Let me tell you something…Walmart has never sold a product this well made, in the history of their store! A couple of weekends ago, I purchased my 2nd Pit Boss barrel smoker, the Pit Boss Savannah Onyx (PB1500NX). It’s a beautiful matte black with copper accents, as you can see in the gallery below.
However, when you buy one, ignore the directions on how many people it’s going to take you. The directions say it’ll take 1-2 people. Guaranteed, you will NOT be putting this together with only one person. If you try and are like me and can’t admit defeat, you’re going to be mad, spitting nails, and cussing like a sailor, before you’re done. Just admit defeat from the outset and go with three people. Two adults and a little person. This beast weighs in at 187 pounds. The second person is to help you with unboxing it and setting it on one end, in order to put it together, as well as holding the legs in place, while you put the bolts in from the inside. Your arms would have to be 6′ long, in order to do this part by yourself. The little person is going to be there to hold the flashlight, because if you’re like me (I’m 58), I need more light to see, the older I get. You’re going to be standing this on it’s side, so at least one side is going to be away from the light at all times.
The first thing you’re going to be doing, is putting the wheels on the legs and a couple of tool pegs on the fronts of the legs, one for each side. Then you’re going to tip it on one end and connect all four legs and the bottom tray to the smoker. Don’t worry, they’re all well marked. Whatever you do though, don’t tighten the screws all the way down. Leave them so that your smoker is just a little wobbly. In steps 3 and 4 in your directions, it’s going to ask you to put some side skirts on the smoker. If you don’t leave everything a little loose, you’ll never get the screw holes on these to line up. Once you get everything initially put together, then go back and tighten everything up, making sure to keep it level. These side skirts need to installed though, because the Savannah has a new design, which I’ll talk about in a minute.
The dimensions on the Savannah are a little bigger than my Pit Boss Pro Series 1150 (PB1150PS2). From the owner’s manual for the 1150, the assembled dimensions are listed as 62.50″ long x 32.03″ deep x 52.52″ tall. For the Savannah, the assembled dimensions are listed as 64.2″ long x 29.4″ deep x 56.8″ tall. Keep in mind, that the “tall” dimensions are to the top of the stack, not the top of the barrel. If you are vertically challenged and already think it’s hard to reach up and close the lid on some of the smokers like my 1150, then you’re not going to like the Savannah. By my measurements, the Savannah stands 50″ tall to the top of the barrel, closed, and 68″ tall to the top of the open door! Depth is also being measured with the front shelf down. With the front shelf up, I measured it at 29″. By comparison, the 1150 by my measurements, was 45″ tall to the top of the barrel, closed, and 61″ tall, to the to of the open door. With the front shelf on the 1150 up, it measured 27″ deep.
I like several things about the Savannah, over my 1150:
- First, they moved the auger/fire pot underneath the unit, which obviously makes for more space inside the unit. With the fire pot and the auger tube underneath the belly of the smoker, it allowed Pit Boss to drop the sear plate lower in the barrel, and allowed them to put in an additional rack, creating a whopping 1,507.1 square inches of smoking / grilling space! Because the fire pot is underneath, the side skirts have been added, in order to cut down on any weather interference with the fuel source and keeping your fire from being blown out. The side skirts also add stability to the legs as well.
- Second, the relocation of the auger tube makes it easier to clean. Quite honestly, with the auger tube in the way, it makes it more than a little difficult to really get the 1150 clean. Not to mention that there is a seal around the removable ash pot on the 1150, like the ones you would find on an oven. The pins holding the seal in place stick up from the bottom, making for an uneven surface to clean and the seal absorbs a lot of grease.
- It’s a little thing, but all four wheels on the Savannah lock, making for a very stable platform.
- The broiler plate – the plate on the 1150 has it’s own incorporated grease channel like the Savannah, that sits in a notch / slot configuration and makes it almost impossible to mess up. However it’s much closer to the edges of the barrel and doesn’t allow for the best airflow. It forces the majority of the hot air/smoke out from under either end of the plate. The left side, without a mod from Tom Boden (the owner/admin of the largest Pit Boss page on FB) will wind up with the hot air blowing directly on the temperature probe, which will cause problems. The Savannah has larger grease channels incorporated into the broiler plate, allowing for better collection of grease and less dripping into the bottom of the barrel, while still being farther away from the outside edges of the barrel, which looks like it will allow better convection movement of the hot air.
However, I do have to admit, that the one thing I’m sad about, is that there is no built-in Bluetooth / Wifi for this unit. This will keep me from being able to keep tabs on my smoker from 15 miles away, but on the other hand, it does give me an incentive to go out and buy those new Meater probes I’ve been wanting to get anyway.
One thing I always hear people whining about, is how their smoker takes so long to get up to temp, or that it has a hard time holding a temp. Well let me tell you, neither the Savannah OR the 1150 have any issues getting to or holding a temp. For the initial burn-off for the Savannah last weekend, I timed everything. 15 minutes after turning it on, it was up to 405°. 20 minutes after startup, it was at 460°. 25 minutes after startup, it hit its target temperature of 500°. It then held 500° steady, for over an hour! Initial cook tonight, doing a smoked corned beef, it came up to 245° in less than 10 minutes and has been there, dead on, for the last 3 hours.
Overall, I’m really happy with BOTH smokers, and you’ll have to pry them out of my cold, dead hands. You know what’s funny though? I now have TWO phenomenal smokers, AND I could buy the Meater probes, all for about $700 less than you can buy one Traeger smoker, comparable to the PB 1150! Wild.