Masterbuilt Gas Smokehouse
Pros: Make great smoked BBQ especially ribs
Cons: Needs to be a few inches wider
This is a great smoker, been having it going on 2 years now. The only problem I had with it was that it was not producing a blue flame when I tried to use it on the 4th of July. Turns out the burner went bad, I ordered a new burner and replace it in 15 minutes and PRESTO!!!!, I am back in business again. We will be smoking some baby back ribs this weekend. Great smoker. I would like to find a way to get a better seal on the door, it hold temp pretty good. Never had any complaints from family or friends about the BBQ produces my this smoker. It's a good lil work horse!
Pros: Price, adjustable racks
Cons: Chip tray, seal around door
Pros: Easy to use, Nice design, Makes the neighbors jealous with the smell
Cons: You need to seal the door with felt, small water pan, the rack mounts are cheap
I love this thing! I've smoked this entire week to make sure it was consistant with temps and taste. This smoker delivers every time. I've had to do some simple mods to keep the smoke inside the box and a few adjustments with the propane valve and now this thing is ready for the summer! I can't complain!
Pros: Ease of use, great temp regulation, large water bowl, 4 removable heavy duty racks
Cons: chip tray - flame reaches chips and cause them to burn
This is a real nice smoker for the money. It is real easy to use. I have smoked pork butt, meatloaf, hams, whole and pieces of chicken, and brisket in this gas smoker. All have turned out excellent. I really prefer charcoal smokers but this smoker has been great and has made some fantastic smoked meat. I use it primarily in the winter due to its low maintenance while smoking and can reduce the amount of time I need to be out in the cold weather.
I have found the door temp probe to be fairly acurate. I still use my wireless dual digital thermometer to measure meat and smoker temp. Works great!
I use a old cast iron skillet to put my wood chips or chuncks in. I sit it directly on top of the the factory chip tray. Don't use the factory chip tray. It has openings that the gas flame can ignite the chips or chunks and, in my opinion, is useless. This is really the only negative about this unit.
Pros: Simple to assemble, Easy to achieve and maintain temperature, plenty of room for my needs
Cons: Poorly designed fire bowl, no instructions or user guide
This is my first smoker (model 20050611). My wife researched online and found this unit had good reviews and a good price (She bought it at Sears.com and picked it up at a nearby store).
I prefer propane over electric because I already have experience with a propane grill and turkey fryer and we don't have an electrical outlet accessible from our patio.
The assembly instructions included are adequate given the unit's fairly simple design.
There are however, virtually no instructions on how to season or use the smoker. This probably wouldn't be a problem for an experienced smoker, but for a first timer (and kind of a perfectionist) it's really pretty discouraging. I went to Masterbuilt's web site looking for a manual or some advice and they didn't even have my model number listed !! At that point I was getting REALLY discouraged. But I e-mailed Masterbuilt asking for seasoning and use instructions and they actually replied within a day or two ! Their seasoning instructions disagreed with a lot of what I had read here on SMF but they were simple and seemed to make sense so I followed them and after two smokes - so far so good !
I decided to follow the advice many had posted about modifying the fire bowl that Masterbuilt provides for holding your wood chips/chunks. You basically wad up some foil and wedge it into the holes in the bottom of the pan. That prevents the burner from setting your wood on fire the moment you put it in.
Some people advise installing a gasket around the door opening to prevent heat/smoke leak. I've gone as far as buying the materials to do that but haven't installed it yet. Even at very low burner settings I'm getting 200+ degrees so I don't think I need it here in New Orleans' mild weather.
Some people have found the thermometer provided with the unit to be wildly inaccurate. I have not found that to be the case. I checked mine against an oven thermometer with a remote probe and found any discrepancies to be too small to worry about. Maybe I got lucky.
I've used this smoker, and lots of advice from the friendly folks here at SMF, to smoke spare ribs, a pork butt and chicken leg quarters and all of them have come out excellent !!
So for price, ease of use, convenience and results, I highly recommend this unit.
Two Year Update
After about a dozen or so smokes, here are my findings:
Using wadded up foil to block the holes in the chip bowl works fine. I change the foil out every two or three smokes and have had almost no burning wood.
I use wood chunks exclusively. Chips burn up too fast and produce too much smoke. Two good size chunks give me reliable Thin Blue Smoke. You just have to stir them up every now and then. I use an old set of grill tongs to add and stir up the chunks.
Yeah the water pan is a little small, but I don't mind refilling it every couple of hours.
In my warm climate, there's no need to install a door seal. I can keep 225 - 250 with the burner set almost as low as it goes.
If you plan on doing a lot of racks of ribs, get the next size up (40" I think). This smoker is too small to fit a rack of ribs on a single rack. I still do a rack every now and then but I have to cut off 2 or 3 ribs and put them on another rack. Rack.
Food on the lower racks seems to cook a lot faster than the upper racks. I assumed that the top would be the hotspot, but in this box - the lower the hotter.
Pros: Easy assembly. Right size for family. Easy to use.
Cons: Needs insulation. Inaccurate thermometer.
The price was right and the results have been superb! After covering the bottom of the chip pan with a double layer of foil, there have not been many flareups. I did find that wind and temperature changes can really affect the internal smoker temperature. I have since used an insulation blanket which has solved that problem. I can now smoke in both extreme cold and extreme hot temperatures. How I used installed the insulation can be viewed in the Smoking Supplies Equipment section of the Forum. I will and have recommended this smoker to others.
Pros: easy to assemble, instructions are clear, very good recipe for ribs
Cons: no instrcutions on how to use the smoker, was lucky to find help on this site
I bought my Master Built Gas Smoke House vertical propane smoker model 20050611 and used it the first time this past weekend. The assembly was easy except the last step, placing the grease cup from the rear was not clear in the instructions. The user manual has no instructions for curing or burning in the smoker. Luckily I found help here and a few other sites. The user manual does not have any instructions on how to use the smoker. This is a big issue when you are trying to use the smoker the first time! From the instructions I never would have guessed the Flame Disk Bowl is intended to be the chip bowl, found that out from here, many thanks to all of you. I soaked my chips and wrapped them in foil as I did not have time to modify the smoker with a proper chip bowl. My first set of chips went way too fast, learned I needed more and will have to make the modification, why hasn't the manufacturer learned this yet? As warned the water bowl is too small and had to be filled often causing loss of temperature due to the door openings, why hasn't the manufacturer learned this yet? I will use a turkey roasting pan as recommended next time, but this causes the loss of one cooking rack which limits how much can be cooked at one time. The recipe for ribs was very good and my ribs came out excellent 4 hours later, I also smoked a tri tip and it came out very nice, and I smoked corn on the cob in the husk, was ok but not great, will soak the corn longer next time. The smoker went up to temperature quickly, only took a few minutes. My temperature control worked well after making a few adjustments, I had to lower the temp to low and adjust the rear damper to minimize air flow to keep a constant 225 degrees otherwise it wanted to settle at 250 or 300 degrees. The unit does require more monitoring than I expected to ensure the temperature does not spike up when the water runs low. Thin blue smoke was achieved when the chips were in sufficient supply but suffered when the chip bowl depleted and had to be replenished. I want to smoke a pork shoulder next time and see how the pulled pork comes out, third test will be a brisket.
Pros: Well built, Accurate temp gauge, 4 racks, easy assembly, easy to use, easy to regulate temp, adjustable racks
Cons: Slots in chip tray allow chips to ignite
I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of this Masterbuilt smoker. It is very well made and unlike other brands that I have looked at, it appears to built to last for a long time. I have read reviews of other smokers saying how inaccurate the temp gauges were. Not an issue with this unit. I compared the units temperature readings with another oven thermometer and found them to almost an exact match. I unpacked the contents of the box at about 8:00 the evening that I picked it up. I had if assembled and ready for the initial seasoning by 8:35. needless to say, putting it together was a breeze. The only tools that I required were a phillips screwdriver and a small adjustable wrench. The four racks are adjustable, giving you flexibility in how much can be placed inside for your smoking pleasure. The legs elevate the control and ignitor making it much more user friendly. So far we have smoked a couple slabs of ribs, a pork butt for pulled pork, a couple of turkey breasts, and a full 10 lb Sirloin tip and they all came out fantastic.
I started the first smoke on 3/4 of a 20 lb propane cylinder and finished it off at the end of the Sirloin smoke. A conservative estimate would be about 30 hours of smoking on the partial tank. If anyone was to ask me what smoker to buy, this would be it. It is perfect for the beginner as well as the seasoned expert.
The only negative thing that I can find is the chip tray. It is designed with slits in the bottom which lets the flame from the gas burner to ignite the wood chips. A quick workaround for this was to wrap the chips in foil and poke a few small holes in the top of the foil.
Pros: Big box, wide enough for whole racks of ribs, whole pork shoulders and whole briskets
Cons: cheap looking burner
After several seasons with a Brinkman Home Depot gas smoker I decided to look for something bigger, A box I could put racks of ribs or a whole brisket in. Can't remember how I stumbled on this one. Found it on Amazon and ordered it. Have cooked Myron Mixon's old fashioned BBQ chicken, my first whole brisket, a picnic, and ribs. Everything turned out great although for some reason I could not get the picnic to come up to temperature even after an hour a # plus 1. Temp gauge may be off. I ditched the supplied smoke pan after the first cook. I drilled lower holes in the rack brackets and use the supplied too small water pan as the smoke pan, placing it exactly 3" above the burner just like my Brinkman. Bought a lasagna pan at Kmart for a water pan. Now we are smoking. I use chunks and for what ever reason with this smoker I have to turn the chunks over after an hour to get them to smolder and burn all the way. Still seasoning this box and learning its personality. The burner is flimsy looking and not nearly robust as the one that came in my brinkman. Bought a CharBroil cover off Amazon that fits this box perfectly. Charbroil makes a similar size smoker come to find out. Going to call MB and see what a replacement burner costs from them to stick on the shelf. I plan to use this smoke box for a long time. Cheers!