The Pit Boss Platinum KC Combo Grill is the first grill on the market that’s half pellet smoker and half propane griddle. Today we’re going to find out if it’s good enough to be your next grill.
The KC Combo is a triple threat when you remove the propane griddle and replace it with a set of grill grates to turn the right side into a gas grill. To compare this grill to other units that are out there on the market, you’d have to purchase two separate grills, so a direct comparison is difficult. With the Platinum series KC Combo grill, here’s what you’d be working with.
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The grill measures 69 inches wide and 26 inches deep. From floor to the top of the unit, we measure just over 51 inches in height. If you’re used to a 3 burner propane gas grill or a smaller pellet smoker, this grill has a much larger footprint. The grill weighs in at just a shade under 257 pounds as well, so if you’re going to put this up on a raised deck, make sure your deck is built to handle the weight.
Even though we’re talking about a single grill, we’re really talking about two separate cooking areas here. Here’s what we’re working with on the pellet side of the grill. The pellet grill boasts 562 sq. in. of cooking area on the main cooking grate and the warming rack above. That translates into 20”x22” of cooking surface on the pellet side. The bottom grate brings 439 sq. in. of cooking space to the party while the warming rack brings an additional 123 sq. in.
The propane grill/griddle side brings another 439 sq. in. of cooking space, which translates to 321 sq. in. when using the griddle attachment instead of the propane grill grates. The griddle measures 19”x18”.
In total, you’re looking at just over 1,000 sq. in. of cooking space on the Platinum KC Combo between the two sides.
Combo Grill Features
The grill is made of cold rolled steel, and there’s a combination of textures on the exterior that give it a nice look. The three doors on the unit all appear to be molded with a texture finish that the rest of the grill doesn’t have. It’s finished in a grey or silver color while the rest of the grill is painted in high temp black paint.
The doors are heavy compared to the doors on some of the other pellet grills we have here at The Barbecue Lab. Instead of being a single thickness of metal, the door to each side is double walled with some space in-between giving it a stronger feel and more substantial look. Each door is made of 12 gauge metal while the grill itself is 14 gauge. The doors are embossed as well, which gives them a unique look. There’s a textured powder coat finish on each door that makes them stand out from the rest of the unit.
The bottom of the grill serves as a shelf or storage rack that runs the entire width of the grill unit. The shelf isn’t made of expanded metal like you might see on an Oklahoma Joe’s Highland. This shelf is made of cold rolled steel and will hold a significant amount of accessories if you plan on keeping the grill in one place.
There are two lights on the KC Combo, and they’re found on the back wall of both the pellet and griddle side. The button to turn the lights on and off is on the face of the digital controller, and they make cooking in the dark much easier.
There are two shelves on the KC Combo. The first is a folding front shelf located right in front of the pellet grill. The shelf folds up into place and locks, creating a sturdy surface to work on. At 21”x7”, there’s alot of space to work with. There is a release on each side of the shelf that allows you to store the shelf for a smaller overall footprint, and we like that it takes two releases to get the shelf to go down. This way, there’s no accidental releasing while you’re in the middle of a cook.
The second shelf on the unit is the side shelf, and it’s a really good size. Measuring in at 20”x12”, this is the place where we tended to keep everything we were working with during a cook. It’s a solid shelf, easily supporting the weight of anything we’d need while cooking.
The legs are also made of the same cold rolled steel, and are fashioned into an L shape. We’ve moved this grill all around the garage, driveway and patio, and it’s solid. If you tighten the screws well when you’re doing the assembly, this grill feels like an extremely solid unit.
There are four wheels on the KC Combo, and two are lockable to keep your grill in place. The casters roll easily across solid and even surfaces, but if you need to navigate your way up a lip from the driveway to the garage, prepare for a workout. Since the grill weighs over 250 pounds, we’ve found the best way to get up a lip is to attack it from a 45 degree angle 1 wheel at a time. Straight on at a 90 degree is way harder, so learn from our early mistakes and save yourself some effort.
We really like how easy it is to lock and unlock the casters on this unit. With some of the other grills on the market, you almost have to get down on your knees to lock and unlock the wheels. That’s not the case on this grill. You can easily set the casters to lock with just the flick of your foot. It’s a great upgrade from what we’ve seen on many other smokers.
A grill cover is optional, but if you’re planning on keeping this unit outside, we would highly recommend protecting your investment with a cover. As this unit is half computer controlled pellet grill, keeping the electronics from the elements will inevitably help extend the life of the grill.
The pellet hopper can hold 26lbs of wood pellets, which is a large amount for a pellet smoker of this size. We can often go 3-4 cooks without needing to load more pellets into the hopper. On smaller pellet grills, you can find a pellet hopper half this size or less, so we love that there’s ample pellet storage on the KC Combo.
One of our favorite features on this grill is the new pellet clean out system. A welcome change from pellet grills of the past, the built in pellet clean out tray and brush simplify cleanup. Pull back and forth on the handle to brush pellet waste into the ash drawer at the end of a cook. No more pulling out the shop vac between sessions to vacuum out the grill. This is how pellet grills should be.
We were really pleased with the door seal fit on the KC Combo. For many smokers on the market today, we recommend sealing the doors with gasket seal to keep smoke in the cooking chamber. On this unit, the doors seal quite well, and we aren’t seeing smoke escaping through the door seal.
There’s also a feature on the smokestack cap that allows you to set how much ventilation is available through the smokestack. By simply tightening or loosening the stack cap, you can leave more smoke in your cooking chamber by tightening the cap down all the way.
One of the things that we’re the most excited about with this new series of Pit Boss grills is the new digital control board. We’ve used quite a few Pit Boss grills in the past, and we’ve even outlined some of our issues with previous control interfaces. On this new PID controller, Pit Boss solved many of our past issues in this current interface. The controller is able to utilize the fan to create smoke, which is something that we all love in a smoker.
Let’s walk through the control interface. The first thing that grabs our attention is the large digital readout for the temperature of the pellet grill. There’s only one dial on the face, and adjustments are made by simply pushing the button and changing your desired temperature.
There’s a display light for the auger, which lights up whenever the auger is turning and feeding pellets into the pellet cup. A light for the Igniter is next, and it simply tells you when the igniter is powering the hot rod to light your pellets. Next is a fan light, which will stay lit whenever the fan is running. The fan is a variable speed fan, which means that it’s not just on and off with the Platinum series. When operating the grill, you’ll hear varying levels of fan output as the grill goes through each portion of the cook. The last light on this row is a pellet light that tells you when you’ve run out of pellets. The light triggers when the grill loses fire, helping you know if there’s a pellet dam or if you’ve simply run out of fuel.
There’s a prime button on the controller that allows you to override the auger and force it to feed pellets into the pellet cup. This is useful when you want to fill the auger with pellets the first time you use the grill. It’s also handy when you run the grill out of pellets and need to reload. Just hold down the button until you hear a pellet drop into the pellet cup and you’re good to cycle on the grill like your normally would.
The KC Combo is one of the first grills from Pit Boss that features a PID controller. If you’re new to pellet grill controller types, a PID controller means that it employs a closed loop system to continuously obtain temperature information from the cooking chamber to instruct the auger on how to operate.
Older controllers for pellet grills have operated with rules like “auger runs for 10 seconds and holds for 45 seconds” to achieve a specific temperature. A PID controller continues to adapt to the temperature found in the cooking chamber and adjusts its settings to create a much more consistent internal cooking temperature. In short, a PID controller is what you want in your next pellet grill.
There are a ton of temperature settings available on the KC Combo that range from a smoke setting all the way up to 500 degrees. The smoke setting is set for a temperature between 180-200 degrees, and uses the variable speed fan to generate maximum smoke. Above the smoke setting, you’ll see 180 and 200. From 200 up to 450 is available in 25 degree increments, and high will land you on 500 degrees.
There are two probes that are included with each unit, and they show you the temperature of your food right on the digital controller. One of the more unusual design features on the KC Combo is that the probe ports aren’t located on the front of the grill like we’re used to seeing from almost every pellet grill manufacturer. On the KC Combo, the 1/8in. Jacks are located inside the lid of the pellet hopper. We love that there’s a probe port on the side of the pellet grill and on the hopper to keep probe cables out of the lid to keep that seal nice and tight.
The last feature that you’ll find on the controller is the Smoke IT capability. Pit Boss has included Bluetooth functionality with each Platinum grill, and it works within the Pit Boss app for both Apple and Android.
If you’re like us, and you go looking for the Smoke IT app on the store, you won’t find it. The functionality that you’re looking for is inside of the Pit Boss app itself. Download and open the Pit Boss app and click the grill icon in the upper right corner of the screen. It will walk you through connecting your grill to your phone so you can enjoy the benefits of knowing what’s happening outside while you’re indoors watching the game.
You can turn the temperature of the grill up or down, turn off the grill, check probe temperatures and more all from within the app. About the only thing you can’t do from the app is start the grill, but you’ve got to go outside and take the cover off anyway, right?
One of the biggest complaints you’ll hear from pellet grill owners is that there’s not really a great way to get a sear on a steak with a pellet grill. You’ll see people using cast iron pans with their pellet grill on high or using another grill entirely to get a good sear.
The KC Combo gives three different ways to sear, and we’re loving it. Arguably the best sear you can get is to expose the entire side of a piece of meat to blazing hot metal. The griddle gives the best sear in our opinion on this grill. Crank the griddle up to high and watch it sear your steak in quick order. If it’s flame searing that you’re after, there are two options with the KC Combo. You can use the propane side and replace the griddle with grill grates and flame on. On the pellet side, you can use the flame broiler adjusting bar to open up the fire pot to the grill grates and sear on the pellet side. That’s 3 distinct ways to get a sear on a single grill. Consider us impressed.
The gas grill side of the KC has three knobs to control each burner and an igniter button. The knobs on the propane side are weighty, and feel really solid in comparison to the plastic-y knobs that are found on so many grills these days.
The griddle itself is HEAVY, and it will hold heat very well with that much metal when it’s hot. The griddle plate comes unseasoned, and you’ll find it to be a light gray color when you take it out of the box. One of the first things to do before you cook anything on the griddle side is to season your griddle. If you’d like to see a video on how to season your Pit Boss griddle, click the card right up here or using the link in the description below.
Delivery and Assembly
Fedex really beat up our grill in transit, and even stuck another pallet on top of the grill at some point it looks like. When we saw the box, we thought for sure there was going to be damage to the grill, but kudos to the Pit Boss design team for packing this the right way. Even with the bottom of the box seeing major damage, the grill arrived in perfect condition.
The grill comes pretty much assembled, meaning that the pellet grill, gas grill and the pellet hopper are all bolted together and needing a cart. The cart assembly is the first step in the process, but getting the large pre-assembled unit will definitely require a second person to lift the grill in place. Once the pre-assembled portion is set on top of the cart, this is where some flexibility is required. We cut out a piece of the cardboard box to lay on so we could get to all of the screw holes that were needed in the next 60 minutes of assembly. From opening the box to fully assembled took us about 2 hours.
Overall, this grill is very easy to use and brings a ton of options to your outdoor cooking arsenal. We love cooking on both sides at the same time. It’s not uncommon for us to have a brisket on the pellet grill side for dinner while we’re cooking breakfast and lunch on the griddle. French toast and bacon for breakfast, fried rice and hibachi vegetables for lunch and a smoke brisket for dinner is a great weekend all on one grill.
If you’re looking for a combo grill that does it all, it’s hard to argue that there’s any grill on the market that has the versatility of the KC Combo. If you like to smoke, grill, griddle, saute and you’re looking for a grill that will keep up with you, there’s really no need to look any further. The KC Combo was designed to give you maximum options in a single sturdy unit.
The Pit Boss Platinum KC Combo is priced $747 and is only available through Walmart and Walmart.com. While buying this grill directly in the store can save you a bit of cash on shipping costs, in my opinion, having it delivered directly to your driveway is priceless. I can’t even imagine how I would have transported a grill of this size and weight home from the store without a couple of buddies helping. I say save yourself the hassle and let someone else do all the heavy lifting. Walmart also has the custom fit cover available specifically for the KC Combo so if you plan on storing this grill outside, you’ll definitely want to pick that up as well to protect your investment.
Are you thinking about picking up the KC Combo? Let us know in the comment section below why the KC Combo is calling your name.
Life’s too short to be saddled with bad bbq gear, so come on back and let us do the testing for you before you buy.