I've recently been following this forum, having pre-ordered the PG500 back in December 2011. It arrived yesterday.
Although I initially did not like its look at all, it only took a few moments to completely change my mind. And it's built like a tank.
Assembly consists only of attaching the shelf but the holes on the grill and the shelf did not line up. With much effort, I was able to attach the 3 bolts on each side but only one of the two middle ones. It's still very sturdy.
I oiled the cast iron grate and set the controller to 400° to burn in for an hour. The temperature ranged from 391°-409° which is very acceptable.
The controller was preset from the factory to lht 10 and hht 100. There are conflicting notations in the "manual" as to the default settings, one of which was the 10,100.
The controller did its job, the grill body got extremely hot but the handles, side shelf and pellet box remained cool.
The Up and Down controller buttons require some force to activate and it takes some coordination to hold both buttons together to get to the lht and hht settings. Several times I must have let up pressure on one finger as the controller set temperature would start to sky rocket. But it got easier to do correctly. When you press the Up or Down button to check on teh set controller temperature (the controller defaults to the pit temperature), it automatically moves the set temperature 5° instead of just showing what it is set to. Not a big deal though.
After the burn in, I kept the grill at 400° and cooked a steak for myself and salmon for my wife. I used a perforated pan for the salmon and vegetables.
Both the steak and salmon pan were on the main charbroiler grate, Zone 1. Once I saw how quickly the fish was cooking, I moved the pan to Zone 2 on the upper grate.
Ten minutes total cooking time at 400°, 10,100 setting.
The steak was as flavorful as any I have cooked on my bge with nice crispy char. But the salmon was the big surprise in that the bottom got the crisp char. Once I put it on the top shelf, Zone 2, the pesto top started to crust a bit as well. It's similar to a reverse salamander cook. It provided fantastic texture and bite to the otherwise moist, slightly smoked salmon.
I also served green beans, broccoli, plapplesauce (I always put plums in my applesauce), white yam (precooked but crisped during the cook), mini peppers and onions.