ZGrills Cruiser 200A Review: Takes Smoking on the Road and Does It Right

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The Lowdown

If you want to smoke and grill while camping or tailgating, when at the beach, or even if you don’t have much space at home, the ZGrills Cruiser 200A is a perfect option.

Overall
5

Pros

  • Small and portable pellet grill
  • Lockable lid with all components inside
  • Cooks like a dream even while smoking low and slow
  • Temperatures stay true despite small space

Cons

  • It would be nice if the kit included a temperature probe to use with the controller, but that is certainly not a deal-breaker
ZGrills Cruiser 200A Review: Takes Smoking on the Road and Does It Right Listen to this article

We are deep into BBQ season as well as camping season. My family loves to take the camper out, spend a weekend relaxing, and let me cook for them. Taking a pellet smoker on the road wasn’t an easy task until I tried out the ZGrills Cruiser 200A portable pellet grill.

The Cruiser 200A is a tabletop pellet grill designed to be portable and usable while on the move. The grill includes 202 square inches of cooking space, an 8-pound hopper, and a temperature range of 180-450 degrees. The grill only weighs 40 pounds; it stands 13″ high, 25″ wide, and 20″ deep.

The top conveniently locks shut, and the two handles on each side make carrying the grill easy.

ZGrills Cruiser 200A

The Cruiser 200A uses a series of vents instead of a smokestack to save space. The grease trap is located in the back of the unit, which does include the hanging bucket.

ZGrills Cruiser 200A Review: Takes Smoking on the Road and Does It Right

This minimalist design works very well for transporting the grill; it takes up a tiny amount of space. I could fit the grill inside the small outdoor kitchen of my camper and simply had to lift it out onto a picnic table for use.

Accessories included with the ZGrills Cruiser 200A

The grill arrives with everything you need, including simple instructions and even a screwdriver — the only tool required. There’s even a pair of gloves to protect your hands from sharp edges and keep them clean from the oil that coats some of the parts.

It took me under 15 minutes to set up the grill and be ready for the initial fire.

Open lid on the ZGrills Cruiser 200A

The ZGrills Cruiser 200A is designed to house the grilling area and the pellet hopper under the lid. As you can see, they share the same space, but a divider in the lid keeps the hopper surprisingly cool during a cook.

Inside lid of the ZGrills Cruiser 200A

The 8-pound hopper should provide around 10 hours of smoking on the low settings.

The 202 square inches of cooking space is on top of a porcelain-covered grill grate which is easy to clean; below that is the one-piece heat deflector. I love having the one-piece design making cleanup much less of a chore.

Temperature settings on the ZGrills Cruiser 200A

A digital controller keeps the heat and smoke at desired levels and includes an easy-to-read screen and dial to set temps. A probe port is also included, which is handy, but the probe is sold separately.

The controller works just like any large pellet grill, and I found my temperatures to stay true during the entire cook. Keep in mind that there has to be some temperature fluctuation for the smoke to be made. All in all, I was very pleased with how this small grill held temperatures.

The package I received included two 20-pound bags of ZGrills wood pellets.

ThermoWorks Thermapen Mk4

Wood pellets that came with the ZGrills Cruiser 200A

My first two test cooks were with the cherry wood pellets; I found them to burn clean, giving the meat plenty of flavor. I would not hesitate to buy ZGrill pellets and use them with any of my smokers.

sausage cooked on the ZGrills Cruiser 200A

The initial cook was a couple of links of Pollok’s Polish Wedding Sausage. My oldest son works in the plant full-time as a summer job, so it was pretty neat to buy some food at the store he had a hand in creating.

As you can see in the photo, the sausage cooked nice and evenly and had a great smoke ring. We cooked hot and fast and had no issues with temperature variations; the meal was a hit with the family.

On the second day of camping, I decided to try a longer cook. I took a rack of pork ribs and cut them in half to better utilize space on the grill top; then, I wrapped 12 small ears of corn in foil with some butter and seasoning.

Ribs cooking on the ZGrills Cruiser 200A

I take my rib smoking pretty seriously, so I used my best recipe, which takes about 5 hours to complete. I had to see if the ZGrills Cruiser could handle a long cook low and slow and create the same quality of meats I do at home on a large grill.

The temperatures held beautifully during the entire cook, and I never ran out of pellets, which is mind-blowing in such a small space.

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Ribs cooked on the ZGrills Cruiser 200A

The ribs came out exactly how I wanted and were juicy with a great smoke flavor; you can see the nice smoke ring in the photo. The corn was also perfect, and the family again enjoyed a wonderful, filling meal.

The ribs were a pleasant surprise since I expected the final result not to be as good as it would have been if I had used my large competition smoker or one of the other pellet smokers I have.

This is the first meal to come out this good we have ever had while camping! They were good enough that I impressed myself! And it’s all due to the excellent ZGrills Cruiser 200A.

Corn cooked on the ZGrills Cruiser 200A

If you want to smoke and grill while camping or tailgating, when at the beach, or even if you don’t have much space at home, the ZGrills Cruiser 200A is a perfect option.

TheCruiser 200A is well designed to save space yet it has plenty of features, is lightweight, and is easy to carry. Using it allowed me to create amazing meals while out with our travel trailer that before I could only do at home before.

Temperatures held on point, the pellet hopper lasts longer than you might think, and a meal for four can fit if you use the space wisely. ZGrills wood pellets are a great addition and helped put out a great meal.

The ZGrills Cruiser 200A has found a permanent spot in our camping gear, and from now on, my family will expect my cooking abilities to be on point for each trip.

I can say this grill is a must-have.

The ZGrills Cruiser 200A with 40lbs of pellets retails for $338.99; it is available directly from the manufacturer.

Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample

What I Like: Small and portable pellet grill; Lockable lid with all components inside; Cooks like a dream even while smoking low and slow; Temperatures stay true despite small space

What Needs Improvement: It would be nice if the kit included a temperature probe to use with the controller, but that is certainly not a deal-breaker

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About the Author

Travis Ehrlich
Travis is a high school teacher and coach in a small South Texas town. His love for gadgets began at a very early age, and he has been a cross between a jock and a geek for most of his life. He has two boys and a wonderful wife who lets him be a gadget freak. He is a Mac convert and has drank the whole pitcher of kool-aid! He is also an avid guitar player and loves the outdoors, especially hunting with both a bow and rifle.