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If your backyard barbecues could use a little oomph, you may want to consider purchasing a wood pellet smoker grill like the Z Grills Backyard Warrior. It’s currently on sale for $549, a savings of $179 off the regular price.
The Z Grills Backyard Warrior 7002 C2E is fueled by pellets instead of gas or charcoal and with 697 square inches of cooking surface, you can make food for up to six people at the same time. Using 100% natural hardwood pellets, whatever you’re cooking — from meat to potatoes, vegetables and more — becomes infused with a wood-fired flavor.
The Z Grills Backyard Warrior can sear, smoke, barbecue, roast, char-grill, braise, bake and grill. You can monitor your food temperature with two meat probes and a digital screen on the outside of the grill, which also shows the temperature so you know when it’s ready to begin cooking without opening the lid. The grill also includes a pellet clean-out door, so you can easily add, remove or simply change the flavor of pellets anytime you wish without making a mess or wasting any of them.
On the Z Grills website, this product has a 4.7 out of 5-star rating, with 187 customers weighing in.
I was able to test out the Z Grills Backyard Warrior, which also happened to be the first time I’ve ever used a pellet grill or smoker. My husband and I found it easy to use and even easier to clean after, and the food both smelled amazing while cooking and tasted incredible.
First things first: The grill took about an hour to put together, but was fairly simple. Once together, you will need to run it for about 45 minutes to burn off any foreign matter before putting your food in. This only has to be done once; after the initial start, it’s ready to go whenever you need it.
We were able to cook eight burgers, five sausages, two veggie burgers, potatoes and vegetables all at once, but there was room left on the grilling surface for more. Z Grills says you can actually cook up to 29 burgers, six rib racks or five chickens, but we didn’t test this.
Everything aside from the potatoes was ready at the same time, so we simply removed the finished foods from the grill and turned it up a bit. By the time we had our plates made, the potatoes were done. After dinner, we then grilled some peaches that had been coated in olive oil and cinnamon and served them alongside a salad made with watermelon, feta and mint.
As a vegetarian, I don’t eat grilled food often, so my taste comparison is based on the pellet grill versus a pan on the stove. To be honest, it will be hard to go back to non-grilled burgers. The Z Grills-cooked veggie burger was by far the best one I’ve ever tasted. My husband, who had beef burgers and Italian sausage, said they had more flavor than a traditional gas grill and that they tasted “ten times better” than when cooked on the stove. The potatoes, vegetables and peaches also retained the flame-grilled flavor and were a perfect side and dessert.
One thing to note is that you can change the flavor of the food a bit depending on what flavor pellets you use. We used hickory, but Z Grills offers a variety of flavors, including apple, fruitwood, cherry and oak. If you’d rather not order online, you can also find pellets at Home Depot and Lowe’s.
We absolutely loved how the food turned out. But because this is a smoker grill, it takes longer to cook than you might expect. The burgers and vegetables took around an hour, while the potatoes took a bit longer. If you’re wanting a grill that can fire up quickly so you can cook hot dogs or burger patties for a party, you will want to consider a gas or charcoal grill instead.
Other foods that take longer and benefit from indirect heat, like racks of ribs, would be great on the pellet smoker. You can easily start cooking ribs in the morning and let them smoke for hours so that they’ll be ready by dinner. Of course, you can also use the Z Grills Backyard Warrior as your main grill if you don’t mind that it takes a while. Use it anytime you’re craving that wood-fired flavor — it works great for pizza, for example!
Pellet grills, like all grills, range in price based on size, number of features and other considerations. If you’d like one at a lower price point, this Pit Boss Classic 700 sq. in. Wood Fired Pellet Grill & Smoker costs $397 on Amazon. The Pit Boss Classic has a cooking temperature range of 180-500 degrees Fahrenheit, a digital control board and a flame broiler for direct flame cooking.
The grill is currently rated at 4.5 out of 5 stars, with customers saying it’s great for everything from chicken and burgers to steak, pork, ribs and brisket.
Have you ever used a pellet smoker grill?