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Z Grills – Normal Operation

First time using the Z Grill

The first time you ever use the Z Grill it needs to be primed with wood pellets and then burnt in. Priming is also already necessary if the hopper is ever completely emptied of pellets. Click here to learn more.

Normal startup process

Always start the grill with the lid open

  1. With the controller dial on Shut Down, switch the power ON.
  2. Open the grill lid and turn the dial to Smoke.
  3. Once the fist big cloud of smoke begins to subside and the “roaring” sound of the fire can be heard (after 5-7 minutes), close the grill lid and turn to the desired temperature setting.
  4. Wait for the grill to reach the target temperature before placing in food.
  5. Avoid opening the grill lid too frequently as temperature will be lost.
  6. The grill will gradually reach the desired setting. Don’t worry if the temperature swings above/below the desired setting a bit, as this is normal operation.

Normal shutdown process

  1. If operating at 190oC or above, first turn to Smoke setting for 10min to allow the fire to die down, then:
  2. Turn the controller dial to Shut Down
    • The auger will stop turning and no more pellets will be delivered into the fire-pot.
    • The fan will run for ~10minutes until all pellets in the fire-pot burn to ash.
  3. Once the fan has stopped, turn the power switch OFF (can leave plugged in).

After operating at a high temperature, turn to Smoke for 10min then Shutdown Cycle.

Power accidentally turned off

If power is accidentally turned OFF during normal operation, or if there is a power outage, follow these steps

If power immediately comes back on

  • Turn the dial to Shut Down Cycle.
  • Turn to the desired temperature setting to continue normal operation.
  • The temperature may overshoot as more pellets will be delivered into the fire-pot. Open the lid for a while if required to release some heat.

If no power for more than 30 seconds

  • Open the grill lid (IMPORTANT)
  • Turn the dial to the desired temperature
  • Wait until a big cloud of smoke is released (like normal startup) or it is clear that fire is burning (can hear the roaring sound), then close the lid.
  • The temperature may overshoot as more pellets will be delivered into the fire-pot. Open the lid for a while if required to release some heat until the it falls close to the target temperature setting.

Changing from high to low temps

  1. If the Grill has been operating at a high temperature and is then set to a lower temperature, the grill will take a long time to cool down as fire in the fire-pot will keep producing heat.
  2. Open the lid to release heat until the temperature drops close to the target temperature setting, then shut the lid and continue cooking.

Temperature cycling/swinging

  1. Pellets are delivered into the fire-pot by the auger every 30 to 90 seconds to maintain the target temperature. Once the new pellets ignite, the temperature will rise and can initially exceed the temperature setting.
  2. The temperature can swing as much as 10oC either side of the setting, especially during the first hour of operation, after any temperature setting changes, or if the lid is opened for several minutes. This is normal.
  3. At low temperature settings (<135oC / 275oF) the controller software forces temperature swings to more smoke production in cycles. On the Smoke setting a temperature swing range of 70~90oC is normal. Click here to learn more about smoke levels.
  4. Because the heat in the grilling chamber is indirect, temperature cycling will not adversely effect the cooking of food.
  5. The grill temperature is measured at the left side of the grill toward the top of the grill drum, and so temperatures on the main grill rack may be 10-15oC lower, especially as the temperature is increasing towards a new setting.
Z Grills Control Thermometer
Z Grills temperature sensor

Incorrect temperatures

Click here for tips on how to manage and diagnose incorrect temperatures.

Updated on October 4, 2020

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