Discussion in 'Propane Smokers' started by bob bramlett, Mar 27, 2013.

  1. bob bramlett

    bob bramlett Fire Starter

    ok... i have debated for 6 months....and the choice i made was the Masterbuilt XL due to many factors, but especially the size (1300+ sq. in.) and the price... $179 @ BPS. However, I fear this will be much less "set it and forget it" than the electric models but we shall see. I am NEW to the smoking game- as in Never smoked before- I enjoy the grill and love my Char-Broil Big Easy infrared fryer... this is kinda intimidating to me. Practice makes perfect!

    So here come the questions / advice... most of which I think I am on the right track.

    1.  I have ordered the Maverick ET-732 and I think the dual probe monitoring will decrease the "babysitting" tremendously. true? 

    2.  going to get a 10" cast iron skillet to sit on chip tray / or i am gonna get a gas stove burner grate to sit skillet on?  suggestions?

    3.  chunks instead of chips...soaked?

    4.  outside of windy days... can the XL be left alone and stay on temp for long periods of time?

    5.  does it do a better job than the electrics at "crisping up" the skin on poultry than the electric models? Is this done by cranking it up at the end of a cook for a little while?

    6.  what are suggestions for some relatively quick ( 3-4 hr.) cooks? ribs, wings, ?

    7. any tricks to the XL that possibly haven't been covered on threads?

    8.  Thanks for a great site.... probably would never had jumped into the world of smoking without the information and advice provided here!
  2. bob bramlett

    bob bramlett Fire Starter

    any help would be appreciated...
  3. i built a "box" for mine to keep the wind from the fire ,  also i attached wood on the legs to also help with blocking the wind had to cut to make it fit on all four side's , i use a 10" cast iron skillet in there for wood chunks , i do not soak the wood it seems to work better "smoke" if it is not soaked , i do like it alot better then my electric for the chicken as the smoker does crisp the skin "which i like but the kids don't" .

    I love the ribs in the smoker at 250 for 3 1/2 hours " i don't wrap" just rub and smoke i also added two more temp gauges one low and one higher then the one that the smoker came with and then i also have one inside on the middle grate so when i open it to add wood i can check the temp, but i only have to open during a very long smoke.

    i have noticed that this smoker puts alot more smoke into the meat so compared to my electric i have had to decrease my smoke time a little

    like my ribs i smoke for 3 to  4 hours but only smoke or add wood for the first 2 hours after that just heat to cook , and the brisket i only smoke for 4hours after that the heat to cook the meat.

    The ribs come out great and the brisket has a real good smoke ring which you don't get from the electric.

    you will have to experiment with the smoker because not all smokers are the same !

    Just remember to take some Q-view !!!
  4. bob bramlett

    bob bramlett Fire Starter

    thanks Ravenclan...just seasoned it and gonna get started next week- ribs may be a good way to go for the first smoke... i will try your method. rub advice? i have the maverik et-732 doubt i will try to use the food probe on ribs- lol. what about water pan-looks too small -keep it full or no?
  5. s2k9k

    s2k9k AMNPS Test Group

    Fill the water pan with sand or pea gravel, much better for maintaining temps, you can use a disposable foil pan or metal baking pan lined with foil to catch drippings.
  6. bob bramlett

    bob bramlett Fire Starter

    no water?  do you put the foil pan on top of the "sand pan holder"?
  7. s2k9k

    s2k9k AMNPS Test Group

    I have a GOSM and set the drip pan right on top of the sand pan. You an also set it on the bottom rack, anywhere under the meat so the drippings don't get all over your smoker. You can put water in the drip pan if you want, I prefer the dry smoke chamber.

    Sand or pea gravel will add a good consistent thermal mass that water can't provide. Water evaporates which changes the size of the thermal mass and water can't get above 212*. Also the evaporation and humidity actually create a cooling effect.
  8. bob bramlett

    bob bramlett Fire Starter

    so the moisture just comes from the meat-  makes sense.  thanks-   what your favorite wood to use for chiken, ribs, etc...
  9. s2k9k

    s2k9k AMNPS Test Group

    I believe all the moisture comes from the meat, I can't see how a little humidity can penetrate deep into a large cut of meat.

    This is what turned me onto the dry smoke chamber:

    I am a true believer in Eric's methods, they have taken my smoking to a whole other level!

    I use Todd's pellets and I have a lot of different flavors so it is just kind of what I am in the mood for trying at the time. I do use heavier flavors like hickory or mesquite for pork and beef and lighter fruit woods for poultry and such.
  10. bob bramlett

    bob bramlett Fire Starter

    great info and pics.....  the family loves bark as long as the meat is moist.... what would be a good 1st smoke????
  11. s2k9k

    s2k9k AMNPS Test Group

    Chicken is good because it doesn't take long and is inexpensive just in case you do mess up. Pork butts are easy too if you are willing to put in the time. 3-2-1 ribs are almost foolproof.
    Best thing is just get in there and start because once you do you will find yourself wanting to try all kinds of things. Also gotta get it going so you can learn your smoker what you can do to make it work for you. The more you use it the more comfortable you will be with it. Before you know it you will just go fire it up and not even think about how it is running or what you need to do to it, it will be like riding a bike!
  12. animal54

    animal54 Fire Starter

    Good Morning Dave.....also baked patatos are super and easy. Wash the skins, rub some olive oil on them, apply some sea salt.....let the go for say 2 hours and BANG!!!! You will love them... 
  13. bob bramlett

    bob bramlett Fire Starter

    SOUNDS GREAT....I agree S2K9K, I need to get busy and get after it - that XL will cook a lot- i think i will try both chicken and ribs.... maybe a pork loin and wait on the long smokes and expensive meat cuts.....until I have more experience... I think wings may be in order as well.... dry smoke chamber for them - any wing recommendations.

    Those potatoes sound great- Animal54 -do you smoke them too?
  14. I use sand in mine and love it. At one time I had such a large pan in mine(filled with water or juice mixtures) that it had way too much moisture. Some of the meats looked and tasted like they were steamed. The rubs were wet and paste like by the end of a cook. If I rubbed something down in mustard, it wouldn't cook down, it would just have a mustard paste on it at the end of the cook. 
  15. animal54

    animal54 Fire Starter

    Hello everyone......How do you down load pictures to the site? Thanks
  16. Bob,

    You're going to love this smoker.  I picked one up last year and my only regret is that I haven't used it much.  I use a cast iron skillet for my chips.  Chunks work great, but you can use chips as well.  I've made a tinfoil pouch using 3 layers of tinfoil, put the chips in the pouch, and then mostly seal up the pouch.  You'll have to play with it a bit to find the right amount the pouch needs to be open to get good smoke without the chips igniting.  You may also find you need to have the temps higher at first to get the wood to start smoking, then drop it down to your desired cooking temp.

    There are a few threads here with good mod suggestions, including putting the smoker on casters to make it more movable.  For my cast iron skillet, I used three stainless steel bolts and some nuts, drilled holes in the skillet to mount the bolts, and used the bolts as legs to stand the skillet over the burner.  Works great.

    Also, if you want a cover, the Char-Broil 4335292 cover available on Amazon fits like a glove.  Details in this thread:

  17. bob bramlett

    bob bramlett Fire Starter

    msaunders - thanks for the info - looking forward to getting started.  have you used your smoker in the summer- is it hard to keep the temps down?
  18. Bob,

    Sorry for the delay, been pretty hectic at work lately.  I did jerky a couple of times in the summer, and it wasn't bad.  They weren't really hot days, and I waited until later in the evening when the deck was shaded by the house so the smoker wasn't in direct sunlight.  That seems to have helped.  I did my jerky right around 190-200.  I know a lot of people like to do it lower, but that's the temp I set and it worked fine and I didn't have to struggle with it.

  19. Bob,

    Did some ribs today in 90ish degrees today.  Just runs a little hotter.  Had mine going at 240-245 today.  With mine I had to get the needle valve because I wasn't able to get down to 225 on normal days.  I also have the cast iron pan on bolts above the burner.  Chunks work perfect for me.  In my drip pan I have the BBQ lava rocks instead of sand.  I use mine a lot and still haven't done all the mods I want yet.
  20. bob bramlett

    bob bramlett Fire Starter

    sorry for the late reply guys... been on vacation.

    the Lava Rocks are a great idea...- I was told to use a larger drip pan to "shield" the meats from the direct you use  a larger drip pan? Did you 2-2-1 them?

    how long did the jerky take??

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