You’re so excited to start grilling on your new Pit Boss smoker, you’ve heard everyone rave about smoke grilling. But when you use your smoker for the first time, you don’t see the smoke that everyone talks about. Could it be that you’re doing something wrong or is your smoker not working properly?
Why Is My Pit Boss Not Smoking?
No, there’s a good chance your smoker is not broken. The lack of smoke could be because of the grill temperature, wood pellets, fire pot, and meat temperature. I know this sounds kind of vague, especially if you’re new to pellet smokers like I was when I got my Pit Boss.
Don’t worry, we’ll go deeper into each reason and then I’ll share some tips that I’ve uncovered that can help your Pit Boss produce more smoke.
But first let’s look at what to expect when grilling on your pellet smoker.
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Is A Smoker Supposed To Smoke The Whole Time?
No, according to what I found online, a pellet grill will only produce huge amounts of smoke at the start of the cooking process. This is also referred to as the “start-up smoke” which is usually white, thick, and bitter.
Successful pellet smokers understand that this is the perfect time to take advantage of the extra smoke to help get a more smoky flavorful taste.
How Much Smoke Should Come Out Of A Smoker?
It depends, every pellet smoker is different. However, they all work pretty much the same where most produce a ton of smoke at startup. Once the fire rod heats up and starts to smolder pellets, the fans are able to start an actual flame.
You may still see smoke through different phases in the cooking process, but the smoke will be thicker when the auger drops more pellets in the fire pot.
Once your pellet smoker reaches your set temperature, you’re likely to see less smoke or at least not that thick smoke you see when you first turn on the grill.
What Temperature Is Smoke Setting On Pit Boss?
The default temperature for the smoke setting on the pit boss is 160℉ – 190℉ with a P4 setting. The P4 setting just means how fast the auger cycles, while in smoke mode.
It took some time to get used to the P setting on the Pit Boss, especially, since I had only used a Traeger a couple of times where they don’t have a P setting.
I actually still have a lot to learn about this setting, here are my tips for using the smoke setting on the Pit Boss.
How Do I Get More Smoke From My Pit Boss?
Okay, now that you know how much smoke you should get from your Pit Boss let’s look at why you’re not getting enough smoke and what to do about it.
It took me some time to learn how to use my Pit Boss. It’s different than grilling on my old gas grill.
Implement some of these actionable tips to see if you can produce that famous smoke ring everyone talks about.
#1 Cook At A Lower Temperature
Keep your temperature low, preferably around 225℉ to produce more smoke or that famous smoke ring. While this won’t cause your grill to smoke the whole time, it will produce more smoke than cooking at higher temperatures.
Just remember, cooking at lower temperatures can cause your meat to dry out, so make sure you put a water pan in the grill to keep your meat moist. We used apple juice when cooking our Boston butt.
#2 Put The Meat On While It’s Cold
One trick to get more smoke is to cook your meat while it’s cold rather than room temperature. Cold meat will also keep its myoglobin longer, which will have more time to bond with the NO (nitric oxide) to produce more smoke.
Myoglobin is basically the iron rich protein that gives meat its color. For instance, raw cold meat has more myoglobin than room temperature meat that may be starting to turn a little brown.
The cold meat will not only produce a great smoke ring, but it will also take in more of that smoke flavor that most people are hoping to achieve.
Once the exterior of the meat reaches 140℉, it stops absorbing that smoke flavor.
#3 Change Wood Pellets
Most pellet grill manufacturers recommend using their brand of wood pellets. We bought a Traeger for our father in law and Traeger voids the warranty if you use other wood pellets other than theirs.
Unlike Pit Boss, where their warranty, they say that “burning other than quality wood pellets may void the warranty.” (source) I’m not sure if they mean you can only use their pellets or not?
My brother has had a smoker grill for several years and he’s used several different flavors that he found on Amazon. In fact, he’s found several smokier pellets that he loves.
Not only can you try out different flavors to see which ones smoke the best. But you can usually get bulk amounts that will last for several cooks.
Just make sure you have an air tight container to protect your pellets from the rain. Click here to check out the most highly rated smokier wood pellets on Amazon
Be sure to read the reviews to see which ones make the most smoke and provide the best flavor. One thing that I will say about Pit Boss wood pellets is they are not only affordable, but they last for quite a while.
#4 Make Sure Your Pellets Are Dry
Speaking of pellets, you never want your pellets to get wet, because it’s bad. Not only will they make them useless, but they can be bad for your auger. Make sure you know to protect your pellets from being damaged from the elements.
Wood pellet smokers use the combustion from fire to acquire that NO molecules you desire, so make sure that the pellets are dry before using your grill.
#5 Try A Smoker Tube
A smoker tube is an inexpensive accessory that has become popular among smoker grill owners. One that comes to mind is the A-Maze-N Tube.
These accessories are designed to burn pellets and create smoke at higher temperatures. They make a great gift for someone that loves grilling in your life.
The best part is that they work for all kinds of grills, not just pellet grills!
You can even use the smoker tube to cold smoke on the Pit Boss.
#6 Open Up The Smoke Stack
Another trick to try is opening up the smoke stack to allow for oxygen flow. I’m not really sure if the chimney actually produces smoke, I did a ton of research before I purchased my Pit Boss.
I got the 820 because I wanted one with the smoke stack instead of having to install one myself. This forum has a ton of people talking about what the smokestack does, it’s definitely worth a read.
#7 Avoid Rubs With High Salt Content
Foods that are seasoned with acidic substances like lemon juice, vinegar, or contain high salt content can comprise the smoke ring.
#8 Choose Meats With Higher Myoglobin Content
Beef has more myoglobin than lamb and pork. The next time you want more smoke choose the meat that makes it easier to produce more smoke.
Choosing the right meat can make a huge difference when you’re trying to produce more smoke. If you’ve been grilling long enough, you’ve heard people talking about buying meats that have a rich pink or light cherry appearance.
Don’t worry if you don’t really know how to shop for meat yet, the more you grill the better you’ll be at buying the right meats that make grilling easier and produce that smoke you’re looking for.
It takes time to produce that great smoke ring, some people who have been smoking still don’t know how to do it. I have no doubt that if you implement some of the tips above, you’ll get more smoke.
Keep grilling and testing out which method works for you. Before you know it, you’ll earn the reputation as the neighborhood smoked meat master.
References And Further Reading
Meat Tamu – EDU – Meat Science
Michigan State University – The Color of Meat Depends On Myoglogin