The one thing most pellet grills struggle with is proper searing. The Pit Boss 700FB attempts to solve this problem with a clever sliding plate design to offer true flame searing.
In this hands-on review, we put the Pit Boss 700FB pellet grill to the test to see how well it performed, and if it could actually sear a steak.
Pit Boss sent me this grill for free in return for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own
Pit Boss 700FB Review Overview
With 700 square inches of cast-iron cooking surface, including a second tier rack, the Pit Boss wood pellet grill is ideal for a group of four to six.
It ranges in cooking temperature from 180 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, offering a reliable range to ensure you can cook whatever you want.
The FB model comes with no side shelf or lower cabinet although both are available as options when you purchase for a little extra.
Preferred cooking styles can be customized with the LCD readout thermostatic controls and standard flame broiler.
You can set and forget it for low and slow cooking or slide the plate and sear steak over an open flame.
Pit Boss 700FB Specifications
- 700 sq in total cooking surface
- 21lbs Pellet hopper capacity
- Porcelain-coated wire cooking grids
- Pit boss wood pellet grill has a digitally controlled burn system
- Fueled by 100% hardwood pellets
- Ideal for using to cook for 4 to 6 guests
- Cooking temperature range of 180-500 degrees Fahrenheit
- Thermostatic controls have an LCD readout
- Made with heavy-gauge steel components
- Flame broiler design allows searing over an open fire pot
The grill uses wood pellets made of 100 percent natural hardwoods.
It’s easy to operate with clear controls and large pieces. With heavy-gauge steel components, complete structural strength and durability, this outdoor cooker is designed to last.
What I Like:
- Searing zone – This feature puts a dang nice sear on a steak! If you think a pellet grill can’t sear a steak, you are mistaken. This one can and pretty well at that! Perhaps maybe too well at times. I accidentally burned some chicken thighs on top after searing them for only a brief time.
- Porcelain coated cast iron grill grates – These grates are fairly nonstick and easy to clean. All that is required is a little brushing.
- Build quality – The grill appears to be well built from heavier gauge steels. I expect a long grill life and minimal replacement parts.
- Cooking area – The grill has plenty of cooking area. Whether it’s grilling burgers or smoking briskets, the 700 square inch grill grate area is plenty big.
What I Don’t Like:
- Second tier rack position – Due to how it is positioned, it makes it a little difficult to cook anything underneath it. The upper rack seems to be positioned a little further back on competitor models making access to the cooking area under the rack a little more convenient.
- Lid handle – The handle on the lid could come out from the lid a little further. Because the lid opens so wide on the grill, my wrist came into contact with the hot lid a couple of times while opening the lid all the way.
One thing to note is that the basic 700FB model comes with no side shelf or lower cabinet.
My other grills have always had a side shelf, sometimes 2 of them. I never really thought much about them until I got a grill that didn’t have one.
It’s really awkward when you don’t have a place to sit a plate or hang tongs or sit your meat thermometer. So I ended up buying the add-on one that Pit Boss offers for this grill.
If you want to store your grill accessories under the grill, it would also make sense to spend a little extra for the model with the lower cabinet.
The bottom line:
I really like the control and ease of the Pit Boss 700FB.
Want to flame kiss a steak? You can do that.
Want to smoke a pork butt on low for 14 hours? You can do that too.
You can grill, smoke, bake, roast, sear, braise, barbecue or char-grill with ease on the Pit Boss 700FB.
Unboxing and packaging
It was obvious that Pit Boss went to great efforts to make sure none of these grill parts got damaged during shipping.
There was cardboard and foam and taping galore!
I was impressed. It took me about as much time to unpackage everything as it did to assemble the grill.
Assembling and getting the Pit Boss ready to cook
The 700FB was the easiest full-size grill I’ve ever assembled.
Most of the grill comes already assembled. I basically just had to assemble the legs onto the body, add the lid and a few handles and it was finished.
Full assembly took me about 20 minutes with a cordless drill.
Many enthusiasts love the idea of the real wood fire kissed taste and convenience of pellet grilling, but sometimes struggle to get the results that they want.
You need to follow a few rules if you want to be successful in the Pellet Club.
- 1st rule of Pellet Club: You do not talk about Pellet Club! Ok, just kidding. Actually the 1st rule is: Read and follow all instructions pertaining to priming, starting, and preheating your pellet grill. I can’t stress this enough. These steps are critical to success. There are no shortcuts.
- 2nd rule is: Read rule #1 again! Cliff notes summary: Grill should start on smoke for a full 10 minutes. Then it should be turned up to 300-350°F to preheat for 20-30 minutes. THEN AND ONLY THEN, you can adjust it to whatever your desired cooking temp is. If all the pellets were burned out of the grill from the last cook, the auger system needs to be primed with pellets again PRIOR to beginning the starting procedure. This is important!
- 3rd rule: Eat, drink, and be merry.
If you follow these rules and are still having problems, then it’s possible something is not right with your grill and you should contact customer support for further assistance.
These rules come from scouring the pellet cooking forums and my own personal experiences.
Clean up is mostly a breeze except for the diffuser plate if you are smoking something really fatty, like a pork butt. It was such a pain to clean this diffuser plate after all that fat baked onto it.
If you aren’t going to be using the searing zone, I highly recommend covering the entire diffuser plate with aluminum foil prior to cooking ESPECIALLY if you are going to be smoking meat.
Even chicken thighs are going to drop quite a bit of fat. The aluminum foil will make clean up a breeze.
While the pellet drop chute method is not bad, I feel like the drop chute design on my Pit Boss’s vertical smoker is better. I’m surprised they didn’t just use the same design for this as well.
The only issue I had with this is sometimes the drop chute cover is a pain in the butt to remove from the chute.
The grill body and diffuser plates are made out of heavy gauge steel. The grill racks are porcelain-coated.
I looked the parts of this grill over extensively and found almost no blemishes. There was one tiny spot about the size of a pen point on one of the legs that paint was missed.
I looked for quite a while before finding anything.
It is noticeable when you pick the parts up that they are not super thin sheet metal pieces.
Very respectable quality for the price of this grill.
Temperature accuracy of grill and probes:
There are two temperature displays on the grill: a gauge in the lid and a digital display inside the firebox area mounted on the left wall.
When tested against my Thermoworks smoke temp probes, I found the Pit Boss gauges to register very accurately, generally from dead on up to 10°F different.
Being that the gauges are in slightly different locations and are affected differently by streams of hot air that are swirling around in the grill, I believe this is very acceptable.
Cooking on the Pit Boss 700FB
To test the Pit Boss out I cooked a number of different items to try out both searing and low and slow operation.
- About 1 lb per hour on lower temps (250° or less)
- About 2 lb per hour on higher temps.
- About 2.5 lbs per hour on high
I’ve included a few photos below so you can see the results.
Temperature fluctuations (and why good customer support is important)
Full disclosure, I had a problem with the grill initially.
The temperatures were fluctuating quite a bit (50-75° swings). While this didn’t really affect cooking when I was grilling at high temperatures, it was causing me problems when trying to smoke meats at low temps like 225°-250°F.
I made a call to Pit Boss customer service (on a Sunday of all times).
They walked me through some troubleshooting tests to determine the issue.
While they couldn’t pinpoint the issue as all the tests were in the normal range, they recommended going ahead and replacing the control board and temp probe just in case to see if this would fix my problem.
They sent all this out free of charge, no questions, no hassles. It even included step by step colored instructions on how to replace these parts. It took my about 20 minutes to replace these parts.
After replacing those parts, the grill has been working flawlessly!
For example, when set on 300°F, the temp range would average 306°-318°F.
It seems to average around the same temp swing ranges at lower temps as well.
Considering that my home oven has a temp swing of about 11°, I believe that to be pretty impressive for live-fire control!
Pit Boss has some of the absolute best customer service that I have ever dealt with, especially pertaining to outdoor cooking equipment. They were very knowledgeable, friendly, and very willing to help me get back to getting my grill on.
Should you buy the Pit Boss 700FB?
This is a fantastic entry-level pellet grill with ample versatility at a very reasonable price.
I believe Pit Boss turns a lot of heads with their prices and keep their customers with great performance and customer service.
Personally, not having the side shelf is a problem for me. If you like having a built-in shelf I would recommend spending a little extra money on the Sportsman 820 which comes with a removable side shelf and a front shelf.
If you can’t afford the Sportsman right now or if you happen to find a great deal on a 700FB then you can still go for it though.
One other thing. I also purchased the grill cover for the 700FB. If you want to protect your investment and keep your grill looking nice, you need to get a grill cover. Consider it a necessary grilling tool just like a spatula or a thermometer.
If you’ve been considering dipping your toe into the world of pellet grilling and smoking, this a great grill to consider.
There are many other grills out there available with these features as well but at much higher prices.
- Upper-tier shelf: unless I’m cooking burgers or grilling chicken, I take it off the grill. It’s just easier with it out of the way. I only put in on the grill to store it or use it to heat buns. Either way, it’s only a little annoying. Not a big nuisance.
- Lid Handle: This one is easy. I either wear gloves or pay much closer attention when I open the lid. A slight burn once or twice and you won’t keep doing it, I promise!
- Side Shelf: Do what I did. Buy the add-on side shelf. Worth every penny. Plus, Pit Boss gives you 25% off accessories when you buy a grill. Use That coupon!
- Below Grill Shelf: Not much to do about this one. I store my grill brush down there. All my other grilling accessories go inside the house now. I guess you could store an airtight bucket full of pellets on that shelf or a spare bag of pellets. That’s not a bad option either.