Bought a Master Forge vertical smoker from Lowe's today

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by lucc, Feb 15, 2011.

  1. lucc

    lucc Smoke Blower

    NJ
    Went to Lowe's at lunch to pick up another Brinkmann Gourmet vertical smoker for the house and they informed me that they no longer are carrying those smokers. They then said the Master Forge vertical charcoal smoker replaced the el cheapo. I figured for $59 I will give it a shot. First impression is that it is made from heavier gauge steel, nice coiled door handle, unit and lid handle grips are rubberized (not wood), grates are better quality, lid fits better, etc., just a better built unit.

    Anyone have any experience with them? I got it cause I really want to smoke some ribs Saturday being it's going to be around 60 here. I'll probably ship it off to my bro in law's house after I pick up my 22.5" WSM.

    Also, I had a 15# bag of kingsford in the cart and a guy that was working there told me they have double 15# bags for $4. I said excuse me? LOL

    I picked up 3 double bags (6 15# bags) for $12. HA!!!
     
  2. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    Congrats on the new smoker and the great score on the charcoal
     
  3. les3176

    les3176 Master of the Pit

    What are you talking about??? The lid for the brinkman gourmet fits perfect!!!!!  HAHAHAHA  [​IMG]
     
  4. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Nice score on the charcoal, I'm gonna swing by Lowe's today to see if the sale is at all their stores. Sounds like you got a pretty good smoker there too.
     
  5. lucc

    lucc Smoke Blower

    NJ

     Ha, don't know how good a $59 smoker could be but I have smoked some nice meat on the el cheapo Brinkmann Gourmet vertical charcoal/water smoker. This unit is identical except better built, I will try and post pics after I put it together.

    Definitely check your local Lowe's. ;)
     
  6. lucc

    lucc Smoke Blower

    NJ

     LOL!!!
     
  7. lucc

    lucc Smoke Blower

    NJ
    I also forgot to mention that the base, where the charcoal sits, connects to the chamber/body using 3 latches. Now I can pick up and move the whole unit without having to go back for the base as I do with the Bman Gourmet.
     
  8. solebrutha

    solebrutha Newbie

    I bought the same smoker this past weekend from Lowes as well. $60 bucks. It worked fantastic but I had to experiment a little to get it to stay around 250. first I tried Minion Method with Kingsford original, but it burned over 350 for a couple hours; problem it there's no vent on top and the vents on the bottom cannot be dampened. second time I just filled the charcoal pan with a half a weber chiminey woth of already lit coal. I had an initial spike into the low 300's but after that and through 3 more charcoal refills the smoker stayed rock solid at 250. I'm thinking that after theres a layer of ash in the bottom of the charcoal pan, it seems to self-dampen the air flow to just the right amount.

    next Time I'm going to try it with a full chiminey's worth of pre-lit charcoal. I'm thinking I can get closer to 4 hours in the 225-275 range, we'll see.

    I'd like to get a WSM but $300 when $60 gave me perfect temperature is hard to justify. Of Course I won't really know until I've really put this smoker through it's paces
     
  9. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★


    First off let me say Welcome to SMF. Congrats on the new smoker. Now if you would go over to the Roll call section & introduce yourself, we can all give you a proper SMF welcome.
     
  10. tyotrain

    tyotrain Master of the Pit

    welcome to SMF and congrats on your new smoker.. man if only they had that deal on lump...
     
  11. zdburns

    zdburns Newbie

    Hello LUCC and others...I saw the Master Forge Vertical Charcoal Smoker/Grill at Lowes and think I'm gonna grab it.  Figured I'd go home and google it first, and came across this forum.  How has the grill held up?  Is it good for grilling, too?  I'm basically looking to find a charcoal grill and smoker to supplement my gas grill...

    Thanks!
     
  12. solebrutha

    solebrutha Newbie

    It has worked great. I have since given it to a buddy of mine who was still smoking on a kettle grill. I pulled the trigger on a WSM. But I know that he used it this past weekend and smoked a beautiful butt. using Minion method on the charcoal he smoked the butt to 195 degrees in 10 hours on the single load of charcoal.

    Neither of us has used it as a grill to my knowledge, but I would think that that would work well also.

    I had done butts, chicken, and ribs on the smoker before giving it away. I still don't think you can beat it for the price, I had just been wanting that WSM for a year and a half now.
     
  13. zdburns

    zdburns Newbie

    Awesome.  Thanks for the feedback!
     
  14. lucc

    lucc Smoke Blower

    NJ
    I've smoked ribs and a pork shoulder on this smoker and had nothing but good results. The only issue I have had are temp spikes but what do you expect from a $40 smoker. I've never used it to grill but have used other vertical smokers for grilling in the past with good results. I just got a 22.5" WSM as a father's day gift so this is going to go to my buddy or as a back up if we have a party or something.
     
  15. Hi there - I received the Master Forge as a b-day gift. I was wondering if laying a piece of foil on the hole (just big enough to cover the hole) at the very bottom of the unit would help control the temp. It could just be moved to expose more of the hole and let in more air. Any thoughts?
     
  16. lucc

    lucc Smoke Blower

    NJ
    I guess you can mess around with the vent on the bottom of the charcoal pan/chamber. Maybe just get a piece of sheetmetal and attach it so you can open/close easily.
     
  17. Here's what I rigged up using some metal brackets I had laying around. (The screw hangs out of the bottom.) I'm doing a seasoning run right now so I'll see how it works.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  18. mtb2005

    mtb2005 Newbie

    I have the same smoker and I can't seem to keep the temps steady. It'll go from 225 to 170-190 in just 2 hours. Is it because a lot of smoke leaks around the lid and the door? I'm a newbie to smoking meat but I really want to improve!
     
     
  19. mostro

    mostro Newbie

    Hi folks, new member with first post. Very cool site!

    I thought I would share my experience trying to buy this MF. That acronym could mean Master Forge, but at the moment I have another suggestion. [​IMG]

    The first unit I brought home had just a wee manufacturing flaw... the lip of the main cylinder body had been crushed massively during fab. Apparently there's a guy with a big hammer near the end of the production line, because the devastation wasn't enough to prevent this one from getting painted, packed, and shipped. I took it back to Lowe's and had them open the other box on the shelf -- the one I had passed over due it featuring a huge dent. We looked it over and it seemed OK, but I somehow stupidly missed one corner and this time it was the base that had an angry dent in it, this time with all the paint scraped off. I don't care that not it's not pretty I tried to tell myself. It didn't work... I do care. Plus these seem to have enough sealing/alignment issues as they are, without being bludgeoned into submission.

    Long story short, you might want to crack the box and examine this unit in the store before you bring it home! I'll have to wait a bit now until I can start using a real smoker (I've been doing this with indirect heat on a gas grill for years). I told the wife that this was a sign from the universe that I should probably look at a WSM but to my great surprise she didn't laugh.

    I'm not bashing the model, I still want to get one because I like the price point and the removable base design that avoids having to mod a Brinkmann, so will keep trying.

    Back to looking at rib pron...
     
  20. mostro

    mostro Newbie

    Am I going to let two badly fabbed units and no response to my last post slow me down? Naw. I picked up a third version of this same smoker from Lowe's yesterday and it was perfect right out of the box... hooray. There were, however, two other boxes on the shelf with fork blade holes going right through the box. A third looked as though a granite slab had fallen on it. Who the hell handles these, Three Stooges Logistics Co.? LOL

    I brought it home, put it together, cleaned it, and set up an easy chicken smoke with leg quarters and bone-in breast to see how this MF would perform without trashing any expensive cuts.

    Filled it with a half chimney full of hot Royal Oak lump and a handful of apple chips and it quickly went to 200 and parked there for more than an hour, slowly dropping until I got another chimney ready. By then it had dropped down to 150. I probably should have used the minion method but everyone else seems to have trouble keeping temps DOWN with this smoker so I was trying to be conservative first time out. Did I mention that it was 30 degrees outside? *hits self with chimney* The chicken was delicious after 2.5 hours, a loooooong dip in the temps kept it from finishing sooner. The skin/exterior was a tad bit dry but the rest was moist, juicy and delicious.

    Seems there isn't enough airflow with this guy to get temps to 225-250? Let alone higher temps for carmelizing, etc.

    I'm going to do a pork tenderloin this weekend and am now researching mods to increase performance. I should note that this smoker was not my first choice, I was hankering for a WSM and almost bought one recently after my earlier bad experience with those two damaged units from Lowe's. However, after buying a new car, new computer, and new TV this last month (oh yeah, and then there was Christmas) the WSM was def NOT in the cards for me.

    So this was my only affordable choice. Having said that, this unit is very solid and seems much better made than similar Brinkmann and GrillPro el-cheapos. BUT it will probably never perform to my satisfaction without being modified. First order of business is to install exhaust and intake vents to improve airflow and gain control over it... along with judicious use of stove rope to seal up some of the larger gaps where body parts join. If anyone has any ideas they've implemented on their own MF smoker or sees any holes in what I've described, please share.

    Happy Smoking.
     

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