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Pit Boss Hopper Question

mpkelley20

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Joined Apr 23, 2019
Finally got to the end of my first 40 pound bag of the pit boss competition pellets. While I have bough more pellets, I was waiting until the hopper was near empty (not completely empty) before adding more as I am going to try different kinds next.

On one of my last cooks, I was making a pizza and noticed after a few minutes that the temps were going down. Opened hopper and noticed that the pellets were not sliding down into the auger opening so the auger ran dry. I used a spatula end to stir the pellets and got it going again but I was constantly stirring making sure the pellets were falling in.

I have done some research and his looks like it is not just pit boss but others as well. Other than stirring or keeping the hopper more than half full during a cook, are there other solutions to make sure the pellets are falling properly? I am going to assume it is just too low of an angle to get them to fall without having weight on top. Kind of a major design flaw really.

Would love to be able to do a long cook where I don't have to check it frequently but maybe that is just something I will have to accept. Thoughts?
 

pineywoods

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One problem with leaving pellets in the hopper all the time is if the humidity is high often times they will swell and not feed correctly or swell enough they won't allow the auger to turn at all. I don't know what the humidity is like where you live but in FL with the normal high humidity and add a few rainy days and the can get swollen in a hurry.
Have a friend with a series 5 Pit Boss and it took quite a while and some effort to take it all apart and clean out all the swollen pellets that were jammed in there so bad that the auger wouldn't even turn. At least we found the problem before it burned up the motor on the auger. He now loads the pellets into the hopper before he starts a smoke and when it's done he empties the unused pellets into a 5 gal bucket with lid for the next smoke.
 

mpkelley20

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Joined Apr 23, 2019
I'm just south of Boston. Humidity hasn't been an issue lately but it has been raining. With the grill covered maybe it is creating humidity somehow. Or maybe the pellets settle too much between cooks that it causes the issue? I have a bunch of buckets I can use to empty between cooks. will give that a try. Thanks!
 

mike243

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I thought that if i have that problem i will wax the sides and that should help some
 

Rmartinez2

Smoke Blower
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Joined Feb 13, 2019
I live in AZ so humidity really is no issue here. I can't offer much help in terms of how to make the pellets fall when you are low, however, I can offer that I took off that screen or barrier thing in the hopper. This way I can just easily push everything down if I'm ever needing to quickly get some pellets to drop. It beats having to find something to put through the hole and push it down with. It also helps when you want to switch pellets out and still have quite a bit in there. You can either scoop it out easily or use the little empty feature and push them all out of there.
 

RCAlan

Smoking Fanatic
351
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Joined Aug 26, 2018
Which Pit Boss Pellet Grill do You have and how many lbs. of pellets can the Hopper hold? If You’re going to do a long cook, like 10 hours or longer, the Hopper should be completely full of pellets... Not 1/2, 3/4 or a 1/3rd full, but completely full, that way there will be little possibility of your grill running out of Pellets. Your grill is fairly new I take it, so this is just a part of the learning process on how to properly run your grill. The term “Set it and Forget it” is not always wise, especially if You haven’t figured out how to properly run your Pellet Grill yet. After a few more cooks, You’ll know what You can and can’t do with your pellet grill... I’m not saying You did, but never take short cuts in the proper operation of your grill and another good practice is to keep the “Fire pot” clean after every cook as well. With any cooking device, You have to keep an eye on whatever it is you’re cooking at some point and checking the Hopper of your Pellet Grill should be a part of that process. If Your hopper is Completely full, You should be able to cook for 5-8 hours without any problems what so ever... If You’re bbqing something and You have to leave your home for a while, I would stir the Pellets in the hopper and if possible, top if off with pellets, that way there will be little possibility of accidents or flameouts... Also, just get into a habit of keeping the Hopper full on every cook and then when the cook is finished, empty the unused pellets from the hopper into an air tight plastic storage container... Easily found at Home Depot for less then $10.00. I wouldn’t call what happened a design flaw, it’s just a learning process with your grill. Good luck with Your future cooks.

PB Austin XL in SoCal and Always... Semper Fi
 
Last edited:

pressurized

Newbie
2
1
Joined May 9, 2019
Finally got to the end of my first 40 pound bag of the pit boss competition pellets. While I have bough more pellets, I was waiting until the hopper was near empty (not completely empty) before adding more as I am going to try different kinds next.

On one of my last cooks, I was making a pizza and noticed after a few minutes that the temps were going down. Opened hopper and noticed that the pellets were not sliding down into the auger opening so the auger ran dry. I used a spatula end to stir the pellets and got it going again but I was constantly stirring making sure the pellets were falling in.

I have done some research and his looks like it is not just pit boss but others as well. Other than stirring or keeping the hopper more than half full during a cook, are there other solutions to make sure the pellets are falling properly? I am going to assume it is just too low of an angle to get them to fall without having weight on top. Kind of a major design flaw really.

Would love to be able to do a long cook where I don't have to check it frequently but maybe that is just something I will have to accept. Thoughts?
I've had a Pit Boss 1100 for about a month now, and I had that same exact "issue" come up once before just as you described it. I believe mine was what's referred to as "tunneling." Meaning there were plenty of pellets in the hopper, maybe a third left, but it made almost tunnel straight into the auger with the rest of the pellets not falling and feeding the auger. Almost looked like an animal burrowed straight to the auger!

Since then, I make sure to always stir the hopper and then I push the pellets more to the side closest to the grill/auger if I will be gone for a little bit and don't fill like refilling the hopper. Of course, any extended time away from the grill I'll fill the hopper up accordingly.

I do think there is a design flaw in the angle of the funnel of the hopper into the auger. I've used 3 different brands of pellets, and they all seem to tunnel if I don't stir them up, which indicates to me not enough pitch in the hopper. I also immediately took off the protective screen, as I don't have any children to worry about and won't have anyone else using the grill except myself.

I'm curious to the suggestion of one the posters of waxing the hopper. Might have to try it sometime.
 

mpkelley20

Newbie
25
6
Joined Apr 23, 2019
Yes pressurized. What happened is exactly what you described. I have followed the grill instructions to the letter as far as proper operation but there is nothing in the book that discusses hopper management. lesson learned and I will be more attentive going forward. I will need to keep more pellets on hand than normal since the hopper is 35 pounds so even half full is quite a bit of pellets!

I might try the wax and see if that helps. I have also read of some people making cone shape inserts. Reduces capacity a bit but solves for the slope issue.
 

markh024

Meat Mopper
220
120
Joined Nov 8, 2016
my hopper does the same thing on my Camp Chef. [they] just need to make a sharper angle and widen/deepen the box slightly. I have made a habit to just make sure I check it every so often so there isn't a void and pellets stop running through. I also only pour out what I need for each smoke, which I've gotten pretty good at knowing how much to use for different smoke lengths.
 

90beater

Smoke Blower
118
91
Joined Feb 18, 2012
I have a Louisiana Grill which is basically a series 7. I noticed the pellets like to pull more from one side. I usually add about 10Lb of pellets at a time, more if overnight. I have a 3' stainless rod from a rotisserie that I use to stir up/slide the pellets to the auger side every couple of hours. Humidity is not a problem here and it's covered when not in use.
 

mpkelley20

Newbie
25
6
Joined Apr 23, 2019
I did what others suggested which was take off that top grate on the hopper and I am more cautious about checking when the hopper gets below the window line. I just did an 8 hour Boston Butt and it worked great. No issues.
 

DelineNiin

Newbie
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0
Joined Jun 3, 2021
Not long ago I’ve found out about the thing called toggle clamp. A toggle clamps is a tool that is used to securely locate components or parts in position, typically, but not exclusively, as part of a production process. They provide the operator with a means to quickly secure and release a component. This is what is needed in repetitive manufacturing processes like production line. The main advantage of this type of clamp is that it is quick and easy to use, whilst enabling the amount of force needed. So toggle clamps are being used in a host of environments and applications, including automotive plants, food manufacture, engine testing and munition production.
 

JWFokker

Smoking Fanatic
443
157
Joined Mar 5, 2019
It's not the humidity. It's the hopper and the shape of the pellets. Many such cases!
 

mike243

Master of the Pit
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Joined Feb 25, 2018
I don't think Kingsford pellets could ever bridge and cause a flame out, they also have great flavor imo
 

JWFokker

Smoking Fanatic
443
157
Joined Mar 5, 2019
I don't think Kingsford pellets could ever bridge and cause a flame out, they also have great flavor imo
Weird. I found them to be milder than most Lumberjack pellets. Better than Pitboss pellets but not great.
 

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