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first smoker! Masterbuilt XL

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

it was a long struggle to pick out a smoker. it was a battle between my head,heart and wallet. the wallet won! and a real sweet machine like  a stumps is out of the question. so 200 bucks at Bass Proshops and here i go. I look forward to smoking some pork tenderloins,ribs,turkey breasts and sausage,veggies. those fatties things on this site are definitely on the menu.


I researched it as much as I could and decided that a propane cabinet style smoke would best fit my needs best. it seams that the Masterbuilt xl was the best of the worst. as far as I can tell all these cheap models need help. the volume for the price is a reason I took the xl over the double door model. this should suit me until the wallet will spring for a 2k smoker :)


I will continue to research mods but I have these on  my list so far:


  1. fix chip pan. know issue that chip can catch fire
  2. bigger water pan
  3. fix door
  4. insulate
  5. make a rolling stand.


I hope to get all this done soon. I have a sheet metal buddy that can weld the steel on the inside and make a cart/stand.


for now I will just raise the chip pan an inch or so up and seal the vents so I can break it in.


I look forward to learning a lot from you guys. especially when I get this up and running.



Joe P.






post #2 of 12

Looks like you got it going !!!!

post #3 of 12

Sounds like you have your work cut out for ya.  post some pix of your adventure.

post #4 of 12

welcome1.gif   Glad to have you with us!


Sounds like a great project for the weekend!

post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 

after firing it up and testing some smoke, that cavity is huge. I think I will add another item to my modification list. some kind of think plate to cut off half the space. I won't always be cooking that much food.


since my wife only east chicken or turkey, i will be doing some trail runs. planning on some stuffed chicken later this week.

post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 

tomorrow(hopefully) I will make my first mod. it will be to address the chip pan issue. I have a large cast iron griddle(10x20). I plan on drilling holes in 4 corners to allow bolts to be used to elevate the skillet a little above the fire. then I will rest my smoker box on top. I have 2 as they are small so I think I can add one in for a longer smoke time. anyway, my thought was the heated cast iron skillet would help retain some heat and even it out. I have two question for you build/mod masters. 1. how far away from the flame should I place the cast iron? 2. would adding ceramic blocks to the free space on this plate help control an even heat? ok make that 3 questions.. if these things work(4 min mark) : what about lining the vertical inside walls with them for the long cold winters in Chicago?

post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 

well here is my first MOD. I am running some smoke/heat tests now.


I added a 10 x 20 cast iron skillet. I ma thinking it will even out the heat and make a good base to add smoker boxes or maybe chunks right on it.I am also hoping this big hunk of metal will retain heat. I suppose you can get one at a swap meet or second hand store but I have little to no patients when I want to do something so I bought it.

I may need to raise the skillet after some testing.

here are my pics:


pan 2.jpgpan side.jpg2011-09-19 12.07.42.jpg

post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 

after a few hours the smoker is running like a champ. nice smoke, chips are lasting longer and faster heat recovery after opening the door. or it could all be in my head :) anyway. I hope I can get ventilation mod worked in before the weekend then it should be working like a smoker should.

post #9 of 12

I see Bass Pro shop just put the Masterbuilt XL on Sale for $179...very good deal.



I sure to love my MASTERBUILT XL...just wish they made a nice Cover to Go with it!  Oh Well.



post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 

here is my smokestack mod finished just in time to BBQ for the weekend. I purchased a replacement smoke stack from char-griller .$16 + shipping. it is made for a barrel type smoker. I have no metal working skills and half ass handyman skills. i beat it flat as I could and offest it as much as possible. so it's not perfectly straight but it will do. I sealed it off with some high temp silicone.


2 mods down more to go!


smokestack outside.jpg

there is a nut between the cabinet and flange so it won't go anywhere.

somestack inside.jpg

post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 

finally added some stove gasket to the door. 3/8" covering the top,bottom and latch side. today smoke has had very good temperature control with the door sealed better. smoke escaping was not a concern. after all it has to get out or it will ruin the food. but keeping the heat in is the key.


one more project down!

post #12 of 12

Okay, the Masterbuilt XL isn't my first smoker, but it is my first bought as a smoker, smoker. I have built freezers into smokers, charcoal bullets into both gas and electric powered smokers. After reading all the different comments on how to best MOD one, this is what I came up with: I am using the factory "chip" pan, but on top of it I placed a 9" cake pan with a 9" pie tin inside of that, acting as a heat diffuser. When I "dry ran" the smoker, putting the cake pan in the center of the chip plate, It got way too hot and ashed the chips in nothing flat. So I took the pie tin put a couple of fist sized chunks of hickory and set the cake tin to the outside edge. It has now been 3 hours, and I still have smoke! I didn't think that 3 hours was even possible on 1 load of chunks, but now I really love this smoker. It holds temperature very well; I have the knob set to the low end of medium and it is holding steady around 250. At the two hour mark I did have to refill the stock water pan, but I am completely happy with my choice of smokers, and I give thanks to everyone that took the time to post  such great info. I do have the "retro kit" coming, but I not sure I even need it at this point.

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