Pit Boss has come out with two new pellet grills for 2020 that will be sold exclusively through Walmart. One of these grills is the Pit Boss Lockhart Platinum and it looks like a pretty sweet product! This grill is not on the shelves yet and have a reported “in stock” date of February, 2020. This article will cover the basic aspects of the grill and will be updated as more details are released and first hand user experience is shared.
Lockhart Platinum Overview
The Lockhart has sleek stainless steel on black construction coupled with a dual cooking chamber system that gives the grill a striking look. The combined cooking area of both chambers is over 2,000 square inches making the Lockhart the largest capacity pellet grill made by Pit Boss.
Here is how the cooking area is distributed through the grill:
- Grill Body: Primary Grill Grate = 546 square inches
- Grill Body: Secondary Grill Grate = 172 square inches
- Smoking Chamber: Four Cooking Grates Each With 354 square inches = 1,418 square inches
Take a look at this walk through video that Pit Boss put together for the Lockhart and then we can talk about some of the big features and unanswered questions.
The temperature in the main grill body is maintained through an advanced PID controller that should provide precise and steady temperatures. A PID (Proportional, Integral, Derivative) controller is extremely responsive to any changes in temperature in the grill and is constantly adjusting the auger pellet feed rate and the air flow produced by the blower fan to maintain the desired set temperature. In general, PID controllers can maintain a target temperature in the +/- 5 degree range.
The introduction of a PID controller on a Pit Boss is a significant step forward for the brand steady temperature control has been one of the common complaints on previous generation Pit Boss pellet grills. According to the Pit Boss website this PID controller is only available for the Platinum series grills and cannot be retrofitted onto other models such as the Copperhead, Austin XL, etc.
The user manual indicates a temperature range of 180-500F is possible in the main cooking chamber.
The temperature in the top mounted vertical smoking chamber is controlled by a manual damper that lets heat and smoke from the main grill body enter the vertical smoking chamber. The user manual indicates a temperature range of 150-470F is possible in the vertical smoking chamber. The low end temperature range of 150F would make the vertical chamber excellent for smoking large amounts of beef or pork jerky.
You will not be able to dial in an exact temperature for the vertical smoking chamber. Instead you will have to adjust the temperature of the main grill body from the control panel and then manually adjust the smoke damper that feeds the vertical chamber. So, if you want to use the top chamber to smoke some baby back ribs at 225F then I suspect it will take some trial and error to figure out the exact settings you will need.
I also suspect that you will need to pay a little closer attention to the temperature in the vertical smoker section. The PID controller should do an excellent job of maintaining a constant temperature in the lower grill body but that does not mean temperatures will stay constant in the vertical chamber. The vertical chamber with dual glass doors and higher mounting will lose heat at a different rate than the main grill body. I would expect changes in wind, ambient temperature, etc will impact these sections differently.
I don’t think any of this is a flaw in the smoker. Just be aware that the PID controller only regulates the temperature in the main grill body. Maintaining temperatures in the vertical cooking chamber will be up to you.
The Lockhart is a Bluetooth enabled cooker that can be monitored and controlled through your phone. Pit Boss is calling the wireless connectivity their “Smoke IT” technology. Using the Smoke It connectivity Pit Boss says you will be able to use your phone to adjust the temperature of the grill, monitor the temperature of the meat probes, turn the lights in the vertical smoking chamber on and off and monitor pellet usage.
While the inclusion of the Smoke IT connectivity looks like a nice upgrade we will need to wait and see to understand the full functionality and reliability. Some concern has been raised about why Pit Boss went with Bluetooth instead of WiFi. Bluetooth limits the distance you can be from the grill to still have wireless connection which means you won’t be able to monitor or control the grill from your phone if you are away from your house.
From the literature I have seen so far it also appears that the ability to control the grill is limited to raising and lowering the temperature. Other manufactures allow you to set programs where once the meat probe reaches a set target temperature the grill will automatically go into a “Warming Mode”. Some apps offer set point alarms on internal meat temperatures as well. Again, no pros and cons here…just a few unanswered questions that we will need to look at as the grill is formally introduced.
Pellet Hopper and Ash Management
The Lockhart comes with a massive pellet hopper than can hold 42 pounds of pellets. Some nice features of the hopper is that it comes with a removable panel for dumping pellets if you want to change smoke woods and a sight glass for visual monitoring of your pellet level.
You can monitor pellet usage with the Bluetooth app and I believe the app comes with a low pellet alarm. Both of these features indicate there is also an automatic pellet monitoring system in place for this grill but I haven’t figured out what it entails.
Pit Boss has included an upgraded ash cleanout system on the Platinum Series.
This system functions by having a perforated burn pot that allows ash to fall below the burner. There is an integrated brush that you pull to sweep the ashes into a removable ash pan.
While the ash cleanout system is a nice feature it is not a substitute for cleaning out the grill on a regular basis. Pit Boss recommends using a Shop Vac to clean out the fire pot after every 2-3 cooks and cleaning out the bottom of the main grill after every 5-6 grilling sessions.
There are a bunch of other features on the Lockhart that are worth noting.
The main grill body has a heat deflector that can be slid to an open position to allow you to flame broil and sear steaks, pork chops and burgers. The upper smoking chamber comes with four meat hooks for hanging sausages, etc.
Two meat probes are included with the grill and there are connections for two more.
There is a separate grease tray for the vertical smoker which should just about eliminate the possibility of a grease fire in the upper chamber.
The grill is massive with a footprint of 55 x 31 x 67 inches and a weight of 275 pounds. You will need two people to put this guy together.
The Lockhart comes with a five year warranty on all components and currently retails at $747 at Walmart.
Share Your Experience!
If you have bought a Lockhart then please share your thoughts with everyone and let us know if the grill is as awesome as it looks! How does the Bluetooth app work? How easy is it to control the temperature in the upper chamber? What should folks know before making the purchase?
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