There’s simply nothing better in the culinary world than barbecue that’s been slow-cooked to perfection all day over wood-fire. I first started cooking with a wood-fire pellet smoker about three years ago and I began with an entry-level hopper-fed smoker. Recently, I upgraded to the Z Grills Premium 7002E pellet smoker and it’s been such a game changer for me I had to share this with you all.
Full disclosure: I was gifted the 7002E smoker by Z Grills to test out. They didn’t pay me for this article/review but I wanted to be honest with you all upfront.
There are so many places I could start this review but I think it’s important to make mention of Z Grills’ rebate program first. Right now, the Z Grills 7002E is available for pre-order at $599 (retail price $999) and it ships and will arrive by August 14th. When you pre-order between June 26 – August 6 you can choose to pay a deposit of $19.90 and this entitles you to a free grill cover. On August 7th (before August 10th at the latest), you pay the full amount of your grill and then you choose your preferred rebate and here’s where things get wild…
Your options are to receive a check for $199 after one year, $299 after two years, $399 after three years, $499 after four years, or $599 (full rebate) after five years. You read that correctly. If you defer your rebate for five years you’ll be refunded the FULL amount that you spend on this grill today. Another option is you can choose to receive a free 10-pound bag of wood pellets shipped every month (actually it’s 60-pounds shipped every 6 months) for 6 years ($720 total value).
If this sounds too good to be true I’m right there with you but the company knows this and they’ve laid out a ‘why you should trust us’ section of their website that includes information on how their products have been featured on Amazon’s Choice and Indiegogo’s Top 10 in the past year and how they’ve been manufacturing products for 30 years including clients such as Traeger, Kenmore, Rankam, Landmann. Also, their products have also been sold in Safeway, Walmart, Costco, Fry’s, Sears, NAPA BALKAMP, ESI, and NEW EGG…I figure if it’s good enough for Walmart, Sears, and Amazon it’s good enough for me.
Now for the new smokers…They’ll soon be rolling out the Z Grills Premium 7002E and the 700E. I have the 7002E so that’s the one we’re talking about. The box arrives with very detailed instructions on how to assemble the grill along with the tools needed (two screwdrivers). By myself, it didn’t take long at all to assemble the grill and I wouldn’t characterize myself as the handiest person alive when it comes to assembly instructions. I was able to assemble and fire it up within 45 minutes by myself and was cooking shortly thereafter.
The Z Grills 7002E features a stainless steel construction/lid and automatic electric hopper which feeds the wood pellets into the grill. You just set your desired temperature anywhere between 180F to 450F and the grill keeps it at that temperature as you periodically replenish the wood pellets throughout the day as they burn off.
The 7002E has a grilling area of 513 square inches (19.2 x 26) with an additional smoking/warming top rack measuring 187 square inches (6.9 x 27.5). This is 700 square inches of cooking space is well over 2x the cooking space I had on my Traeger Tailgater. This is more than enough space to cook multiple turkeys at once, about 100 chicken wings at once, etc.
I started with pulled pork for my maiden voyage with the Z Grills 7002E and here’s how it turned out, from start (brining the pork shoulder overnight and covering in a rub) to finish. I took a picture every hour on the hour while cooking, here’s the progress from when I put it on the Z Grills 7002E through 8+ hours later:
I wish I could tell you that I poured my heart and soul into smoking that pulled pork but the beauty of a hopper-fed pellet smoker is that it does all of the work for you. I filled up the Z Grills 7002E hopper with pellets and kept them filled all day. I’d check on the meat, take a picture, spray with apple cider if needed, and at the end of my work day, I had world-class pulled pork ready for dinner.
One feature I would’ve like to have had in this is Bluetooth connectivity so I can sync up to my phone and know if the temperatures are fluctuating in either direction because this is a problem I’ve had with my old smoker in the past, but in 8+ hours of cooking with the Z Grills 7002E there were zero notable swings in temperature so it’s not necessarily a feature I need, and it’s also easy to get around with a Bluetooth wireless meat thermometer.
The things I loved the most about the Z Grills 7002E are the ease with which I was able to set it up, the abundance of cooking space (I’m smoking two turkeys for a family dinner this week!), and how the electric hopper takes care of all the heavy lifting. Being able to go about your daily business while the electric temperature gauge regulates itself frees you up to do other things like make your own BBQ sauce or cook up some sides.
As I mentioned above, there is a deadline to get the rebate on the Z Grills 700E or 7002E and that deadline’s coming up. So if you are in the market for a new wood pellet smoker and liked what you read above then you can click here to shop the two new models. But as I said above, we’re not taking a cut or getting a kickback on the sale so don’t think I’m pressuring you into making this decision. I just wanted to share my excellent new wood-fire smoker experience with you all.