How to Add Pellets to a Pit Boss Hopper (Priming Your Grill for First Use)

Have you recently purchased a Pit Boss grill? Excited to start grilling some delicious stuff? Firstyou need to know how to add and remove pellets to the hopper as well prime it!

This article will reveal some snippets of wisdom that would help you add pellets the right way, just like a pro. 

What Is Hopper Priming About?

The first thing you need to know before adding your pellets is hopper priming (or also known as burn off) this is essential and a must-know. 

Hopper priming is a procedure that ensures your auger feed system and burn pot work correctly. The auger feed system should be primed to allow the wood pellets to pass through the auger and fill the burn pot.

This helps ensure your igniter works properly and avoids timeouts before the pellets are ignited.

The hopper should be primed every time you get the grill and turn it on for the very first time, and each time your grill eventually runs out of pellets in the hopper while using it.

See the full guide to priming a Pit Boss grill here.

First Time Using Your Pit Boss?

Is it your first time firing up your Pit Boss smoker?

Don’t stress!

There is a comprehensive guide on how to start your Pit Boss grill here.

It will ensure you are a pro from day one!

Wondering If You Can Leave Pellets in The Hopper?

You can leave pellets in the hopper, just ensure you leave your pellet grill undercover or in a sheltered spot. If you don’t ensure it covered the pellets may get wet. Wet pellets can cause all sorts of problems, from jammed augers, The Pit Boss not producing enough smoke and getting into the firepot.

What Happens If You Run Out of Pellets Mid Cook?

Don’t worry just follow my guide on adding pellets to the hopper mid-cook if you run out.

How Much Pellets Do You Need for a Cook?

A Pit Boss Pellet Grill can burns around 2-3 lbs of pellets per hour. 

You have a bag of pellets weighing 20 lbs… This will last a period between 4-10 hours. So you need to know how long your planning on cooking. Plus they are so others factors which can affect this such as ambient temperature and the wind.

I break down how much pellets you’ll need to cook all different types of meat here.

How to Add Pellets to Your Pit Boss Hopper for the First Time (or When You Run Out of Pellets While Grilling)

First of all, it’s best to fill the hopper with Pit Boss wood pellets or any 100% all-natural hardwood pellet fuel.

Then, as you may have already figured out, you must prime your hopper. 

Before priming the hopper during grilling, it is necessary to remove all the cooking components. 

Priming usually takes about 5-10 minutes but would take longer if your grill had run out of pellets.

Let me show you how to do it.

Prep time: 5 minutes

Active time: 7 minutes

Total time: 12 minutes


Enough wood pellets to fill your grill.

Special Tools

Shop-Vac to clean your pit boss if you have used it before

Follow the Instructions Below:

Step 1: Plug the Grill To A Power Source

First, plug your grill into an electrical outlet and open the grill lid.

Step 2: Remove the Cooking Components of Your Grill

This is only necessary if you run out of pellets while grilling. You should clean the Pit Boss Grill.

Step 3: Turn on Your Grill

Press the power button at the control panel to turn on the unit and set the temperature control dial to the smoke function.

You should hear a turbulent sound, like a jet engine. This means the auger is turning.

Place your hand over the fire pot; you have to feel the air movement.

At this point, you will notice a significant amount of white smoke coming out of your grill. This shows that your pellets are ignited, and your pellet grill is functioning well.

Once all the electrical components are verified, it’s time for priming.

Step 4: Add the Pellets

Open the hopper lid and add your pellets. Now that the hopper is filled with wood pellets turn your temperature dial to the smoke function.

Note: Always ensure no objects are blocking the auger feed system

Step 5: Press the Prime Button

Keep pressing the prime button until you see pellets start to fall into the fire pot. 

You can now release the prime button.

Step 6: Turn Off Your Grill

Once you finish priming, turn off your grill and reassemble the cooking components, including the iron cooking grates/grill grates.

You could resume grilling again if you did this when you ran out of pellets. 

Enjoy low and slow smoking.

Note: After each grilling session, ensure to empty pellets and keep your unused pellets/leftover pellets in a secure device like a gallon bucket for next use. This will help you not to run out of pellet supply easily.

Priming the hopper may not seem important the first time you hear it, but it’s an essential procedure to ensure the proper working of your Pit Boss Grill.

It makes things easier by helping you avoid a frustrating issue, especially if it’s your first time adding pellets to a grill. 

So, the moral of the story?

Do not use your Pit Boss Grill without burning the first grill off, and always prime your hopper before adding pellets. 

Smoke On!


Hi, I’m Charlie, I have been meat-smoking and grilling for the past 15 years. I have an array of different smokers, thermometers, and have a love for finding the right wood and charcoal combo My favourite recipes are my EXTRA CRISPY smoked pork belly, juicy pulled pork, smoked brisket, duck poppers, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill).

I loves sharing his tips with beginners, helping them navigate the world of smoking. I find it’s not just about cooking; it’s a quest for that perfect smoky flavor.

You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling recipes with you!

You can read more about me on our About Us page.

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