Pit Boss Burn Off [What Is It and Why It’s Important]

By now, you know how to turn on and shut down the Pit Boss pellet grill. However, you may not understand what the Pit Boss burn off is and why it’s important to do after every cook. This article will take a closer look at what it is, why it’s important, and when you should do it.

What Is The Pit Boss Burn Off?

It is the natural cleaning process that a grill goes through to remove any excess grease, food, or any remnants left inside the grill from the cook, that can cause your grill to catch on fire or explode.

Pit Boss Burn Off

This process is similar to a self-cleaning oven. The oven is cleaned by heat at a temperature above normal cooking temperatures. At this temperature, food soils inside the oven decompose, leaving behind small amounts of ashes.

If this is your first time using your grill, you need to check out how to season a Pit Boss Grill. That article covers the first burn-off, aka a burn-in process for a brand new grill.

This article covers the burn off procedure you do after every cook, so keep reading.

How to Properly Do A Burn Off On A Pit Boss

To do the burn-off on your Pit Boss grill, you’ll want to turn the temperature to the highest level on the temperature dial. On my Pit Boss 820, the highest temperature setting is 500℉. A high temperature will burn off any excess food debris from the grill grates. 

After running the grill on high for about 5-10 minutes, with the lid closed. Reduce the temperature to 93 degrees Celcius/ 200 degrees Fahrenheit for five minutes to allow any remaining pellets to burn out. 

After the burn-off process, if you look inside the firepot, you should only see ashes, not pellets.

If you still see unburnt pellets, you should remove them. According to experts, this is what can lead to problems the next time you start your grill.

Is There A Danger To Not Shutting It Down Properly?

It can be, I know that’s a vague answer, but you want to avoid starting the grill with unused pellets in the firepot. If you shut your Pit Boss down without doing a burn-off, there could be leftover pellets in the firepot.

Leftover pellets have been known to cause pellet grills to catch fire. Some people have even experienced their pellet grill exploding

Always check the fire pot before starting your pellet grill after an incorrect shutdown. You’ll want to remove the grates and the flame broiler plate. If you see any pellets, you should vacuum the grill out to remove the pellets and any leftover ashes.

Leftover ashes are entirely safe and won’t cause an issue for your grill. However, now could be an excellent time to clean your Pit Boss, especially if it’s been a while. 

When you start a pellet grill, the auger feeds the pellets into the firepot as quickly as it can. The biggest hazard to trying to light a grill with unburnt pellets in the grill is an “over-firing” of the grill.

To better understand this, you should have a better understanding of how a pellet grill works. This video will explain everything you need to know. (source)

When Should I Do a Burn Off?

You should run a Pit Boss burn-off after cooking on your grill. A burn-off will help keep your grill cleaner in between cleanings and will ensure no pellets are left in the firepot. 

That said, if you cook something on a cast iron pan or cookie sheet, you don’t have to worry about doing a burn-off unless you want to. A burn-off is essential whenever you cook food directly on the grill, especially greasy food like bacon. 

The burn-off procedure is a part of the Pit Boss shut down process, which I’ve covered before. I recommend reading that article, especially if you’re new to owning a Pit Boss pellet grill. 

Do All Pit Boss Grills Require You to Do A Pit Burn Off?

All of Pit Boss’s horizontal and vertical smoker grills need to go through a burn-off process after every cook to ensure the grill shuts down properly.

If your pellet grill uses 100% all-natural hardwood pellets, you must go through the burn-off procedure. 

Does The Pit Boss Grill Burn Off Replace Cleanings?

The pellet grill burns-off procedure is not meant to replace regular cleanings. That said, a burn-off will help keep your pellet grill cleaner in between grilling sessions. 

You will still need to do a deep cleaning of your Pit Boss 2-3 times every grilling season, depending on how often you use it. 


Going through a pellet grill burn-off can help reduce the risk of fires, explosions, and help keep your Pit Boss cleaner after every cook. The process is easy and should become a part of your regular shutdown procedure. 

You’ll be happy you got into the process of shutting down the grill correctly, plus your grill grates will be that much cleaner when you’re ready to use again!

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