Why Does My Pit Boss Keep Shutting Down? What To Do About It?

You throw some ribeyes on the pellet grill for dinner. When you come back 15 minutes later, you notice your grill shut down on it’s own. This has you wondering “why does my Pit Boss keep shutting down?” This is common problem and it has happened to a lot of people, including me.

Why Does My Pit Boss Keep Shutting Down? It’s most likely due to the type of pellets you’re using, the age of your grill, ambient temperature, cleanliness, or the hopper design.

why does my pit boss keep shutting down

Yes, it can be frustrating when your grill shuts down on it’s own or has a “flame out.” The great thing is there are some things you can do to find out what’s causing it.

But first, let’s take a closer look at what it is.

What Is A Flame Out?

Pit Boss keeps shutting off
A flame out usually happens when you’re doing a long, slow cook.

A flame out is when the grill shuts down on its own during a long without any apparent reason. This means that the fire can burn out completely, or the burner can keep operating but the temperature has fallen to 100℉.

During a flame out, you may notice a sudden drop in temperature and a bunch of white smoke coming from the grill. This is totally different than going through the Pit Boss shutdown procedure and turning off the grill the right way.

People tend to experience a flame out when they leave their grill unattended during a long cook.

Now let’s take a look at what causes it and what you can do to prevent one the next time you cook.

Why Does My Pit Boss Keep Shutting Off?

Every grill is different, but here are some of the reasons that can be causing your smoker to keep shutting off before your meat is cooked.

Below are some of the most common reasons you may be experiencing a flame out.

Type of Pellets

While it’s true you can use any type of pellets in your Pit Boss. They recommend you use all natural wood pellets to ensure the grill works properly.

If you’re experiencing a lot of flame outs, it could because you’re using cheap pellets. The Pit Boss auger system functions on a timing mechanism.

Cheap pellets burn faster, and may not stay lit during the cook. While cheaper pellets will save you money on the front end, they can be causing havoc to your auger in the long run.

I’d recommend checking your pellets and only using these high quality wood pellets.

Condition of Pellets

It could also be that your pellets have been stored too long and have absorbed moisture from the humidity?

If stored properly, wood pellets can last up to 6 months in an environment with less than 10% humidity. Expect a shelf life of 1-3 months if you live in an area with high humidity.

P Setting

Many people on smoker forums have said that some of the newer Pit Boss models that don’t have a ‘P’ setting may experience more flame outs.

The ‘P’ setting helps regulate the change of time between the auger operations. Read this article to get a better understanding of what the P setting is on the Pit Boss.

Low Temperatures & Long Cooks

One of the biggest reasons many people struggle with flame outs is the outside temperature. While it’s possible to use your Pit Boss in the cold, you need to understand that cold weather, wind, rain, and hot weather, direct sunlight, and humidity can affect the way your grill works.

Loss of Electricity

A power outage can also cause your Pit Boss grill to shut off. If you’re not using a power surge when you’re cooking and the lights flicker on and off, it will cause your grill to shut down.

Pellet grills run on electricity and any disturbances in the power source will affect the grill. If you notice that the temperature dropped to less than 100℉ or the grill shut off, it could be you’re power flicked off for a quick second.

Go inside the house and see if your clocks are flashing. If they are, then the power went out. You’ll need to turn the grill off and then turn it back on.

Bad Outlet or Electrical Cord

This is not a very common, but one that is easily overlooked. It could be as something as simple as your electrical outlet or outdoor electrical cord needs to be replaced.

If you notice your smoker shutting off every time you use the same outlet. It may be time to test your outlet to see if it needs to be replaced. Here’s how to test your electrical outlets.

Don’t forget to inspect the electrical cord you’re using to ensure it’s in good working condition. A damaged electrical cord will have missing ground prongs, insulation damage, or heat damage.

If you believe the cord is damaged, I’d recommend having it replaced. They’re not expensive and you’ll be much happier when you don’t have to constantly wonder about the safety of your outdoor chord.

Hopper Design

One of the biggest complaints about the Pit Boss hopper is the design. If left alone for long cooks, you’ll notice that a void will form.

There will be plenty of pellets in the hopper, but the void will prevent the pellets from feeding into the auger.

If you’re going to be using the grill for long cooks, make sure you’re consistently spreading the pellets with your hand to prevent the void from forming.

Meat Probes

Does the grill shut down as soon as you plug in the meat probes? If so, then it’s likely due to an electrical discharge. Here’s how to tell if your meat probes are working properly or not.

How to Prevent Your Pit Boss Grill From Turning Off?

Unfortunately, there will come a point where you find yourself dealing with the famous “flame out” issue. Especially, if you use like cooking low and slow.

The best thing you can do is to use high quality pellets. Keep your grill clean and vacuum the ashes in the fire pot before every use. You don’t need to clean the grill after every use.

You do however, want to let you grill go through the natural burn off process after every cook.

Don’t leave it unattended for too long. You don’t have to watch it closely every minute. But, you don’t want to do an overnight cook without monitoring the pellets.

Contact Support

If you’ve followed all the steps above and your Pit Boss is shutting down during a cook. The next step is to reach out to their support, via their website.

Tell them what’s going on and they should be able to give you some ideas on how to change your grilling methods to prevent it from happening.


Pit Boss grills are amazing and work flawlessly 98% of the time. If you do a lot of long, slow cooks, be prepared to experience a flame out at some point.

This doesn’t mean that it’s time for a new grill. But, it does mean you need to take a closer look at what you’re doing or not doing to prevent it from shutting off on its own.

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