Pitt Boss 820ME Journal

Jul 30, 2020
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Dike Iowa
Bought a menards special for an 820ME at 450$ with an 11% rebate about 2 weeks ago. 1st cook was smoking some bottom round roasts low and slow like i used to do on my vertical smoker. set the p setting to 6 smoke, temp showed between 170 and 195 in cycles which worked out fine since i want the internal temp at 152f when done. This usually takes my 12 hrs on my vertical. Came out with an awesome smoke ring and flavor using competition blend Lumberjack pellets. Number 1 was a success 9 out of 10.
Number 2 was a New York strip and a sirloin. tried reverse sear smoking for about 30 mins on low temp smoke setting again, then cranking up the temp and opening the sear plate. should have taken out the steaks, waited to get grates hot and to temp then seared. lesson learned partial success, not overcooked,but not seared well and not a lot of smoke flavor. 6 out of 10
3 rd cook, Spatchcocked Chicken, with rub on a wire rack on a baking sheet. 6lb bird took 3.5 to 4 hrs to cook, Temps were supposed to be at 350 but i dont think the temp probe that registers actual is indeed the actual temp inside. I think it reads about 75 degrees higher than actual causing the cook to take forever. learned this on my 4th cook. Fortunately i had an external dual thermo set up separate from the pit boss controller probes stuck in the thigh and breast so I knew what the bird actually was at. We ended up eating at 830 pm instead of 6 or 7. Another lesson learned and chronicled.
4th cook, a Large Papa Murphy pepperoni pizza on a pizza stone. set temp to 450 to get a 425 temp, heated stone for 20 mins. Had the one meat probe on the grate to Guage temp compared to Act temp read out and dial thermo. Interesting thing was the setting was 450, the grate reading was 340, the Act internal probe read would show 435 to 460 and the dial would show 360. I needed 425. Ended up needing to crank the heat dial all the way to 475 to get the grate heat to show 400 to 412 and the dial thermo to register 415 to 420. Soo...I think the control board set points are crap, if you set it to 450 and the temp probe thinks its 450 but its actually 75 to 100 degrees cooler, your going to take forever to cook your chicken or turkey. so beware, dont belive the control panel "Actual" temp display, the dial seemed close but having an independent probe on the grates, or even a couple of them will get you a truer reading to know what your dealing with. Other thing I learned with the Pizza experiment, go ahead and let the stone get heated up with the sear plate open but close the plate when you put the pizza on. it over cooked the crust at the very center even being on its own paper tray and stone. 20 mins per instructions at 425 with the sear grate closed will work darn near perfect. The smoke flavor was great on the pizza and for a 5$ experiment its a cheap learning curve. At least i didnt ruin a $60 brisket.