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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 for Z Grills pellet smokers

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 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).

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

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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.

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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, 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.

Z Grills PID controller


Z Grills pellets smokers in Australia use controllers with PID control logic, which more accurately controls the temperature than timer based controllers.

Click here to learn more about the controller operation

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 normal operating temperature is 232ºC. It takes about 4 minutes for the fire to be establishes, and then about 15-20minutes to reach above 200ºC.

Temperatures over 260ºC can be reached for searing on a BBQ plate or skillet by removing the grease tray.

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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!

Z Grills smoker cook up a feast

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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. Check out the video below for basic overview of how to startup and shutdown.

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