Pit Boss pellet grills are amazing as they allow anyone to create smokey, flavorful, food that a traditional gas, charcoal, or propane grill can’t produce. But, it’s also a potential hazard that can start a fire if not handled properly. If you’re hosting an event with your grill, make sure to keep these tips in mind to prevent it from catching fire!
Do Pit Boss Grills Catch Fire?
While not common, Pit Boss grills can catch fire. This occurs because of a dirty drip tray, the buildup of pellets, or using the grill too close to combustible or hazardous materials. It’s important to ensure you are using the proper startup procedure with high-quality pellets and to keep your grill clean and watch for grease buildup.
As mentioned pellet grills are typically safe, but whenever operating any type of electrical equipment that deals with flames, you run the risk of it catching fire.
Let’s take a closer look at what you need to know to keep you and your family safe the next time you operate your Pit Boss pellet grill.
Can A Pellet Grill Catch Fire?
All pellet grills even Traegers use fire to cook food, therefore have the potential to catch fire. Anytime there is fire involved, there is a risk of fire.
Pellet grills use an open flame to generate heat, but they are designed to work like convection ovens. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about small flare-ups as you’d experience on charcoal or gas grills.
If a small flare-up does occur due to a buildup of grease on the tray, it’s usually nothing to panic over.
However, if the flames take over the entire grill and seem out of control, you’ll want to know what to do so the grill doesn’t explode and you can salvage it as much as possible without injuring yourself.
So let’s take a look at the two culprits that are known to cause fires.
What to Keep an Eye On?
If you just purchased your Pit Boss pellet grill, you may not be familiar with what to pay attention to, especially, since they differ from the traditional gas grills.
Grease Trap and Cup
The grease trap on the Pit Boss is located on the opposite side of the hopper and funnels the grease away from the fire or firebox and into a drip bucket. An excessive buildup of grease can prevent it from functioning properly.
As the old grease builds up, it prevents the new grease from funneling into the drip bucket and causing it to back up into the grill, where it can come into contact with the open flame.
The auger feeds pellets into the firepot to start and keep the fire lit during the cooking process. When there is no fire in the firepot, and the pellets continue to feed into it, an overflow will occur.
What to Do If Your Your Pit Boss Catches Fire?
#1 Don’t Panic
First things first, don’t panic. Panicking doesn’t help in emergency situations, you’ll lose all rationality, causing you to make bad decisions that can be dangerous to you and those around you.
If you panic others around you will feel your fear and begin panicking as well. A calm grill master who can keep cool when a grill catches fire won’t have any issues handling these uncommon situations.
#2 Unplug the Grill
If you see or suspect a fire, the first thing to do is to unplug the appliance as quickly as possible. Make sure you don’t get too close to the grill, so you don’t get burnt.
Leaving it plugged in means that the auger will continue feeding pellets into the fire hopper. Unplugging it from the power source ensures the auger stops feeding pellets, which means the fire will eventually go out.
#3 Stop the Oxygen Supply
Fire requires at least 16% oxygen to burn. When the lid is closed, you stop the flow of oxygen, therefore preventing the fire to burn. Whether you have a grease fire or a pellet fire, closing the lid is one of the fastest and easiest ways to put it out without a lot of intervention on your part.
Keep the lid closed and don’t open it, until you are certain the fire has been put out.
#4 Move It Away from Flammable Objects
You should never operate a pellet grill in the garage, or near any flammable materials. It should be utilized outdoors or in an area with plenty of ventilation to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
However, if you find the grill is too close to the house, patio, or any other flammable object, you’ll want to push or pull it away as long as the fire is contained within the smoker.
#5 Use A Fire Extinguisher Not Water
Never use water on grease fires or any type of pellet grill fire. It’ll make the fire spread more and can cause harm to any bystanders. Anyone who owns a pellet grill needs to have access to a multi-purpose fire extinguisher in case of emergencies.
If you don’t have a fire extinguisher then you’ll want to smother the fire with baking soda or salt. Both baking soda and salt release CO2 that will consume the oxygen, therefore putting out the fire. Never use flour or baking powder as they are highly flammable.
After putting the fire out, you’ll need to do a deep cleaning before you can start grilling again.
What You Can Do to Prevent Your Pit Boss From Catching Fire
Prevention is the key and knowing what to do means you’ll likely never have to worry about your Pit Boss catching fire.
Below are some easy steps you can take:
- Clean the grill: The biggest culprit that causes Pit Boss fires is excessive oil, grease, or other debris. The owner’s manual specifically says to clean the bottom of the main grill after every 5-6 grilling sessions, and the grease bucket after every grilling session.
- Supervise the grill: Never leave the grill unattended during the day or nighttime grilling, as this is when accidents happen. Pellet grills are popular for long slow cooks because of the ease of temperature control. However, it’s important to continually monitor the grill to ensure you don’t run into any problems like the pellets running out, or the grill running too hot.
- Keep away from flammable objects: As mentioned above, never use the smoker in an enclosed area or around hazardous or flammable materials.
- Check the pellets: If the pellet grill has been sitting for a while without use, always check the quality of the pellets. I’ve written an article that walks you through how to test the pellets. Using old pellets can cause jams and buildups because they won’t burn as efficiently.
- Follow the burn-off procedure: The Pit Boss manual recommends doing a burn-off procedure after every cook. This burns off any excess debris and pellets in the firepot which can prevent accidental flames and fires the next time you use the grill.
Can a Pit Boss Have A Fire in the Hopper?
No, the hopper is set up as far away as possible from the fire source to prevent it from catching fire. However, if an unmonitored grill catches fire, the fire could move into the hopper over time.
Can A Pit Boss Explode?
Pit Boss pellet grills are electrical appliances that utilize various metal components that can explode if they become hot enough.
That said, it’s highly unlikely a Pit Boss pellet grill will explode, as long as they are supervised properly.
Can I Use the Grill After It Has Caught Fire?
Yes, unless your Pit Boss burned completely and caused a huge fire where the fire department was called out, you can still use your grill. Pit Boss grills are built to withstand extremely high temperatures.
Meaning if your grill catches fire, it likely damaged the internal parts of the grill. You can purchase extra parts on Amazon, Lowes, and even the Pit Boss website, which will come out cheaper than buying a brand new grill.
Are Pellet Grills A Fire Hazard?
Pellet grills are no more dangerous than any other grill. They are designed to work like a conventional oven that is used in many kitchens throughout the United States, which is why they are not prone to flare-ups.
When appliance fires occur, it is a result of poor maintenance and failure to maintain clearance of combustible materials.
Which Pellet Grills Catch Fire Most Often?
All pellet grills are prone to fire, regardless of brand. That said, you hear more stories about Traegers catching fire because the company was launched almost a decade before Pit Boss.
Regardless of what type of pellet grill you own, it’s important to follow the care and maintenance tips in the owner’s manual.
It is possible for a Pit Boss pellet grill to catch fire, it’s not common. Pit Boss pellet grills are relatively safe when used properly.
If your grill catches fire, it’s due to uncleanliness or a buildup of pellets in the firepot.
Always check your grill before using it. If it continues to catch fire, then you’ll want to reach out to the Pit Boss customer service to let them know.