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Pit Boss 820 issues

dnmccoy

Newbie
19
10
Joined Jun 25, 2016
I got a pit boss 820 deluxe from lowes this week, and did the initial burn in per the manual. I was so excited to smoke some ribs today but have been having some serious temp issues. I cooked them for 3 hours on the smoke setting and had no isses, I then tried to turn the controller to the 225 range and the temp slowly climbed all the way to 350 and seemed to be going up.



I tried messing with the P setting to no avail. Any advice?
 
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Will Smoke

Smoke Blower
79
20
Joined May 21, 2018
set up a water pan to help stabilize temp, when turning up unit it usually spikes i've gotten use to this whenever i turn up i check after 15 min or so, sometimes i can get away with adjusting smoke cap but often i let some of the heat escape. my p setting is at four i did play with it for a while but did not notice any huge symptoms good or bad
 

dnmccoy

Newbie
19
10
Joined Jun 25, 2016
How big? Should I just set it on the top grate if Im not using it? Tonight was the first time and Im disapointed that the ribs got so overcooked :(
 

RCAlan

Meat Mopper
282
121
Joined Aug 26, 2018
Hey dnmccoy, I just read your post and I see you’re a new PitBoss owner.. I posted this help guide on another forum to help with the issues you’re having with the temp swings with your Pit Boss. It’s a long read, but very important and helpful.. If you follow the steps, you won’t have anymore temp swing problems..
 

RCAlan

Meat Mopper
282
121
Joined Aug 26, 2018
I’ve been reading here on this Forum since the first of the year and on other Forum sites about first time Pit Boss owners and those of other Pellet grills manufacturers having a hard time with Temperature swings and those that have suffered fires... Mostly Pit Boss owners... I hope these tips and info will help potential Pit Boss Pellet grill owners in the prevention of barrel fires and wild temperature swings... $400.00-$700.00 plus dollars is a lot of money to go up in Smoke for any grill.. smh... No pun intended..
1. Read.. Always follow the directions of the owners manual and never take any short cuts in the understanding of the proper operation of your pellet grill .
2. Preheating of the grill is essential and must be done correctly each and every time the grill is used.. Again, never skip a step in the preheating of your pellet grill..
Always preheat your grill for at least 30 mins at 350* degrees or as per your owners manual instructions. This is key in preventing wild temp swings and to help your grill maintain stable temps while cooking.
For low and slow bbqing and your desire is to use the smoke mode, the outside ambient temp can effect your grills performance. The Factory preset temp range while on Smoke mode is 160*-190* degrees and the Factory default P- setting is P4. During cold weather cooking, it’s best to use a P-setting like P2-P3 to help prevent a flame out while on “Smoke”mode. Your grill will run more stable using P2-P3 during cold weather cooks. During warm/hot weather cooking while using the Smoke mode, P4 or P5 can be used, which will produce more added smoke.
3. Understanding of the P sub settings is key in preventing the Wild temp swings along with the proper preheating of your grill. Always use quality grilling pellets and never use any that have Charcoal Pellets mixed in with the Hard Wood Pellets. If you do, you’ll always have wild temp swings because of the Charcoal pellets burn differently then the Hard Wood Pellets.
  1. For those who prefer Low and Slow smoked bbq, the P set button during Startup should be set on P.4.. Factory default...
  2. After the Preheating steps and procedures are all completed, your grill should be good to go..
  3. For those that are using the smoke mode or are bbqing at or below 225*F, never use P setting P.6 or P.7.. The grill will have a greater chance of a flaming out.. and while on the Smoke setting and until you truly understand your grill, never just “Set it and forget it”. That’s with any Pellet grill..
  4. Always watch for grease spills that can cause grease fires. Invest in a shop vac and do a thorough cleaning after every cook...
  5. Again, be watchful of Flameouts.. Temps below 160-150*F If this happens, the digital temp display will start to flash and the Auger will continue to feed the fire pot with pellets. You’ll also know if you start smell and to see a lot of smoke because the pellets are just smoldering producing a lot of smoke but no real flame and the pellets will pile up in the fire pot and the bottom of the barrel. If the Igniter is restarted by a restart or the pile of smoldering pellets catch fire, this will cause the over filled fire pot and barrel to start a fire... Possibly a big one.. All Pellet Grills can face this possibility if this happens.. And all Pellet Grill manufactures know this too... Until you know your grill, Never just set it and forget it.. Like going to work or some other long duration away from your grill.. smh
  6. If the Temps drop below 160-150* F . or the Digital Temp Gauge starts to flash, don’t push the prime button and don’t turn the grill off and back on again.. Just turn it off and safely remove everything you can from the grill.. Safely... If there is a smoldering fire and a pile of pellets, do whatever is necessary to safely put the fire out.. The longer the pile of smoldering pellets burn, the more potential for damage, harm and injury...
  7. I’m a happy PB Austin XL owner and I’ve learned that understanding these pellet grills is key to a long, trouble free ownership.. It’s always better to learn from someone else’s mistakes then to have them happen to you and the lost of your investment because you didn’t do your research or follow directions..
  8. If steps 1 through 7 are followed, then steps 8 and 9 shouldn’t happen . And if in doubt, just ask for help... I hope the info helps someone and have a happy and safe Summer bbqing ..
PB Austin XL in SoCal.. and always Semper Fi
 
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dnmccoy

Newbie
19
10
Joined Jun 25, 2016
Thanks for the write up, I followed all the directions to a t, here is how the situation unfolded

Per the manual, I turned it on in the smoke position and waited a minute until I knew it had ignited
Per the manual, I turned it all the way to high for 20 min to warm up.
After warm up I turned it back to smoke for 3 hours to start the ribs
After 3 hours, I pulled the ribs to wrap them, then turned the knob to the 225 setting
After about 30 min I noticed the temps in the 280-290
I tried to turn the p setting up to drop the heat but it didn't work.

I called the 800 number and the guy told me the manual is wrong and I shouldn't preheat it on high but should have left it on smoke.

He advised to set it back to smoke and then adjust p setting to get temp consistency. I did this and temp stayed pretty consistent but damage had already been done :(

Any other advice?
 

ross77

Smoking Fanatic
433
146
Joined Oct 1, 2013
My advice would be to return it. Pellets smokers are supposed to make things easier. I turn mine on (not a Pit Boss) and set the temp and it stays there. No smoke settings, no preheating, no flameouts and no fires. Not trying to rag on Pit Boss but geez why so complicated?

I use charcoal blend pellets without temp swing issues.
 

dnmccoy

Newbie
19
10
Joined Jun 25, 2016
I'm really hoping not to have to return it. It has glowing reviews, I'm hoping I just did something wrong
 

mike243

Master of the Pit
SMF Premier Member
1,946
671
Joined Feb 25, 2018
It always takes 5 minutes or so before the pellets lite off and the big puff of smoke clears out on mine,then I set it on the temp I want to cook at.Never have set on high to preheat.They have different controllers and mine states the p setting only works in smoke mode but somebody posted theirs works in all modes so not sure.I have not read about fires to any big amount on any brand and none recently on here,don't give up on it yet and you can do a few burns without putting any meat on it.Good luck and hopefully nothings wrong with it
 

oldsmokerdude

Smoking Fanatic
SMF Premier Member
828
311
Joined Jun 5, 2018
I use charcoal blend pellets
Ross, I've seen those in the store. Lumberjack has a charcoal hickory blend that looked interesting. Do you get a good smoke from these? What does the charcoal do for you in your opinion? Do these work as well as 100% hickory pellets?

Thanks in advance!
 

ross77

Smoking Fanatic
433
146
Joined Oct 1, 2013
Ross, I've seen those in the store. Lumberjack has a charcoal hickory blend that looked interesting. Do you get a good smoke from these? What does the charcoal do for you in your opinion? Do these work as well as 100% hickory pellets?

Thanks in advance!
I taste maybe a slight hint of charcoal using the LJ Char/Hickory blend. They are overrated IMO. I prefer the 100% hickory but give them a try for yourself. Everyone has different tastes.
 

oldsmokerdude

Smoking Fanatic
SMF Premier Member
828
311
Joined Jun 5, 2018
I taste maybe a slight hint of charcoal using the LJ Char/Hickory blend. They are overrated IMO. I prefer the 100% hickory but give them a try for yourself. Everyone has different tastes.
Thanks for your input. I'll follow my initial instinct and stick with the 100% hickory.
 

RCAlan

Meat Mopper
282
121
Joined Aug 26, 2018
Dnmccoy, it sounds like You got things stabilized... I see on page 16 of the 820’s owners manual, it says to go from “Smoke” up to the high setting during the startup/preheating steps... That to me is a mistake in the 820’s owners manual and the Customer Service Rep. was correct in stating that, but was wrong in saying to just leave it on Smoke. The P settings are adjusted on Smoke mode, but I would still do a thorough preheating at 300-350* degrees for 30 mins. until the grill temp is stable. My owners manual for the Austin XL says to turn the temp gauge from Smoke up to 350*... and run it at that temp until grill is thoroughly heated and stable.. I myself will set my grill at 300* degrees for 30mins. since I do more low and slow bbqing . I would never preheat below 300* degrees.. Also, it is common for your grill to go up 25-30* degrees and then back down again, it’s just cycling, because the pellets are being fed into the Fire pot.. Low and Slow bbqing, start with P4 or P5... For higher temp bbqing, use P1 or P2... Remember, these are wood pellets grills and not a gas oven.. That’s why the preheating is so important. Don’t give up on your Pit Boss 820, it’s a great Pellet grill and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it more once you’re familiar and understand it’s workings...
 

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