Pit Boss Grill Review: The Perfect Option for Beginners?

Sep 7, 2018 | Grills, Reviews

Pit Boss has quickly become one of the most popular grills among beginners and greenhorns to pellet grilling. It’s not hard to figure out why though. Pit Boss is a brand owned by Dansons Inc. which also owns Louisiana Grills. Louisiana Grills helped popularize pellet grills alongside Traeger. Needless to say, the brand knows how to make a pellet.

The goal of the Pit Boss was to make a more affordable grill in comparison to their other brand. While the grills are more affordable, that definitely comes with some trade-offs and we will discuss them below. In this article, we will look at Pit Boss 700 and the 820.

Pit Boss 700FB and 820FB

1. Best Overall

Pit Boss 820FB Pellet Grill

Our Rating

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The Pit Boss comes with 820 square inches of cooking space, that’s up there with most medium to large grills. Then again, this cooking space is split up between the main cooking grates (580 sq. in.)  and the warming rack (240 sq. in). Warming racks always feel like a sort of gimmick, and an attempt to make grills sound bigger than they are. In this case, at least the warming racks are removable.

One neat feature is that the Pit Boss has a fan assisted convector, plus nice cast iron grates. The grates are all coated in porcelain enamel, which will prevent rusting for quite some time. It also comes with a flame broiler for open flame searing, plus a temperature control with LED readout.

Pit Boss is most well-known for their wood pellet smokers; the 820FB follows in this tradition with wood pellets being the fuel of choice. The hopper of the 820 can hold 18 lbs of pellets. This hopper capacity is a considerable amount and you should refrain from topping off the hopper as there is no clear out shoot for the pellets. If you want to use different pellets you’ll have to burn through the ones you loaded the hopper with first.

The 820FB is quite a substantial beast at nearly 141 pounds, and it comes with a good set of wheels and a solid carry handle on the other side. This allows you to roll the grill over most surfaces.

The grill uses an electronic ignition system that makes starting the grill fairly easy. The digital control center allows for temperature control ranging from 170 to 600 degrees Fahrenheit. This grill features an older style dial controller with set degree increments. If you aren’t familiar with this, it’s relatively common to experience temperature fluctuations of +/- 20 degrees.

 

2. Best Value

Pit Boss 700FB Pellet Grill

Our Rating

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To note, the 700 and 820 Pit Boss models are very similar. There are a few trade-offs but overall, this package is a solid value.

The 700FB is about as entry-level as it gets when it comes to pellet grilling. There are no frills and the cost isn’t going to burn a hole in your pocket. If you’ve been on the fence for a while and you’re after something to learn on, this is the best option.

As the name suggests, the 700FB has 700 square inches of cooking space. The main cooking area is estimated as being around 510 square inches and the warming racks make up the rest. This isn’t the largest grilling area, but it’s on par with average options out there.

Just like the 820, the digital temperature controls can take some getting used to. Like most thermostat systems you are going to run into issues with accurate temperatures, so you can expect a +/- 20-degree difference. If you have a thermostat in your home, it’s quite similar. As we’ve said before, it’s dated technology, but it’s also easy to turn a dial, set your temperature, and walk away.

The main place this grill is lacking is the overall smokeability. If you’re expecting to infuse tons of smoky flavor you’ll be disappointed. An easy way to get more smoke is to buy a smoking tube. These tools are relatively cheap  ($10-$20) and they do a great job of providing that thin blue smoke everyone is after.

With that said, if you live in an average sized household and you’re looking to grill some burgers, hot dogs, veggies, and do the occasional smoke, you can’t go wrong at this price point.

Things to Consider Before Going Pit Boss

Pit Boss grills are some of the most entry-level options on the market. They are also some of the most cost-effective. With that said, there are always going to be benefits and trade-offs.

True Cost

We prefaced this article by stating that Dansons Inc. made this grill for beginners. They were looking to enter the market and compete with the likes of Traeger at that entry-level position in order to reach more consumers. They succeeded in doing so and as a result, their grills are definitely more cost-effective than Traeger.

When looking more closely at Pit Boss though, you can definitely start to see some noticeable reasons for the pricing differential. The first being directly from their manuals on all their grills.

This has been brought up on other barbecue websites and it’s worth noting here. The most important line is the “…should be considered as a 2 to 3 season grill…” This is a little vague and is up for debate if they mean 3 months or 3 years. Our opinion is that it’s going to depend on how well you take care of your grill regardless. That means covering it when you’re done, vacuuming the dust that accumulates, and cleaning your grates.

The warranty of the Pit Boss is also limited at only 1-year, where-as similar Traeger models are 3-years. At the end of the day, it’s going to be about how well you take care of your equipment.

Drawbacks

Items that are beginner or entry-level are going to eventually feel like they are lacking. For instance, if you see yourself getting more into smoking then you might feel like the Pit Boss does a poor job. We proposed getting a smoke tube in order to accommodate for this. This still doesn’t solve the issue of thermostat controllers though.

Many professionals are temperature fanatics and PIDs do a better job of maintaining temperatures at around +/- 5 degrees in some cases. Remember, Pit Boss is made by the same brand as Louisiana Grills which use PID controllers in their grills. These obviously cost more and are targeted at a different consumer.

Conclusion

In the end, when it comes to beginner options, you can’t really go wrong with Pit Boss. This brand knows how to make a Pellet Grills and has a pretty solid track record. If you’re looking for a simple option for general grilling then the 700 and 820 do a great job. Keep in mind there are going to be obvious trade-offs and things to consider like warranty, temperature controllers (PID vs thermostat), and future smoking endeavors.

Billy Stewart

Chef and Reviewer for Barbequesmoked.com

Barbeque Smoked

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