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Z Grills Normal Operation (non-wireless)

This guide is for non-wireless enabled grills. For the 700E-XL Wireless model, please review instructions by clicking here.

First Time Use

Z Grills smokers need to be primed with wood pellets and then burnt in before the first cook.

Priming is also already necessary if the hopper is ever completely emptied of pellets. Click here to learn more.

If you want to understand how the controller works to manage the temperature click here.

Everything you need to know about wood pellets is here.

Startup Process

View more videos here

Always start up the grill with the lid open

  1. With the controller dial on Shut Down, switch the power ON
    (the LCD display may flash 450, 700 or 702 and then three numbers representing the software version)
  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 3-5 minutes), close the grill lid and turn to the target 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. It may take 15-20 minutes for the temperature to stabilise.

Shutdown Process

Low temperature shutdown (<160ºC)

  1. If operating below 160ºC, simply 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 around 10 minutes until all pellets in the fire-pot burn to ash.
  2. Once the fan has stopped, turn the power switch OFF (can leave plugged in).

High temperature shutdown (>160ºC)

  1. If operating at 160ºC or above, turn the grill to Smoke and leave running for at least 10 minutes, this will allow the fire to die down in preparation for shutdown.
  2. Turn the controller dial to Shutdown
    • The auger will stop turning and no more pellets will be delivered into the fire-pot.
    • The fan will run for about 10 minutes 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).

If the hopper ever starts to release smoke during operation or the shut down cycle (sometimes called burn-back), open the grill and hopper lids and turn the controller dial to SMOKE.

Leave on SMOKE setting until the smoke from the hopper subsides, then turn to Shut Down.

Check out this page for more information.

Power Accidentally Turned Off

If the power is accidentally turned OFF during normal operation, or if there is a power outage, click here for instructions to safely fire the grill back up.

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 or 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.

Ash Blowing Around

Some wood ash will be blown out of the fire-pot by the air feeding the fire. Most settles in the bottom of the drum, but a small amount can blow up into the cooking area.

When the grill is new and very clean some ash may blow up into the cooking and settle on the grill racks, and on food. The amount will dramatically reduce after a few cooks as all the surfaces in the grill become a little sticky and so trap ash as it blows around.

If a small amount gets onto food don’t worry, it is ok to eat and the reality is any wood fired cooking (like wood fired pizza) will have small amounts of ash from the fire. Some chefs even use ash to add some extra smoky wood fired flavour, check out an example here.

Click here to learn more about how to clean out the ash.