Go From Pretender To Pitmaster With The Z Grills Backyard Warrior 7002C2E Pellet Grill
When PTR Reviewer Luke Smith told me he needed to retire his charcoal grill, I told him he had to give pellet grilling a shot. He was a little skeptical but after using the Z Grills Backyard Warrior 7002C2E pellet grill, I’m pretty sure he’s never going back.
Consistent temperatureLarge hopper capacityHopper windowEfficient pellet consumptionTwo meat probesEasy-rolling wheelsEasy-to-read LCD displayHandle doubles as a cord wrap
No wireless connectivity/controlDoesn’t have as many temperature settings as some pellet grillsNo front tray
Using the Z Grills Backyard Warrior 7002C2E Pellet Grill
We had several things on tap to cook: smoked shotgun shells, burgers and dogs, and Boston butts for pulled pork. That’s the beauty of pellet grilling. You can do low and slow BBQ, hot and fast, or anything in between. Because of the temperature controls you have on the dial and the circulating nature of a pellet grill, you can smoke, bake, roast, braise, grill, and more. We’ve even made pizza on ours.
To get started, fill the Z Grills’ hopper with pellets of your choice. The pellet flavor notes to use depend on what you’re cooking, but the Competition Blend is a good all-around option. The hopper holds 24 pounds, which is great when you’re doing brisket or other slow cooking.
Plan on using an average of 1 pound of pellets per hour. You’ll use less at lower temps for smoking and more at high grilling temps. One thing we noticed while we were cooking is that this model uses pellets more efficiently than our other pellet grills. Those bags of pellets will last longer and save you some money over the long-term.
Pro Tip: Before you cook for the first time, do a 30-minute burn-in to help release any impurities from the final powder coating and shipping. Set the grill to smoke without the trays in, give it 30 minutes, and you’re good to go.
Cooking with the Z Grills Backyard Warrior 7002C2E
Getting the right temperature and holding it is a piece of cake. Simply turn the dial to smoke with the lid open, give it 5 minutes to ignite, turn the dial to the temperature you want to cook at, and let the grill take it from there. 10 – 15 minutes of preheating are usually enough.
The grill automatically feeds pellets, but you need to give it a hand the first time you add them. Once you fill the hopper, press the Feed button and hold it until you hear a few pellets drop into the firebox. The computer will take care of the rest. You can also use that button to manually feed some extra pellets if you need to get the temp up faster after having the lid open for saucing or just giving your guests a look at the deliciousness to come.
Dual Meat Probes
While the grill maintains the temperature (within ~10° F depending on the wind and other environmental factors), it’s the meat probes that seal the deal on perfect results. ZGrills has two probes to use. Simply plug them in on the control panel, run them through the grommet on the cylinder side, and place them in the thickest parts of the meat (avoid being right against any bones). You can use just one if you don’t need both.
Pro Tip: The lower the cooking temperature, the more smoke flavor you get. If you want smokey chicken, cook at 180°F for an hour, then turn it up to 350°F until it’s done. You get a good smoke flavor with that golden delicious finish.
For whatever you’re cooking, a good recipe will tell you what internal temperature to target, and that’s what gives you the best results. Here are a few guidelines we use:
Boston butt (for pulled pork): 195° – 205° FBrisket: 203°FChicken: 160° FPork tenderloin: 145° FMedium rare steaks: 135°F
While you’re cooking, the LCD display shows you the grill’s internal temperature, what each probe is reading, and any error codes. All you have to do is make sure there are pellets in the hopper and take the meat out when it hits its target temp.
Z Grills Backyard Warrior 7002C2E Cooking Space
You have a total of 697 square inches of cooking space. There’s a main lower section (26.0 x 19.4 inches) and a smaller upper tray (26.1 x 7.3 inches) along with a jerky tray. That’s enough space to feed a pretty big party. Plan on fitting 29 burgers, 6 racks of ribs, 5 whole chickens, 2 whole turkeys, or a whole packer brisket for reference.
When you’re finished cooking, turn the temperature dial to shut down. The pellets will stop feeding and the grill will automatically go through its shut down cycle. Once the grill is cool, grab a bucket, open the rear hopper door, and empty as many of the pellets as you can encourage out so you can avoid any moisture drawing in and swelling them up.
Remember to dump the grease bucket, clean the drip tray (lining it with foil is really helpful!), and clean out any ash buildup in between cookouts.
Hopper windowEasy-rolling wheelsHandle doubles as a cord wrap
Z Grills Backyard Warrior 7002C2E Pellet Grill Price
Amazon and Home Depot both carry the Backyard Warrior and you can also order direct from Z Grills. You might need to check more than one place, though. Some retailers are out of stock at the time we’re writing. The MSRP is $728, but the prices we’re currently seeing are closer to $579. It includes a grill cover and has a 3-year warranty.
The Bottom Line
Of all the pellet grills we’ve used, what sets the Z Grills Backyard Warrior 7002C2E apart from the others is its efficient use of pellets. Considering the grilling space, we used fewer pounds than we have in our Traeger and Pit Boss models. Aside from that, its large hopper capacity, included front tray and cover, dual meat probes, and easy rolling make it a pleasure to use. The fact that you can get it for under $600 makes it an excellent value.