After Traeger, Pit Boss is currently the most well known/popular brand of pellet grills/smokers on the market today. I’ve previously discussed the features and capabilities of Pit Boss budget pellet grills. However, with this post, I want to discuss the feature and capabilities of the Pit Boss Platinum Series. As pellet grills/smokers become ever more popular, long-established pellet grill brands such as Pit Boss are having to diversify/broaden their product range to stand out from the competition. There are two models in the Pit Boss Platinum Series, a combination gas/pellet grill (KC Combo) and a pellet grill with an upper smoking cabinet (Lockhart).
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As of this moment, Pit Boss has an exclusive deal with Walmart on both the Platinum Series Lockhart and KC Combo. While you can pick up either of these grills directly from a Walmart store, as I’ll discuss below, these are big/heavy pellet grills. Hence, unless you have a friend with you and an SUV/Pick-up it would be better to choose home delivery. Both the Lockhart and KC Combo are currently retailing for just under $750. Therefore, at that price and for their features both of these pellet grills fall into the Practical Class. If you’re not sure on the different pellet grill classes please check out my post on how to chose the pellet best pellet grill for your requirements/budget.
Introduction To The Pit Boss Platinum Pellet Grill/Smoker Range
As I stated above, with the Platinum range Pit Boss are trying to offer a range of pellet grills/smokers with features/capabilities not found on many (if any) other pellet grills/smokers today, especially at this price point. The Lockhart and KC Combo do include features Pit Boss are well known for. Namely cast-iron grates for better searing performance over thin wire racks and their sliding grease tray for direct-flame searing. With the Lockhart and its upper smoking cabinet its a very unique product, with nothing else quite like it currently on the market. The KC Combo with its gas grill is to compete against several other brands who have brought this idea (pellet/gas grill) to market, and its quite popular as I discuss below. First, I’ve included a quick promotional video from Pit Boss discussing the features of the Platinum pellet grill range.
Pit Boss Lockhart – Pellet Grill With Vertical Smoker Cabinet
Pit Boss produce some of the most popular/affordable vertical pellet smokers on the market today. With the Lockhart, Pit Boss has integrated a vertical smoker cabinet on top of a horizontal pellet grill. However, there is a lot more to it than that. For instance, the Lockhart is using a completely different (and superior) control panel compared to that found on their standalone vertical pellet smokers. However, as I’ll discuss below, there are some scenarios where a standalone vertical pellet smoker might be your best option. But first, to save me typing forever and day below is the video Pit Boss are using the promote the Lockhart with Chef Shaun O’Neale, a previous Master Chef winner.
So as I’m sure you can appreciate from the video above, this pellet grill/smoker is huge. That obviously has its benefits, but also a couple of drawbacks which I’ll get to later. But first off, remember this is a ‘big box store’ purchase. Hence, even if you opt for home delivery you are still going to have to assemble this beast out of the box. So as I referenced above, if you are interested in picking up the Pit Boss Lockhart, make sure you have someone who can help you assemble it. First off, let’s run through some notable specs on the Pit Boss Lockhart
Pit Boss Lockhart Pellet Grill/Smoker Specs
- 2,136 Square Inches of Cooking Area
- 180° to 500° F Temperature Range
- PID (Proportional Integral Derivative) Technology
- 40 LB Hopper Capacity
- Assembled Product Weight 275.58 lbs
As you can see above, the Pit Boss Lockhart is a heavy grill at just over 275lbs. Therefore, you do need help during collection if you chose to pick one up and for assembly. However, you also need to think about that weight in terms of moving the grill around. If you keep your grill in one position and just put a cover on it, as long as your deck etc can hold the weight, not a problem.
However, if you are someone who keeps your pellet grill in a shed/garage when not in use and wheels it out when needed I don’t think the Lockhart will be your best option. Not only because of the total weight. I’d also be concerned about its centre of gravity because its so tall. In other words, I’d personally be quite concerned about tipping it over while trying to move it.
Pros and Cons Of The Upper Smoking Cabinet
So first off the pros. If you are cooking for a large group of friends/family that’s where the Pit Boss Lockhart can really come into its own. The combined cooking area of 2,000 square inches is huge, and that’s for any pellet grill, and especially for a pellet grill under $1,000. Being able to do your searing of steaks and burgers down on the grill while the smoker cabinet is full of your other food going ‘low and slow’, sure I can see that working well on a large cookout. However, when you are doing just a small amount of food, for say for just you and your partner, is using the upper smoking cabinet your best option?
The problem is as the upper smoking cabinet is quite far away from the pellet burn pot, and this is not a heavily insulated grill, heat will be lost in the lower half before it reaches the upper smoking cabinet. I’m not saying the upper cabinet cannot get up to temperature. What I’m saying is to get that upper cabinet to the right temperature it will take more BBQ wood pellets on the Lockhart than it would on a dedicated vertical smoker, or just smoking food within the lower grill section. Therefore, you really have to think about how often are you going to be using that upper smoking cabinet when its makes sense to do so. With all that being said, if you like to cold smoke, that upper cabinet may actually perform really well.
Pit Boss KC Combo – Pellet and Gas Cooking On One Grill
Where the Pit Boss Lockhart purely uses pellets as its source of heat, the KC Combo is a 50/50 split unit, with a pellet grill on one side and gas grill on the other. I do just want to point out that the pellet grill on the KC Combo can still be used as a smoker, just obviously a small one. Its not as if you have to opt for the Lockhart if you want smoking capabilities. The idea of a combined pellet and gas grill really started with Camp Chef. On the Camp Chef SmokePro and Woodwind pellet grills, you can attach either their propane Sear box or SideKick. The advantages being in one unit you have the flavour of wood-fired cooking and that additional heat/BTUs of propane when you need it for searing etc.
It is interesting to note that another combined pellet/gas grill which is on the market for around the same price as the Pit Boss KC Combo is the Cuisinart Twin Oaks. Cuisinart also has an exclusive deal with Walmart for their pellet grill the Woodcreek. However, Walmart doesn’t sell the combined Twin Oaks pellet/gas grill from Cuisinart for some reason. Anyway, as with the Lockhart above, below is a video from Chef Shaun O’Neale talking though the highlights/specs on the Pit Boss KC Combo.
There is something after reading through all the specs on the KC Combo I’m still not sure about. Can smoke be drawn through from the pellet grill side into the gas grill side? Now Pit Boss actually make some cheaper/lower spec pellet/gas combination grills. Namely, the Pro Series Combo Grill and the PB1230 sold at Menards. Well, on those grills you can divert smoke into the gas side to use it as a cold smoker. At first, I just presumed the KC Combo would have this feature, but I’m struggling to find any reference to it. Cold smoked fish/cheese is something I personally love. And there are only a few pellet grills offering cold smoking capabilities, examples being Cookshack and MAC Grills.
Pit Boss KC Combo Pellet/Gas Grill Specs
- 1,001 Square Inches of Cooking Area
- 180° to 500° F Temperature Range
- PID (Proportional Integral Derivative) Technology
- 26 LB Hopper Capacity
- Assembled Product Weight 262.35 lbs
So a couple of things to note, in terms of cooking area the KC Combo offers roughly half the total cooking area of the Lockhart. It is a bit lighter than the Lockhart at just over 262lbs, but this is still a heavy setup that you don’t want to be moving around that much. Granted though, the KC Combo should have a lower centre of gravity compared to the Lockhart, so it should be more stable when moving it around. The pellet hopper on the KC Combo is quite a bit less at 26lbs compared to the massive 40lb hopper on the Lockhart. I personally think any hopper capacity significantly over 20lbs though is a bit over the top. You’re unlikely to go through more than a 20lb bag of pellets going low and slow over a 24hr period. Hence, any hopper which can take a full 20lb bag of BBQ wood pellets is sufficient really.
New Platinum Laredo 1000 and Brunswick
Two new models have been added to the Pit Boss Platinum Series, a smaller horizontal pellet grill the Laredo 1000 and a vertical pellet smoker called the Brunswick. Both of these pellet cookers are being priced very aggressively under £500, and again are being distributed exclusively through Walmart. The both share the same core features of their larger siblings the Lockhart and KC Combo including the PID control panel discussed below which has recently been updated to included WiFi.
Pit Boss Platinum Series PID Control Panel
Both the Pit Boss Lockhart and KC Combo use the same control panel, and its a new design for Pit Boss, not found on any of their previous models. In fact, its the first PID (Proportional, Integral, Derivative) control panel that Pit Boss have fitted to any of their pellet grills. But what does PID even mean? Well, a PID pellet grill control panel is making constant adjustments to achieve and maintain a set temperature within a 5-degree range.
Previous generations of Pit Boss pellet grills used a timer-based control panel, similar in function to old Traeger control panels. Those types of time-based control panels would turn the auger/fan on and off on specific timed gaps. They work fine in general, but they typically will only be able to keep the temperature within a 25-degree range.
Previous generation Pit Boss control panel (none PID). Notice the wide jumps (25-50 degree) between the temperature settings: Image – Amazon
However, there is a debate that the temperature accuracy of a PID controller means you get less smoke. Hence, this is why Grilla Grills with their Alpha control panel included a time-based and PID mode. However, other manufacturers such as Camp Chef with their Gen 2 Controller have taken a different approach. But I’ll get into all this argument about smoke and PID controllers in a separate post. The point being, a PID controller will hold a more accurate and stable temperature. Therefore, its good to see that Pit Boss has integrated a PID controller into their Platinum Series pellet grills.
While you can control either the Pit Boss Lockhart or KC Combo with your phone via the SmokeIT app, its only possible with Bluetooth connection, not WiFi. Bluetooth limits your ability to monitor and control the pellet grill to within your own yard/garden/house. With WiFi, you can potentially control a pellet grill while your down the shops etc if you are doing a long low and slow cook. Hence, the SmokeIT as its limited to Bluetooth is not comparable to Traeger WiFire or Camp Chef Connect.
Update: Pit Boss have revised their control panels to now include WiFi as well as Bluetooth connectivity. This is also the case with the new Louisiana Grills branded products which are a sibling brand to Pit Boss.
Pit Boss Platinum Series Reviews
Whenever I write these pellet grill specification articles I like to browse around YouTube to see what reviews I can find with people who have got to grips with them in person. Ideally, I like to find actual customer reviews, but I will also reference BBQ related YouTube channels who I think produce good content. With this post, its a bit of both. So the first video below is a review of the Pit Boss KC Combo from The Barbeque Lab and the second video is an owners video review on the Pit Boss Lockhart.
So the video review above brings up a couple of the points I previously discussed about the weight of this pellet grill. I do think its something you really need to be aware of. The review also points out features such as the twin shelves which are handy. Personally I would put something on top of them like a silicone matt. Otherwise, you will scratch the paint on those shelves with your grill tools pretty easily. The ash cleanout is a good feature to have and a relatively new introduction to Pit Boss grills. Though, as the video states, every now and again you will still need to properly clean the pellet grill with an ash/shop vac.
An interesting owner view review above on the Pit Boss Lockhart. They have clearly been asked on several occasions about the functionality of the upper smoking cabinet and whether it will get hot enough. As I’ve discussed above, I’m sure it will be able to get up to several hundred degrees. Though, as referenced in the video above, depending on outside temperatures the amount of pellet fuel it consumes will vary.
Conclusions On The Pit Boss Platinum Pellet Grill/Smoker Range
So my first thoughts are, these are very large/heavy grills. So you really need to be aware of that. With both units weighing around 270lbs you need to really think about how and where you want to use one of these pellet grills. Personally, any pellet grill which is not stainless steel and if you live in a wet/humid climate I wouldn’t leave out in the elements, even with a cover on. However, in terms of pure cooking capacity, for under $1,000 you are getting a lot of cooking area for your money. The new PID controller I think is a big step up for Pit Boss over their old controller. I personally think in most cases the pellet/gas functionality of the KC Combo is going to be the better option for most people. However, if you do frequently cook for a larger group of friends/family then the Lockhart with its larger upper smoking cabinet could make sense too.
That’s it! Thanks for reading, I hope you found this quick analysis of the features on the Pit Boss Lockhart and KC Combo interesting/useful. You may also want to check out my Traeger vs Pit Boss article. I’ve also got many articles now as part of my wood pellet grill/smoker guide. So if you want to take a deep-dive into all your pellet grill options for a range of budgets please check that out. 🙂