Pit Boss is best known for its line of exceptional grills. Ranging from gas grills to charcoal grills and now enviable wood pellet grills. Among the most popular wood pellet models are the Pit Boss Sportsman 820 and the Pit Boss Austin XL.
I particularly like the Austin XL because it offers a massive cooking area, stellar features, digital control, and high maximum temperature. For those wondering if this grill is worth the money, I’m here to answer that.
In this Pit Boss Austin XL Review, I look into this grill designed for parties and BBQ entertainment. It’s for anyone looking for a large yet portable grill that you don’t need to watch over every second of cooking. An automatic start and shutdown are a huge plus when you need to tend to other party stuff.
Let’s dive in and see what it’s all about.
- High-temperature copper finish
- Super-sized pellet hopper
- 1000 square inches cooking surface
- Eight different cooking settings
- Automatic start and stop
- Fan-forced convection cooking
- Reliable, digital LED control panel
- Heavy-duty caster wheels for portability
- The body gets hot when cooking
- Temperature control needs time to master
After doing in-depth research and comparing this grill to other wood pellet grills, I’m now confident I can give you a detailed review of this product.
Grilling and Smoking Performance
How good is the Pit Boss Austin XL at smoking? Well, this grill comes with a super-sized hopper that does a fantastic job at feeding the firepot with pellets. When you choose a temperature, the grill chooses how fast or how slow it will deliver the pellets to the firepot so that the grill stays at the set temperature.
You have a wide temperature range from 150 -500 degrees Fahrenheit. I particularly like that it heats up quite fast. It goes from the lowest to the highest temperature in only eight minutes. This means that it will sear meat without exposing it to direct flames.
You can grill on open flames with the Pit Boss Austin XL. All you have to do is slide the broiler plate over to one side, giving you access to 100% wood-fire. The exposed cooking surface gives you 64 sq. in space. Talk of fast grilling of burgers, steaks, fish fillets, and sausages, and you have it in the Pit Boss Austin XL grill.
Pit Boss Austin XL is a beast of a grill. It offers 1000 sq. in of cooking surface. It gives you enough room to cook for friends and family without the need for an extra grill. On the main grate, you have 930 sq. in space and 70 sq. in on the removable stainless steel side shelf, which gives you extra room.
To give you a better perspective, it’s possible to cook 52 burger patties in one batch or three full-packer briskets, eight pork shoulders, and 25 burgers side to side.
As you can see, the space is ideal if you are dealing with whole chickens, ribs, and other delicious cuts that need enough space to cook evenly.
I noticed that one of the grids is narrower than the other and it sits on the further end of the grill. It’s perfect for placing cooked food like meat and vegetables that you wish to add a smoky flavor while they stay hot.
Lastly, the hopper can carry a whopping 31 pounds of hardwood pellets. You will add pellets on very few occasions because you can smoke briskets for 12-14 hours. In short, your fire will never die.
Build Quality and Size
The frame of this model is made of premium-grade steel and Copper with a classic black design. On the hood, chimney, and lid, it sports a copper finish. This finish comes in handy for high-heat resistance and preventing rust, discoloration, and corrosion.
You still need a Pit Boss Austin XL cover to protect it from the elements.
I like that the shelves are of quality stainless steel. They not only resist corrosion but also make cleanup fast and easy.
Now, the Pit Boss Austin XL wood pellet grill is massive. It weighs 181 pounds. This feature does not make it exactly portable. But it comes with four high-quality castors that help to move the grill from one location to another. The castors at the front lock in position to prevent wobbling if you set the grill on uneven ground.
How long the Austin XL will last depends on how you take care of it. Remember that it has a construction from steel prone to rust. It’s best to use a cover if you are going to store it outdoors or in a garage with humidity control.
When you take proper precautions by cleaning after every use and performing repairs as soon as they are required, you can expect this pellet smoker to last 7-10 years in decent condition.
Ease of Use
Perhaps the best feature of the Austin XL pellet grill is its ease of use. It comes with a digital LED control panel that allows you to set up the grill with the touch of a dial and button. Setting it up is as easy as plugging in the power cord provided by Pit Boss and setting the desired temperature.
It has precise temperature control knobs to choose any temperature from smoking to high heat for any kind of smoking and grilling that you are having.
When handling the initial burn, you will need to spray down the entire interior with cooking spray, set the grill to 300 degrees, and let it burn for one hour.
It takes only a few minutes for pellets to drop into the fire cup so that they can be ignited by the hot rod in the fire cup. You will notice that there’s lots of smoke in the first few minutes but this is before all the pellets in the fire cup catch fire.
This pellet smoker reaches 300F in eight minutes only.
There are two thermometers on the Austin XL pellet grill. You will be able to read the temperature on the digital controller and the hood thermometer. The dome thermometer is supposed to be a quick reference rather than giving you the grill’s actual reading.
That’s why you will notice discrepancies between the two thermometers.
It’s best to rely on a meat probe and the control panel reading. This is because the LCD is much closer to the meat, so it will give you a temperature closer to the actual temperatures. If you notice high-temperature swings, you may want to adjust the “P” setting.
What’s the “P” Setting?
On Pit Boss grills, the “P” setting stands for PAUSE. It is the time between pellet cycles. When you increase the “P” setting, you are increasing the pause time between pellet cycles. This means you are withholding pellets for a longer time resulting in more smoke and a lower temperature.
When you decrease the “P” time, you are decreasing the pause time between pellet cycles. Thus, less smoke and high temperature because pellets are being fed to the auger more often.
To get consistent temperatures on the Austin XL grill, you should make sure the meat probes are and the inside of the grill are always clean. Also, resist the urge to keep opening the lid every hour. The grill loses heat every time you open the lid, which leads to temperature swings.
The P Set button also allows you to change the temperature reading from Fahrenheit to Celsius by long-pressing on it.
The Prime button underneath the power button allows you to add more pellets to the firepot. It is also the button used to increase the smokey flavor of the food you’re cooking.
The Austin XL pellet grill comes partially assembled. First, ensure you have all the parts as per the Pit Boss Austin XL manual. I recommend installing the cart and the legs first, to make work easier on the other parts.
It should take around an hour to get the grill fully assembled.
The only thing I didn’t like after assembling is removing the stickers. The glue that is left behind is a pain to remove.
Priming the Grill for the First Cook
After you get the first burn-in, your grill should have a nice black color after smoke adheres to the surface. To prime this pellet smoker, fill the reservoir with pellets, then start the grill in smoke mode and hold down the prime button. This process turns the auger which starts the process of feeding the pellets into the firepot.
Using the Austin XL Pellet Smoker
Pit Boss pellet grills are straightforward to use. All you need to do is dial in the temperature you want on the Austin XL, and you will hear the grill roar to life. It takes 8-10 minutes for the grill to reach the set temperature.
You will hear pellets feeding into the fire pot. However, the grill will not start to smoke right away. Once the pellets begin to catch fire, smoke will start coming out of the smokestack. The first few minutes of smoke will be thick, but it subsides after all the pellets ignite.
If you notice there’s too much smoke after the first ten minutes, but the temperature has not risen, it may seem because of leftover pellet residue. If this continues, you may want to shut down the grill, let it cool down, and sweep out the residue.
Austin XL What’s not to like?
First, I’m not too fond of the protective grate on top of the hopper. I find it only serves to get in the way when putting in the wood pellets.
As much as I like the digital readout, it becomes difficult to read in daylight. The pale-blue grey color fades out when the sun shines on it. I’d have loved to see a different color, such as vibrant red or orange.
Should you buy the Pit Boss Austin XL Pellet Grill Smoker?
If you are looking for a mid-range pellet grill that is not as expensive as a Traeger or a Green Mountain with similar features, it’s time to consider the Austin XL seriously. You get massive cooking space plus precise temperature control in an affordable pellet grill.
Austin XL FAQs
Is the Austin XL worth the money?
Looking at everything from the features to the build quality, I can attest that the Austin XL is definitely worth the money.
Does the Austin XL have Wi-Fi?
No, the Austin XL does not feature inbuilt Wi-Fi. There are options to use third-party wireless thermometers, but it does not offer a way to control the grill wirelessly.
Why does my Austin XL keep shutting down?
If you have set the P setting as required and are using natural wood pellets, but are still experiencing flameouts, a few things are causing this issue.
One, you may be using humid pellets or are grilling in the cold. Pellets have a shelf life of 1-3 months in high humidity areas and six months in environments with less than 10% humidity.
If you are grilling in the cold or in windy conditions, it’s best to use an insulated grill blanket.