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Thread: Pellet smoker / pit boss

  1. #1
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    Pellet smoker / pit boss

    I bought a pit boss Platinum Laredo from Walmart last week. I'm wondering if either I had too high of expectations and or if my pellet smoker isn't working properly. I've had gas BBQ, electric smokers, and still have a Weber charcoal. I had heard how great pellet smokers / grills are from others in the past and read all the literature on them and thought I could get the convenience of a gas bbq & electric smoker in one, with the smoke ring of charcoal. Meaning it could smoke low and slow unsupervised and then if I wanted be able to crank up the heat and sear / grill.
    What I've found so far, is this unit takes 10 minutes just to preheat? / Start generating smoke. Then another 20 minutes to get to 225 or so.
    Then if I want to crank it up to 500 it's like 45 minutes to a hour, literally...

    Is this the standard amount of time for pellet smoker / grills?
    I'm severely disappointed in the amount of time it is taking.

    Thanks
    Michael

  2. #2
    Last weekend our son made us burgers on his new pellet BBQ- forget the brand but it seemed pretty nice-- took about an hour from start to finish... hmmm

    I'm a Hank Hill guy, just plain old gas BBQ for me

    (but I do have a nice smoker and a Blackstone too)
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  3. #3
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    Thanks kev
    Maybe a hour is the right amount of time for grilling on one these pellet machines. Guess the marketing of smoking + searing got my hopes up a little high. (To be fair it never said how long it took to switch) I'm debating on seeing if Walmart will return it and just getting a gas bbq and separate smoker.
    Really looking to have something quick for steaks and burgers after work and then something for smoking.

  4. #4
    gas grill food tastes funny. Not like gas, but doesn't taste right. I have been cooking over a wood fired grill for 20 years. I keep a 50 gallon drum of well seasoned oak/hickory/apple wood chunks just inside the basement door from the grill. I can have a hot fire in about 5 minutes. I can cook low and slow for 12 hours, just by periodic monitoring adding wood in a line so it burns from one end to the other. The pork butts I bbq come out so "done" that all I do is grab the bones which lift right out, free of any meat. I can make hot smoked salmon fillets in 20 minutes from match to table. I have the fresh hams cut into 1 inch thick steaks. I marinate those in olive oil and spices for an hour and then sear over the hot flames and cook in the hot smoke for an hour. I even cook thick pineapple slices on the grill. Without the smoke flavor, the food just doesn't taste right. I even barbeque chuck roasts over wood. Beans cooked in the corner of the grill absorb a little of that wood smoke and are heavenly. A gas grill can't do that.

  5. #5
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    I'm afraid without spending a ton of cash. a pellet grill isn't really a grill at all. It's more like a pellet fed electric smoker. The less expensive versions are not insulated and lose heat fast. They take a long time to heat up and use lots of fuel. I've heard the higher end insulated Traegers (and others in the same class) work pretty well. A friend has one of the economy Traegers without insulation. It's only really good for low and slow cooks like ribs and brisket. It takes some time to come up to smoking temp and will never be mistaken for a grill.
    Sharp solves all manner of problems.

  6. #6
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    I have been thinking about getting one, but my son has a Traeger and it works fine for smoking, but he goes to the gas grill for grilling, too long to get the Traeger up to heat, then it maxes out at about 400 degrees, not enough for a quick sear. My real problem is that I have a "Commercial Series" Charbroil (with a tag that says not for commercial use) I bought from Lowes 15 years ago. It came with a lifetime warranty. It won't die. I have replaced burners and grills multiple times at just the shipping cost. But he has an outdoor gas flat top which really seems the way to go for everything but smoking.
    NOW you tell me...

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael J Evans View Post
    What I've found so far, is this unit takes 10 minutes just to preheat? / Start generating smoke. Then another 20 minutes to get to 225 or so.
    Then if I want to crank it up to 500 it's like 45 minutes to a hour, literally...

    Is this the standard amount of time for pellet smoker / grills?
    I'm severely disappointed in the amount of time it is taking.

    Thanks
    Michael
    I've got a Traeger Ironwood, which has the insulated cook chamber.

    I've never exactly timed it, but mine ignites and comes up to smoking temperature in about 5 minutes or so. When I crank it up to 500, it takes less than an additional 5 minutes or so to get there.

    I'm not sure it is just the insulation that is at issue here, however... My son-in-law has an uninsulated smoker (I can't recall the brand) and his performs similar to mine, except when it is cold outside.

    Maybe you have a defective unit? Check out Youtube, there are a vast number of videos showing every aspect of pellet grilling, and I've yet to see one say that it takes an hour to get to burger temperature. When I've got mine cranked up, the pellet burner pot is an inferno, and sounds like something a blacksmith would employ. Perhaps your auger tube is clogged, or something like that. I can't imagine a little insulation making that much of a difference...

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Perry Hilbert Jr View Post
    gas grill food tastes funny. Not like gas, but doesn't taste right. I have been cooking over a wood fired grill for 20 years. I keep a 50 gallon drum of well seasoned oak/hickory/apple wood chunks just inside the basement door from the grill. I can have a hot fire in about 5 minutes. I can cook low and slow for 12 hours, just by periodic monitoring adding wood in a line so it burns from one end to the other. The pork butts I bbq come out so "done" that all I do is grab the bones which lift right out, free of any meat. I can make hot smoked salmon fillets in 20 minutes from match to table. I have the fresh hams cut into 1 inch thick steaks. I marinate those in olive oil and spices for an hour and then sear over the hot flames and cook in the hot smoke for an hour. I even cook thick pineapple slices on the grill. Without the smoke flavor, the food just doesn't taste right. I even barbeque chuck roasts over wood. Beans cooked in the corner of the grill absorb a little of that wood smoke and are heavenly. A gas grill can't do that.
    Maybe I'm just not using my charcoal right then. I always found the charcoal to be at least a 30 minute process to get grilling.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Luter View Post
    I'm afraid without spending a ton of cash. a pellet grill isn't really a grill at all. It's more like a pellet fed electric smoker. The less expensive versions are not insulated and lose heat fast. They take a long time to heat up and use lots of fuel. I've heard the higher end insulated Traegers (and others in the same class) work pretty well. A friend has one of the economy Traegers without insulation. It's only really good for low and slow cooks like ribs and brisket. It takes some time to come up to smoking temp and will never be mistaken for a grill.
    Dang, that's kind of my findings so far to. Plus the burn pot area itself is fairly small to for searing your only getting like 1 steak on that portion at a time.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by John M Wilson View Post
    I've got a Traeger Ironwood, which has the insulated cook chamber.

    I've never exactly timed it, but mine ignites and comes up to smoking temperature in about 5 minutes or so. When I crank it up to 500, it takes less than an additional 5 minutes or so to get there.

    I'm not sure it is just the insulation that is at issue here, however... My son-in-law has an uninsulated smoker (I can't recall the brand) and his performs similar to mine, except when it is cold outside.

    Maybe you have a defective unit? Check out Youtube, there are a vast number of videos showing every aspect of pellet grilling, and I've yet to see one say that it takes an hour to get to burger temperature. When I've got mine cranked up, the pellet burner pot is an inferno, and sounds like something a blacksmith would employ. Perhaps your auger tube is clogged, or something like that. I can't imagine a little insulation making that much of a difference...
    Hmm interesting. I emailed pit boss and they said that yes like 7-10 minutes for the initial smoke / ignition is normal and to then adjust to my desired temp.

    My burner pot also sounds like a inferno and I can see the flames in it going. Just doesnt seem to actually heat up that fast.
    My pitboss has a built in thermometer for it's internal adjustments, Im going to get a secondary thermometer and see how it compares to the internal.

  11. #11
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    I'm at my Son-in-law's and we decided to run a test this morning. We're getting ready to smoke a Boston Butt, so we decided to time it.

    From cold start (60 degrees) to ignition: 3 minutes

    From ignition to 225 degrees: An additional 4 minutes

    So it took 7 minutes total to get to 225. We didn't crank it up to 500, since we are smoking low & slow, but he says it only takes a few minutes more to get up to burger temperatures.

    Since this is also an uninsulated Pit Boss like yours, we think there is something going on with yours that is not normal. It could be the auger not providing the chips fast enough, or it could be the air blower.

    Either way, since you just bought yours, I'd exchange it for another before you completely give up on pellet grills. My Son-in-law was a propane griller, and I was a die-hard charcoal guy. Since buying our pellet grills, the other ones have sat idle. Your mileage may vary.
    Last edited by John M Wilson; 05-12-2021 at 10:17 AM. Reason: for clarity

  12. #12
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    I have a new pit boss also. My times are very similar to John Wilson's, it definitely takes longer than a gas grill. I had very mixed emotions when I bought mine, so I got the model that is 1/2 pellet grill and the other half is gas grill. Well after 2 months I haven't even fired up the gas grill portion. I do REALLY like the pellet grill taste and how easy it is to cook food without burning it.
    A bus station is where a bus stops. A train station is where a train stops. My desk is a work station.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by John M Wilson View Post
    I'm at my Son-in-law's and we decided to run a test this morning. We're getting ready to smoke a Boston Butt, so we decided to time it.

    From cold start (60 degrees) to ignition: 3 minutes

    From ignition to 225 degrees: An additional 4 minutes

    So it took 7 minutes total to get to 225. We didn't crank it up to 500, since we are smoking low & slow, but he says it only takes a few minutes more to get up to burger temperatures.

    Since this is also an uninsulated Pit Boss like yours, we think there is something going on with yours that is not normal. It could be the auger not providing the chips fast enough, or it could be the air blower.

    Either way, since you just bought yours, I'd exchange it for another before you completely give up on pellet grills. My Son-in-law was a propane griller, and I was a die-hard charcoal guy. Since buying our pellet grills, the other ones have sat idle. Your mileage may vary.
    Thanks John
    I need to time mine to make sure I'm not over exaggerating, but tonight was another night of frustration with it. Tried to have the wife turn it on while I was at work, she couldn't get it to ignite.
    Came home and spent another 30 mins trying to get it to ignite. Finally removed the auger and went through the prime process again which took about 15 minutes to get smoking. Getting up to temp didn't take to long after I finally got it going.
    Thinking hard about returning it, but I would have to rent a trailer to return it and WalMart (in one piece) would not give me a yes or no since it's used. I don't have the box since I literally cut it up as soon as I got done building it. The Walmart associate just said "yea I think, well I'm not really sure and I can't get anyone to help you. So yea maybe, just bring it and and we'll see" I told them I'd either have to rent a trailer or disassemble and she just said bring it in with all the parts and I think it'll be okay... 🤔

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Monson View Post
    I have a new pit boss also. My times are very similar to John Wilson's, it definitely takes longer than a gas grill. I had very mixed emotions when I bought mine, so I got the model that is 1/2 pellet grill and the other half is gas grill. Well after 2 months I haven't even fired up the gas grill portion. I do REALLY like the pellet grill taste and how easy it is to cook food without burning it.
    I looked at that one but it was 250 more than mine, if I'm remembering correctly and they wife already wasn't hot on spending 500 on a grill.

  15. #15
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    On a side note, anyone tried reqtec pellet grills. They make one that looks like a Weber that claims searing temps of 750 degrees with pretty favorable reviews

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