Can You Use Charcoal In A Pit Boss Pellet Grill? [Why Not?]

It’s a nice warm day and you’re getting ready to crank up your Pit Boss grill to cook some hamburgers. Only to realize that you don’t have any pellets, but you do have a bag of charcoal. So, can you use charcoal in a Pit Boss pellet grill?

Can You Use Charcoal In A Pit Boss Pellet Grill?

No, Pit Boss pellet grills are designed and approved to use all-natural, wood fuel only. If you have a Pit Boss combo grill, it will function with both wood pellets and propane. That said, if you enjoy the taste of charcoal-flavored food, consider using charcoal-flavored pellets.

can you use charcoal in a pit boss pellet grill

Pellet smokers differ from regular gas, propane, and charcoal grills. In this article, we’ll cover why you add charcoal to a Pit Boss grill. What is a combo pellet grill? The difference between charcoal pellets vs charcoal briquettes.

Why You Can’t Add Charcoal To A Pit Boss Pellet Grill

A pellet grill is fueled by all-natural wood pellets. To better understand why this let me explain how a pellet grill works.

Once you add the pellets to the hopper (here’s how to do this), the next step is to plug the grill into an electrical source. Next, you press the power button and the grill’s components start working.

The auger pushes the pellets from the hopper into the firepot. Once the pellets reach the firepot, they catch fire which enables you to cook over indirect and direct heat.

If you look down into the hopper, you will notice how the pellets are fed through the small opening in the auger. It would be impossible to feed charcoal briquettes through the small opening.

If a small piece of charcoal did happen to get through the opening, it’s likely that it would jam the smoker. The owner’s manual specifically states that using any other type of fuel in this appliance automatically voids the warranty.

Watch How The Pellet Grill Works

If you’re still confused on why you can’t use charcoal in your smoker, watch the video below. You’ll see the auger feeding the pellet fuel into the firepot and how it actually works.

What Is A Combo Pellet Grill?

A combo pellet grill is exactly what it sounds like. You can use more than one type of fuel. These grills are becoming more popular because they allow you to use more than one fuel source.

Some people don’t want to always slow cook on their smoker. Having a combo grill makes it easy to use propane if you want to do a fast cook.

Pellet grills are best suited for long cooks.

That said, it can also be used as a regular grill and you can cook on high for those days you want something grilled fast.

Unfortunately, at the time of this writing, Pit Boss only has two combo grills.

Both function with all-natural pellets and propane. Below are the two combo grills available with Pit Boss:

  • Pit Boss Sportsman 1230 Gas/Pellet Combo Grill
  • Pit Boss Navigator Gas/Pellet Grill

Are There Any Combo Grills That Use Charcoal?

I know what you’re thinking, is it possible to get a smoker combo that uses both pellets and charcoal? That’s what I was looking for when I was shopping for a new grill.

However, the closest thing I found was the Royal Gourmet CC1830F Charcoal Grill With Offset Smoker.

Royal Gourmet CC1830F Grill with Offset Smoker,...
  • Ample Cooking Space: A total of 823 sq. in. cooking surface includes 443 sq. in. porcelain-enameled steel wire cooking grates, 191 sq. in. chrome-plated warming rack and 189 sq. in. offset smoker.
  • Great Performance: With a firm combination of offset smoker, this charcoal grill delivers excellent performance. Experience grilled and smoked meat at the same time with no hassle.
  • Heat Control System: 2-level height-adjustable charcoal pan creates better heat control. Cooking chamber maintains internal temperature and prevents air loss.
  • Preparatory Space: Front shelf offers room for seasonings and bottom shelf provides extra storage space.
  • Easy to Move: Two wagon-style wheels make this grill easy to move around, the side spring handle allows for extra convenience for transport.

It is a cart-style grill that is fueled by charcoal briquettes. The grill has a small smoker box that makes it easy to smoke meats.

Unfortunately, I was unable to find a pellet/charcoal Pit Boss combo grill, or any other brand. The only option available is to buy one of the charcoal grills manufactured by Pit Boss.

There’s nothing wrong with having more than one grill. That said, it can be expensive owning more than one grill.

The next option is to buy charcoal pellets for your pellet grill.

Charcoal Pellets Vs. Charcoal Briquettes

There are some differences between the two, and it will have an effect on the food you cook. Here are some of the key differences to know about.

Charcoal briquettes are made from scrap wood and sawdust. The wood pellets contain no added binders, flavors, or spray scents. Unfortunately, some charcoal briquette brands can have chemical binders or fillers (including coal dust). It is what gives them that square pillow shape and will produce more pollutants as it burns. 

The Pit Boss Charcoal hardwood pellets offer a bold aroma of oak hardwood that gives off that classic smoky charcoal taste that makes steaks and burgers taste great.  

Hardwood pellets burn hotter (around 1,000°F) than charcoal, which burns around (700°-750°F). In addition, hardwood pellets light faster than charcoal. So depending on the brand of charcoal, you may need lighter fuel to help them catch fire. 

Both produce ash, but the hardwood pellets produce less than charcoal, making the cleanup process much easier. 

So What About The Flavor?

Like hardwood pellets, charcoal briquettes come in many different flavors. That said, charcoal gives your food a smoky or charbroiled taste that can make food taste amazing.  

Charcoal pellets will give food a purer wood fire flavor that is unbeatable. 

Foods That Go Great With Charcoal Flavored Pellets?

Some foods taste better when cooked over white-hot coal charcoal. It allows meats, steaks, veggies to get a nice char that is so flavorful. 

Below, you’ll find some foods that go great with charcoal and should be cooked with either briquettes or charcoal hardwood pellets. 


Some meats taste better when they are infused with a smoky taste when cooked over charcoal. Below are some of the favorite meats that work best with charcoal.

  • Steak
  • Smoked baby back ribs
  • Rotisserie chicken
  • Burgers
  • Pork chops
  • Turkey

Cooking vegetables over charcoal briquettes or pellets can infuse a smoky flavor making it incredibly flavorful. You can grill virtually any vegetables over this fuel flavor, but some of the best ones to cook are:

  • Cauliflower
  • Asparagus
  • Cabbage
  • Corn on the cob
  • Mushrooms

Where Do I Buy Charcoal Pellets?

At the time of this writing, the only place to buy the charcoal hardwood pellets is Walmart and Lowes.

They come in a 20 lb bag which will be enough for more than one cook. This will allow you to test out and experiment with the flavor to see if it’s what you like.

If you don’t like the flavor of the pellets, then you can make the decision of whether you want to invest in a charcoal grill.

Final Word

Pit Boss pellet grills are designed to work with high-quality wood pellets. Trying to add charcoal or any other fuel source will cause the grill to malfunction.

If you enjoy the charcoal flavored taste of food. Consider buying some charcoal flavored pellets, or buying a small charcoal grill.

There’s nothing wrong with having more than one grill. Sometimes you may not want to do a low and slow cook and would rather use a charcoal, gas, or propane grill.

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