Pit Boss Not Smoking? Here's A List of Top Solutions

August 25, 2022

Is your Pit Boss not producing smoke? Try using fresh and high quality wood pellets, smoking at a lower temp, or cleaning out your auger and firepot.

As a young Pit Boss owner, I had a few times where the grill didn't produce smoke. So, with the help of pitmasters and the internet I set out to find what was wrong. Eventually I found that the pellets were my main issue but I learned a lot along the way.

In this post I will discuss the top reasons for your Pit Boss not smoking and offer up some easy solutions. Let's begin!

Pit Boss Not Smoking

Understanding Smoke Production with Pit Boss Pellet Grills

I know that a lot of people expect their to be plumes of smoke when their Pit Boss grill is smoking. In reality, however, this isn't the case at all.

A modern pellet grill will actually produce very little smoke. And, the smoke produced tends to be a light blue in color - not thick, white smoke. As a result, it can be difficult to see the smoke coming out of your Pit Boss smoker.

bbq potatoes

The only time that you are likely to see white smoke is when the wood pellets in your pellet grill first ignite. This is known as start up smoke.

New wood pellet grills don't produce as much smoke either. It is only once your flame broiler has become well seasoned with drippings that you can see thick smoke during the cook.

Of course, in case your Pit Boss pellet grill isn't truly smoking, here are some causes and solutions to consider...

Why Is Your Pit Boss Not Smoking?

Here are the top reasons and solutions for why your Pit Boss pellet grill is not smoking as it should be:

Bad Pellets

If you think that all wood pellets are created equal, think again! There is such a thing as poor quality pellets.

The problem with these pellets is that they tend to have a high moisture content. Most high quality pellet fuels tend to have between 5 to 10 percent - this is an acceptable level.

Any higher than this, though, and the wood pellets are going to struggle to burn. In turn, they will not produce enough smoke.

Moist Pellets

It should go without saying that dry wood pellets or dry fuel, in general, burns better.

If your pellets are moist or wet, they aren't going to ignite as well or may not produce smoke at all!

The same goes for pellets that have previously been damp. Even thought they may be dry now, they will not smoke as well.

Too High Temperature Setting

Many people don't realize that the most smoke is produced when the wood pellets are burned at lower temperatures.

This is why your Pit Boss pellet smoker has a smoke setting with a temperature range of between 180 and 210 degrees F.

However, most people are looking to make their food cook faster. This is why they prefer temperatures above 275 degrees F or even 300 F. At this point, though, your Pit Boss pellet grill will start producing smoke in lower quantities or not at all.

A Jammed Auger

If your auger is jammed, then the pellets can't move from the hopper to the fire pot. As such, no smoke will be produced.

The most common reason for a jammed auger is wet pellets being clumped there. Or, it could be that pellets have simply piled up in the space.

sausages on a grill

You will need to clear out your hopper of wood pellets to check on this.

Dirty Fire Pot

If there is a lot of ash and grime in your fire pot, then it will not be able to ignite properly - or at all.

In this case, your pellet grill may not be able to create enough smoke or produce smoke at all.

How to Get More Smoke Out of Your Pit Boss?

Here are the top tricks that you can use to fix your Pit Boss pellet grill smoke problems:

Choose Better Pellets

You have probably noticed that Pit Boss has their own brand of wood pellets. Now, most people are hesitant to buy these as they can be quite pricey.

However, Pit Boss does offer up high quality wood pellets. What's more, these pellets have been perfectly tailored to their pellet smoker. As such, you are bound to get more smoke and better results.

I would suggest that your buy the Pit Boss grill brand at least once and see if that makes a difference.

Store Your Pellets Properly

Unless you are planning on using your pellet smoker within the week, never keep the pellets in the hopper. Always empty it out once you are done with a cook.

Make sure that your pellets are kept in an airtight sealed bag. They should also be stored in a dry and warm place.

Always check the use by date and follow this accordingly.

Use a Lower Temperature

One of the best things that you can do to get more smoke out of your Pit Boss grill is to set it to a lower temperature.

Does this mean that you have to use the Smoke mode on your grill? Well, unless you are cold smoking cheese, I wouldn't say that this is necessary. After all, on this setting, large cuts of meat can take quite a while to cook.

Instead, aim for a temperature range between 225 and 250 F. I tend to aim for the lower end of this range.

The other thing that you can do is to monitor the cooking temperature of the cooking chamber throughout the cook. This alerts you to any wild swings or fluctuations that may be taking place.

Consider Changing the P Setting

You may have heard of this Pit Boss setting - it is only available when the grill is in Smoke mode.

There is a range of settings from P1 to P7. The higher the setting, the more smoke is produced.

On your Pit Boss, the setting is at a factory level - P4. Thus, if you want extra smoke, go to a higher setting.

fire on a bbq grill

I do need to warn you not to go too high, though. This is because at P7, there is a higher risk of the fire going out.

Although this happens, the pellets will continue to be fed into the burn pot. In case your grill has a relighting feature, this can cause a massive fire to flare up the next time that the grill is turned on.

Clean Out the Auger

As I mentioned, you should start out by clearing the hopper. This will give you a better look at the auger.

In case it is jammed, remove the auger. Use a screwdriver to gently pry off the pellets. If there is any residual debris, use sandpaper to gently cut it away.

Replace the auger and start up the grill once again.

Clear Out the Firepot

This is something that you should get into the habit of doing. Although you don't have to clear out the firepot with every cook, check on it regularly.

You can use a shop vac or a handheld vacuum to clean out the ashes. Then, replace the parts and start smoking once more.

Use a Smoker Tube

Sometimes, even when working properly, your Pit Boss just doesn't produce enough smoke for your liking.

In this case, you could consider a smoker tube. Here, you pack the tube with pellets or even wood chips and set it in the cooking chamber.

Not only does the smoker tube produce more smoke and smoke the food more directly, it also infuses the meat with a better smoke flavor.

Smoke Cold Meat

OK, so this method will not necessarily produce more smoke for you. What it will do, though, is make the meat taste smokier and produce better smoke rings.

Most people will leave their meat out of the fridge for about an hour to let it get to room temperature. Instead of doing this, transfer your cold meat from the refrigerator to a preheated smoker.

Then, cook it as usual.

I should warn you that your meat - especially larger cuts - is going to take much longer to smoke. As such, you will need to prepare accordingly.

Wrapping It Up

If your Pit Boss isn't smoking, there is no need to fret! This is a fairly common issue with lots of causes behind it. Not only can you find the top reasons here but you also know what the main solutions are. So, go ahead and get fixing!

By Kristy J. Norton
I'm Kristy – a chef and connoisseur of all things BBQ! You can find me either in my kitchen (or someone else's) or at a big outdoor barbecue surrounded by friends and family. In both my professional and personal life I’ve picked up more than a few tips and tricks for turning out delicious food. I consider it a privilege to share it with others!
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