Z Grill Pellet Smoker Review

Today’s post is about another smoker that I have been using for a while, the Z Grill Model 7002 Pellet Grill.

I have been using the Z Grill for two years now.  This was my first pellet grill and I quickly learned how fun and easy it was to use this style of cooker.

Here is the Two Year Review of the Z Grill that I put together.

This grill is essentially a clone of the early Traeger grills.  It is a no frills type of product so there isn’t Wi-Fi connectivity or a fancy PID controller.  What you get with a Z grill is an inexpensive cooker that works great as a smoker but mediocre as a grill.

When I first got this grill it maxed out at a temperature of 400F.  The last time I tried getting this guy up to high heat 385F was the best that it could muster.  On the flip side, this grill can get you anywhere in the 225-275F range and hold it all day.

The end result is that I started smoking all of my ribs on the Z Grill and grilling all of my chicken wings on the Weber kettle.

The Z Grill has help up great over the years.  The only issue that I ever had was when the connector between the temperature probe and the control panel got wet.  This caused the control panel to throw an error code and the grill wouldn’t start. It took me about 30 minutes to get the connector dry and after that I have not had any problems.

All in all I have been pretty pleased with the grill.  It has made me happy!

I hope all of you cool cats out there are having a great week 🙂

Playing With The Oklahoma Joe’s Bronco Drum Smoker

I had the chance to play around with an Oklahoma Joe’s Bronco drum smoker last year and really fell in love with the cooker.  The smoker had a better build quality than most of the Oklahoma Joe’s products and was easy to operate.

One of the “hacks” I figured out was how to get a burn time on a single load of charcoal that was equivalent to what you can get on a Weber Smokey Mountain.  Heck, I even made a video!

I know I am biased but I think the video is pretty fun!  I would really appreciate it if you would give it a watch and consider subscribing to my YouTube channel 🙂

The trick to getting a seriously long burn time in the Bronco is to use a large charcoal bed and, most importantly, light the charcoal from the SIDE.  When you light the smoker from the side then you can get between 12-15 hours of Low and Slow barbecue temperatures pretty easy.

On my first attempts using this smoker I lit it with the “Minion Method” that works so well for Weber Smokey Mountain cookers.  It turns out that if you light the smoker from the MIDDLE of the charcoal bed then you are unable to get more than 7 hours of burn time.

I used the Bronco to smoke briskets and ribs and even raised the charcoal basket to turn it into a pretty nice charcoal grill.  Overall this guy is a versatile cooker.

I saw a few Broncos on clearance sale at my local Walmart this month and they were going for something like $200.  These things are a great buy at full retail but if you can find one on clearance then you really should think about adding it to your arsenal!

Again, it would be greatly appreciated if you would watch the video and subscribe to the channel!


Do You Cover Your Grill?

Folks have been asking me what I want for Christmas and I am having a hard time coming up with suggestions.  I already have a great grill and just about every grilling gadget that has ever been made.

My Weber Charcoal Grill

One thing that I don’t have, and people want to get me, is a grill cover.  I have mixed feelings about covers and wanted to throw my thoughts out there.

Why You Should Have A Grill Cover

There are a bunch of reasons why you want to use a grill cover.

  • It keeps rain out of the grill which helps the grates last longer.
  • It keeps bird poop off the grill (I have a LOT of cardinals at my bird feeders).
  • It keeps the ashes dry so they do not form a corrosive soup that eats up the ash catcher.
  • The manufacturer says you should use one.

While these benefits are nice they don’t really make me want to buy one.  Here is why…

Why You Don’t Want A Grill Cover

I love the way my grill looks.  I consider my Weber kettle to be a useable sculpture of maroon porcelain enameled metal.  I don’t really want to hide my grill!

I have a heavy duty stainless steel cooking grate and stainless steel charcoal grate.  I am not worried about them rusting through for another five years.

Where do you put the cover while you are grilling?  I do most of my grilling in the evening and the grill is not cool enough to put a cover on until late at night when I am in bed.  Do you just leave the cover lying around on your deck?

Covers don’t last.  My grill is going to last me another 10 years and a standard issue cover only lasts about three years.  I would end up buying three covers over the remaining life of my grill.  The total cost of those covers would be close to the original price of the grill!

But the biggest reason I don’t want a cover is that it is one more barrier between me and an evening of grilling.  There are nights when I think about all of the steps involved in grilling some wings…lighting the charcoal, waiting for the coals to ash, etc. and I end up just going to Hooters instead.  I don’t need one more step in the process and I sure as heck don’t want to end up with the Out of Sight Out of Mind issue.

I am afraid getting a cover would make me grill less.  That would not make me happy.

What About You?

Do you use a cover, want a cover or do you just let your grill stand around naked?

Have any great suggestions for last minute gifts for grilling fanatics???

Drop a comment and let me know!




Kingsford Easy Light Charcoal

Kingsford comes out with a lot of new charcoal products every year which is pretty amazing to me.  I mean, how many ways are there to formulate charcoal?

The latest product that grabbed my attention was a bag of Kingsford Easy Light Charcoal.

Kingsford Easy Light Bag

What caught my attention was the combination of just lighting the bag and no lighter fluid being needed.

The big question though was, how is this product different from Kingsford Match Light?  Match Light is pre-soaked in lighter fluid which is why it “lights instantly”.  If you are not a fan of the smell and residual flavors of lighter fluid then you will want to avoid Match Light.

But what about Easy Light?  Was there something about the bag that let you get the coals going without soaking them in lighter fluid?

Kingsford Easy Light vs Match Light

I brought a bag home, put it in my Weber kettle and took it for a spin.

There was a tab to pull to open up the front of the bag and then you are supposed to light the bag on all four corners.

Burning Kingsford Charcoal

The good news is that the product worked as advertised and I had a bed of ashed over hot charcoal in about 20 minutes.

The bad news is that the reason the charcoal lit so quickly was because, like Match Light, it was pre-soaked in lighter fluid.

So what the heck is the point of the Easy Light product?  Is this just for folks who get their jollies by burning a bag??

I let the coals burn a while to get rid of the residual lighter fluid aroma and then grilled a few bratwurst.  To be fair, I didn’t notice a strong lighter fluid flavor on the finished brats but a solid squirt of mustard has been known to cover up a lot of grilling sins.

Keep Grilling.


Other Stuff You Might Want To Read

Kingsford Factory Tour

Kingsford Loyalty Rewards Program

Beyond Meat Sausages Are Great!

I had been reading about the new plant based burgers and sausages from Beyond Meat and The Impossible Burger and decided to see what all of the fuss was about.  I finally found some sausages from Beyond Meat at one of the stores in town and decided to give them a try.

Beyond Meat Italian Sausage

One thing that had me excited about the sausage was that it wasn’t another attempt at making soybeans edible.  In fact, there is absolutely no soy products in these things.

Straight out of the package they didn’t look too impressive but I didn’t hold that against them as a lot of folks say that about me 🙂

Plant Based Sausage

I got these guys on my grill and let them cook at around 325F.  After a few minutes I opened the lid (I love to peek!) and was greeted with a wonderful surprise….the sausages were dripping grease and sizzling away just like a sausage should!

The Sizzle

Once the sausages hit 165F I took them out and put them on a bun with a little mustard.

Me and a buddy tore into these at the same time and looked at each other with a little bit of amazement.  The sausages did not taste exactly like a traditional pork based Hot Italian Sausage but they were extremely tasty!

Great Sausage

These plant based sausages get a big thumbs up from me!  They made me happy!

Yeah, Yeah….I know a lot of hard core carnivores are going to thumb their noses at this.  That’s okay…I know what their arteries look like.

Here’s to keeping your mind open to new ideas and trying things outside of your normal routine!