Start the grill with the lid open on the smoke setting for 10 minutes. (Smoke setting temperature range is 180-210° F/ 80-100° C). Then close the lid and adjust your temperature to the desired setpoint.
- Starting the grill on the smoke setting ensures that the firepot is not overloaded with pellets.
- Leaving the lid open prevents overloading the barrel with smoke and helps prevent a backdraft in the unit.
- Once your grill reaches the desired cooking temperature, then food can be added to the grill.
Many of our Pit Boss grills have a Prime Button. If your grill has never been used or has run completely out of pellets, it will need to be Primed to get pellets to the fire pot while the igniter is still hot.
- The igniter stays hot for the first several minutes after powering the grill on and then shuts itself off.
- Usually, it takes longer than this for the pellets to travel from the hopper to the firepot on the first use.
- Holding the Prime button prevents the auger from pausing, so the pellets arrive more quickly. (Holding the Prime button does not cause the auger to turn faster).
- Even with priming, once the pellets reach the fire pot, your grill may need to be turned off and then back on again, to restart the igniter for the first several minutes now that the auger is loaded with pellets.
The fan is programmed to run for approximately 15 minutes after powering off the grill. This is a Cool Down Cycle. This will burn up the remaining pellets in the firepot and will cool the grill down.
If the GFCI is tripping, there are several things that could cause this.
- Make sure you are not overloading the outlet with too many appliances. Plug in the grill by itself to see if the GFCI still trips.
-If it still trips, check how far the igniter is extended into the firepot. It should be extended just under ½ inch into the firepot. If this is not how far your igniter is extended, please see our You Tube channel for igniter installation instructions, or contact our Pit Boss Customer Care Team for further assistance.
- If the GFCI continues to trip after checking these things, then many times it is the igniter that needs to be replaced. Please contact our Pit Boss Customer Care Team for further assistance and troubleshooting.
There are several reasons why your grill may not be powering on. (Please make sure when you are working on your grill that it is not plugged into power. To access the areas needed to troubleshoot for power, you will also need to remove the hopper access panel from the bottom of the hopper. There are several screws that hold this panel in place).
- Check the outlet the grill is plugged into to make sure that it is working properly. Try the grill in another outlet, or something else in this outlet to ensure that is not the issue.
- Inspect the power cord for visible damage that could be causing the issue. If the cord is damaged, then you can contact our Pit Boss Customer Care Team for further assistance.
- Check the power connection on the back of the control board. To do this, please follow these steps:
- With the hopper access panel removed, disconnect and then reconnect the power connection wires (black/white).
- Plug in the unit and turn it on to see if that resolved the issue.
-Check to see if you have blown a fuse. The fuse is on the back of the control board in a little green box. Follow these directions to check the fuse:
- If your control board has two screws on the front of it, remove them, then take the control board out the front of the hopper or feed it back inside the hopper and out the bottom of the hopper.
- If your control board does not have screws on the front, it will have tiny plastic tabs on the back of it that need to be compressed for the control board to pop out the front of the hopper. There are usually three tabs on the top of the control board and three on the bottom (on the back). You can reach up into the bottom of the hopper and press firmly on these tabs and push the control board out of the front of the hopper.
- Once the control board is out of the hopper, you may have to cut a tiny zip tie and remove the top of the fuse box.
- If the fuse wire is intact, then please contact our Pit Boss Customer Care Team for further assistance and troubleshooting.
- If the fuse is blown, it is most likely one of the grill components that blew the fuse, such as the igniter. Please contact our Pit Boss Customer Care Team for further assistance and troubleshooting. For further troubleshooting, and to get your grill back up and running, you will need to purchase a couple of 5-amp, 250-volt, fast-acting fuses, which can be found at many local retailers.
Many factors can cause your Pit Boss grill not to light. Some things you can check before contacting Pit Boss Customer Care:
- Confirm that there are pellets in the unit and that they are in good condition. They should look a bit shiny on the outside and snap crisply instead of crumbling.
- Ensure that pellets are feeding into the fire pot, which indicates that the auger is turning. If the auger is not turning, please see the section below titled “Why doesn’t my auger move?”
- Ensure the igniter is getting hot. It should be glowing orange and you should be able to feel heat coming from the fire pot after a couple of minutes. (Caution: do not touch the igniter. To check for heat, place your hand a couple of inches above the fire pot). If the igniter is not getting hot, please see the section below titled “Why doesn’t my igniter get hot?”
- Ensure that the igniter extends just under ½ inch into the fire pot. If it needs to be adjusted, please look at one of our igniter replacement videos for instructions on how to adjust the igniter placement or contact our Pit Boss Customer Care Team for further assistance.
- Ensure that the fan is running. It should start up when you power on the unit and should run without stopping. If it is not running, please see the section below titled “Why isn’t my fan turning?”
- Ensure that the proper startup was followed for your grill. See the section above titled “How should I start my Pit Boss grill?”
Many factors can prevent your auger from turning. Some things you can check before contacting Pit Boss Customer Care:
- Check for an auger jam. An auger jam will occur if the pellets inside the auger tube absorb enough humidity to swell and re-solidify. This creates a solid mass of broken-down pellets that surrounds the auger and will lock it in place. If the auger is jammed, the auger motor will not be able to spin the auger at all. To see if the pellets have solidified, look into the bottom of the hopper. (You may need to remove the top layer of pellets in the hopper first). If you see a solid mass of sawdust in the auger at the bottom of the hopper, that’s an auger jam. The auger will need to be removed from the grill and cleaned out. You can remove the auger by first removing the hopper shell, disconnecting the auger motor from the auger, removing the set screw from the nylon bushing, and using vice grips or pliers to pull the auger out. Depending on how bad the jam is, it may take some force to pull the auger all the way out. You can clean up the auger using a tool (such as a screwdriver) to chip away the pellets and some sandpaper to remove remaining bits of debris. Once it is cleaned, reinsert the auger and motor, and this may solve the issue. If you had an auger jam and this process of disassembly, cleaning, and reassembly does not get your grill up and running properly, please contact our Pit Boss Customer Care Team for further assistance and troubleshooting.
- If it isn’t an auger jam, it could be the connection. Check the wire connections from the auger motor to the control board. These are red wires. To access them (on a barrel grill), make sure your grill is unplugged, then remove the hopper access panel from the bottom of the hopper. (On a vertical smoker, make sure the unit is unplugged, then remove the wire guard underneath the unit). Disconnect and reconnect the red wires to see if this gets the auger motor turning. If the auger motor still won’t turn, please contact our Pit Boss Customer Care Team for further assistance and troubleshooting.
Before contacting Pit Boss Customer Care, please check the following:
- Check the wire connections from the igniter to the control board. These are purple/white wires. To access them (on a barrel grill), make sure your grill is unplugged, then remove the hopper access panel from the bottom of the hopper. (On a vertical smoker, make sure the unit is unplugged, then remove the wire guard underneath the unit). Disconnect and reconnect the purple/white wires to see if this gets the igniter to heat up. If the igniter still won’t get hot, please contact our Pit Boss Customer Care Team for further assistance and troubleshooting.
Many factors can prevent your fan from turning. Some things you can check before contacting Pit Boss Customer Care:
- Check the wire connections from the fan to the control board. These are yellow wires. To access them (on a barrel grill) begin by unplugging the grill, then remove the hopper access panel from the bottom of the hopper. (On a vertical smoker, begin by unplugging the unit, then remove the wire guard underneath the unit). Disconnect and reconnect the yellow wires to see if this gets the fan running.
- Manually spin the fan. Sometimes if it has been a long time since the grill has been used, if it is cold enough outside, or if it is a new grill and the fan motor has never turned on before, it may need a bit of a "kickstart" to get going. Make sure the grill is unplugged, then remove the hopper access panel (from a barrel grill) from the bottom of the hopper. (On a vertical smoker you would need to make sure the unit is unplugged, then remove the metal fan housing). Manually spin the fan blades. This might allow the fan to start spinning on its own, and to prevent it from happening again you can use either machine oil or WD-40 to be sprayed lightly right where the center of the motor spins.
- If the fan blade is physically not able to spin even by assisting it, it may be either caught on a wire or possibly the bracket around the fan is bent. Check to see if either is the case. Move wires that are in the way. If fan brackets are bent, contact our Pit Boss Customer Care Team for further assistance. If the metal fan housing (on a vertical smoker) is bent, contact our Pit Boss Customer Care Team for further assistance.
- If none of these things successfully get the fan to run, contact our Pit Boss Customer Care Team for further assistance and troubleshooting.
Your Pit Boss grill controls temperature by turning off and on the auger at specific intervals, which will cause a swing in temperatures of +/- 25 degrees and is completely normal. Some other things you can check that may help regulate your temperature:
- If your unit has a chimney, raise the chimney cap up as high as it can go. You might think that trapping the smoke in the grill is a good idea and will add smoke flavor, but instead it will cause temperature issues within the unit. The fire could even die out due to lack of air intake. The only time to lower the chimney cap is if the outside temperature is extremely cold and the grill is having trouble staying up to temperature. The chimney cap can be lowered just about an inch in this case.
*If you want more smoke flavor on your food, use the lowest temperature setting/Smoke setting. Also, we sell some ideal smoke tubes here: A-MAZE-N Smokers
-If your unit has ventilation holes on the back of the barrel instead of a chimney, be sure that nothing is blocking them. Be sure you don’t use foil or any other object to block these holes. You might think that trapping the smoke in the grill is a good idea and will add smoke flavor, but instead it will cause temperature issues within the unit. The fire could even die out due to lack of air intake. Please keep these holes open and uncovered.
*If you want more smoke flavor on your food, use the lowest temperature setting/Smoke setting. Also, we sell some ideal smoke tubes here: A-MAZE-N Smokers
- Check to make sure the flame broiler is installed properly. It should be resting on the bracket on the left inside the grill, as well as resting on top of the grease drain channel on the right inside the grill. If the flame broiler is placed properly, you should see it at an angle, higher on the left side and lower on the right. If this is not how it is placed, it can cause many different temperature issues and even damage the finish on the bottom of the barrel. You will also want to make sure that the flame broiler slide cover is all the way closed when the lid of the grill is closed. If it is open it will allow a lot of extra heat to escape, which can cause the grill to overheat. Do not cover your flame broiler with foil because it can cause temperature issues and can also prevent the grease from draining properly into the grease bucket.
- Check the condition of the pellets. The fresher the pellets are, the better they will perform. If the pellets have absorbed any moisture due to humidity, they will not burn as efficiently as they would if they were in good condition. You can test their condition by taking one and seeing if it will snap in half crisply and not crumble. If the pellets are not in good condition, replace them. To ensure proper performance, we always recommend using Pit Boss or Louisiana Grills brand pellets in your grill. Pellets should be stored in an airtight container to protect them from moisture.
- Have you vacuumed the fire pot recently to ensure the air holes are not blocked by excess ash? If there is too much ash in the fire pot, the fire may die down due to lack of proper airflow. We recommend cleaning your fire pot after running 40-60 lbs. of pellets through your grill, or any time you see excess ash.
Many factors can cause a grill to run too hot on the Smoke setting. (Normal smoke temperature range is 180-210° F/ 80-100° C).
-Be sure you don’t close the lid of the grill too soon after startup. You should start your Pit Boss grill on Smoke with the lid open for 10 minutes, which will help burn off any additional fuel built up during the startup process. (Do not lift your lid to regulate temperature on any setting other than smoke. This will cause your controller to react to the outside temperature and can produce further issues.)
- If your unit has a chimney, raise the chimney cap up as high as it can go to allow for proper release of heat.
-You will also want to make sure that the flame broiler slide cover is all the way closed when the lid of the grill is closed. If it is open it will allow a lot of extra heat to escape, which can cause the grill to overheat.
-If your grill continues to run hot in Smoke setting, please contact our Pit Boss Customer Care Team for further assistance.
Many factors can contribute to your grill not getting hot enough. Some things you can check before contacting Pit Boss Customer Care:
-What is the position of the flame broiler? It should be higher on the left, installed up on the brackets inside the barrel at the left. Also, the slide cover needs to be closed when the lid of the grill is closed.
-What is the condition of the pellets? They should snap crisply and look a little bit shiny on the outside. If they are not in good condition, replace them. To ensure proper performance, we always recommend using Pit Boss or Louisiana Grills brand pellets in your grill. Pellets should be stored in an airtight container to protect them from moisture.
-If the unit has a chimney cap, how high is it? It should be raised all the way up for proper air intake to keep the fire going strong.
-Make sure that the grill is at least 36” from combustible constructions to ensure proper airflow.
-Has the firepot been vacuumed recently to ensure the air holes are not blocked by excess ash?
-Outside temperature and wind are common issues that can prevent a grill from reaching its top end temperatures. Ensure your Pit Boss grill is in a location protected from the elements as much as possible. If you do want to use your grill in extremely cold temperatures, you can see if there is a Pit Boss Insulated Blanket that fits your grill.
If your grill has a dome thermometer on the lid, it is normal for it to differ from the digital temperature readout by up to 100° F/55° C. The temperature probe within the grill (that provides the digital readout on the control board), takes an average temperature across the cooking surface and is usually more accurate than the dome thermometer temperature.
Cooking at lower temperatures will produce more smoke in your cook. Even at the lowest temperature, keep in mind that wood pellet grills burn extremely clean. The smoke they produce is a thin, bluish smoke that is almost fully invisible. The reason you may see some white smoke on startup is due to the pellets smoldering just before they ignite. Over time, you may begin to see slightly more white smoke during a cook as the flame broiler becomes more and more seasoned. Becoming seasoned with drippings will enhance the flavor and color of the smoke. If you want to add more smoke to your cook, we sell some ideal smoke tubes here:
The flame broiler is used as both a grease drip tray and for an open flame cook. During normal cooks, when the lid of the grill is closed, the flame broiler should remain closed, both to prevent fires and ensure proper grease draining. To cook with an open flame, the top slider of the flame broiler can be opened and then cooking directly over the fire is possible. Always leave the main grill lid open while the flame broiler is in the open position.
It is normal for your flame broiler to rust and slightly warp due to the high heat and oxidization applied to it. You should not use water to clean the flame broiler because it accelerates rusting. Over time the flame broiler gets seasoned with grease and smoke, which protects it from rust, so it does not need to be super clean. The best way to clean the flame broiler is to scrape it, either with a putty knife or by using the slide cover to slide back and forth over it to scrape off debris. If the flame broiler for your Pit Boss grill does not drain grease to the grease bucket or shows holes that are not from manufacturing, please contact our Pit Boss Customer Care Team for further assistance.
The P-setting only impacts temperatures when you are using the Smoke setting on the grill. If cooking at any other set point besides Smoke, the P-setting has no impact on temperature. If your grill has P-settings, the control board will have a button to adjust the P-settings.
The default P-setting is P-4. On this setting, while using the Smoke setting, the grill will feed pellets for 18 seconds and pause for 115 seconds. In most instances, you will want to keep the P-setting on the default.
Raising the P-setting to P-5, P-6, or P-7 increases the pause time for the auger. It will lower the temperature of the Smoke setting and can create more smoke since the pellets will smolder longer before another batch of pellets feeds in and the fire reignites. BE CAUTIOUS: raising the P-setting too high can cause the fire to die out completely. The pellets will continue to feed but with no flame the pellets will pile up in the fire pot.
Lowering the P-setting to P-3, P-2, P-1, or P-0 will decrease the pause time for the auger and raise the temperature in the Smoke setting. Lowering the P-setting can also minimize temperature swings in the Smoke setting.
Error codes can pop up on your grill from time to time. Please refer to the owner’s manual for your grill for what may be causing the error codes.
If you see a code appear on your screen right after you plug the grill in, then the code disappears, this is not an error code. It is simply a programming code. This will show at startup and then disappear quickly, and the grill is still functioning properly. There are many programming codes that may appear, such as L01, L02, 126, 128, etc. They are no cause for concern.
If you see flashing dots on your control board screen, it just means the igniter is on. The igniter will turn off after startup. Once the flashing dots disappear, the unit will begin to adjust to the desired temperature selected, which for startup on these units is the Smoke setting for barrel style grills. Some units have a relight feature where the igniter will turn back on if the grill drops below 130° F/55° degrees C. If the igniter comes back on, the flashing dots will reappear.
If the temperature is flashing on your control board screen, this means the temperature of the unit is below 150° F/65° C. It will flash like this if the temperature has an extreme drop, indicating the fire is at risk of going out.
In North America, all Pit Boss pellet grills must be plugged into a 110v outlet to function. Your grill can be used in a light rain, but since it is an electronic appliance, care must be taken to prevent any connections from being exposed to rain. Also, the pellets must avoid moisture. The lid of the hopper will protect them from a light rain, but not necessarily from heavy rain. Water getting into the pellets will cause them to swell, disintegrate, and later harden, causing an auger jam that will immobilize the auger.
To ensure proper performance, we always recommend using Pit Boss or Louisiana Grills brand pellets in your grill. However, you can use other brands of pellets in the grill, if they are hardwood pellets, designed to be used in a wood pellet grill.
Always store pellets in an airtight container when they are not in the smoker. If they are stored incorrectly, they can take in moisture and will not burn correctly. This can result in the grill not getting up to temperature or in the flame going out. We have a 5-gallon pellet storage bucket here:
5-gallon Pellet Storage Bucket and the lid for the storage bucket here: 5-Gallon-Bucket Lid
We recommend cleaning your grill after running 40-60 lbs. of pellets through it. To clean your grill, you can use a vacuum to remove the ash from the fire pot and bottom of the grill, scrape any grease from your flame broiler, and wipe down the grill with a light degreaser. Also, empty your grease bucket regularly.