The Pit Boss 820 is a pellet burning '8 in 1' barbecuing experience.
[We have referred to the Pit Boss 820 as a smoker and a grill throughout the article, it is both of these things.]
In this article, we'll be looking at one of Amazon.com's best-selling grills/smokers - The Pit Boss 820. We'll be looking at each element of the smoker to see how it performs and decide whether it's worth the investment.
Who Are Pit Boss Grills?
Pit Boss Grills was founded in 1999 by Dan Thiessen and his two sons. Since then their company has become an industry leader and their products used in many BBQ restaurants all over Texas.
Pit Boss promote their products as a more than a set of grills, they promote themselves as a lifestyle. This lifestyle draws from the company's family values and love for the outdoors. They push not settling for anything less than the best.
The company aims to provide the most value for money 'per square inch of grilling area.' They have been celebrated for their high quality, long-lasting, and easy to use grills.
Not only do they sell barbecues and smokers, but they also sell everything else you need to make the perfect barbecued meat. They sell Pit Boss brand rubs and shake on herb mixes.
You can also get Pit Boss' range of world-leading smoker pellets. They have a large variety of flavors to match your taste.
Pit Boss 820 - Buyers Guide
In our review below, we've gone through each key feature of an at-home grill and seen how the 820 measures up.
Read on to find out what we think of the Pit Boss 820t:
What does it burn?
The Pit Boss 820 is a pellet burning smoker. Many die-hard Smoker fans swear by using wood and coal, as it does allow for a more complex tasting smoke.
However, in recent years there has been a huge development in the type of smoking pellets that companies can produce. Pit Boss now sells a range of flavored smoking pellets that emulate the complexities of burning wood and coal.
The other benefit of burning pellets is that it gives you a much greater degree of control of your Smoker's temperature. This makes cooking those cuts of meat that take all day a lot simpler.
The Pit Boss 820 comes with a temperature control dial on the firebox. Using this dial allows you to control how many pellets are being fed into the fire, and therefore you are given a large degree of control over the grill's temperature.
Not many other grills come with this feature - for us, this is one of the stand-out elements of the Pit Boss 820, and really adds to its value for money. Not only does it add a new level of easy to barbecuing - no more charred meat - but it also means your pellet use will be more efficient and you'll be able to save money there.
Due to this temperature control system, the Pit Boss 820 offers an amazing temperature range of 180 degrees to 500 degrees.
Being able to control the temperature to this degree means that you can use your grill for a lot more than cooking large cuts of meat.
Pit Boss advertises its 820 range as an '8-in-1 grilling experience'. This is not something we 100% agree with, it's mostly an advertising phrase from Pit Boss.
However, this is an incredibly flexible grill, users at every level of experience will find it a joy to use. It will be great for beginners and pitmasters alike.
The Pit Boss 820 boasts a grilling space of 820 square inches, across two shelves. This is a medium-size grill in the Pit Boss range. This is a traditional sized smoker (which are roughly 680-740 square inches), with an extra shelf that offers an extra 80 square inches of grilling space.
Although some people may prefer having one, flat long grilling space, we really appreciate having the extra shelf as it gives the grill a lot more versatility. For example, if you're using our Aaron Franklin Brisket recipe, you would be able to use the larger shelf to cook the brisket undisturbed and use the upper shelf to cook smaller pieces of meat at the same time so you can show off even more at your next cookout.
This grill has enough space to fix a brisket, two sets of ribs, and a handful of vegetables on it at the same time.
Finally, let's look at what Pit Boss' customers have to say about the Pit Boss 820.
68% of its reviews on Amazon.com are 4&5 star reviews. Its reviews are overwhelmingly positive - with users mostly raving about its ease of use.
There are also many positive reviews for the quality of Pit Boss brand pellets, for providing complex flavorings that rival wood smoke.
The Pit Boss 820 comes in multiple colors, and a few users seem to have had issues with the paint on the all black grill peeling at higher heats.
A few users have also complained that the pellet feeding system can occasionally get blocked (when using non-brand pellets), and is difficult to take apart to clean.
Our Final Thoughts
So, is the Pit Boss 820 any good, and is it worth the money?
Firstly, let's talk about how the Pit Boss 820 compares to the other Pit Boss grills.
If you read our list of The Best Smoker Grill Combinations you would have seen us talk about the Pit Boss 720. Our main complaint about this machine is that it wasn't big enough for a large cookout.
With the extra 100 square inches and second shelf, the Pit Boss 820 makes up for this shortcoming, whilst not taking up any extra space in your backyard.
As we mentioned earlier the Pit Boss 820 is a medium-sized grill for Pit Boss. However, for us, it is the perfect size for anyone who wants to use it at home.
If you are a professional pitmaster you may find the 820 is too small, and we recommend looking at the larger grills in this series.
However, if you just want a grill to use at home cookouts then this one really is a perfect size.
So, does the Pit Boss 820 do everything you want it to?
As we've mentioned we think that the Pit Boss 820 is pretty much the ideal size for home cookouts. We're also really happy with how it performs.
The temperature control options that Pit Boss machines provide really is second to none. Having the ability to set and maintain your grill's temperature without constant maintenance is going to take the vast amount of stress out of your cooking experience.
With this control, a whole new world of cooking on the grill will open up to you, you will be able to experiment without fear. We love making full breakfasts on a low heated grill! Why not try making smoked pancakes… You'll thank us later!
We have to admit that before the Pit Boss 820 - we didn't have a preference between wood or pellet burning grills. But the 820 has converted us.
The amount of control that the pellet-burning system of Pit Boss grills gives you it's hard to argue against using pellets. We did see a few users complaining that the feed in the grill got jammed when they were using non-Pit Boss brand pellets, so we would recommend sticking with the Pit Boss range.
Doing this may add to the cost of your cookouts but in our eyes, it's worth it. However, being able to control how many pellets are fed into the flame will allow more efficient use of materials and save you money that way.
We also noticed that a few users have had issues with the paint on some of the models peeling. So we would recommend doing a little more research into this before purchasing for yourself.
Finally, we want to talk about how good the Pit Boss 820 looks. We love Pit Boss's twist on the classic grill. The 820 is simplistic in a sleek way. It comes with space to store tools on the side and beneath the main grill. The wheels make transporting the grill easy. We also appreciate the compact firebox and smokestack.
We should note that there are multiple complaints about how difficult the firebox and pellet feeding system is to clean.
So, in conclusion, yes the Pit Master 820 is completely worth the money, and we would highly recommend it. So get out there and start barbecuing!