Soon to be pellethead in GA

  • Some of the links on this forum allow SMF, at no cost to you, to earn a small commission when you click through and make a purchase. Let me know if you have any questions about this.
SMF is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.


Original poster
Sep 19, 2016
Lawrenceville, GA
Very interested in getting a Pellet Smoker sooner than later.  local Walmart has a PitBoss 700 for $396.00.  Is this a good entry level Pellet grill to get my feet wet?
Let me start by saying I have seen pitboss smokers at trade shows but I have never used one. However, they are made by Dansons. Pitboss is their budge/china made line. They also make Louisiana smoker (a  higher end line) and some others. We have used a lot of different models of those.

I also really like Danson's service/support. I was helping a guy with an issue once and when the first guy who answered the support line couldn't figure it out, he transferred me to the engineer who had actually designed the unit, who figured the problem out in about two minutes. Don't get to talk to designer engineers at very many companies...

So, I think it would probably be a good starting smoker - but hopefully someone who has more experience with pitboss will chime in.

Note that there a BUNCH of models of the pitboss 700 (D, S, FB, SC). I don't know the differences among them. I think pitboss smokers are all on analog controllers - so no digital readout. Not a huge issue - we used analog controls for years, you just have to learn where to set yours. I prefer digital, but that adds to the price. In either case, you will want to use a good digital thermometer. I really like the one from Camp Chef (best probes around, IMHO), but maverick makes one that has two probes (one for the meat, one to measure grill temp - helpful if you have analog controls) but Maverick's probes are terrible (poor design, fail a LOT, but the company will usually replace them free/fairly cheap).

Danson uses a side burn design on their smokers (like on a Yoder). That means the pellet auger is only a couple of inches long and it drops pellets down into the burn pot. The side design also makes it really easy to use as a flame broiler (there is a plate that slides open to let you flame grill on the burn pot - not sure if it is standard or an option). I have heard criticisms of side burn design because the smoke/heat comes from one side and flows across the grill, but I have never had an issue with it. Pellet smokers use a fan to push air into the burn pot, so the heat/smoke are fan driven, kind of like a convection oven. We took some measurements on a bit danson (cs680) and when the temp was set to 200, the difference across the grates was about  +-5 degrees. I think the difference might get bigger if you run really hot (450 degrees+) or open the flame broiler, but I personally don't do that (not a good use for a pellet smoker).

A lot of other companies (like Traeger) use a bottom burn design that puts the burn pot in the middle of the smoker. Some argue this gives better smoke/heat distribution (I have owned bottom burn smokers and that is not my experience, but opinions vary), I personally don't like those designs because requires a very long auger to push pellets into the burn pot. More finicky, especially to shut down at the end of a smoke, and much easier to have an auger fire. Camp chef also uses a bottom burn design and they recently added a feature to allow you to dump the burn pot without disassembling the unit, which can help address some of the shut down issues.

So, good luck with pellet smoking.
I recently purchased a Pit Boss 400 pellet smoker.  It was delivered and I put it together and seasoned it according to instructions. I have an Egg, and 2 MES 40's so I am not new to smokers.  My first experience was to set the control knob to 200.  It went to 550 degrees and then down to 170 degrees.  I adjusted the "P" setting as directed in the instructions.  I had a boston butt on the smoker and the next round of increases/decreases went to 615 degrees and shut down.  Once it caught on fire. I cleared it and called customer service and they asked me for several different time sequences which I took.  The smoker continued to run up to around 600 and down sometimes to  "flame out" and reclear and restart required.  Customer service is useless and they could have forwarded me a new timer which may have fixed this thing but they didn't.  Problem is that the auger runs and turns off every 18 seconds.  The "P" setting only adjust the seconds between the auger running which turns out can be anything.  I found the best place for this smoker..........sitting in front of the customer service counter at Walmart.  If you want to control temps for a controlled (not out of control) temp, you must buy a pellet smoker with PID technology such as the Louisiana grill.  I advise you not to waste your money on this grill!
I am using my Vision karate style cooker.  Last year I purchased the DigiQ pit controller from BBQGurus and It WILL control the temp in a kamato style cooker.  It has a digital controller that you set to the temp you want and it has a fan that blows into the bottom vent.  When it gets close to set temp it will slow/stop to plane off.  It stays off when the temp rises anywhere above set temp.  I bought the Pit Boss because I wanted to experiment and now I know!  I also have two MES 40's that I like but they have a hard time getting enough smoke to satisfy me.
I found a CampChef DLX for the same price and purchased it.  Waiting on some frog mats so I can do a burn-in and season it with bacon.
>Danson uses a side burn design on their smokers (like on a Yoder). That means the pellet auger is only a couple of inches long and it drops pellets down into the burn pot.

I would just add that some grills that have front or rear mounted hoppers do have center burn pots and use a similar pellet chute delivery. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

Latest posts

Hot Threads