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

A compact transportable smoker grill that holds extra meals than you assume 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 fallacious.

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 a whole lot of {dollars} lower than most different pellet grills on the market.

So we took the Z Grills Cruiser Transportable Pellet Grill for a number of spins, grilling rooster and smoking a rack of ribs. We would have liked to see if it might probably 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 costlier, equally sized grills in the marketplace. The hopper holds sufficient pellets that I may depart ribs loaded and cooking, after which take a 3-hour bike journey with out concern. Whether or not I smoked my meals or cooked it on excessive, each meat and veggies have been good each time.

Z Grills Cruiser 200A Transportable Pellet Grill Evaluation

Simple 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 aspect 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 unit. The Z Grills seasoning directions have been detailed and straightforward to observe.

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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 with regards to 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, nevertheless it doesn’t ship with a probe — bummer. So, I used a battery-powered probe to watch the rooster’s progress.

To regulate the temp, I used Z Grills’ Digital Controller knob. The Cruiser didn’t keep 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 arduous 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 sure, 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 practically 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 gradual cooking. It held loads of pellets for your entire cooking course of. And there have been loads of pellets left within the hopper when the pork was accomplished.

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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 charge once you regulate the temperature.

Like every 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 in the back of the grill.

Whereas the meat could make a large number, 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 and so they have been gone in seconds.

To Contemplate

Closed, the Cruiser 200A is 25” x 20” x 13”, and it weighs 40 kilos. It’s an inexpensive 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. Luckily, the Cruiser could be powered by many midsize transportable energy banks.

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

I’ve different tabletop pellet grills that I’ve examined over time, however Z Grills Cruiser has undoubtedly shocked me — and changed costlier grills in my arsenal.

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