Pit Boss Pro Series 820 Review: Unpacking The Boss

Owning a pellet grill can be a true milestone in the life of a barbecue enthusiast. The trick is finding a reliable unit with great heat retention. You also want a grill that can hold up to many seasons of fun in the sun–and all other types of weather. This Pit Boss Pro Series 820 review should help you on the first stage of your journey.

Pit Boss is a subsidiary of Dansons, Inc., which has been in business since 1999. Over the past two decades, Pit Boss has cultivated a fine reputation, offering grills that combine convenience with intense flavor.

Pros:

  • Reasonable price point for the size
  • Eye-catching design
  • Imparts impressive wood-smoked flavor
  • Versatile, with a broad temperature range

Cons:

  • Cross-hatch pattern on grates makes them difficult to clean
  • There can be a long wait for replacement parts

Pit Boss Pro Series 820 Review: Features & Benefits

Design

Like many pellet grills, the Pit Boss Pro Series 820 has a barrel-shaped firebox with a broad bar handle on the lid. This is a cart-style unit with two oversized wheels for mobility. There’s also a lower shelf, which can be used to store additional pellets or other supplies.

A second shelf rests beneath the chimney on the right-hand side of the grill. The configuration makes it a bit awkward for food prep, but it can be a good place to keep plates and utensils while you wait for the food to cook. There’s also a set of tool hooks built into the front of the shelf.

One very noticeable aspect of the design: The words PIT BOSS are emblazoned across the front, just below the firebox. If you want a grill that advertises its brand loud and clear, this could be the one for you.

Construction

Pit Boss uses 16-gauge black powder-coated steel in the construction of the Pro Series 820. This helps the firebox retain its heat, no matter what the temperature. The shelving is also made of coated steel, so it’s able to withstand punishment from the elements.

The porcelain-coated cast iron cooking grates are sturdy enough, and the secondary warming rack is fairly simple to clean. However, the cross-hatch pattern on the main cooking surface makes cleanup a pain, particularly if there’s a lot of debris built up. For more information on maintenance, see the separate section below.

Size

This model features 818 square inches of grilling space, making it suitable for bigger groups. A grill this size can hold about 40 hamburger patties at once. If you like to invite friends and neighbors over for cookouts, the Pit Boss Pro Series 820 should suit your needs.

Hopper Capacity

With a hopper capacity of 19 pounds, the Pro Series 820 can run for hours without interference. Depending on what you’re cooking, you can expect the pellets to last for 18 to 38 hours.

Remember that you’ll use up more pellets at higher temperatures. If you’re grilling a batch of hamburgers or searing up a few steaks, the pellets will burn at a rate of about one pound per hour. On the other hand, if you’re making beef brisket or pulled pork, you’ll get about two hours out of one pound of pellets.

Heat Retention

The solid construction helps the Pit Boss Pro Series 820 hold its heat remarkably well. It does an especially good job at low temperatures, which is great news if you’re making beef jerky.

Pit Boss claims that this model features a temperature range of 180 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.  This is a generous range, although we wish it went slightly higher for making grilled flatbread and pizza. You can still use it to make those things, but the cooking process will take a bit longer.

The company claims that the Pro Series 820 has “8 in 1” capability. That means that it can be used for the following cooking techniques: grilling, searing, smoking, barbecuing, roasting, char-grilling, baking, and braising. We think it works better for smoking than anything else, but on the whole, the performance is impressive.

Assembly

The assembly instructions that come with the grill can be overwhelming. There’s an extensive list of parts, and you’ll need to get them all organized before you can begin. Once you’ve done that, however, the grill is easy enough to put together.

We would recommend asking a friend or family member for help when assembling the Pit Boss Pro Series 820. It goes much more smoothly when there’s someone on hand to check your progress, especially with a grill this size.

Cleanup and Maintenance

As we pointed out, the cross-hatch pattern on the main cooking grid increases the amount of time you’ll spend on maintenance. The secondary warming rack, meanwhile, is simple to clean despite its generous dimensions.

The Pro Series 820 is equipped with a large drip bucket positioned beneath the right-hand shelf. The bucket holds all the grease runoff and can be removed and emptied as needed. It’s big enough to hold the drippings from several cookouts, but we would suggest cleaning it out after each use.

Warranty

A 5-year warranty is in place for any Pit Boss grill purchased after September 5, 2018. The industry standard is 1 to 3 years, so this guarantee is an excellent reason to choose Pit Boss over the competition. The company is obviously willing to stand behind their product, which makes the reasonable price point even more impressive.

Social Proof

We scoured the Web and found a few positive reviews for the Pit Boss Pro Series 820.

Users reported excellent results, particularly for smoked and braised meats. The grill’s superb temperature control and heat retention were praised on more than one occasion. A few consumers claimed that they received defective parts and that the replacements were slow to turn up. However, Pit Boss resolved these issues eventually.

Possible Alternatives

If the Pit Boss Pro Series 820 isn’t what you had in mind, consider one of these units instead. They’re similar to the Pit Boss model in some ways, but you might find them more suitable.

#1 Z Grills ZPG-7002B

Like the Pro Series 820, this unit offers “8 n 1” versatility, though its temperature range is slightly less impressive. It also has just 700 square inches of cooking space, so its footprint is smaller.

How they compare:

  • Affordability: Z Grills
  • Construction: Pit Boss
  • Size: Pit Boss
  • Heat Retention: Pit Boss
  • Assembly: Z Grills
  • Maintenance: Pit Boss
  • Warranty: Pit Boss

If you have space constraints, the ZPG-7002B could be the right fit.

#2 Traeger Grills Ironwood 885

This cart-style pellet grill from Traeger offers Alexa and WiFIRE smart home technology for ultimate convenience.

How they compare:

  • Affordability: Pit Boss
  • Construction: Traeger
  • Size: Traeger
  • Heat Retention: Traeger
  • Assembly: Pit Boss
  • Maintenance: Traeger
  • Warranty: Pit Boss

For a pellet grill with impressive technological capabilities, consider the Ironwood 885. 

#3 Broil King Regal 500

This represents Broil King’s entry into the pellet grilling race. It’s a sturdily built unit that can reach temperatures up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit.

How they compare:

  • Affordability: Pit Boss
  • Construction: Broil King
  • Size: Broil King
  • Heat Retention: Broil King
  • Assembly: Pit Boss
  • Maintenance: Broil King
  • Warranty: Tie

If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, take a look at the Broil King Regal 500 today.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do pellet grills work?

Pellet grills use an auger component to feed the fuel from the attached hopper into the burn pot. When you set the temperature using the control panel, the auger reacts accordingly, feeding in as many pellets as is necessary to reach the desired range.

Is pellet grilling safe?

Yes. As long as you’re sure to purchase food-grade pellets, the technique is perfectly safe. Never use the pellets that are intended for home heating purposes–these contain dangerous chemicals and additives that make them unsuitable for cooking.

For best results, we would recommend buying pellets that are distributed by the same manufacturer as your grill. It’s also a good idea to store the pellets in a cool, dry place. Also, use a container with a tight seal to help ward off rodent damage.

What’s the best flavor to use for pellet grilling?

That depends on what you’re cooking, as well as the level of smoke flavor that you prefer. For white meat and fish, you should stick to milder woods like cherry and apple. If you’re making slow-cooked beef brisket or pulled pork, you can experiment with strong flavors like hickory and mesquite.

One tip when using wood pellets with powerful smoke flavor: Use a little at a time, mixing them with milder pellets to begin with. If you use too much mesquite, it can overpower the other flavors, resulting in a bitter-tasting meal.

Final Thoughts

After compiling this Pit Boss Pro Series 820 review, we would feel comfortable recommending this unit. It’s a well-constructed grill with plenty of cooking space, and the temperature can be set low enough to make delicious smoked meat products. We’re also impressed by the hopper capacity, which makes the entire process more carefree.

Click here to take a closer look at the Pit Boss Pro Series 820.

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