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Propane Smokers item created by bmudd14474, Jul 8, 2011
Pros - Easy to assemble, well made
Cons - Needs some mods to improve usage, racks not too wide
I received this smoker as a gift - it's the 30" model. I read in the forums here about some mods to improve functionality and I did them: installed a base and casters, added some insulation around the exterior, made a windshield for the base to protect the burner, installed a gasket around the door openings, replaced the regulator with one that includes a needle valve, and bought a Maverick 732 remote thermometer. I also added a cast iron skillet to hold the wood chips.
This smoker works quite well. I produces a nice thin blue smoke that yields really tasty smoked food. It holds quite a bit of meat, although it's not sufficiently wide to hold an entire rack of St. Louis ribs unless they are cut up. The four racks are spaced such that I can have a Boston butt or two on each rack with just enough room.
I really like this little smoker, and aside from the width issue, the only other criticism I have is that, even with the needle valve, I have a hard time maintaining a constant 225 degrees temp. My only use of it has been in the winter, though, so it may hold temps more consistently in warmer weather.
Overall, I a very happy with this as an entry level smoker.
Pros - well built
Cons - runs too hot for smoking, chip tray is a poor design
The worst problem is that it runs too hot. With the temp set for low the temperature settles at 330 degrees. The only way this can be fixed is with a smaller burner. If you adjust the venturi for a yellow flame instead of blue the temp drops about 50 degrees; however, that is not the correct way to adjust the flame and 275 degrees is too high for smoking. If you reduce the gas flow, the smoker will be more apt to go out in the wind. A friend of mine has a two burner model of the Masterbuilt and to get the smoker down to 225 degrees he has to turn one burner off and put the other one on low.
When you put chips in the chip tray, the chips fall down in the burner area. The chips should be in a container that restricts the air to the chips. Even if you put them in the 8 inch cast iron pan they will burn too fast and/or catch on fire. If you see the temperature gauge soar over 400 degrees, your chips are probably on fire. If you cover the chips in the cast iron pan with a couple of layers of heavy duty foil and punch 5 or 6 pencil sized holes in the foil to restrict the air flow, the chips will smoke rather than catch on fire. The cast iron pan is convenient for adding chips.
I was looking forward to trying out the new gas smoker on the 4th of July, but will use my charbroil electric instead. Will call Masterbuilt on the 5th and see if they have a smaller burner available....probably not. If they don't, I will try plugging up every other hole on the burner with ???? I don't know ...maybe JB Weld.
Pros - Two door, cheap price
Cons - You are buying a smoker that doesn't work out of the box!!
When buying tools, I was taught to buy the best tool you could afford (majority of the time it ends up being the most expensive) it always ends up being an investment in value. I purchased this smoker to try my hand at smoking- not knowing if I would enjoy trying different recipes including smoking. This was a cheaper smoker and I considered this a potential "throw away" tool. After a few wrecks at smoking I started reading blogs and found the mod issues related to this smoker. Issues were temperature control, wood catching fire and ruining the $$ meat, leaking smoke etc... I fixed the problem with mods to correct those issues, I live in California in a mild part of the state, not windy, no snow etc... My list of mods: wind dam around smoker, fabricated a wind dam around burner at the bottom of smoker, gasket kit for upper and lower doors, upgraded to bigger water pan, purchased a cast iron skillet for wood chunks, fabricated grill to elevate cast iron skillet from burner, purchased needle valve kit to regulate better temperatures.
I had to purchase and fabricate 7 things to make this smoker work! I purchased a smoker that didn't work when brand new?! #%[email protected]**%. This turned out to be a bad tool. Nice job MB, designing and selling a smoker that doesn't work.
I love smoking food and enjoy sharing the food. If I would do it over again I would just buy a better smoker, and yes it would cost more, but would be money well spent.
Pros - Great customer service and great food produced
Cons - Minor additions needed
I will start out with the negatives, to get those out of the way. I just recently inherited this smoker and realized right off the bat that the temperature gauge was off. I purchased the Maverick ET-732 to solve that problem (~$50). The best investment you could ever do with any smoker. Then, I realized there were some gaps between the doors that let out too much smoke for my liking, so I bought some felt tape, and now it smokes like a chimney (~$10). The one final flaw I had, was when it was on its lowest setting, it made a super high pitch squeal. This was the best part; I sent an email to Masterbuilt and told them my problems, and they sent me a brand new part with no questions asked (=$0). I just installed it tonight, and the problem went away. Absolutely great customer service! I will buy Masterbuilt until the day I die, just because of the customer service. Now for the good things....
This smoker produces the best food with relatively minor adjustments. I left the smoker going for 3-4 hours unattended, (which I wouldn't suggest doing), but when I came back, the smoker held the same temperature as when I left it, within a few degrees. With being new to the smoking world, I thought that this would destroy my meat, so I was skeptical. I was most definitely wrong. When I pulled my pork (after leaving it for 20-30 minutes under foil), it was so moist and the flavor was absolutely amazing! As I mentioned before, I'm very new to the smoking world, but this smoker produced very similar taste/moisture a commercial kitchen could provide. I highly suggest this smoker to a newbie, as well as the master chef. It's amazing!
Happy smoking, ladies and gentlemen. :yahoo: :yahoo:
Pros - price ease of set up
Cons - temperature control
First time .I cannot get the temperature low enough .The pre soaked wood chunks burn off right away .Ive even left door unlatched but can,t get temperature below 250. Wish they had a needle valve on the line so I could regulate the gas even lower than lowest setting on control valve.Maybe more vents? Everybody complaining about leaky doors but darn I ve got vent right open ,door slightly open smokes just blowing out yet temperature won,t go below the250
Pros - None
Cons - Chip tray design causes fires, MB refused to honor warranty
After owning 2 Masterbuilt Electric Smokehouses over the last 6-7 years, I shopped for a Masterbuilt when I decided to get a gasser. I was strongly cautioned by the salesman at Bass Pro that the vents in the chip tray needed to be covered with double layers of Ex. Heavy Foil or the flames would get to the chips and cause a fire. After making the modifications (which shouldn't be necessary for a properly designed smoker) I used the smoker for just over a month when the foil failed, the chips caught fire, and melted the control panel. In light of the fact that the unit was well within warranty I called Masterbuilt Customer Service (and I use the term loosely) and got the runaround for 2 or 3 days. They offered to replace the burner and nothing else! A new burner accomplished exactly what with the control panel melted? I finally called Bass Pro for an original receipt copy and, sensing my frustration with Masterbuilt, said "bring it back, we'll give you a refund or a replacement and WE"LL deal with Masterbuilt! Bottom line.....I bought a Great Smoky Mountain, love it and will NEVER buy another Masterbuilt product. Great Job Masterbuilt! You just saved youself 50 bucks and cost yourself a lifelong customer!
Pros - Plenty of room, removable racks, propane burner
Cons - Wood chip tray is poor design, doors leak, hard to control low temps in below 30° weather
Ok the wood chip tray, put charcoal in it to block the flames hitting the chips. Charcoal will also help maintain a constant temp in the smoker, and save on the propane usage. I use the propane on high to start the charcoal, once the charcoal has taken to heating I will add the food , water, and chips. At this time the knob for the propane is at low. Allow time for the internal temp to build, this will tell you if it is necessary to turn the propane up. Often I keep my propane on low and add a few more pieces of charcoal during water tray filling.
As for the water tray, it is small. I usually have to fill it every 2 hrs. However put a second tray on the lowest rack and you've doubled your usable water time.
I will be getting wood stove door gasket and adding it to my smoker, though Masterbuilt says it is to leak by design and NOT t add the gasket.
I honestly cant get enough of this thing, as well as everyone who knows me because they will get a random call to come over and have dinner.
Pros - easy setup, lots of space \ racks. I feel a very nice build for what I paid.
Cons - Smoke tray and water tray. leaks a little
Well, I read the reviews of this smoker before i bought mine. I Have to first say I paid $139.99 for mine from my local Meijers.... a HUGE savings over anyone else, plus i could pick it up locally.
s, any way i knew what to expect. The instructions to put this unit together were spot on.
As far as build quality... I feel it is more then adequate for what I paid for this unit. For $140.00 i did not expect perfection... I do have to say I am not disappointed at all. I feel that every smoker I have purchased has needed tweaking etc...
I will say, I will seal the doors and get the 8" skillet and a new water pan and honestly.... just use the crap out of this smoker.
After doing the whole per-smoking burn in, I did the most awesome beef roast and a big chicken at the same time. Both were just incredible. While I love my WSM charcoal smoker, i have to say that this Master-built gives it a run for it's money.
Only issue I had was keeping the water tray filled. Once I figured out the back venting and how it controls the temp... all was great!
I would highly recommend this smoker... especially if you can find it for a heavily reduced price as I did.
Pros - Quick easy assembly, Easy to use, inexpensive
Cons - Doors leak, thermometer poor
Bought the unit from Bass Pro Shop for $169.00 The assembly was very easy and quick (30 min). Only problem was the thermometer was stuck on 250 from the beginning. I called customers svs and they are sending me a new one. I took everyones advice and before I even received the smoker, had bought a tube of red RTV for the doors and an 8" cast iron skillet from Walmart for 10.00 Everything has worked great. I ordered a Maverick ET 732 remote thermometer and a good pair of gloves as the cast iron skillet gets way too hot for ordinary household hot pads. I also seasoned the grill using pam and then some old JD woodchips. I quickly learned the woodchips only last about 15 minutes. I went to Walmart and bought a bag on mesquite chunks and a bag of apple chunks for $7 ea and tonight did my first smoke. Used two chunks of the mesquite for 90 minutes of total burn time at medium heat for some thighs and breasts and the smoke flavor was awesome. I plan on doing ribs after I get the maverick in so I can know and control the temp.
Pros - inexpensive, decent quality, assembles easily
Cons - worthless water and chip pans, leaky doors, inadequate burner control, rear vent, hard to clean, uneven heating
Shopped comparable gassers before buying this unit. It was the best constructed and had most features for the $$. But it does have major design flaws. Would gladly have paid more for unit that did not require so many mods. But, these are easy and no big deal if you like to tinker a bit. Here are shortcomings and my fixes...
1. Water pan has insufficient capacity and is too small to catch drips -- replace with half-height steam table pan, which fits perfectly on the provided shelf brackets.
2. Chip pan is poorly designed and exposes wood to open flame (=fire!!!) -- replace with 8" cast iron skillet that rests on trivet designed for Dutch Oven outdoor cooking.
3. Doors are poorly fitted and leak lots of smoke -- seal 'em with a bead of high-temp RTV silicone.
4. Uneven heating. This was a major problem especially on windy and cold winter days. Built a portable wind screen consisting of concrete reinforcing mesh frame with mylar insulation attached. Added benefit of increasing efficiency and using less gas.
5. Ran too hot for some recipes even at lowest setting -- added a secondary needle valve (sold by homebrew supplier) between tank and burner control, plumbed in with misc brass fittings and generic replacement hose for gas grill.
6. Rear vent. Did not circulate smoke evenly and made a mess out of the wind screen. -- plugged original vent and added capped chimney (sold as replacement part for an el-cheapo grill).
7. Messy cleanup. Mounts for legs stick up in bottom of the unit. Those plus the metal frame make it a PITA to clean. -- line bottom with foil before each use, poke a hole for the drip pan.