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How do Z Grills smokers work?

Z Grills pellets smokers are easy to use, but what fuel source do they use and how do they control the temperature? Check out these answers and more below.

What provides the heat?

Wood pellets in Z Grills smoker hopper

Z Grills pellet smokers use wood pellets as the fuel that is burnt to provide heat for cooking. The grill will not work without wood pellets. Wood chips or charcoal cannot be used.

Click here to learn more about how Z Grills operate.

Click here to learn more about wood pellets.

What is electricity used for?

Electricity is used to run the controller, fan (air flow feeding the fire), auger motor (to feed pellets) and the ignition rod (to light the pellets during startup).

Click here to learn more about how the controller works to manage the operation of the grill.

Once the fire is established, Z Grills use very little electricity with the fan and auger motor only drawing about 25W each. Click here to learn about electricity usage.

Can they operate without wood pellets?

No. Z Grills pellet smokers use wood pellets as the fuel that is burnt to provide heat for cooking. They do not work (no heat) without wood pellets.

Click here to learn more about wood pellets.

Do the pellets need to be emptied out after each cook?

No, the wood pellets can remain in the hopper between cooks. Each time the Z Grills pellet smoker is used it will feed only as many pellets into the fire-pot as required to maintain the desired temperature.

That being said, it is a good idea to remove most of the pellets in the hopper and run the grill until empty if not using the grill for an extended period of time (several weeks or longer), especially in humid environments.

Click here to learn more about cleaning your Z Grills smoker.

Click here to learn more about wood pellets.

What does the controller do?

The digital controller monitors the temperature inside the grill and turns the auger motor on and off to deliver just the right amount of wood pellets into the fire pot to reach and then maintain the set temperature.

There are two types of controllers used across our Z Grills smoker models, basic PID and advanced wireless.

PID Controller

The basic PID controller is super easy to use with a knob to set the temperature settings. The PID controller logic provides excellent temperature control.

Z Grills Pellet Smoker PID Digital Controller with Labels

Wireless Controller

The advanced wireless controller has WIFI and Bluetooth connectively allowing remote control and monitoring of the grill temperature and operation via the Z Grills Aus App.

Controller display with labels

Do they require gas?

No, Z Grills do not use any gas.

Z Grills pellets smokers use wood pellets as the fuel that is burnt to provide heat for cooking.

Click here to learn more about wood pellets.

What is the maximum cooking temperature?

The maximum indirect heat operating temperature is 232ºC for the basic PID controller and up to 240ºC using the wireless controller.

Temperatures over 260ºC can be reached for searing on a BBQ plate or skillet using the vented grease tray (700 series grills) or by removing the grease tray (450A and Mini).

How fast to heat up?

It takes 2 to 4 minutes for the fire to be established, and then about 10-15minutes to reach above 200ºC.

The grill will heat up faster in hot weather compared to when cold and windy.

What can be cooked on a Z Grills smoker?

Cook an amazing range of food from low and slow favourites like brisket, pulled pork and beef ribs through to pizza, bread, roast pork with crackling and of course snags come out amazing too!

With a cast iron BBQ plate or skillet, bacon and eggs, rissoles or sautéed onion can be done just like on a normal BBQ. Searing a steak also works great!

Learn more about what you can cook here.

Z Grills smoker cook up a feast

Click here for more information about the BBQ plate.

Z Grills owners often use their grill so much more than a traditional BBQ because it opens up so many more possibilities.

Can a rotisserie be used in a Z Grills smoker?

Using a rotisserie is useful when there is a single source of high radiant heat like a bed of coals. The meat needs to be slowly rotated to cook evenly.

In a pellet smoker the heat is mostly convective (hot air) rather than direct radiant, so it can cook evenly without the need to rotate.

So in very simple terms, there is no need for a rotisserie in a pellets smoker.

Can charcoal or wood chips be used?

No, only wood pellets designed for pellet smokers can be used.

To add additional smoke, or flavour from another type of wood a smoke tube can also be used. Wood pellets or chips can be burnt in the tube supplementing the smoke already provided by the Z Grills smoker.

Click here to learn more about smoky flavour.

How to Startup and Shutdown?

Z Grills smokers are very easy to use. Click on the links below to learn more.

Basic PID controller grill operation

Wireless controller grill operation