Masterbuilt Gas Smoker XL Assembly Review with Photos (Dial-Up Beware)

Discussion in 'Propane Smokers' started by dbarnett66, Sep 14, 2010.

  1. dbarnett66

    dbarnett66 Smoke Blower

    I just finished my assembly while watching the Charger's-Chief's game tonight. Assembly took about 1.5 hours. I am sure it would have gone faster if my attention was not on the football game too. I really can't compare this to A GOSM, so please feel free to add your "two cents". Some basic observations:

    1. Packaging. The Smoker came in a very thick box with extra styrofoam packaging. All racks and parts were secured inside boxes that were taped together inside the smoker box itself. There were 2 spare boxes with nothing in them to ensure that items did not move around while in transit. My particular unit had no dents or visible blemishes other than an occasional rough weld. GRADE: A+

    2. Assembly - The directions were very clear with two exceptions. The front legs have to be installed a certain way to ensure that the control assembly can be mounted properly. I had to switch the front legs after I made my mistake. Also, do not tighten the legs down at all, Just thread the crews until they hold. For a few minutes, I thought that I would have a return because the holes on the legs and the control assembly were off a hair. Just push or pull while trying to thread and it should work. One of my screw channels must have had some gunk in it because I had to torque it to break it free, The screw went in freely after I gave it a little force. There are 2 side handles but the instructions tell you to only install one. GRADE: B-

    3. Exterior Fit and Finish: Over all I would rate the fit and finish and A-/B+. The metal is powder coated and seems to be durable. The metal box is thick, and the welds are thick too. It feels much more sturdy than the smaller GOSM units that I saw at Bass Pro Shops. There is a locking mechanism that ensure the front door will be very snug when operating.

    4. Design of Interior Items: Ceramic coated water pan and wood chip pans get an F-. Flimsy construction at best when compared to the cast iron box of the GOSM. To make matter worse, the water pan suspends from a custom rack on the bottom of the unit. What happens when a new pan or rack might be needed due to rust issues? The wood chip pan has venting for the heat from the burner to ignite the wood chunks or chips. I want to modify the current water pan system and wood chip system to be a little more durable. In my opinion, this is the only major negative for this unit. I will be working this out over time once I see things work.

    The rack system is very nice. It has adjustable rack inserts that allow you to choose the location of your racks. They slide in and out with ease. We will see how the stainless steel burner holds up over time. I would have liked a thicker brass burner, but steel might work just fine. GRADE A-

    I won't give it a final grade until I use it. Hopefully I will try a pork shoulder in the next 2 weeks or so. I will have a better opinion at that time.

    A few observations: there is only one vent. It is located on the top back of the unit . There are no top or side vents! The vent can be completely closed or open. On the GOSM, I believe that you could not completely close the top vent? Not sure though. The bottom of the unit slopes towards the back where grease is allowed to drain in a suspended drip cup. I am not sure if I like this idea. I rather have a drip pan, but I will give it a try.

    Here are some pictures:

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    Overall assembly.

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    Latch mechanism ensures a tight fit.

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    Interior assembly.

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    Interior assembly.

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    Water Pan tray. Notice the wood pan below sitting on top of the stainless steel burner.

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    Open rear vent. (This is the only vent that I saw during assembly.

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    Closed vent.

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    Drip cup at the back of unit that collects the grease.

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    Close up of drip cup.

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    Wood chip pan.

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    Wood chip pan has some feet to keep over the burner.

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    There are hooks to hold up the regulator.

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    Match stick lighter.

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    An example of fit and finish. Notice the thick welds on the corners.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2010
  2. dbarnett66

    dbarnett66 Smoke Blower

    Wow, I uploaded all of the phots and they looked great on my computer. All I see now are red "X"'s :(
     
  3. dbarnett66

    dbarnett66 Smoke Blower

    Any idea what I might have done wrong on posting the photos?
     
  4. beer-b-q

    beer-b-q Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Several of us have been having problems uploading images... 

    I just PM'd Pinewoods to look at your thread and see what we have been talking about...
     
  5. dbarnett66

    dbarnett66 Smoke Blower

    Thanks Paul
     
  6. beefcake

    beefcake Newbie

    I would like to add a grade to the manual. A big fat F.  We who have already owned smokers know the basics, how to season the smoker, recipies etc.  But if a novice smoker buys this, he is on his own and would probably wonder why their Q isnt' as good as hoped.  I've owned many a smoker and this is the first one that doesn't tell you how to season or even that the smoker needs to be seasoned,  no tips on regulating smoke, no recipies or even time requirements for most meats. Very basic info but vital is you ask me.  I have bare bones assembly instructions in english and spanish. Very poor for the novice in my opinion.  My $.02
     
  7. dbarnett66

    dbarnett66 Smoke Blower

    Yeah, I agree. I was surprised about not seeing directions on the seasoning process. I am also scratching my head on the drip/draining system. I would have like to see a drain pan. I guess I will see what happens first. My guess is that most of the drips/condensation will occure towards the back of the unit since the vent is against the back wall. I feel that this is a very good unit based on fit and finish. Seems very sturdy. Maybe a couple of mods will make this thing complete.....Here I am thinking mods before I even used it. maybe I should slow down a little.
     
  8. beefcake

    beefcake Newbie

    My thoughts exactly on the drip. I think overall this is going to be a good smoker, I wish the drip system and wood box was more like the big block though. I'm not ready to use it yet but I'm already thinking of modding and adding a drip pan.  I've had a grill that used the external cup for drips but that's messy. I'll post a mod when I come up with one.  If nothing else, I can try an put foil on the rack where the water pan is but I dont want to collect too much grease above the flame area though.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2010
  9. dbarnett66

    dbarnett66 Smoke Blower

    I resubmitted my photos, they appear to be working now.
     
  10. beefcake

    beefcake Newbie

    Does your door fit any better than mine?
     
  11. dbarnett66

    dbarnett66 Smoke Blower

    Mostly better. There is a slight bulge from the hinge, but not anywhere as pronounced as yours. The door seems to be aligned well. If you compare this picture with the second and last picture in my original post showing the seams from the other side smoker, you can see they are a 1/16 narrower than the hinge side. I feel this is close enough for the work that this unit was intended for.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2010

  12. X1000

    I just bought one and don't know squat about it.  That is how I found this site (Thank God)!!  Thanks All!!
     
  13. I assembled mine today and it went very well.  Easy to assemble, liked the threaded inserts instead of nuts. I started to get it ready for seasoning, cleaned the inside with white vinegar instead of simple green, seemed to remove any unwanted oils.  Started to smoke to season it, temp went through the roof, chunks caught on fire because of the chip pan design.  Modded the unit with a stove top grate and cast iron pan.  Worked great. Ready for this weekend!!!!
     
  14. jayhawksmoker

    jayhawksmoker Newbie

    I just assembled mine tonight, and have the same issue with the air gap on the hinge side.  I will probably apply some fireplace gasket around it to seal it up, but I think I'll try it without first.  I have a question about seasoning the smoker....what do I do?  I have never bought a brand new smoker and have only bought used or hand-me-downs.  I plan on smoking on it in two or three days, so your advice is much appreciated.  I'll let ya'll know how everything turns out and post some pics.  Thanks.
     
  15. jrstout55

    jrstout55 Newbie

    Just ordered and received my 40xl smoker and seasoned it last night. Doing my first smoke today of a thanksgiving turkey. Having trouble getting temps up above 200 today. did't have the same issue last night... any ideas.? Temps got up close to 400 during seasoning with no problem . have it in the garage today with no wind and out of the serious cold...
     

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