The BBQ Hotplate Kit expands your 700 series Z Grills smoker capabilities to include hotplate cooking and even high temperature searing of a steak.
The kit includes:
- 2 x Cast iron hotplates with smooth and ridged sides
- Handle to easily lift out the hotplates
- Aluminium tray that fits front to back in place of the grill rack
Both of the plates are reversible. The smooth is side great for doing bacon and eggs, onions rings or hamburger patties, while the ridged side is perfect for searing some cool lines into a steak!
The BBQ Hotplate Kit is designed to fit front to back in 7002B, 700E and 700E-XL grill models, but the hotplates can be used in any grill or even over a campfire!
Where to place the hotplates
Remove the whole grill rack, or just the left hand grill rack (if grill has twin grill racks) and drop the BBQ Hotplate Kit in and push to the far left of the grill.
How to use the grill
Start the grill as normal and set the target temperature. For hotplate cooking or searing a steak, set to the grill highest temperature setting, 232ºC. Depending on the outside temperature and wind, the grill should reach above 200ºC in 15 to 20 minutes at which point the hotplate will be close to 250ºC ready for cooking.
Can I leave it in the grill?
Yes. The BBQ hotplate kit can remain in the grill long term. The only reason to remove it and cover up the grease tray vents is if you need to use the full grill rack area. The grill will operate normally at all operating temperatures, although the hotplates will be hotter than the right hand grill rack area.
Operating the grill with the vents uncovered and just the grill racks over the top is not recommended for a few reasons:
- The area over the vents will be much hotter than the right of the grill so not ideal when doing and low and slow cook.
- Grease can drip down through the vents making a real mess and even the potential for a grease fire.
- Without a BBQ hotplate above the vents, the hot air will blow up onto the temperature sensor giving an elevated temperature reading. The result is the right side of the grill may not be as hot as displayed on the controller.
Opening the lid often?
The heat output of the wood fire is significant but not the same as a full set of gas burners on a large flat plate BBQ. For this reason, it is very difficult to maintain a high temperature with the lid open too often. Closing the lid allows the temperature to build up.
If the food needs to be flipped, open the lid, flip fast and close the lid.
If you need to open the lid often during the high temperature cook, drop the temperature setting to 190ºC. Opening the lid too often with the grill on the highest temperature setting can result in an excessively big fire as the grill tries to generate more heat to reach the target. This can lead to temperature spikes when the lid is closed again, or even burn-back issues.
Drop the temp after cooking
After operating the grill at a high temperature, always drop the grill to a lower temperature setting (121ºC or lower) for at least 10 minutes to allow the fire to die down, before turning to shut down cycle.
Reverse Sear Steak
Fancy cooking up a reverse seared tomahawk steak on your Z Grills smoker like the one below? This steak was cooked by a Z Grills Aussie owner on his BBQ Hotplate Kit.
Click here to view the Facebook post with the step by step images of the above steak being cooked. See below step by step instructions.
Low and Slow
- Pat the steak dry with paper towel.
- Heavily salt (and pepper if you like) the steak and leave out of the fridge for 20-30 minutes to come up to room temperature. The salt is important as it helps to dry out the surface of the steak which is important for a great sear later on!
- 700 Series Grills: Remove the left (smaller) grill rack and un-cover the vents in the grease tray and place in the BBQ hotplates. If you want lines on the steak put the ridged side up, but for a more even sear, use the smooth side of the plate.
- Fire up the Z Grill and leave on the SMOKE setting for the most smoky flavour, or to 107ºC (225ºF) to bring the meat up to temperature a bit faster.
- Once the grill is up to temperature, place the steak in on the right hand grill rack with a temperature sensor pushed into the centre of the meat.
- Close the grill lid and wait, monitoring the steak’s internal temperature. It will take anywhere from 1 to 2 hours for the steak to reach the target temperature, depending on the thickness of the cut.
- Aim for an internal temperature of 50ºC for rare and 55ºC for a medium final doneness after searing. Thinner steaks will increase in centre doneness during the sear much more than thick steaks, so the above is a guide only!
- Once up to temperature take the steak off, wrap tightly in aluminium foil, as well as a thick towel and place in an insulated container to keep warm.
- Turn the grill up to HIGH (232ºC / 450ºF) and keep the lid shut.
- Once the grill reached the maximum temperature drizzle or spray some oil on the plates. They should quickly start to smoke if up to a high enough temperature. If not yet hot enough, shut the lid a wait another few minutes.
- Place the steaks on and gently press down to ensure good contact. A good sizzle should be heard.
- Wait 1-2 minutes, then flip to the other side, ideally placing the steak on a fresh, hot section of the plate.
- Remove the seared steaks from the grill and shut the lid.
- Set the grill to SMOKE and leave for at least 10 minutes to allow the fire to die down before turning to shut down.
- There is no need to rest the steak as already cooked low and slow so juices are evenly distributed throughout the meat.
- Enjoy your delicious reverse seared steak!
Here is a great article which goes into more detail on the science behind reverse searing.
- The rear hotplate will be hotter than the front hotplate, especially if the lid is opened often.
- For searing a steak, when flipping it over, move to a fresh (hot) section of the plate.
- The BBQ Hotplate handle is great for lifting out the hotplate, but take extreme care if the metal is still hot. The hotplate will stay hot for a long time!
- Never pour cold liquid on the hotplate when very hot as the rapid contraction can cause it to crack.
- Be generous with oil when using the the hotplate. This will help with heat transfer, reduce sticking, but also help to further season the plate.
- Avoid using metal utensils on the hotplate, instead use plastic or wooden ones.
- Don’t open the lid too often, or if you must, drop the temperature setting to 190oC to avoid temperature spikes. The grill will maintain a very high temperature.
Easy to clean & safer cooking
One of the key reasons using a hotplate is better than open flames on a pellets smoker is ease of cleaning. Having food and fat dripping down into the grill drum is not a good idea as it creates a huge cleaning job as it mixes with the fire ash.
Seasoning and cleaning
Like any cast iron cook-wear, additional oil seasoning before first use and then proper cleaning and oiling after each use will result in super durable and not stick cooking surface.
Check out this video for some tips on how to make your cast iron cook-wear really shine!
Vented grease tray
The vented grease tray in Z Grills 7002B or 700E-XL models (from October 2021 onwards), allows for temperatures of 270ºC and higher on the BBQ hotplates, great for searing a steak. Check out the video explanation of how it works below.
Even without the vented grease tray (or with the vents covered with foil), temperatures well over 200ºC can be achieved, enough for normal hotplate cooking.
For higher temperatures without the vented grease tray, remove the grease tray from the grill and position the BBQ Hotplate Kit to the far left, which is hotter than the right (with the grease tray out).