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Hot spot

Discussion in 'Pellet Smokers' started by Rmartinez2, Mar 16, 2019.

  1. Rmartinez2

    Rmartinez2 Fire Starter

    Hey everyone, I've been using my grill a lot since I got it and it seems no matter what my center and right side run insanely hot. If I'm at 225 the center and right will hot around 280 to 290. The left side seems to stay within 10 degrees or so of the display. Im using wireless meat thermometers to obtain the reading.

    To be clear I'm not seeing temp swings where I've set my grill to 225 and it suddenly shows 300 on the display. In fact my display temp goes through an acceptable swing of +\-20. But the probes read the center and right at 60 to 70 degrees hotter.

    Is this just something I love with or am I doing something wrong ? Do others with the pit boss 1100 or the Austin xl have a similar outcome? I realize all other non pitboss have a heat deflector then a grease plate so I wonder if that's what's missing?
  2. RCAlan

    RCAlan Meat Mopper

    To answer Your question, the answer is yes... The diffuser plate that sits in the bottom of the barrel and it covers the Auger assembly and fire pot is not really a true heat diffuser. For those readers that don’t know, the diffuser plate in the PB Austin XL and PB PS Grill are secured to the Fire Pot with 4 screws... The diffuser plate allows the option for direct grilling, but since it doesn’t actually cover the fire pot itself, the Flame/fire shoots up right through it. This is “By design”, to allow direct grilling, but it doesn’t diffuse any heat at all. The Grills Flame Broiler and Flame Broiler Slider are acting as the grills heat diffuser. To solve the Hot Spot issues and uneven temps across the grills cooking area, You’ll need to buy or make a true heat diffuser that covers the fire pot completely and correctly. I’m not a Sells Person for any bbq company nor do I Market for anyone. From first hand experience, I can recommend the Heat Diffusers sold by SmokeDaddyinc.com. They have two, one that can burn real wood for added smoke profile and one that is just a heat diffuser. You can also search online for other heat diffuser options. When I added the SD wood burning Heat Diffuser to my Austin XL, it made a huge difference in heat control across the grill. The SD HD almost eliminated the hot spot in the center of the grill completely and during Low and Slow bbqing, the hot spot was gone completely. Remember, for high temp cooks, the fire pots flame will increase and intensify, so it’ll be a few more degrees hotter there, but it’s a huge difference in temp control and temp management when I added the heat diffuser then when I didn’t have it. When adding a true heat diffuser to your grill will affect your ability to use the direct grilling option... For Low and Slow bbqing, use/add a heat diffuser and for high temp grilling, use the original diffuser plate. If You do decide in getting a heat diffuser for your grill, make sure it’s dimensions/measurements will fit your grill properly. SmokeDaddyinc will do that for you, just give them a call for assistance. I hope the info helps and good luck

    PB Austin XL in SoCal and Always... Semper Fi
    Jabiru likes this.
  3. Rmartinez2

    Rmartinez2 Fire Starter

    My man as always this is exactly what I wanted to hear. I figured this was the case but wasn't sure about it and wanted to hear from someone that's actually tried it. I will definitely buy one as it'll be perfect for low and slow.

    Question.... does it affect the left side of your grill much ? Like where the temp was already pretty normal to start with, does that now dip lower?
  4. RCAlan

    RCAlan Meat Mopper

    It really helps with evening out the temps across the entire grill surface and it especially calms the hot spot at the center of the grill. I never tested the left side for temps, but I never had a problem bbqing on the left side of my grill.

    PB Austin XL in SoCal and Always... Semper Fi
  5. NYRED

    NYRED Newbie

    I have the Pit Boss Pro Series 1100 and had a similar issue. The right side would get much hotter than the left. The problem would magnify with increased temps. If I set the temp for 350, the left would stay around 350 while the right would get as high as 575. I was ready to return it but I called Pit Boss customer service and they told me to just remove the diffuser plate that sits underneath the drip pan. I tried that and did a temp test with no food on the grill. The temp difference from left to to right was consistently 15-25 degrees at various temp settings with the left side now being slightly hotter than the right. That seems acceptable to me.

    RCAlan's point about the diffuser plate not being a true heat diffuser makes perfect sense. The fact that there is that hole which allows access to the flame for searing/broiling prevents the flame from actually touching/heating the metal diffuser. My guess is that the fan is pulling cool air across the left side of the plate and that air gets hotter as it blows past the fire pot and heats the right side.

    Good luck!
    Rmartinez2 likes this.
  6. Rmartinez2

    Rmartinez2 Fire Starter

    wow i'll have to try that. you wouldn't think that that flimsy piece of whatever it is would have such a significant effect. I did actually purchase a heat diffuser from smoke daddy. The one without the stick burning openings, however, it sits too tall. So it doesn't let the grease plate sit in the grill the way it was intended to. I'll be giving this a try.

    I imagine you are still seeing quite a huge jump in the center which i can understand given that its directly above the pot?
  7. NYRED

    NYRED Newbie

    I was very surprised by the difference removing the plate made. Correct, there is still a hot spot directly over the fire pot. When the temp is set to smoke or below 250 it is negligible. Thanks for the heads up on the smoke daddy diffuser. I was thinking of getting one.
  8. mike243

    mike243 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    I’m glad i dont have that problem sorry you all are , the grease try is the heat defuser, the bottom tray is just a block to channel air thru the smoker a little better instead of all that space and maybe needing a bigger fan motor they designed that flimsy plate
  9. RCAlan

    RCAlan Meat Mopper

    Info pertaining to the SD Wood Burning and Non Wood Burning Heat Diffuser. One size does not always fits all. Every Brand and Make of Pellet Grill will come in different sizes, depths and dimensions... I would reach out to SmokeDaddyinc by phone first and give them the dimensions of your pellet grill to make sure their Heat Diffusers will fit Your grill and Burn Pot properly and to see if they can/could make the necessary modifications if it doesn’t. Hopefully, they’ll be able to trim the base excess material and if necessary the top excess material as well to get it to fit most medium too large size Pellet Grills. Again, if in doubt, it’s always wise to ask/call before You buy... If You already have one and it needs mods, try Sanding/cutting the base of the heat diffuser about an inch to see if that will help it to fit.. Good luck... For Me, my grill has no more hot spot at the center of the grill and I’m able to burn Real Wood in my Pellet Grill as well...

    PB Austin XL in SoCal and Always... Semper Fi
  10. Just saw your post about your Pit Boss and I think I'm experiencing the same issues with mine and just was wondering if you have been able to correct the issues with the suggestions given? Did removing the heat diffuser fix it or did purchasing a after market diffuser end up being the fix? I've been having to move whatever I am cooking a lot around inside the grill because of this issue and I'd like to figure out what I can do to correct it!
  11. NYRED

    NYRED Newbie

    I haven't had occasion to cook on the Pit Boss since removing the diffuser. I did a test with temperature probes placed on either side, about 6 or 7 inches from each edge and found the temperature difference to be about 15-25 degrees without any food in the chamber after removing the diffuser. The temp on the left was typically hotter than the right. The same test with the diffuser in place routinely yielded temps 200+ hotter on the right side. In both case, the higher the temp setting, the greater the differences. I am hoping to cook on it this weekend. I would email/call Pit Boss customer service before removing the diffuser just to have a record of them making that suggestion to avoid any warranty complications. I called them and they told me to remove the diffuser. Good luck!
  12. Rmartinez2

    Rmartinez2 Fire Starter

    i've tried an after market diffuser from smoke daddy however it doesn't quite fit very well. I think as some suggested, they seem to be a very accommodating small business and if you give them a call they may be willing to cut down their diffuser to better fit the grill ( i did not do this). The diffuser obviously helps temper the hot spots but the grease plate just doesnt sit well in the grill. Its possible if you buy their newer diffuser with the stick burners on the side this may fit better as it seems RCAlan has this one and it sounds like its working well for him. I'm still looking for a friend that may have the tools to cut about an inch off each side of the diffuser I have to see if this helps with the fit, if this ever happens i will update you.

    I have also removed that flimsy, i suppose heat diffuser, that came with the grill. This did actually seem to help with the hot spot to the right of the grill which i thought was awesome. When I'm at 200 to 250 both the left and right seem to be pretty even with one another. The center, obviously given the location of the firepot, is still hotter. I havent actually done any high heat cooks but plan on doing some grilled chicken today at around 350 to 400. I'll have a probe on each side and likely let it run for 30 to 40 mins so i'll let you know how the higher heat performs.
    RCAlan likes this.
  13. Thanks for the info. Going to go experiment myself today and see what I get for temp differences with or without the diffuser on and give pit boss a call.
    RCAlan likes this.
  14. Well...experimented today and still confused....smoked some baby back ribs on the smoke setting then 200 for most of the day and they came out awesome. I also removed the heat diffuser. The temp controls on the controller and just throwing the two meat probes and my other grill thermometer all were relatively the same temps,but the minute I turn the grill anywhere past 300 is when the thermos start giving way different readings. Called Pitboss and they mentioned nothing about removing the diffuser but said that if the controller cook and actual temps are within limits (which they have been) then the grill is working fine and that the temps in the different areas of the grill will vary. So may just put the diffuser back in and assume the grill is working as expected and just learn how it grills,smokes,and bakes through trial and error (guess that's part of the fun right?) Heres a pic of my first set of ribs off the Pitboss....actually turned out pretty tasty. Thanks for the advice everyone. 20190507_175121.jpg
  15. Rmartinez2

    Rmartinez2 Fire Starter

    Look good.

    I kinda felt this way myself but idk... Some hot spots are acceptable but for me it was real bad between left and right of chamber. Imagine putting 8 racks of ribs in there and 4 of them are cooking super hot and fast. That's not as fun. For me being able to control the hot spots is huge so I'll keep finding some kind of way. I'll let u know if I ever find something concrete.
  16. pressurized

    pressurized Newbie

    I also have the same heat distribution in my Pit Boss 1100. Left side is accurate to the control panel, middle is hotter, and right side is hottest. Most of my cooks fit on the left side grate, so it hasn't really been a problem so far.

    I actually have been using the hot zones to my benefit. I mostly use the smoke setting, 200* and 220* on the control panel. That will give me a nice low 170-230* on the left side to add as much smoke flavor as possible early and then I can move it over to the right side for 220-280*, instead of adjusting the control panel up. Theoretically, that should give me more smoke flavor and use less pellets.

    So far I've kept the diffuser plate in under the drip pan/flame broiler. I need to try it w/out it, but being a new grill (1 month) I wanted to learn how it cooks "stock" before any modifications. Like a previous poster said, temps are very steady, just weirdly distributed left to right (middle makes sense bc of where the fire pot is).

    I'll keep a lookout for any updates from you all on the smoke daddy diffusers. The wood burning one looks interesting.
  17. I agree with everything you said pressurized and have discovered the same things as well. I especially agree with learning to cook with it "stock" and not removing anything or making modifications or adding accessories. I too have had luck just cooking on the smoke to 200 to 250 range and I feel like an idiot because your idea of just leaving it at a set temp and move whatever I'm cooking over if I need a hotter temp. Have no idea why that didnt cross my mind but great idea! Thanks! Just glad to hear that it sounds like my new grill is operating as it should and that I just need to learn how to cook with it. Thanks all for your help and advice!
  18. Lookn4u

    Lookn4u Meat Mopper

    Before I made the move and downsized to my Bull, I had a 300 gal stick burner that Don Williams made for me. I had to borrow about a dozen digital thermometer's, but I mapped my cooking surface in 1 foot grids at different temps to find and be able to manipulate hot spots at certain temp readings that my onboard gauges showed. I have tried the same with the Bull (in 6 inch squares) and found that my hot spots move with each cleaning or covering of the drip pan. In fact I now do not cover the drip pan and make sure it is placed the same way all the time. When I was using foil to cover the drip pan, my temps where all over the place and unpredictable, it is my experience/opinion that air flow is the main driving force of temp control. If my foil was not tight, or puckered out here or there it effected temps wildly. So, I abandoned the foil and just clean the drip pan regularly, its actually easier than messing with the foil to me. That's my 2 cents worth, your results could vary..........
  19. I totally agree with you because today when lighting my pellet grill I paid attention to where the smoke flowed and noted that it really accumulated at the right side of the grill before rising....so I would assume the heat flow also does the same. So I'm certainly learning lots by just using my grill!
  20. I am strongly considering buying a Pit Boss Pro Series 1100 as it looks like a great value with good build quality and some nice features, but I am worried about this issue as it seems fairly common. I'm not so worried about small temp swings overall, but even temps from right to left are a concern.

    Has anyone tried the Smoke Daddy Heavy D Stick burner diffuser in the 1100? I see RCAlan uses it in the Austin XL which is a very similar grill to the Pro 1100, but I also see Rmartiness22 tried the non stickburner version in this exact grill, the Pro 1100 and it caused issues with how the drip pan sits. I am unsure if the difference is the size of the barrell between the Austin XL and the 1100, or if the non stick burner version of the diffuser is taller. It would be nice to know if anyone has tried the stick burner version specifically in a Pro Series 1100 and how it fit.