Pit Boss Austin XL Reviews: Is This One The True Boss?

For those of us who love the authentic wood-fired taste of real barbecue, a pellet grill is an invaluable tool. If you’re serious about turning out large quantities of meat at once, then you’ll need a grill that’s up to the task. The Pit Boss Austin XL delivers on both counts.

In 1999, an entrepreneur named Dan Thiessen founded Dansons, Inc. alongside his two sons, Jordan and Jeff. The company we know as Pit Boss Grills is a subsidiary of this corporation.

Throughout the past two decades, the folks at Pit Boss have cultivated a reputation for value and precise attention to detail. While they offer gas, kamado, and combination grills as well, the pellet smoker remains their flagship offering.

Pit Boss has an impressive lineup of pellet grills available, including some tabletop models. The Austin XL, meanwhile, is one of their larger offerings. With these Pit Boss Austin XL reviews, we’ll try to determine whether this particular offering is worth a second look.

wood pellets

Pros:

  • Can be used for both high-heat and indirect grilling
  • Generous amount of cooking space
  • Dual meat probes included
  • Ample storage, including tool hooks

Cons:

  • Very large; may take up too much space on some patios
  • Cleanup can be time-consuming
  • Some shipping issues reported

Pit Boss Austin XL Reviews: Features & Benefits

In this section, we’ll go over the specifications to help you decide whether the Pit Boss Austin XL will suit your grilling needs.

Affordability

grill affordability

Considering the grilling capacity (see Size), below, the Pit Boss Austin XL is set at a very reasonable price.

By way of comparison, you can expect to pay roughly the same amount for this grill as you would for a 4-burner gas grill. The difference is, you’ll be able to prepare more food at once on the Austin XL—and it will have real wood flavor to boot.

Design

Like most large pellet smokers, this one features a barrel-shaped cooking chamber, with a cart-style sawhorse chassis design. The lower shelf offers adequate storage space, and there’s also a removable stainless steel shelf that sits adjacent to the cooking surface. The upper shelf includes three tool hooks for tongs, barbecue brushes, or other tools.

Because the top of the pellet hopper is completely flat, it can pull double duty as an extra shelf. It also sits at a convenient angle if you need to do any prep work while the meat is cooking. For more information on this component, see Hopper Capacity, below.

An analog thermometer is built into the lid of the Austin XL, making it easy to check the temperature without letting any of the heat and smoke out. The lid itself is heavy, with a graceful curve that fits snugly against the base of the chamber.

Although this grill is large and cumbersome, it’s outfitted with four wheels at the base to make it more maneuverable. The wheels in front are rollerblade-style, while the caster wheels in the rear are equipped with foot latches for stability.

We would recommend leaving the grill in place whenever possible, as the wheels are better suited for smooth surfaces than for gravel, grassy areas, or rough terrain. The grill itself might be able to handle the extra bumps, but the wheels aren’t quite up to the challenge.

Materials

A pellet grill represents a significant investment, so it’s vital to choose a unit that’s sturdy enough to hold up to regular use. The Pit Boss Austin XL is made from heavy-duty steel, with an overall weight of around 180 pounds. When you test the weight of the lid, you can tell that this is a grill that’s built to last.

There are three grids for the main grilling surface, all constructed of porcelain-enameled cast iron. One of these grids is slightly narrower than the others, which is something you’ll need to pay close attention to during assembly. There’s also a steel warming rack included, also featuring a porcelain coating.

The enameled grates clean up well and are built to last, offering plenty of cooking space (see below for more details). In our opinion, the cooking grids are one of the best reasons to invest in the Pit Boss Austin XL.

Size

The impressive grilling capacity is the Austin XL’s claim to fame. This unit offers no fewer than 1000 square inches of cooking space. Of that number, 930 square inches are available on the main grilling surface. The additional steel warming rack holds another 70 square inches.

If you’re looking for a grill that can accommodate whole chickens or hams, full rib racks, beef brisket, or large cuts of pork butt, then this could be the unit for you. The grilling surface can also accommodate up to 52 hamburger patties, which makes it ideal for neighborhood cookouts or family reunions.

Because we like to use our pellet grill for long cooking applications, we appreciate the extra space. That said, if you aren’t a serious barbecue enthusiast, or if you don’t have room to store a unit this size, you should probably keep searching.

Hopper Capacity

The Austin XL has a sizable pellet hopper to match its generous capacity. The hopper can hold up to 31 pounds of wood pellets in the flavor of your choice. That means you should be able to perform, around 30 hours of high-heat cooking applications, or twice that if you’re using the grill for smoking or braising.

Having a hopper that can accommodate a lot of pellets is nice, but you’ll need to be careful if you don’t use the grill that often. When the pellets stay in the hopper for too long, they can get damp or moldy. That would have a negative impact on your barbecue, to say the least.

One final note: The hopper on the Austin XL is equipped with a transparent window. This makes it easier to tell when it’s time to add more fuel. It also makes it easier to check on the condition of the pellets if it’s been awhile since your last cook.

Heat Retention

As we mentioned earlier, the Austin XL has a tight-fitting lid that helps trap the smoke and heat inside. This is a great feature, and one that’s lacking in some lesser models.

Moreover, if you’re planning on using the grill all winter long, Pit Boss has you covered. The Austin XL does an admirable job of keeping the heat where it’s supposed to be, even when the exterior temperature dips below freezing.

One caveat: When it’s cold outside, add about 15 or 20 minutes to the preheating time to ensure satisfactory results. We would also suggest setting the dial to a higher temperature—say, 275 degrees if you’re hoping to cook in the 225 to 250 range. This will help to offset the negative effects of the cold weather.

We should also point out that this trick works both ways. During the summer months, you might want to set the temperature slightly lower to avoid flare-ups.

Temperature Control

The grill might be able to hold its heat well, but how accurate are the temperatures?

Pit Boss advertises a temperature range of 150 to 500 for the Austin XL. However, the digital control panel comes with a dial that can be set from 200 to 550, which is slightly misleading. Our advice would be to turn it to 550 if you want the maximum available temp, but don’t expect it to exceed 500.

If you’re looking for lower temperatures, there’s a “Smoke” option available beneath the 200 mark on the dial. This represents the unit’s startup mode, and it’s the recommended setting if you want to keep the fire burning as low as possible without going out.

To turn the Austin XL on and off, use the power button on the left-hand side of the control panel. Beneath this button, you’ll find the “P set” option, which allows you to change the temp display from Fahrenheit to Celsius. The P set button can also be used to fine-tune the grill’s internal temperature for more precise results.

The grill also comes with a Prime button. This feature is used to add an extra dose of wood pellets to the firebox and provide the ingredients with a more intense wood flavor. Pit Boss added this perk at the behest of professional BBQ masters who engage in competitive cooking.

Though the analog temperature display comes in handy at times, it doesn’t tell the whole story. That’s where the dual meat probes come in. With these probes, you can check both the internal temperature of the grill and the meat’s progress at the same time. Their respective temperatures will be displayed on the LCD readout.

No Pit Boss Austin XL reviews would be complete without mention of the flame broiler option. This feature allows you to rearrange the cooking grids to expose a broiler plate, which is lined with slits that allow the flames to leap through. The exposed area measures about 64 square inches and is ideal for steaks and pork chops.

Ease of Assembly

Because the Pit Boss Austin XL is so large, it can take quite a while to put together. The package contains many small parts, some of which can easily be mistaken for one another. If you’re a novice, we would suggest expanding your search to include grills that are more compact and straightforward to assemble.

Cleanup & Maintenance

Similarly, the grill’s sheer size makes the cleanup somewhat time-consuming. Fortunately, the porcelain coating on the cooking grates helps to speed that particular chore along. If you invest in a shop vac (or if you have one already), cleaning out the firebox and hopper will be that much simpler.

The Austin XL’s grease management system consists of a large bucket that attaches to the right-hand side of the grill. When the grease drips down beneath the cooking grates, it’s directed through the attached spout and into the bucket, which can then be emptied and cleaned with hot, soapy water.

Warranty

Pit Boss offers a 5-year warranty on the Austin XL, as well as most of the pellet smokers in its lineup. All parts and electrical components are included in this warranty coverage.

Initially, Pit Boss’s warranty was in place for just one year. However, in recent years, they’ve extended the coverage, offering a guarantee that’s far more generous than what you’ll find from most competitors.

Social Proof

After compiling these Pit Boss Austin XL reviews, we were favorably impressed with what the grill had to offer. Naturally, we were curious to find out what other consumers might have to say about it, so we conducted an internet search.

While a few buyers griped about the time-consuming assembly, most were impressed by the Austin XL’s performance. The flame broiler and superb heat retention were singled out for special praise, and the low price tag was mentioned as a definite plus.

Possible Alternatives

If the Pit Boss Austin XL isn’t for you, there are plenty of other viable options. Take a look at this list to find out if one of these models is a better fit for your lifestyle.

#1 Traeger Pro Series 34

The Traeger name is virtually synonymous with pellet grilling. With the Pro Series 34, they’ve delivered a sturdy and reliable unit with 884 square inches of cooking space. Be forewarned that the sawhorse chassis doesn’t include a lower shelf, so storage is limited.

How they compare:

  • Affordability—Pit Boss
  • Design—Pit Boss
  • Materials—Traeger
  • Size—Pit Boss
  • Hopper Capacity—Pit Boss
  • Heat Retention—Traeger
  • Temperature Control—Pit Boss
  • Ease of Assembly—Traeger
  • Cleanup & Maintenance—Tie
  • Warranty—Pit Boss

For a pellet grill that delivers precise and authentic results, give the Traeger Pro Series 34 a try.

#2 Weber SmokeFire EX6

Industry giant Weber has stepped into the pellet grilling ring with this highly advanced model, which features an impressive temperature range of 200 to 600 degrees Fahrenheit. The grill is attractive, with plenty of appealing features. However, be aware that Weber’s prices tend to be noticeably higher than the competition.

How they compare:

  • Affordability—Pit Boss
  • Design—Weber
  • Materials—Weber
  • Size—Weber
  • Hopper Capacity—Pit Boss
  • Heat Retention—Weber
  • Temperature Control—Weber
  • Ease of Assembly—Weber
  • Cleanup & Maintenance—Weber
  • Warranty—Pit Boss

Take a closer look at the Weber SmokeFire EX6 if you want to invest in a grill that’s more technologically advanced than the Austin XL.

#3 Z Grills ZPG-7002BPRO

The 7002BPRO is set at a price point similar to the Austin XL’s, but it only offers 700 square inches of cooking space. However, if you don’t need that much room, this is a versatile and user-friendly pellet grill. As a bonus, Z Grills offers a free customized waterproof cover with every purchase.

How they compare:

  • Affordability—Tie
  • Design—Pit Boss
  • Materials—Pit Boss
  • Size—Pit Boss
  • Hopper Capacity—Pit Boss
  • Heat Retention—Pit Boss
  • Temperature Control—Pit Boss
  • Ease of Assembly—Z Grills
  • Cleanup & Maintenance—Z Grills
  • Warranty—Pit Boss

The Z Grills ZPG-7002BPRO might be for you if you’re looking for a grill with a slightly smaller footprint.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will I need an electrical connection to power the Pit Boss Austin XL?

Yes. The grill requires electricity in order to run the auger and the control panel.

Before buying a pellet grill, always make sure that your designated spot is close to a working outlet. This is especially important when you’re dealing with a gigantic unit like the Pit Boss Austin XL.

I’m interested in buying a Pit Boss grill, but I don’t think I’ll need that much cooking space. Is there a smaller version available?

Pit Boss manufactures many quality pellet grills, with the Austin XL serving as just one gargantuan example.

For something smaller, check out the Pit Boss Classic 700. While it’s not as sturdily built as its larger counterpart, it’s a well-designed grill that offers 700 square inches of grilling space.

How long can you store wood pellets?

In most cases, wood pellets can be safely stored for up to 6 months without suffering any undue effects. To keep them in prime condition, store them in a well-sealed container away from excess heat and humidity.

Are pellet grills more environmentally friendly than charcoal or gas grills?

Proponents of pellet smokers will claim that the method is more environmentally sound than the competition, and with good reason.

Wood pellets are a renewable energy source—a useful product made from materials that would have otherwise gone to waste. Unlike charcoal and gas grilling, which rely on lighter fluid and other chemicals, this method is clean, requiring only a small dose of electricity. Quality pellets also burn cleanly, leaving behind very little residue.

The Bottom Line

We would feel comfortable recommending the Pit Boss Austin XL if you want to invest in a plus-sized pellet grill. The construction is durable, it’s conveniently designed, and the hopper can hold a vast amount of fuel at once. You might have to spend a little more time on maintenance, but that’s part of the deal when you buy a grill this size.

Click here to make the Pit Boss Austin XL a part of your regular BBQ routine.

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