Pit Boss P Setting: What Is It and How to Use It?

This article will be your in-detail manual about the P setting and will help you understand how to use it to better your BBQ.
Jeremy Bivens
Jeremy Bivens
Research Writer
Jeremy Bivens is a passionate writer and grilling enthusiast. He's been working as a freelance journalist for over 15 years now and has a particular interest in food writing read more
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Bruce Williams
Bruce Williams
Expert Consultant
Claims that grilling is the art that he has been learning all his life long and is not planning to stop. Has been grilling for as long as he can remember. Author of numerous read more
Last updated: August 23, 2023
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If you knew your outdoor cooking and were looking to get a nice grill that would make your skill show, you may have opted for the Pit Boss as it offered more value for the cost than many of the alternatives around.

However, being skilled at using one type of grill might not necessarily translate well to another grill, as knowledge of the grill and its intricacies could affect the outcome of what you cook. One of such intricacies that come with this particular grill is the Pit Boss P setting.

Like the other settings in grills of other makes, understanding the P setting would have a say in how much grilling success you would have or, at least, how efficient you would be. So, why don’t we skip the chit-chat and get right down to just what this setting means and how it could be used to your advantage.

What Is a Pit Boss P Setting?

Pit Boss P Setting: What Is It and How to Use It?

The meaning of the pit boss p setting is quite straightforward; the P means pause. As regards how it affects the functioning of the grill, the P setting is used to determine how much time you want between each pellet cycle while you grill. This pause usually comes into play after the grill has reached your desired temperature.

It should be obvious at this point that grills that utilize pellets and chips may also have this setting as well. In such grills, you might need to make a decision for which fuel source suits your preferences. Some of the main differences to note when comparing wood chips to wood pellets as a fuel source in grills are the relative amount of both you would need for the same purpose, the temperature at which they burn, their cost, and how much smoke flavor they would give.

All the talk of fuels sources is talking for another day. However, back to the P setting. When the pause function comes into play, the temperature of the grill will start to drop, and the smoke of already ignited pellets would have a chance to smolder and flavor your meat.

As such, when the P setting is turned down, there would be less of a pause, and the supply of pellets for ignition would resume quicker; higher P settings would have the opposite effect. Knowledge of how the p setting works and experience of its effect on your barbecue quality could help make beneficial changes in cases of strong winds, too much humidity, and low-quality pellets.

Recommended Setting

The manufacturers of the Pit Boss grill typically advise users to start their cooking with the P setting set a 4. This is basically the default setting of the grill, with the setting capable of being raised to as high as 7. At this setting, the auger of your grill would work at 18-second-long cycles and would have breaks of 115 seconds between each pellet cycle.

How to make adjustments with this setting?

To make any adjustments to the P setting of your grill, all you would need is a toothpick or a screwdriver. Due to the fact that the button controlling the setting is recessed to prevent accidentally pushing on it, it is difficult to access with your finger.

Once pushed, the P setting would start to flash before the number displayed increases by one digit. Once it gets to the highest setting, which is 7, the grill would reset back to O.

When to adjust the P setting?

Experience is the best teacher on the most appropriate time to adjust this setting, but if you lack the necessary experience and your grill is on the smoke function when the temperature begins to fluctuate, you should adjust the P setting. The reason for the specification is that the P setting was designed for the smoke mode as the level of smokiness is controlled by the timing of the pause.

What should you know about adjusting the P setting?

By now, you should know what the p setting does and the effect it has on the grilling procedure. Another thing you should know before you start pushing the button controlling this setting is that rapid changes in the pellet flow (affected when you alter the setting) could damage this function. As such, allow for a little time before you change the setting or risk relinquishing control over it completely.

When I say give it time, 30 minutes is considered enough before you change the setting again. Another possible effect of changing the P setting too quickly is the possibility that the flame of the grill would go out. In the event that this happens, you would need to start the grill all over again, and this would not be best, especially if you’re slow cooking your barbecue. Below are tips that could help with your effective use of this tool

For smoke flavor

You might have figured this out had you given the working of the P setting some thought, but if you want more smoke flavor with your barbecue Trusted Source Smoking as a food cooking method - MSU Extension Food safety needs to be front and center when smoking holiday meats. www.canr.msu.edu , you would need to increase the setting. Doing this would help maintain a lower temperature that would allow for the ignited pellets to smolder but doing so would also increase the cooking time. Note that when using the higher 6 or 7 settings, the tendency for the fire to burn out is quite high so, you should probably pay close attention.

For heat

If the goal is more heat, reduce the setting. This would lead to an increase in the grill temperature but would also result in higher consumption of your pellets. Due to this, you might need more pellets for your cooking if you’re thinking of raising the heat to sear your meat. In case you are wondering, though, the manufacturers of the Pit Boss do make pellet grills good enough for searing.

Temperature dial preset

You can make changes to minimize your manual input if you are worried about your skill level. What this means is you could use any of the temperature dials presets on your Pit Boss pellet grill with the P setting.

In order to ensure the best outcome, the grill should first be preheated on the smoke setting, after which you should select a preset temperature. Doing this would mean that the auger of the grill would run until the set temperature has been reached before using the selected P setting to alternate the pellet feed cycle.

More tips

The p setting is effective at maintaining a level of control over the temperature of the grill but using it isn’t the only way the grill temperature could be controlled. Other methods are touched on below.

Using a grill blanket

An insulated grill blanket is a very good idea to consider if your pellet grill seems to be running too high. A well-made blanket would better protect the pellets from the elements, thereby helping them maintain temperatures more efficiently.

Using a dome thermometer

A dome thermometer should give a more accurate reading of the temperature within the grill, but it would be ineffective in informing you on the temperature within the meat because, as the name implies, it gives temperature within the dome. As such, for accurate temperature reading on the state of the meat itself, a meat probe should be considered.

Using a meat probe

The use of a meat probe is very appropriate in many situations due to the fact that the temperature reading of the grill is most likely to indicate that of the air above the meat rather than the internal temperature of your barbecue. It is widely considered more acceptable portable ion grills, though this Portable Pellet Grill from Pursuit has been widely praised for offering more value in this regard.

Using good quality pellets

Quality pellets would give you even more control over the temperature of your grill, and available pellets do not get much better than the Pit Boss brand pellets. The pellets should also be properly stored to help them retain their quality. This would be helpful if you are an outdoor cooking enthusiast. You would also benefit from investing in vertical pellet smokers, such as the Fast Eddys 30-Inch Pellet Grill, which gives more versatility when cooking outdoors.

Pit Boss P Setting: What Is It and How to Use It?

Keeping the door closed

Opening and closing Trusted Source Grilling Tips: When Should You Close Your Grill Lid? | Epicurious Check out how to use the lid on your grill to ensure perfectly cooked steaks, chicken, chops, and more at your BBQ this summer. www.epicurious.com the door to the grill frequently would result in loss of heat which would lower temperature and slow than cooking. To prevent this from becoming an issue, you would be better served exercising patience and only checking your barbecue from time to time rather than every few minutes.

Checking the burn pot

This is most relevant for people who have been using their Pit Boss grills for a long time. Regular use of the grill could take a toll on the condition of the burn pot, and when there are holes in the burn pot, heat generated in the grill could escape through the holes. It would, thus, pay to keep a close eye on the state of the burn pot as your grill racks up the years.

Adjusting a smoke cap

The smoke cap affects the amount of airflow to the interior of the grill. When this airflow is not sufficient, it could result in your grill heating up slowly or not heating up at all. Too much airflow could alternately lead to the temperature being too high.

Final Thoughts

If you started this article with little to no idea about how this setting worked on your Pit Boss grill, you should be saturated with information about the many ways it can affect your cooking and alternatives to its use.

Now that all that is settled, there are no more acceptable excuses for your barbecue having too little or too much wood flavor though a little bit of experience may be needed before you can label yourself a perfect judge of what timing setting is best for your cut.

I should remind you that you won’t get better sitting on your haunches and thinking about grilling alone. So, get started on adjusting your grilling temperature and smoke output by using your Pit Boss P setting as you take the next step in the journey to the perfect barbecue.


Smoking as a food cooking method - MSU Extension
Food safety needs to be front and center when smoking holiday meats.
Grilling Tips: When Should You Close Your Grill Lid? | Epicurious
Check out how to use the lid on your grill to ensure perfectly cooked steaks, chicken, chops, and more at your BBQ this summer.

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