Pit Boss 1100 Sportsman Review

It’s true, I bought a new BBQ this weekend. We went for a small Costco run and I ended up exiting the store to get one of those flatbed carts and power lifted the grill onto the cart myself and checked out with two carts. We have a small baby Traeger that I was given for free about 5 years ago and love it. But it only works about 50% of the time now and the temp can’t get above 250 without starting a fire. So we’ve been eyeing grills for a while, we wanted one with smoking and searing capabilities and something that’s going to last.

We walk by the grill and it’s big. I pull the lid open and it feels solid. This thing is a couple hundred pounds. At Costco it was priced at $699, probably about half of what we were looking at spending for one of the tricked out new Traeger grills. I look at the features and it seems to check all the boxes for us.

Pellet grill? Check.

Smoke settings with searing options? Check. There’s a lever you can move to bring direct heat if you so choose.

Larger capacity? Check.

Bonus features: 30 lb pellet holder that has a window to show if you are getting low, thermometer’s that hook directly into the control system, robust wheels, three different cooking surfaces – main grill, fish or vegetable rack, then that one rack on top that seems to be used when meat is done or to heat up buns.

Decision Process

We do what anyone would do and walk away, and shoot some text messages to my in-laws to see what they think. We hadn’t really heard of Pit Boss and it was definitely a new item there at Costco. There were really only like 5 there. We continued our shopping and as we finished up and were in the vitamin section near the checkout we decided to go for it. Got the go ahead from the in-laws, it’s everything we wanted, we couldn’t find a bad review other than it was heavy. We saw that as a feature not a bug, and we just went for it.

It fit in the back of my car with the rest of our bounty. We generally stock up at Costco because we don’t live too close to a supermarket, and didn’t have a problem fitting it in.

Set up

Took me about 2 hours and about 2 beers to get through. Really wasn’t too bad, I just wanted to make sure everything was tight and that I got it right. I needed help a couple times from my wife to steady pieces while screwing in. Especially due to the weight. But not bad.

First time starting up: You have to fill the hopper with pellet’s – I used my old Traeger pellet’s because I still have a couple bags of it. You have to prime it by pressing this prime button on it to shoot the pellet’s down their path to where they will ignite. I didn’t do it long enough and it didn’t light. So I turned it off, then turned it back to “Smoke” and that baby started smoking right up! Pretty exciting, good thick rolling smoke as well. Then I turned it to 350 for 40 minutes to burn off any chemicals or residues.

Game time: First cook I did nothing fancy or classic. I cooked one of those delicious pork loins that Costco sells. I did a little Pappy’s seasoning, and 250 for an hour, until the internal temperature hit 165ish. It was delicious. It was easy to cut, I sliced it up into 1/2 inch pieces and put it with some sweet potato fries and vegetables for a great dinner.

Cook 2: I wanted to go for something a little more elaborate. I reverse seared a flank steak and wrapped an onion with olive oil in foil for a side. 1 hour on 200 degrees, finished with a sear I turned it to 400 for. It was pretty perfect. It was all on one grill, it was not a mess in my kitchen, and the meat was tender with a sear on the outside. First cook was okay, this was amazing. I sliced it like you would Tri Tip and ate it with some veggies. Perfect. Note that I did marinade the meat in some wine and spices which added some other flavor and might be frowned upon by the true smoker og’s.

Rating

After my first two times using this beast of a grill, I give it a 9/10. I don’t really know what it would take to get it to 10/10 to be honest, I just don’t want to go around giving something a 10/10 right away. Maybe after a couple months and some ribs and brisket trials. Functionality is exceptional, there is a huge cooking surface, easy to maneuver around the backyard, cleaning doesn’t seem to be too hard, there’s a freaking bottle opener on it, having the temperature gauge with the thermometer temps right next to it is actually pretty awesome, the sear lever is so simple yet so useful it’s crazy, temperature seems to stay close to desired temp.

I would say the two things I would want would be a cover for it and to connect it to my phone through Bluetooth. Ordered a cover through Amazon for $55.00. Also I’m keeping my Traeger so that I can stay in the Facebook group and watch the other smoke masters do there thing, I’m assuming there’s some sort of community around Pit Boss though, I just don’t use FB. Also it’s called Pit Boss, it’s a great name, it’s fun, it’s what I’m going to make my guests call me as soon as this pandemic is over.

Couldn’t find the official cover, but bought this bad boy.

You can also check out their site HERE for more specs, but it really wasn’t too detailed if you ask my opinion.