Vented Grease Tray

The new Vented Grease Tray together with the BBQ Hotplate Kit are perfect for searing a steak as temperatures of over 270ºC (520ºF) can be achieved.

Vented grease tray in 7002B Smoker
Vented grease tray in a Z Grills 7002B smoker

The vented grease tray was introduced in late October 2021 in both the 7002B and 700E-XL smoker models.

How it works

The vented grease tray isn’t rocket science, it’s just 12 holes, but they allow for much hotter temperatures without the need to remove the grease tray.

Just un-foil the left 1/4 of the grease tray to expose the vents. 350ºC hot air streams through the holes, rapidly heating a skillet or BBQ Hotplate Kit to temperatures high enough for a great sear!

There is no need to remove the heat baffle.

Check out the video below to understand more.

High temperature hotplate searing

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.

Tomahawk steak reverse seared on a Z Grills BBQ hotplate kit.

To get the maximum heat to the hotplates, just remove or fold back the aluminium foil on the left part of the grease tray, enough to expose the vents.

Remove the left grill rack and drop in a Cast Iron BBQ Hotplate Kit or the new Stainless Steel Hotplate (introduced late 2023), as shown below.

BBQ hotplate kit front view
Cast Iron BBQ Hotplate Kit (no longer available)

Start the grill and set desired temperature as normal. The BBQ plates will get considerably hotter than the right hand grill racks.

It is possible to cook food on the grill racks and plates at the same time however the right hand side grill racks will run 20ºC or more hotter than the controller display temperature with the vent uncovered.

Click here for more information the Cast Iron BBQ Hotplate Kit.

Click here for more information on the new Stainless Steel BBQ Hotplate.

It is important to leave the lid shut as much as possible as opening the lid lets in cold air and will cool down the BBQ plates. If opening the lid often, reduce the temperature setting to 190ºC to help avoid an excessively big fire developing, as that can lead to temperature spikes or burn-back issues.

For highest temperatures, set the controller to 220 – 232ºC, then wait until the display is showing at least 220ºC at which point the hotplate temperature will be >250ºC.

The hotplate will continue to heat up over time and can reach as high as 300ºC, depending on the outside air temperature and type of wood pellet used (higher in summer than winter). To get maximum temperatures, the grill lid must remain closed.

Do not cook on the grill racks directly over the vents as fat may drip through the holes. Use a BBQ hotplate, skillet, or even suitably temperature rated BBQ mesh or mat to keep everything clean!

An accumulation of grease down in the bottom of the drum and near the fire-pot can lead to a dangerous grease fire. Don’t allow fat to drip down through the grease tray vents!

Make sure there is no grease on the grease tray close to the vent holes as flames can lick the bottom of the vents and will ignite any grease accumulated there.

Normal temperature operation

The grill can reach over 230ºC on the highest temperature setting (with the vents covered) which is hot enough for normal BBQ and grilling on the BBQ Hotplate Kit or grill racks.

For most consistent temperatures across the grill racks, cover the grease tray vents.

The grease trays vents only really need to be uncovered if extra high temperatures are required for searing a steak.

Leaving the vents uncovered

Only leave the vents uncovered if a BBQ hotplate is sitting over the top. It is fine to have the BBQ hotplate in the grill all the time.

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.

Does it work in older Z Grills?

Yes, the vented grease tray, twin grill racks and BBQ Hotplate Kits are compatible with all 7002B, 700E and 700E-XL models.

Where to buy?

Vented Grease Trays, Twin Grill Racks and Stainless Steel BBQ Hotplate are all available from the Z Grills Australia Online Shop (local Australian sales only).