Pellet Grill Beneath $300? Z Grills Cruiser 200A Evaluation

A compact transportable smoker grill that holds extra meals than you suppose and cooks it to perfection.

It was that to have temperature management and vary, you wanted a full-sized grill. However the Z Grills Cruiser Transportable Pellet Grill ($299) proves that mistaken.

The tabletop grill, which is shipped immediately from Asia, is made by the identical producer that produces grills for a lot of of grilling’s best-known manufacturers. Its major attraction is that it purports to grill and smoke like a champion whereas costing lots of of {dollars} lower than most different pellet grills on the market.

So we took the Z Grills Cruiser Transportable Pellet Grill for just a few spins, grilling rooster and smoking a rack of ribs. We would have liked to see if it could possibly carry out like high-end pellet grills with out the high-end value.

Briefly: I used to be extraordinarily impressed with the Cruiser. It cooks on par with dearer, equally sized grills in the marketplace. The hopper holds sufficient pellets that I might depart ribs loaded and cooking, after which take a 3-hour bike experience with out concern. Whether or not I smoked my meals or cooked it on excessive, each meat and veggies had been good each time.

Z Grills Cruiser 200A Transportable Pellet Grill Evaluation

Straightforward to Set Up

(Picture/Berne Broudy)

The Cruiser was fast and straightforward to assemble. It took about quarter-hour. I needed to connect the lid and facet handles and peel the plastic off the grill. Then it was time to season the grill and burn off any chemical compounds left over from the manufacturing facility. The Z Grills seasoning directions had been detailed and straightforward to comply with.

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As soon as the method of loading the firepot, burning the grill at excessive warmth, and cooling it down was full, it was time to load the grill and begin cooking.

Testing the Grill

Z Grills Cruiser 200A Portable Pellet Grill - cooking chicken
(Picture/Berne Broudy)

I’m a fan of high-heat grilling on the subject of cooking rooster, and that’s what I loaded onto this grill first. I cranked it to 450 levels F, and loaded a spatchcocked rooster and two meaty breasts onto the 202 sq. inches of grill floor.

The grill has a probe port, however it doesn’t ship with a probe — bummer. So, I used a battery-powered probe to watch the rooster’s progress.

To manage the temp, I used Z Grills’ Digital Controller knob. The Cruiser didn’t preserve fairly as even a temperature as different pellet grills, like Traeger’s Ranger, for instance. Maybe the thermometer is extra delicate or it’s not programmed to remain secure, or maybe the temperature really swung greater than in different grills.

It’s exhausting to say, as a result of no matter I cooked got here out nice. The grill floor was full to the hilt, and the rooster cooked evenly aside from one leg — on the far proper fringe of the grill.

To make certain, I overloaded the grill for the take a look at. Regardless of the marginally undercooked leg, I used to be impressed with how evenly the rooster cooked.

Z Grills Cruiser 200A Portable Pellet Grill - chicken cooked evenly
(Picture/Berne Broudy)

Subsequent, I smoked a rack of ribs, one other meal that got here out completely. The tender meat almost fell off the bone by the point they’d smoked for five or 6 hours.

I by no means wanted to reload the 8-pound hopper, which holds sufficient pellets for 10 hours of low and sluggish cooking. It held loads of pellets for the complete cooking course of. And there have been loads of pellets left within the hopper when the pork was completed.

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Z Grills Pellets

Z Grills Cruiser 200A - smoking ribs
(Picture/Berne Broudy)

I examined the grill with each Z Grills pellets and Traeger pellets, and noticed no efficiency distinction.

Pellets imbue the meals with delicate taste, which was enjoyable to mess around with. The hickory pellet-smoked rooster tasted totally different than apple-smoked rooster, for instance.

An automated auger feeds the pellets into the firepot. The grill tweaks the pellet feed price while you modify the temperature.

Like several grill, this one will get greasy cooking fatty meats. I wrapped the tray underneath the grilling floor with tin foil, which made cleanup simpler. A mini galvanized bucket collects grease behind the grill.

Whereas the meat could make a multitude, the pellets don’t. Each 4 or 5 hours of grilling, I lifted the grates and the undergraduate tray out to take away the ashes. That half wasn’t messy — the pellets burn clear. I used a small vacuum they usually had been gone in seconds.

To Contemplate

Closed, the Cruiser 200A is 25” x 20” x 13”, and it weighs 40 kilos. It’s an affordable measurement to chuck within the trunk or load within the RV, however not so small that I’d need to pack it into the backcountry for a picnic.

And also you do have to plug it in to show the auger. Fortuitously, the Cruiser may be powered by many midsize transportable energy banks.

I haven’t had an opportunity to see if it is going to sear a steak simply but, however it will get sizzling sufficient — as much as 450 levels F — that it ought to.

I’ve different tabletop pellet grills that I’ve examined through the years, however Z Grills Cruiser has positively shocked me — and changed dearer grills in my arsenal.

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