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Masterbuilt Dual-fuel Pro

100% Positive Reviews
Rated #8 in Propane Smokers

Posted

Pros: Inexpensive, Sturdy, Lots of space, Duel Fuel

Cons: Door seal, Chip Pan is flimsy, Water pan too small, Thermometer inaccurate

Was originally looking at the Masterbuilt XL as an upgrade to my ECB that I've been using for the past 6 months and quickly outgrown.  I was in Home Depot and spotted this unit and poked around with the floor model and decided the price ($161.00) was worth it after reading a few SMF reviews on my phone in store.  The assembly process was easy and straightforward and took maybe 20-30 minutes.  The unit seems sturdy upon assembly, I will say you need to make sure to use all of the leg braces.  I forgot to put two on and thought they might be unnecessary until one of the legs bent while moving it and snapped a weld when I bent it back into place.

 

I decided to try seasoning without making any of the recommended mods that I saw other users make to see how well the temperature held.  Just as I suspected the unit had real trouble getting to the 400 degrees recommended for seasoning and I could see all the heat leaking from around both doors.  I also noticed the supplied thermometer was about 100 degrees off from my Maverick.  If you use an external probe like I do that might not be the biggest deal but it's worth noting. 

 

I then decided to buy a 8-inch cast iron skillet to sit on top of the chip pan to use instead as recommended by others.  I tried to seal the door with some fiberglass rope and sealant and it wouldn't adhere to the painted surface of the grill even after cleaning.  I decided to try using some silicone weather stripping from Home Depot and it worked like a charm and the self-adhesive backing was much easier to deal with.  I re-seasoned this way and it was much easier to achieve the desired temp.

 

My first smoke was just some bone-in chicken breast that I brined for two hours.  I had to fiddle with the dial to get the temp to stay at 250 but once it was there it stayed.  The chicken came out wonderful and I will be attempting a brisket shortly.  The included water pan is too small I found out and I used some aluminum trays with water instead so I didn't have chicken drippings all over the bottom.

 

Overall I would say this is a great smoker for the money but would definitely plan on spending another 20-30 on modifications to get it up to snuff. 

 

My Seal:

 

 

Posted

Pros: Conserves heat and has stable 225 temps

Cons: Can't think of any, for the money it costs.

This is one BUTT SMOKING MACHINE. Its very nice do be able to do a 13-15 hour overnight smoke on a big 10lb butt and not have to get up and feed the smoker wood at 3AM, watch temps, etc. The Temp gauge is about 10-15 degrees cooler that actual temp...not a big deal since I use a wireless thermometer with temp warning feature....This is a Home Depot exclusive smoker and is nearly identical to the highly rated Masterbilt two door propane smoker.

 

It came well packaged and was easy to assemble. It has wheels on the bottom back legs and vents on the bottom sides, along with a grab bar above the top back vent for easy moving. I modded the top door before using by laying down a thick beat of red ATV silicone around the edges ( NSF grade Permatex from Autozone ), covering with waxpaper and closing door to let cure overnight. Worked GREAT and makes a 'nearly" smoke tight upper door.

 

It will hold consistent 220-225 temps if you fiddle with the tank regulator...only open a 1/4 turn and use the lowest heat setting and you will be fine...I can get consistent 220-225 with occasional floating up to 230-235 or so..this in Florida during fall nighttime temps of 75F. I might add a needle valve for lower temp smoking in the summer but to me that's not a big deal since I mainly like to smoke butts and ribs with occasional chickens.

 

When I add wood chunks I only add one chunk at a time and position it near the outer edges of the firepan away from the direct flames coming through the vents. Works just fine with resulting Thin Blue Smoke and no flareups. You don't need to put a lot of wood on this smoker to get a nice smoke...remember you aren't heating with wood !! When I smoke with chips I wrap them in aluminum foil, puncture some holes and toss right onto the chip tray...NOT A PROBLEM.

 

The lower vents can help with temp control by venting more air into the bottom...remember, you aren't adding more air to a fuel source like charcoal or wood, just adding more air to already stable-burning propane, which circulates cooler outside air into the smoker...doesn't provide air to ramp up charcoal or wood burning...this works especially well if you are using foil wrapped chips; you'll need to be careful if you are using chunks as they can catch fire.

 

If you want a true pro smoker then pull out your credit card and prepare to spend big bucks. If you are just needing a smoker that can handle a couple of butts or a couple of chickens at a time and get excellent results then this is a good buy !

 

 

Posted

Pros: Easy to remove racks, dual fuel option.

Cons: Small water pan, hard to use charcoal as supplied, no door seal.

So I picked one of these up right before easter at home depot.  Prior to this I have only been smoking using my weber kettle and an older masterbuilt charcoal grill/firepit.  As so far as the assembly goes, it was fairly easy but be careful of the doors when attaching the feet as when the unit is upside down and you undo a latch they slide out of the hinges quite easily.  I originally wanted a charcoal only unit as I really have no plans to use the propane, but I settled for this one.  I suppose should I have a longer smoke, it may come in handy.  I tried to season via the instructions it came with, and I am now sure that was a mistake.  The unit got waaaaaay hot, using charcoal, and because of how the pan was designed its near impossible to remove when full of blazing hot charcoal.  That said, it seems to still work fine and with some fairly minor mods, it can be used with charcoal and brought down to a fairly consistent lower temp around 200F.  I found my units thermometer to read pretty damn close to one I picked up at meijer.  Of course the meijer one is a cheaper $5 unit, but I would say they were within 5-10 degrees of each other. 

 

My first suggestion is with regards to the water pan.  In the stock location it is too close to coals, especially if using the stock coal/chip pan.  Move it up one notch.If you can find something deeper that fits into that same location I would use that as well, because once you move it up it becomes only accessible through the smoker door, not the firebox door, and in that location you would be able to slide it out to add.  You then have to pour water in carefully and remember to leave yourself room to do so.

 

Second, if using coal, I recommend not using the stock pan because the feet do not allow for easy removal in case of a need to add coal.  Instead use one of those square grill wok's that is perforated as your coal pan. It is larger, and much easier to slide out if you need to add or move the coals around.

 

Last, on my first smoke it ran way hotter than I wanted it to, and the vents had little to no control.  This was using coal and the stock pan with the water pan in stock location.  The water also boiled immediately, which likely added a steam heat factor I didn't want.  To combat this, I made the above two mods and added a third, by way of a pie pan.  You will want to cover the burner area with the pie pan which cuts down the uncontrollable venting that ends up right underneath your coals by way of the burner area.

 

With  all of the mods in place I was able to have much better control of the heat using the side vents.  I used the minon method, and at one point about half way through the temp dropped a bit, a quick opening of the side vents and I had it right back where I wanted it.  All in all I would say this is a nice little smoker for the money.  I do plan on adding a seal around the door, and possibly a "stack" of some sort where the upper vent on the back of the unit is located.

 

Here are some pics:

 

This one was just for fun lol:

 

 

Pic of the new location of the water pan (which didn't "boil" in this location, but did slowly evap by the end of the smoke):

 

 

Pic of pie pan covering the burner:

 

 

Pic of pie pan with the wok sitting on top (notice the increase in space between the wok and the bottom of water pan):

 

Posted

Pros: Sturdy, Spacious, Easy to assemble, low cost, effective right out of the box, dual fuel source

Cons: Thermometer, Water pan

So I bought this smoker at my local Home Depot and damn am I impressed. I was really looking for a charcoal smoker because they seemed to be able to cook large items and I wanted the challenge of regulating temperature and all. But when I saw this smoker at the store I did some quick review searches on my phone and didn't see anything that was a real deal-breaker. Being new to the smoking world I saw the concept of having two fuel sources as an ideal situation because if my charcoal starts to loose its heat I can fire up the propane to make sure the temp stays on course. 

 

The design of this smoker is ideal for a backyard smoker enthusiast. Having two doors truly does make a difference when you are trying to smoke meat especially larger items that take a long time. I usually only open the main cooking chamber to spray my food for the moisture and I try to limit this as best as possible due to the fact that by opening the main door you loose a great deal of heat (approximately 15°) and it can take a little while for your smoker to reach back to your ideal temperature. Plus anybody who smokes will tell you that you don't want your temperature going up and down constantly because it will affect your cook. So by having the second door it really helps because when you open it to replace the water in the pan or add charcoal you are only loosing about 5° on average. The smoker was incredibly easy to setup took my about 30 mins with just two tools (wrench and screwdriver). Once you get it all assembled you can start to season your smoker which is real simple with this machine. 

 

Now that that stuff is out of the way lets get down to the meat and potatoes of it. The smoker is spacious as can be for this unit. My very first cook consisted of one whole chicken and three racks of ribs and all of it was cooked deliciously and without any problems. The only time I opened the cooking chamber was to spray down my ribs with some apple juice. The smoker performed as good as can be. Some people complain about smoke leaking out the door, which does happen but it is nothing that will ruin your cook. 

 

Mods: With any smoker you see, people will always be doing some modifications to them. Some can range from really cheap to costing more than the smoker itself. The best part about this unit is that I have done only two mods to greatly improve the smoker and it cost my under $30. First off, I bought Nomex BBQ Sealant from BBQgaskets.com to place around the frame of the door to seal up and smoke leaks. Second off, I bought a new thermometer from Amazon because the one that comes with the unit is crap. Finally the only other modification that does not necessarily have to be done is the water pan. Yes the pan that comes with the unit is small but it is usable. If you aren't using all your racks and are doing a long cook, go to walmart and get a tin pan then fill it with water and call it a day. 

 

FINALLY: This smoker is a great product for the price and practicality. If you take the time to learn what you are doing and how the whole process works then you can make competition quality BBQ without spending competition equipment prices. This is a great smoker for people to learn and want to start figuring out how everything works. If you want something that is well built and makes GREAT barbecue without breaking the bank then this is the item to get. 

 

Any questions PLEASE feel free to ask. 

 

 

 

 

Posted

Pros: Duel fuel, price

Cons: No door seal, water pan too small

I received this smoker as a gift. Never smoked meat before in my life. Pretty simple to put together. I drilled a couple of ports for temp gauges. I first tried smoking with propane but the wind kept blowing the pilot out. I finally built a small enclosure to fix the wind issue. There were way too many flare ups, even if the wood chunks were soaked in water. Part of the issue is that the charcoal/wood pan has slots, exposing the wood to the flame. It's hard to extinguish the flame without opening the bottom door. During the first smoke I noticed that the door on the main chamber leeks a ton of smoke. I added an oven gasket and used some bungee cord to help seal in the smoke. I decided to try smoking with charcoal the next weekend, it was an experience. The charcoal pan is just too small. I had and am still having a difficult time maintaining the proper temp. Adding charcoal every 30 minutes isn't fun. I think part of this is due to the thin metal used to build the smoker. The charcoal seems more trouble than it's worth. I decided to replace the charcoal pan with a 9 inch cast iron pie plate. I also added a larger water pan and voila I have a functional propane smoker.


After a few modifications and some trial and error this is a good beginners smoker that won't break the bank.

Posted

Pros: easy set up, nice looking piece of equipment. easy to use.

Cons: does need some mods but otherwise good to go.

I bought this unit after reading up on the reviews in the forum.  Actually asked for this as a Father's Day present from my wife and well, didnt get it so when the sale came on at Home Depot (Winnipeg, MB Canada) I jumped on it. canada-flag-68.gif

 

I followed the suggestions in the forums about modifying the door with liquid gasket. Bought it at Canadian Tire.  I have only used it with propane and have had great results.  Bought an oven thermometer to set inside to calibrate the manufacturer temperature gauge.  My unit is out 5-10 degrees depending on the weather.   Love my unit. Great quality for the price.

Posted

Pros: Ease of Setup...Ease of Use...Holds the Heat

Cons: Can't think of one

Thought about getting this one for a year to replace a Brinkmann horizontal offset smoker.  Too much hassle dealing with the charcoal.

Finally sold the Brinkmann and used the proceeds to buy the MasterBuilt.  Got it home and set up very quickly.  Great instructions and easy to set up.

Instead of using an adjustable wrench though, use a 10mm drive socket for the nuts. 

 

The top door had the lower hinge mounted incorrectly, which allowed a gap of a quarter inch on the door seal.  I called Masterbuilt, and the fedex'd me a new door in 3 days.

I couldn't believe it.  Excellent Service.  Sadly, that door too is bent, but in a better spot.  So when I latched it, it pulls in tight and seals great.

One of the recommended mods was to put a seal around the door, but I've found I don't need it at this point.  It holds the smoke really well.

 

I've already recommended this model to a friend, and the electric version as well.  I already had a spare propane tank for my gas grill so this made more sense for me.

I am in awe of the folks who can use stick wood or even charcoal for their stuff, but I just don't have the time to watch it that close.

 

As an added bonus, my built in thermometer was actually accurate. Test it out during your seasoning.

 

Enjoy!

Posted

Pros: Temp Control, capacity,

Cons: Chip tray,

I bought this smoker right before Christmas, i was dying to smoke a turkey. I did some research and had a limited budget so this really fit the bill. It does work well.  I lIke the gas smoker to help maintain temp in the colder weather, which this does great.  The construction is great and it was easy to assembly. The flexible shelves are great to have.  YOu can easly do 6 racks of ribs or 4 whole chickens. I have smoked, brisket, pork shoulder, ribs and chicken on this smoker all very good.  

 

Well worth the price and a good design

Posted

Pros: Heavy, front doors insulated, good paint and overall construction, easy to assemble

Cons: I'll go with the smallish water pan

I purchased this one from Home Depot for around $179.00, mostly because having the propane was a bonus up north where it may run a little colder outside for smoking.  First off, this is a heavy little sucker, so a two wheeled dolly was necessary for me to get it from point A, to assembly point.  Unboxes easy and all parts are contained inside boxes inside of the main body.  Assembly instructions were clear and concise, and I only needed a #2 phillips screw driver and a small crescent wrench.  Most of the fastening points have the nuts already in place, so there is a minimum of messing around with nuts and bolts.  The doors have simple hinge pin construction, and can simply be lifted out.  However, if you open the doors with the smoker upside down, the doors will fall out on your feet, and they have some weight to them.

 

No loose pieces flying around inside, everything was neatly packed into four boxes.

 

700

 

Note to self: The doors are simple hinge pins, and you can lift them out. However, if you turn the smoker over for assemble, they will fall out on your feet.

 

This is all of the tools needed. My trusty 6-way screw driver and a small crescent wrench.

Posted

Pros: ease of use...nice size with 4 racks

Cons: too much smoke leaks from door, lousy chip pan

I have made afew mods to this smoker, namely instead of that large chip bowl, I use a 8 inch cast iron skillet instead, just sitting ontop of that bowl, and that gives me great smoke from either chips or chunks.  Also dealing with the large amount of smoke leaking from the door, I went and got some stove gasket material, 1/2 inch size which has a sticky backing and after cleaning the rim of the smoker with Brake cleaner, applied the gasket.  This help alot, but still have just a touch leaking at the top, but not nearly like before.  One thing I would like to do is modify the exhaust port from those 4 slots on the back to a 3" pipe to get it away from the pulling handle and also get it up about 3 feet above the smoker.  Plan on doing that in the near future. Overall, it has done me well with my various smoking I have done, and I can usually keep it within the 225-250 temp range by use of the bottom vents...

Masterbuilt Dual-fuel Pro
Description:

Two door, propane or charcoal heat source. Well built, sturdy, but website and customer service are lacking.

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