As a passionate pit master, nothing is more frustrating than when my trusty Pit Boss pellet smoker not smoking and producing smoke.
After dealing with this issue more times than I’d like to admit, I’ve learned a few troubleshooting tips that have helped get my smoker smoking again.
In this post, I’ll walk through some common reasons a pellet smoker stops smoking and provide actionable solutions you can try yourself.
You can quickly get your Pit Boss back to peak smoking performance with a few simple checks and tweaks.
The goal is to help fellow pit masters diagnose the problem quickly so you can immediately return to smoking mouthwatering barbecue. Let’s get smoking!
Is Your Pit Boss Not Smoking? Here’s How To Fix It
A Pit Boss grill produces delicious smoked meats, but the smoke output can sometimes be low or non-existent. Here are 7 common causes and solutions if your Pit Boss grill is not smoking properly:
- Wet Pellet – It is important to ensure that your wood pellets are completely dry and clogged-free, as wet wood pellets will not generate smoke.
- Using the wrong pellets – Pit Boss grills require 100% all-natural hardwood pellets for proper ignition and smoke production. Avoid bargain pellets containing fillers, softwoods, or artificial binders. Quality BBQ wood pellets like hickory, maple, or mesquite work best.
- Too much ash buildup – Excess ash in the firepot can prevent proper airflow and pellet ignition. Regularly vacuum out excess ash from inside the grill to allow proper airflow.
- Bad igniter rod – The hot rod igniter needs to heat up to light the pellets. If it’s malfunctioning due to age or damage, it won’t ignite the pellets fully. Replace the hot rod igniter if faulty.
- Overloaded smoker – Overloading the grill with less food can prevent proper airflow and smoke production. Stay within the recommended capacity for your model.
- Grease or debris blocking airflow – Make sure the interior burner and induction fan are clean of grease buildup or debris that can block airflow.
- Pellet jam in auger – Sometimes pellets can jam in the auger tube, interrupting pellet feed. Remove the jam, then vacuum out pellet dust or fragments in the auger.
- Inadequate preheating – Pit Boss grills need to fully preheat with the lid closed for 10-15 minutes before cooking. This allows the wood pellets to fully ignite and produce smoke. The pellets may fail to ignite properly if you don’t preheat sufficiently.
Best Tips to Get More Smoke Out Of Your Pit Boss
The key to maximizing smoke with a Pit Boss grill is proper preheating, using quality dry wood pellets, keeping it clean, and following proper smoking techniques.
- Be sure to fully preheat the Pit Boss with the grill lid closed for at least 10-15 minutes before cooking. The appearance of white smoke during startup is caused by the smoldering of pellets just before they ignite.
- Use 100% all-natural hardwood pellets like hickory, maple, or mesquite rather than poor-quality pellets with fillers. Higher-quality wood pellets will smolder and smoke more.
- Keep the interior and firepot clean by regularly vacuuming out ash buildup. Excess ash can restrict airflow and reduce smoke.
- Refrain from overloading the smoker tube and cooking chamber with too much food at a time. Overcrowding prevents proper airflow.
- Try adding a smoke tube loaded with wood chips to supplement pellet smoke. Position it by the inlet vent for maximum smoke exposure.
- Use the lower smoke settings, like Smoke 1 or 2, rather than the highest heat settings for peak smoking time.
- Maintaining a proper smoking temperature between 225-275°F will prevent overheating and inefficient smoking.
Following these tips will optimize smoke production from your Pit Boss grill for delicious smoked barbecue.
What Is The Exact Temperature Setting For Producing Smoke On A Pit Boss?
The ideal cooking temperature setting for getting smoke flavor on a Pit Boss grill is between 180°F and 250°F.
At temperatures lower than 180°F, the wood pellets don’t fully ignite and smolder, producing more smoke. Between 180-250°F is the perfect range for bringing out the subtle smoke flavor without overpowering your cooking.
Higher internal temperature settings above 250°F cause the pellets to burn hotter and faster, resulting in less smoke. For short smokes like chicken or burgers, shoot for 225-250°F.
Regardless of temperature, make sure you’re using 100% all-natural hardwood pellets, not blends with fillers. Fruitwood pellets like cherry, apple, or maple complement most meats nicely. Adjust the P-setting to Smoke and let the Pit Boss work its magic!
What Should I Do If My Pellet Smoker Isn’t Working?
If your pellet smoker suddenly stops producing heat or smoke, there are a few key things to check before calling for service.
- First, ensure the grill is plugged in, and the power source is functional. Try unplugging it, waiting 10 seconds, and plugging back in to reset the electrical components.
- Next, check that the auger motor is operating and transporting pellets from the hopper into the firepot. Remove pellets, vacuum out debris, then refill and restart.
- The auger jam is a common cause of pellet smokers not working properly. You’ll also want to inspect the hot rod and ensure it’s heating up to ignite the pellets.
- Remove buildup on the hot rod with an emery cloth.
- Check that your smoker isn’t displaying an error code indicating a temperature issue or fan failure.
If basic troubleshooting doesn’t solve the problem, contact the manufacturer, as you may need replacement parts. Your pellet grill should provide years of flavorful smoking with proper maintenance and care.
When Did You First Notice The Issue With Your Pit Boss Pellet Smoker Not Smoking?
The issue with my Pit Boss pellet smoker not smoking first came to my attention during a backyard barbecue with friends in the summer of 2022.
As I excitedly prepared to grill some delicious meats, I noticed barely any smoke from the smoker. This was concerning, as the smoky flavor is one of the main reasons I opted for a pellet smoker in the first place.
Initially, it might be a simple problem, such as an empty hopper or clogged auger. However, upon further inspection, I realized the pellets were not feeding properly into the fire pot, leading to inadequate smoke generation.
I tried troubleshooting the issue by cleaning the auger and ensuring no obstructions, but the problem persisted.
Seeking more information, I turned to online forums and manufacturer’s websites to see if others had encountered similar problems.
It turned out that I was not alone, and several Pit Boss pellet grill users had experienced similar issues with smoke production. Some suggested recalibrating the auger settings, while others recommended upgrading to a higher-quality brand of pellets.
After reaching out to Pit Boss customer care, they acknowledged the problem. They guided me through a firmware update that addressed the smoke production issue.
This resolved the problem, and I could enjoy the authentic smoky flavors again. Since then, I’ve been vigilant about keeping my smoker’s firmware up-to-date to prevent any future smoking hiccups.
Have You Cleaned The Smoker Recently, Especially The Firepot And The Burn Grate?
Regularly cleaning your smoker is crucial to keeping it in good working order and producing the best-tasting barbecue possible.
The firepot and burn grate can build up ash and grease quickly, so they need frequent attention. Let the smoker cool completely every few cooks, and remove all grates and diffusers.
Use a shop vac or brush to thoroughly clean out the firepot and any ash buildup inside the smoker. Scrape the burn grate clean with a putty knife or grill brush.
You may need to use an abrasive pad for stubborn grease deposits. When everything is cleaned, replace all the parts and empty the smoker on high heat for about 20-30 minutes to burn off any remaining grease residue.
Wipe down the exterior with warm soapy water. Doing a deep clean of your smoker every 5-10 cooks will keep it running efficiently for years to come and prevent smokey flavors or bitter smoke that can occur from dirty combustion chambers. Stay on top of firepot and burn grate maintenance for best performance.
How NOT To Use A Pellet Smoker?
Avoid overloading the pellet smoker. Don’t ignore regular maintenance. Stay vigilant to prevent flare-ups. Never leave it unattended. For more tips, watch the video:
As you can see, several common issues can prevent your Pit Boss pellet smoker from smoking properly. The most common problems are Inadequate preheating, Using the wrong pellets, Too much ash buildup, Bad igniter rod, and Overloaded smokers.
Try cleaning the burn pot thoroughly and inspecting the auger and heating rod if you’re not getting any smoke production.
Store only 100% hardwood pellets properly to prevent moisture absorption. Make sure your smoker is adequately preheated before putting food in.
If problems persist after trying all the troubleshooting tips, contact Pit Boss customer service for additional support.
Proper maintenance and quality pellets are key for optimal performance from your wood pellet grill. With a few simple fixes, you’ll return to smoky barbecue bliss in no time.