Z Grills 600 Series
The Z Grills 600 series offers a good mix of performance and affordability. There was very minimal temperature variance (+/- 4 to 12°F) from the set temperature and heat distribution in different parts of the cooking chamber was also pretty decent. The major highlight of this series though is the slide plate flame broiler which allows for direct flame searing to a temperature of up to 750°F.
The other highlight is the grease bucket which is positioned underneath the cooking chamber where it can’t easily get knocked off. Overall, this series is an ideal choice if you are looking for a Z Grills smoker for searing or grilling meats. We would also recommend it if you want a smoker for a medium-sized family as it offers fairly ample cooking space (573 square inches).
The Z Grills 600 series sits somewhere in between the popular Z Grills 700 series and their more compact and basic 450 and 550 grills. Like the other Z Grills series, there are two base models in this series which include the L6002B and the L6002E. They are basically the same in everything except for the color and material that the lid is made from.
The two models are larger than those in the Z Grills basic series (450 and 550 series) in terms of size and cooking area, and they are also a bit more modern in terms of their design. What makes them stand out though is that they come with a slide plate flame broiler which allows for direct flame searing.
In addition to that, they include some convenient little extra features like bottom storage, bottle opener, and utensil hangers which are not available in Z Grills basic series and most other grills. The other features like the auto pellet loading system and the PID controller have also been slightly improved compared to the previous models.
However, there are a couple of things that they fall short of like they have a smaller hopper capacity (only 8 pounds) and require a lot more assembly than their predecessors. Despite that though, the Z Grills 600 series seem to offer a good mix of performance and affordability in comparison to similar models from other brands like Traeger and Pit Boss.
In this review, we’ll look at the L6002B model which is our third model from the company to put to test. We’ve only cooked on it for the last three weeks and like usual, we’re going to share our views on how well it performs and how it stands up to its predecessors which we also tested.
Based on our previous experience with the ZPG-450A and ZPG-550B models, we expected it to perform a little better, and so far our impression has been overall very positive. It fares better in temperature consistency and you get pretty good results with almost every meat you cook on it. Below are more details about our experience with it.
The design of the 600 series grills is quite different from that of the Z Grills basic series. They look a bit more modern with their closed cart design in the bottom section and overall sleek and polished finishing.
As mentioned earlier, the two base models in the series, the L6002B and the L6002E are similar in everything except for the color of the cooking chamber lids which is due to the material used to make them. The L6002B which we had featured a bronze lid while the L6002E model has a silver lid. Both of them are sleek and attractive.
They come with two side shelves, one on the left side covering the digital control center (doubles as the hopper lid) and another on the right side which folds down. They are quite handy as they provide enough space to help with food prep and placemen of grilling items.
They are sufficiently large to hold serving platters or pans of food and condiments without being obtrusive when storing or moving. The units also have a front storage shelf that provides additional space where you can place oil, beverages, spices, and other smaller items or assorted grill tools.
Both units as well feature a bottom storage cabinet which is closed on the front and the backside. It holds the grease bucket underneath the cooking chamber and equally offers some extra space where you can store utensils.
These 600 series base grills also come standard with some fun little extra features. Their left side shelf is equipped with three utensil hooks/hangers and a bottle opener which was one of my favorite features. They might be marginally impactful on the performance and the cooking results, but we sure found them both convenient to have whenever you need them.
With regards to size, the L6002B was a little larger (47 x 21 x 49 inches) compared to the previous models. It’s actually the same size as its counterpart, the L6002E. They are equally heavy weighing around 91 pounds and have a cart base with two stable feet and two all-terrain wheels. You would need a midsize or large SUV to transport either of these grills comfortably.
We tried to wheel our L6002B model around our front porch to back patio and it wasn’t the easiest and comfortable thing to move considering how heavy it is and the fact that you have to lift one end (the left side with the pellet hopper) – the shelf protrudes beyond the hopper covering the handle which makes lifting and pushing the grill a little bit awkward.
Our Score: 9 out of 10
Z Grills 600
The first time we took out the pieces of the L6002B from the box we noticed that the metal walls were thin. We expected a thicker metal body especially in the firebox since the Z Grills webpage states that it’s full steel construction. We thought it would be flimsy and we were somewhat skeptical.
However, once it was all together, our feelings changed. It was a sturdy grill and felt stronger and more rigid compared to the sum of its individual parts, despite being thin-walled.
The lid, side shelves, bottom storage cabinet, and the chimney/vent all have the same solid stainless steel build. The lid, in particular, has a powder coating with a bronze finish to protect it against rust and corrosion. The other exterior surface of the grill including the lower portion is also covered with a protective black powder coat making the whole exterior resistant to corrosion.
The cooking grates are porcelain-coated heavy-duty steel – they are able to accommodate large portions of food like a whole turkey without bending or breaking. The handle for lifting the unit is also heavy-duty and the two plastic legs are equally large and durable – they are not likely to dent or fold but are pretty solid hence they can slightly sink when they move over soft soil.
On the other end, the other two legs feature two rubbery plastic covers underneath. They add grip to the grill thereby keeping it in place – they don’t slide off when moving the grill which means you need to lift them when moving the grill.
Generally, we felt that the unit has above-average quality overall. The build is solid enough to withstand several years of use with proper care. The only thing that we thought needed improvement is adding more bolts to some of the parts of the grill – for instance, the chimney/vent is only attached to the grill by just two screws on both sides.
The rubber plastics on the two front legs also just slide in, hence they are likely to come off easily in case you are not careful when moving the grill. Besides that, there’s a mesh placed between the chimney and the body of the grill to prevent leakage – it doesn’t seem quite reliable.
Our Score: 8 out of 10
Our Z Grill L6002B arrived in a relatively small but thick corrugated cardboard box with no pallet. It had us wondering how such a full-size grill could fit inside. Once we opened it up though, our question was answered. It was fit professionally together like a puzzle, maximizing space with very little styrofoam fillers inside.
All the components were well-packed to avoid shipping damage. They were properly protected with foam and fitted snugly such that there were no loose parts that jostled around inside – we had no missing or damaged parts.
Our initial impression as we began unpacking the box was that the unit would require more assembly compared to any other grill we have assembled. The L6002B was broken down much further to separate individual parts than other brands, so there were lots of pieces and steps involved which might seem a little overwhelming at first.
We had read reviews and noted many comments about assembly difficulties. However, while it took time, it wasn’t really difficult per se although it was a bit more tedious than anything else. You get two instructions from the box; the assembly instructions and another one for the pre-seasoning or preheating process.
The assembly instructions were detailed and sufficiently clear to understand from start to finish. It also included good illustrations which really helped to simplify the whole process. All the parts, nuts, and screws are numbered/labeled for easy reference to the assembly instructions so you get to know where to put or assemble them.
All the components came together nicely as described and without any major issues or adjustments whatsoever. The pre-drilled holes meant for the bolts all lined up evenly with the other pre-drilled holes in the parts that they were getting connected to which was nice because you often end up with cross-threaded bolts, especially when assembling large grills which make finishing the assembly a bit challenging.
Z Grills has included all the tools required to complete the assembly. Our unit came with two matching wrenches and a Phillips head screwdriver. We did, however, use a power drill so as to speed up the process.
Once the entire unit was all together, it was a sturdy grill, more rigid than when it’s just individual parts. There were no raw metal edges on it either although all the parts are fitted in the grill’s lid which requires some care when opening and removing them since there are several sharp parts that can scratch the beautiful bronze finishing of the lid.
Generally, the whole assembly took two of us a little over an hour to complete. If you’re not that handy though and you are doing it alone, it can take at least two hours to put it together if the instructions are followed precisely. A good amount of that time is spent just unpacking the different parts.
Two people definitely make the process easier and it’s better to set it up in the place where you want to use it since it’s not the easiest grill to move due to its heftiness and the fact that you have to lift one end to move it around.
When the assembly is all said and done, you have to first do initial startup and seasoning like any new grill and it’s a three-step process. You have to prime the pellet auger, get the initial fire stocked, and then let it run at high temperature for about 45 minutes to burn off any chemicals or residual manufacturing debris.
Included in the package along with the grill, assembly tools and instructions is a free grill cover which is essential to help protect the pellets and the electronic control unit from getting wet or damaged by the rain or water.
Our Score: 7 out of 10
Z Grills 600
Controls/Using the Unit
There’s not much change when it comes to the control panel compared to the previous Z Grills models. Both the L6002B and the L6002E utilize a PID controller which features one knob for setting the temperature and other controls, and a power on/off switch. There’s also a simple LED display just like in the basic series for showing the set temperature.
It’s generally a basic control panel that’s straightforward to use. The functions are also pretty basic. There are only three basic controls you can perform which include setting/adjusting the temperature (from a range of 180°F to 450°F) using the knob/dial, selecting the smoke function also using the dial, and initiating the shutdown cycle using the dial too.
There are no advanced features or Wi-Fi connectivity, just those three basic functions, and the probes for checking the internal temperature of the food are not provided in either model which is the same case with the previous Z Grills models. You’ll have to invest in one separately.
Our Score: 7 out of 10
When we first noticed how thin the steel walls of the firebox were, we expected a large temperature variance and low smoke flavor with this Z Grills L6002B model. However, that wasn’t the case.
Based on our previous experiences, we found its performance to be overall on par with the other pellet grills we tested, especially from Traeger. It fairs quite better in temperature consistency as we didn’t experience a lot of temperature swings during most of our tests.
The area that it lags is coming up to target temperature. The first time we fired it up, we set the temperature to 225°F and it took about 20 minutes to get up to that temperature which was 10 minutes longer than the Basic Series models ( ZPG-450A and ZPG-550B) we tested earlier.
The time is even longer when you set a high temperature (above 300°F). We set it to 350°F and it took about 30 minutes to preheat which was equally slower than the Z Grills ZPG-450A (took about 25 minutes to reach the same temperature).
Besides that, the unit failed to heat up to the maximum temperature mostly during the first few days of our testing. We would set it to high (450°F) but instead, it would run at 443°F. This, however, happened mostly when the outdoor temperature was below 65°F – sometimes it won’t reach past 400°F when the outside temperature was below 50°F.
The control system is nonetheless much improved compared to that of the Basic series models. We noted that our L6002B model slowly crept up to the target temperature – it never overshoots as we saw in the previous series. The ZPG-450A and ZPG-550B would more than often just shoot past your target temperature by about 30 to 40°F and then slowly cool back down close to the set temperature.
The temperature control of the L6002B was also very good as time progressed. There was little temperature variance compared to the Basic series despite the relatively thin steel walls.
The auger system and the PID controller worked efficiently to adjust the pellet feed rate and keep the heat steady and consistent, actually pretty close to the desired temperature most of the time. It usually ranged plus or minus 10°F but it could sometimes go up to 15°F in either direction based on the outdoor weather conditions (temp, wind, etc). This was a big win considering how thin the cooking chamber walls were.
Heat distribution in different parts of the grill was also pretty decent. We used a ThermoPro TP01H meat thermometer to check the temperature variance across the cooking grates when on different settings and the results were not that bad at all – the built-in temperature probe only gives the temperature inside the grill.
We first set the temperature to 225°F and once it reached it we tested the different parts. The left part read 230°F, middle 221°F, and right 209°F. In the second attempt, we had set the temp to 350°F and the left side read 362°F, the middle 348°F, and the right side 337°F. We finally tried the high temperature at 400°F and got pretty decent results with the left reading 412°F, middle 404°F, and the right reading 388°F.
Generally, we were impressed with the temperature performance at the different settings as there was only minimal variance (about +/- 4 to 12°F) from the set temperature – obviously, the heat was a bit higher near the firebox compared to the other parts.
There were those, however, who commented on several forums that the temperature control on their units was a little more wonky, running about 20°F above the set temp, even when it was warm outside.
For use though, the major issue we noted during our tests was that the placement of the built-in temperature probe was a little too close to the cooking chamber’s lid opening which often resulted in a slightly erroneous reading, especially when it’s windy outside. Our ThermoPro meat thermometer often consistently showed 10 to 20°F lower than what was displayed on the grill’s LED screen.
The other thing we noted was a large and fast temperature drop whenever the lid was opened. All grills do lose temperature relatively quickly once the lid is opened, but with this Z Grills L6002B model, the temp drop was noticeably faster.
Several users mentioned too that their cooking chamber lid didn’t sit flush with the grill resulting in gaps towards the front that cause heat/smoke to come out which lead to significant temp drops and also made the pellet hopper lid along with other sides get hot.
With this L6002B model, you are also not able to set a more precise temperature which was the same disadvantage we had with the Z Grills Basic series – the lowest setting is 180°F and the next up is 225°F, from there you can only adjust the settings at 25°F increments, so you are quite limited in case you want to set a more precise temperature of your choice.
That said, one thing that makes the Z Grills 600 series stand out, particularly compared to the Basic series, is the fact that it offers direct-flame access/cooking. Both the L6002B and the L6002E feature a slide plate flame broiler which provides access to direct flame searing – it gets the cooking grate extra hot to temperatures of around 650 to 750°F which is enough for grilling and searing.
Our Score: 8 out of 10
Z Grills 600
As we mentioned earlier, we’ve only had the L6002B model for roughly 3 weeks now and during that time we managed to cook a range of foods on it, both hot and fast, and low and slow.
The results have been quite good so far. It does a great job with everything, especially when it comes to smoked or slow-roasted foods which is the area that most pellet grills perform well. Here are the results of some of the cooks we did.
One of the cool things about the Z Grills 600 series models is that they have a slide plate flame broiler which allows for direct flame cooking – it can get the grill to temperatures of up to 750°F which is ideal for searing and grilling. We were very eager to test this and so after setting the grill up we decided to start with some searing to see how hot the grill can get and how well it can grill different foods.
For the first cook, we went with an 8-pound bone-in strip steak cut 1½ inches thick. We adjusted the grease tray to expose the flame from the fire pot to the lower grate to get that direct heat. Before we started the grill we added a set of grill grate panels directly to the primary grate and then set the temp to maximum and let the grill preheat for about 20 minutes.
The temperature got up to 660°F. We removed the steak from the marinade, then place it on the grill. We sear the steak for 4 minutes giving it a turn after every 2 minutes until it was slightly char and golden brown, then flipped it and again sear it for 4 minutes while also giving it a turn after every 2 minutes.
Our 1½ inches thick steak took approximately 7 minutes to reach medium – we checked the internal temperature using an instant-read thermometer and it registered 135°F. The steak did cook up great – it formed a good crust with decent grill marks on the outside. The meat was tender and buttery from center to edge.
Our next cook we did some chicken legs and thighs with the grill set to maximum (450°F). The temperature inside reached around 660°F on the direct flame. They were cooked all the way through and the skin was crispy.
We did a couple of rib-eye steaks and pork chops (with a sweet chili glaze), and indeed the broiler did a good job – they all cooked up well but didn’t really have the same sear that you get over charcoal. The last cook was a pack of hot dogs and honestly, these just turned out perfect.
Generally, as far as direct flame grilling is concerned, you won’t get a deep, dark sear with any of the 600 series grills but the direct flame mode does perform better than most pellet smokers that offer only indirect heat. They are better but not 100% as good as when using a dedicated sear burner or charcoal grill.
Moreover, Z Grills claim that they can get as high as 750°F when you open the slide plate flame broiler but our L6002B model never came close to that. The highest it got was 680°F. The other issue we noted is that the open plate only offers a sear area of around 6 inches in diameter, so you have limited space to work with since the other areas don’t get hot enough for searing.
Slow and Low Smoking
The L6002B does a great job on almost all low and slow smoking. We cooked all kinds of meat on it from brisket to pork shoulders to fish like salmon and we got amazing results every time.
Smoked Beef Brisket
Our first cook was a 12-pound smoked beef brisket which we seasoned with salt and pepper then smoked it low and slow using oak and applewood. We set the temperature at 250°F and let it cook for around 13½ hours until its internal temperature was about 165°F. We wrapped it in butcher paper and cooked it for an additional hour until the internal temp was 200°F.
The grill did a fine job. What we got wasn’t a restaurant-quality brisket but it was pretty close. It had great color and just a sufficient smoke flavor that made it absolutely delicious. The meat was fork-tender – it just fell off the bone with not much effort.
Smoked Pork Shoulder
Next up we tried smoking some pork shoulders and again we were really impressed with the results. We smoked the typical 8-pound boneless pork shoulder which we had liberally rubbed 12 hours prior to cooking. The rub was a mixture of paprika, cumin, dark brown sugar, dark chili powder, granulated sugar, kosher salt, ground black pepper, dried oregano, and celery seeds.
We smoked the pork shoulder using cherry wood for 12 hours with the grill temperature set at 250°F. We frequently checked the internal temperature to ensure that we remove it when it reaches 195 to 205°F. In the 11th hour, we insert our meat thermometer in the thickest part of the shoulder and the temp was exactly at 190°F.
We waited for the remaining hour and checked again and this round it had reached 200°F, so we immediately removed it before it started drying out and wrapped it in an aluminum foil, letting it rest for an hour. We removed it and shredded it with a fork. The result was incredible.
The meat was super tender and moist. It was just falling apart and the bark on the exterior was a nice dark crust – not charred. The dry rub we used wasn’t very spicy but together with the smoke from the cherry wood, it did give the succulent meat a great flavor that made it quite delicious, to say the least.
Smoked Whole Chicken
After getting amazing results with the smoked pork shoulder, we decided to smoke a whole 5-pound chicken next to see how it would go. First, we brined it in a basic solution of sugar, salt, and water and then dusted a dry rub all over it. The dry rub was a mixture of diamond kosher salt, ground black pepper, ground cumin, celery seeds, dark brown sugar, granulated garlic, dark chili powder, and sweet paprika.
We placed the chicken in the grill which we had preheated with applewood to our set temperature of 250°F. We let the chicken cook for about 5 hours constantly checking to ensure that the grill temperature was around the 250°F range. The chicken was done within the 5 hours with its internal temperature at 160°F and that of the thighs at 178°F.
It came out cooked up great but the skin wasn’t crispy. It was a little rubbery which wasn’t what we wanted but we did expect it because of the low-temperature cooking. The meat, however, was moist and the rub and the smoke were deeply infused throughout the entire chicken.
We could still get the crispy skin by searing the chicken on the hot grill grates or crank up the heat to around 400°F towards the end to crisp it up for about 10 to 15 minutes. However, we resorted not to do so and sacrificed the skin for the meat.
We also decided to experiment with some fish (smoked salmon to be precise) and we were not disappointed either. We pat it gently on top with a rub made from a mixture of pepper, some dill, salt, and brown sugar.
We preheated the smoker to a set temperature of 225°F and smoked the 4-pound filet for an hour and then dial it down to the smoke setting where it cooked for about 20 minutes.
Our goal was to get the fish to an internal temperature of around 145°F. It reached 140°F after the 1-hour duration and we put it to smoke setting for additional 20 minutes until it was 145°F. We didn’t want to overcook it because it would dry out especially if the grill or the internal temperature gets too high.
The grill did cook it well. It turned out juicy, tender, and rich in flavor. We doubled the seasoning and sugar, and it was even more delicious. From there, we smoked three racks of baby back ribs and they equally turned out pretty incredible. They had great color with some nice flavor – the meat wasn’t quite fall apart tender but we were satisfied with the outcome nonetheless.
Low and slow roasting is an area where the Z Grills 600 series (especially the L6002B model we had) seem to perform pretty well too. We roasted pork shoulders and a whole chicken and indeed managed to get great results.
Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder
Our first roast was an 11.6-pound pork shoulder. We applied a garlic and herb rub marinade on all sides and scored the skin in a nice cross-hatch pattern to help the salt and marinade penetrate the meat. We let it sit out for a few hours to marinate and then placed it on a roasting pan and into the grill which we had preheated to around 275°F.
We roasted the shoulder until the internal temperature was between 195 to 205°F which took about 8 hours. We constantly checked with our instant-read meat thermometer to verify the temp and ensure it doesn’t go past 205°F so that we can get a nice fall-apart pulled pork.
That’s exactly what we got – the grill low and slow, cooked the pork to perfection. It had crispy crackly skin and it was packed with flavor outside and inside. The meat on the inside was moist tender, nearly fall-apart tender for shredding. We preferred it that way but if you prefer a standard roast or like your meat sliced thin and a little firmer, you can achieve that with this grill – you just need to ensure the meat reaches an internal finished temperature of 185°F.
Slow Roasted Chicken
Slow roasting is an ideal way to keep chicken tender and moist. So this was the next thing we decided to try on our slow-roasting test of the Z Grills L6002B model. We grinded up some fennel seeds and rubbed our 4-pound bird with it together with some marinade mixture of chopped herbs, red pepper flakes, and an ample amount of olive oil and salt.
We placed some chopped-up olive-oiled potatoes into a roasting pan, rested our chicken on top of them, and placed the pan inside the grill. We roasted the chicken at a casual 300°F nice low and slow, for 3 hours. The backyard smelled good and when we pulled the chicken out, it was really well done – incredibly succulent and fall-off-the-bone tender. The potatoes themselves were infused with plenty of flavors – they were crisp, moist, and golden.
Our Score: 8 out of 10
The output of smoke on the L6002B model was steady but low just like in the Basic series. We noted the smoke flavor falling off as we raised the temperature above 225°F. The smoke penetration was minimal and this was the same case we experienced with the ZPG-450A and ZPG-550B models.
When you adjust to the smoke setting, the temperature drops to about 160°F, and the smoke output increases. You get a pretty noticeable smoke flavor at this setting although still, it’s not the deep, full smoke flavor delivered by wood or charcoal grills. If you prefer your food to have a light smoke flavor, then this would be fine.
Moreover, like the Basic series, there are no flameouts during the smoke setting – some pellet grills struggle with the smoke setting. They often experience flameouts which happen when the auger slows down when put on the smoke setting such that the pellets inside the firebox burn up faster than the auger can push more into it – we didn’t have such an encounter with this grill.
Z Grills 600
The L6002B seems compact from the outside, but the cooking area was surprisingly large when we opened it. It features two grates that offer a total cooking area of 573 sq. in. which is medium size that falls somewhere between the Z Grills 450A and 1002B models. The L6002E model also provides the same total cooking area.
The main cooking grate offers 333 sq. in. cooking space while the top grate offers 240 sq. in. which is larger than all the models in the Basic series. However, the main grate of the 550B ( 399 sq. in.), 550G (406 sq. in.), and 550A (423 sq. in.) models are much larger – the 550A model even offers a slightly larger total cooking area at 590 sq. in.
Overall, both the L6002B and the L6002E have relatively spacious cooking space, enough to prepare food for at least more than 10 people. We were able to cook three 8-pound briskets in there. You can even fit 5 racks of ribs or 24 burgers at once without any problems.
The interior height is limited though due to the two-rack system. You have to remove the top grate if you are cooking large portions of food or when smoking a whole turkey. The good thing is that both grates are heavy-duty steel hence they can’t bend or break when you place large portions of food. They are also porcelain-coated, hence food doesn’t stick to them once you season them during installation according to the instructions provided by Z Grills.
Our Score: 8 out of 10
Cleaning the L6002B was fairly easy. Food doesn’t really stick to the grill grates as we said due to the porcelain coating, so cleaning them doesn’t take up much effort. You can simply brush everything stuck on them using a soft brush or even paper towels.
The grease management system is also well designed and makes clean-up easy too. The drip plate is set such that it has a slight decline angle which helps direct the grease and drippings to a galvanized grease bucket which is conveniently positioned underneath the grill inside the lower cabinet.
This is one of the things we liked about the 600 series models because the grease bucket is discreetly hidden inside the grill, not hanging externally on the side like in previous models. It’s a small detail but one that’s convenient because there’s no chance of knocking off the bucket and getting grease all over the deck – it also saves your patio from dripping grease stains which was the case with previous models whenever you remove the grease bucket to empty it.
Cleaning the grease tray itself can be a bit of a pain because you may have to scrub it after several long cooks. However, lining/covering it with aluminum foil to catch the dripping makes it a lot easier. You just throw away the foil with grease on it – you may not have to clean the tray itself after you cook.
The only downside of covering the grease tray with the foil is that it makes switching from smoking to searing mode much more difficult. You have to remove the food, the grates, the foil, and then open the slide plate in order to sear which is not exactly convenient.The decline angle of the grease tray is also a bit of a problem because you can’t place a water pan onto it without it teetering and spilling. That said, the firepot wasn’t challenging to clean at all. You can use a vacuum to suck out the ash which is usually not much unless you do long cooks.
Our Score: 8 out of 10
All the models within the 600 series come with a compact hopper that can hold only 8 pounds of pellets which is smaller than the normal hopper size. With an average consumption rate of one pound per hour, you get approximately 8 hours of cooking time when the hopper is filled. It’s small but good enough for most normal smoking sessions.
For longer low and slow cooking like smoking a brisket for about 14 hours, you’re going to refill the hopper at least once and also clean out the firebox after each cooking session to remove the ash so that the pellets can burn clean.
The firebox fills with ash so quickly, especially when cooking on high settings which can affect the fire. We noted this during a brisket cook where the fire burnt out in just 6 hours due to ash build-up within the firebox. This was only our second cook after doing separate cooking on the high setting for about an hour.
The pellet feeding system also sometimes stalls as we saw in the ZPG-450A and ZPG-550B models. As the wood pellets empty into the firebox, some tend to get stuck and don’t fall into the auger, so you need to manually push them down. We noted too that once in a while the hot rod fails to light the pellets – they keep coming out until they overflow in the firepot. We had to sometimes light them with charcoal lighter fluid so as to get the grill going.
In terms of pellet consumption, the 600 series grills are fairly efficient. Our L6002B model, for instance, used not more than one pound of pellets per hour. At times it could go for 9 hours straight before requiring a refill.
However, the pellet consumption goes quickly when searing/grilling at high temperatures (with the slide plate flame broiler opened). It can burn through around 3 pounds of pellets per hour and even more in winter/colder weather. You frequently have to check the level of the pellets in the hopper, otherwise, they can run out in the middle of cooking – it runs for around 3 hours when the hopper is full before requiring a refill.
Z Grills 600
The Z Grills 600 series consist of two base models like we mentioned earlier; the L6002B and the L6002E. Similar to the Basic models, there are also upgraded versions in the series and these are the L600D, 6002B2, and 6002B3. All three models are similar to the 600 series base models in terms of features. The difference between them is the design and the size of the cooking area (they all have a total cooking area of 572 sq. in. while the base models offer 573 sq. in.).
The L600D is a much more improved version with regards to design because it features four locking caster wheels which makes it easier to move compared to the base models (L6002B and the L6002E) or the 6002B2 and 6002B3 models as they only have two large all-terrain wheels placed on their rear legs.
The other advantage of the L600D model is that it’s upgraded with an enclosed storage cabinet with double doors. It keeps the grease bucket, your grilling tools, and other essential items close and safe, hidden out of sight, unlike the base models where the lower cabinet is closed only on the front and back sides. The only thing it lacks is the small front shelf that’s included in the base models.
The 6002B2 and 6002B3 Models
The 6002B2 and 6002B3 differ quite a bit from their predecessors (L6002B and L6002E) and the L600D model when it comes to size and design. They are slightly wider and shorter, measuring 46 x 22 x 48 inches. They don’t have a lower cabinet, instead, it’s an open cart design that only provides a bottom storage base.
The grease bucket is also positioned on the right end of the grill, not underneath the cooking chamber like the rest in the series – it doesn’t however protrude like in the Basic series models, so you are not likely to accidentally knock it off. Similar to the L600D though, they don’t have the front shelf found in the 600 series base models.
Other than those, there isn’t much difference between them and the rest. They offer direct flame cooking and utilize the same PID controller. The build quality is equally the same including the cooking grates. Like the 600 series base models and the Basic series models, they lack meat probes and don’t have any advanced features like Wi-Fi connectivity or hopper cleanout function.
Our overall impression of the Z Grills 600 series (especially the L6002B we tested) is very positive. With a reliable direct flame searing capability and 573 sq. in. of cooking area all for under $500, it does indeed offer good value for the money. By comparison, for instance, the Traeger Pro 575 offers 575 sq. in. of cooking space but retails for $599 and it doesn’t offer direct flame searing.
We’ve had it for 3 weeks now and although we can’t say much for longevity, it has met our expectations so far when it comes to the cooking results. It fairs way better in temperature consistency compared to the Basic series models. We found the inclusion of extra useful features like the utensil hangers and a bottle opener to be quite impressive too.
Generally, the Z Grills 600 series models are worth considering if you want great consistent cooking results with different types of meat or you particularly want a pellet grill that’s able to at least perform direct flame searing and deliver good results.
The smoke production is on the lower end just like many other pellet grills but if you are okay with a light smoke flavor, then they are worth considering. They are all backed by a 3-year warranty and you also get a 30-day money-back guarantee if you purchase any of the models through the Z Grills site.