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Master Forge Propane Smoker Won't get above 200

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

Hey Y'all I'm new to smokin so bear with me here.

 

I picked up this Master Forge Vertical Smoker at Lowe's on Friday. Got it all put together and seasoned at 175 per the instructions. I attempted to smoke some pork ribs and no matter what I tried the temp would not get over 200 on an interior thermometer. The door read 215 but I know that is not reliable.

 

After shutting everything down and letting it cool, I changed propane bottles and removed the water and wood chip pans and fired her up again. With nothing but the racks in-place it maxed out at about 310.  I called the supposed tech support line and she told me the door thermometer could be off by as much as 100 degrees and if I wasn't happy with the smoker to return it to Lowe's.

 

Based on other post's on this and other sites I'm not ready to give up and return the smoker just yet.

 

Any and all help would be appreciated.  Thanks!!!!  Motorcycle guy attempting to become smokerguy.....

 

 

post #2 of 16

Sounds like you solved you problem. If you got it to 310 with just the racks in there then it will go to 310 with the water pan, chip pan, and food in there. It will just take longer to get there. You need to get a reliable therm., check it in boiling water to make sure it reads 212 (+ or - 1 degree). On your first attempt, even at 200 degrees the ribs would get done. I only smoke mine at 210. They take a little longer, but are very juicy & tender. Good luck on your next try.

post #3 of 16

Well I don't have a propane smoker, but I would say first thing is to calibrate or replace the gauge you have. You can calibrate it with boiling water. Next question is do you have the dampers open? If not you need them opened for the air to circulate. I hope this helps, if not I'm sure someone with a propane smoker will be along soon!

post #4 of 16
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the replies.

The interior thermometer is spot on 212 in boiling water; I checked that before using it. I tried all combination of dampers open, half open, closed, you name it..no real difference. Shouldn't the temp go much higher than even 310? That was burner all the way up for over an hour with nothing in the smoker.

post #5 of 16

It could be you have a lot of air gaps that are letting the heat out. I don't have a gas smoker either, but maybe there are some mods that can help with your smoker. Type in " Master Forge Vertical Smoker mods." in the search box and a bunch will come up.

post #6 of 16

With  the unit running right ,you should get to 300° in less than half hour w/ nothing in it

Please read up on lighting procedure for your unit and follow it to the letter.

 Most new propane fired equipment has a safety on it that cuts the flow of propane way down  if you dont follow the lighting procedures. i would bet this is the problem.

  Turn all valves and controlls to full off.

 open valve on propane bottle to full on .

 open regulator . then open controll knob on smoker.

If the smoker controll is on or the regulator is on when you open the valve on the bottle the safety will kick in.

post #7 of 16

I have the same model from Lowes and had to do some simple mods to keep the heat/smoke in. After that I was able to maintain 250/275 with no problem.....hot enuf to smoke anything. Like Al mentioned, I try to keep around 210/225 for most things. I will say I've noticed as my propane bottle got lower so did the temps. I switched out to a full tank and was back to normal. I'm in the PNW, so lots of wind and rain. Built a halfassed 3-sided shelter for it to keep the wind from blowing flame around. Went from mostly yellow flame (bad) to just about all blue flame (good). The walls on that unit are pretty thin, so don't expect it to work like your oven. But with a few mods I think you'll be happy with it. As far as the vents/dampers go I leave the top vent fully open to vacant stale smoke and the bottom ones I leave just about fully closed all the time. Here's the link to the mods I did with pics. 3/8" fiberglass rope around both doors, available at some hardware stores and farm supply joints. http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/forum/thread/104113/master-forge-vertical-gasser-mods 

post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 

Thanks all for the additional suggestions. I will pick-up some fiberglass rope tonight and let you all know how my second attempt at ribs goes. Plan on gettin 'er going about 11 on Saturday morning. I will take a few pics and post em so y'all can critique my work, or drool if it all goes well.

 

Earl

post #9 of 16

I hope it looks so good I gotta tie a drool rag on! Good luck!

post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 

Well..... my second attempt went better than the first. Qview attached. Still struggled to get and keep the temp around 225. Seemed to max out at about 220. While I was moving the smoker around to do the rope gasket mod I heard a metallic pinging. I tracked it down to a broken drill bit and chunks of metal inside the burner and tube. My suspicion is that these pieces were partially blocking the gas flow. So, I decided not to do the gasket and see how it went with an unblocked burner. Guess I will go ahead and do the gasket and see if it helps even more.  Enjoy the Qview and feel free to make recommendations.

 

Olive oil and rub on baby-back ribs and one tenderloin. The other tenderloin was marinated in Lowry's steak and chop marinade. My plan was to inject some of the marinade but low and behold it was to chunky to be drawn into the needle.

 

500

 

500

 

Here they after 2 hours...added the potatoes500

 

And here they are after 5 hours...I added BBQ sauce to the ribs at 4 and a half hours... This is the tenderloin with rub

 

500

 

This is the tenderloin that was marinated...it was a bit tough on the outside but tender and juicy inside....

 

500

 

Here are the pork ribs...

500

 

My son's opinion... I wasn't even done cuttin them up.....

500

post #11 of 16

I HAVE THE SAME SMOKER BOUGHT FROM LOW'S. I INSTALLED THE 3/8 INCH FIREPLACE GASKET ROPE AROUND THE UPPER & LOWER DOORS AS WAS SUGESTED BY OTHERS TO HELP RETAIN THE SMOKE INSIDE THE UNIT. THIS HELPED SOMEWHAT, BUT THE UNIT STILL HAS A LOT OF SMOKE ESCAPEING (BUT NOT AS MUCH AS BEFORE). I HAVE NOTICED, THAT WHEN I HEAT THE SMOKER WITHOUT THE WATER PAN IN, THE TEMP SEEMS TO GET HOTTER THAN WITH THE WATER PAN IN, SO I GET THE SMOKER UP TO ABOUT 300 WITHOUT THE PAN, THEM INSERT THE PAN & THE TEMP HOLDS AT 215 TO 225 DEG. WITH THE SIDE VENTS OPEN ABOUT 1/8 OF AN INCH ON EITHER SIDE AND THE TOP VENT OPEN HALF WAY. IM VERY NEW TO SMOKING AND HOPE THIS HELPS. GOOD LUCK.

post #12 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tommy G View Post

I HAVE THE SAME SMOKER BOUGHT FROM LOW'S. I INSTALLED THE 3/8 INCH FIREPLACE GASKET ROPE AROUND THE UPPER & LOWER DOORS AS WAS SUGESTED BY OTHERS TO HELP RETAIN THE SMOKE INSIDE THE UNIT. THIS HELPED SOMEWHAT, BUT THE UNIT STILL HAS A LOT OF SMOKE ESCAPEING (BUT NOT AS MUCH AS BEFORE). I HAVE NOTICED, THAT WHEN I HEAT THE SMOKER WITHOUT THE WATER PAN IN, THE TEMP SEEMS TO GET HOTTER THAN WITH THE WATER PAN IN, SO I GET THE SMOKER UP TO ABOUT 300 WITHOUT THE PAN, THEM INSERT THE PAN & THE TEMP HOLDS AT 215 TO 225 DEG. WITH THE SIDE VENTS OPEN ABOUT 1/8 OF AN INCH ON EITHER SIDE AND THE TOP VENT OPEN HALF WAY. IM VERY NEW TO SMOKING AND HOPE THIS HELPS. GOOD LUCK.


2 comments.  1.  Tommy G:  welcome to the site.  One suggestion for you.  Internet guidelines hint that if you use ALL CAPS, it's like yelling in a face to face conversation. 

 

2.  Cycleguy:  Looks like you got a handle on the situation.  The thing to do and something many new people miss when entering the propane arena is the lighting sequence for propane.  It happens all the time and we all do it.  When you go to fire off the smoker, SLOWLY turn on the propane at the bottle, that is to say, twist the knob slowly on, then turn the knobs on the smoker slowly.  If for some reason your flame doesn't get nice and bright on High, turn off the bottle first allowing the propane to bleed out through burner plates.  Disconnect the propane hose at the bottle, reconnect the hose and repeat the startup steps.  I know there's a scientific explanation, but whenever I run into the problem you experienced, that's how I cured it.

 

Now, both of you, go smoke something and enjoy your visit to this fine site.
 

 

post #13 of 16

Hey All,

     I had similar issues with my gas smoker and tried what Dave said and it work first time to a T.  This is a must to get your propane going strong.  I'm not sure why but it is amazing that something so simply can cause your propane not to burn.  Temperature starting rising immediately.

post #14 of 16
I know this thread is old but people still read it. I have seen on other threads that some are cutting the outer edges of the water pan out so heat rises better. I noticed that in my uds. The water pan can really effect temperatures. I have also heard that to get good circulation you need as much air coming in as goes out. I just bought this same master forge smoker. I am going to get the doors sealed and probably will cut the water pan. I am also considering adding plate steal to the box so it will retain heat better.
post #15 of 16

The newer ones dont have the lip on the front & back of the water tray.

post #16 of 16

The engineers at Master Forge must be watchin this forum.  They implemented the most popular mod on their new units. No more lip on front or back to cut off.

 

Now if they'd just come with the door gasket. :)

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