here or the image below to open larger view of the troubleshooting guide
Z Grills ER2 Troubleshooting Flowchart

BBQ Hotplate Kit

The left hand (narrower) grill rack can be removed and a BBQ Hotplate Kit dropped in its place for high temperature searing over the vented grease tray.

Click here for more information.

BBQ hotplate kit front view

Can the BBQ hotplate kit be left in place long term?

  • Yes it can
  • Temperature regulation throughout the grill may be slightly different compared to when grill racks are in place. If doing a low and slow cook, it may be better to put the left grill rack back.
  • Always ensure the grease tray vents are covered in foil when the BBQ hotplate is not in place.

Owner Manual

Click here to download the latest copy of the owner manual for Z Grills 700E-XL (V5) smokers.

Older version of the manuals for 700E and 700E-XL grill models can be accessed here, but for most up to date operation and safety information please refer to the latest version linked above.

Z Grills 700E Model Change History

The 700E model that we began selling in Australia in 2019 has undergone a number of improvements and the addition of new features over the years.

Once the grill rack space was increased from 700 square inches to 850 with the introduction of the twin grill rack in late 2019, the name changed to the 700E-XL (extra large).

From the 700E V3 onwards the model version (V3, V4, V5) is printed on the silver specifications sticker on the underside of the hopper lid, as shown below.

Z Grills Specifications Label

Below is a summary of the key changes implemented with each model. Version numbers increase only when structural component changes are made.

Model (period sold)Changes
ZPG-700E V5 (700E-XL)
Silicone nitride ignition rod introduced
ZPG-700E V5 (700E-XL)
– Introduced vented grease tray & twin main grill racks
ZPG-700E V4(700E-XL) (11/2020~09/2021)– Changed to large top grill rack.
– Controller shows ºC andºF temperatures settings on front plate.
– Mounting points for front folding bench
ZPG-700E V3(700E-XL) (12/2019~11/2020)– Added 2nd top grill rack (twin racks)
ZPG-700E V2
– Moved caster wheel position to outer edges of cabinet for better stability
ZPG-700E V1
(Mid 2019)
Original model into Australia

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