If you're looking for a versatile smoker that allows you to cook from low-and-slow to putting a high-temp sear on a steak without breaking the bank, the Pit Boss 820 Deluxe may be right for you.
Nothing beats an afternoon of barbecuing or grilling outdoors with your family and friends. Whether it's grilling burgers or smoking a brisket, there isn't anything more satisfying than serving up great food for those you care about. If you're looking for a versatile smoker that allows you to cook from low-and-slow to putting a high-temp sear on a steak without breaking the bank, the Pit Boss 820 Deluxe may be right for you.
The Pit Boss 820 is user-friendly enough to make smoking easier for those who just may be starting out, while it still has a number of features that veteran grillers will enjoy. There's plenty of room also whether you're cooking for a family of more than six or entertaining a crowd in your backyard.
This dial-in control gives you the ability to set the smoker temperature anywhere from 170ºF to 600ºF. Once you set it, the auger automatically feeds the pellets. When you're finished cooking, press the power button and the Digital Control Center maintains a cool-down temperature prior to shutting off. This may provide a seamless, safer experience. Additionally, it has an easy-to-read LED screen.
The grill has a total of 820 sq. in. of cooking space, and the upper rack can be removed if needed. Multiple cooking surfaces can be useful if you're either cooking for a lot of people or you're cooking food with different needs. As the bottom is closer to the flames, it can get hotter than the upper rack. The upper rack might seem more useful as a warming area or for food that doesn't require high heat.
The Pit Boss 820 Deluxe features a basic slide-plate that allows you to control the direct flame for the food on the lower rack. This can benefit those who are looking for more steakhouse flavor and cooking, while those who don't want it can simply slide the plate closed.
This grill only uses hardwood pellets that are 100% natural without any adhesives, fillers, etc. It can be beneficial in terms of flavor. However, finding these pellets isn't easy for everyone. Some may have to resort to only buying the pellets online as not every store carries them.
With the Pit Boss 820 Deluxe, you are given some space to prep and serve your food. It has a side shelf on the right side of the grill that can also be used as a serving tray as it is removable. This may be useful if you're cooking a variety of food and need some space to set things aside. Due to the material it's made out of, however, it's not the ideal area to cut on, so you'll need to do that sort of prepping elsewhere.
The Pit Boss 820 Deluxe also features a large bottom shelf that can be used to store various items. There's another benefit with the bottom shelf as it works to further stabilize the legs of your grill. As for more storage, there are hooks on the side shelf that you can use to hang utensils so that they're always within reach.
The body of the Pit Boss 820 Deluxe is constructed out of high-quality, 16-gauge steel. This type of construction can increase the longevity of the grill so that you can use it for years. Its heavy-duty features is seen more in its weight as it easily surpasses 150lbs. This can make it a bit difficult to move on your own, but it does feature steel wheels on one side and a handle to help with maneuverability.
Unlike some of the other grills in the Pit Boss Wood Pellet Series, the Deluxe version features a copper-colored lid to contrast with the rest of the powder coated black steel body. The serving tray is stainless steel, and this type of material can hold up well to the outdoor elements.
As for the grates, they are porcelain-coated cast iron. Being cast iron, they can retain and evenly distribute heat better than thin-wired grates. The porcelain coating also helps prevent food from sticking to the grate.
Many users have reported some quality control issues with the Pit Boss 820 Deluxe, ranging from start-up issues, to temperature control, to problems with the auger that feeds the pellets into the smoker. Pit Boss generally seems to respond and replace defects when they occur, but the warranty on defects on steel parts and electronics is limited to 1 year.
Assembly is rather straightforward for the Pit Boss 820 Deluxe. It has roughly 22 parts not counting the included hardware. It does weigh a good deal, so it may benefit you to have assistance getting it to the spot you want to set it up. The instructions have images and labels for each part to aid in eliminating confusion.
One of the most talked about qualities of the Pit Boss 820 Deluxe is that it is easy to use given the digital temperature control automatic pellet feeding system.
That being said, users have reported numerous issues maintaining a consistent temperature when the pellet feeding system or the temperature regulation system malfunctions. It is therefore recommended that you always keep an eye the smoker in case you run into any unforeseen technical issues.
Typically, the 820 Deluxe offers a quality and satisfying cook whether you're baking, smoking, or doing some basic grilling. The use of 100% all-natural hardwood gives an incredible flavor, and the ability to smoke adds a steakhouse-like flavor. Meat is kept juicy as well.
As mentioned before though, there can be troubles maintaining a steady temperature setting. Therefore, it's important to keep a watch on your food, especially if you're smoking. Also, always use a digital thermometer to check your food.
The grill offers more versatility in the ability to cook with both indirect and direct heat. The flame broiler allows you to slide the heat shield away if you want some of your food closer to the flames for a better sear. At the same time, it doesn't provide direct heat over a large area, so only some of the food on the bottom rack will experience it.
With this model, cleaning isn't particularly easy, nor is it particularly hard. There are no particular features that make this grill easier to clean than its competitors. Yet it is designed in such a way that you will have easy access to the ash from the wood pellet fire pit. In any case, take care to vacuum this debris out of the bottom each time you use the grill.
The Pit Boss 820 Deluxe is priced in the mid-range and is targeted to be an alternative to Traeger's line-up of smokers. It comes with a healthy number of features to make the grilling and smoking process easier. The quality steel construction also ensures that it can last some time.
That being said, the short 1-year warranty and quality issues related to temperature control and pellet feeding are concerning for the price but overall, we feel the Pit Boss is a solid value as priced.
Let's take a look at some of the Pit Boss 820 Deluxe's competition: