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Propane Smokers

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

I was just wanting to know how other's experience is with the Master Forge unit. Do you have any probs getting to the higher temps?

Do you use chips or chunks in the smoker tray? I have been working at smoking for a couple yrs. Just bought this smoker 2-3 months ago. Have b een happy with it, just wanted to know how others feel.

post #2 of 18

Hey golfboy, I picked up a Master Forge about 2 months ago and have used it quite a bit in the short 2 months.  It was my first gasser and I have to tell ya, the more I use it the more I like it.  I haven't busted out my stick burner since I got the Master Forge.


I did a few mods to it including the rope gasket around both doors and also pitched the factory thermo in the door (actually, I never even installed it) with a decent Ashcroft analog.  I also run a few digitals in mine to monitor chamber temps as well as product temps.


As for higher temps, if I close down the bottom vents and crank the fuel valve I have no problem getting to a tad under 300* when ambient is above 50*.  This smoker seems to be especially touchy as to temps based on the position of the lower vents.  The flap in the chimney is good for controlling draft and air flow but not much for temp control IMVHO.


I've recently picked up an AMNPS and have been using that in the Master Forge (with pellets) and am having mixed results.  It's great for cold smoking in the Master Forge but while hot smoking I think the LP flame is eating up a bit too much oxygen.  Before I got the AMNPS I was using strictly chunks - mainly hickory, pecan and oak - all with great results.  The other thing I found when using chunks was to wrap the lid of the wood box with a few layers of HD foil and punch a few holes in the foil.  The smoker box seems to be just a bit to close to the flame on this unit and the chunks like to catch fire once in a while.  The foil wrapped around the lid seems to help with this.


Shout out if you have any specific questions I can help with.  A bunch of other folks on the form have Master Forge smokers as well and I'm sure they'll be along shortly to add to this thread.



post #3 of 18

Much like GreyStratCat, I am super happy with this smoker, but I have also done some mods to mine as well. Did the same door mods with the rope gasket and I have also replaced my regulator and orifice coming from the gas tank, which makes it easier for me to control the temp and get higher temps if needed.


I have found that if I use dry chips or chunks they like to catch on fire, so I usually soak chunks overnight and have no problem with them flaming up. I have also wrapped the lid in HD aluminum foil and poked holes in it and that does seem to have helped cut down on a flame up as well.


I do know that the regulator that came with the unit has a safety feature that will cut the gas flow if you open the valve on the tank too fast. When turning on the gas valve, turn it slowly and you should not have a problem getting it up to temp. Hope this helps.

post #4 of 18

Ditto,  I've had mine for almost 2 years now, I've made no mods except to put it on a rolling cart and had to replace the handle on the door with some string I use to hold it shut (wife had an incident with the garage door, dont ask).  I can keeps temps up around 300 if I need to.  I use chunks as using chipes even wrapping them in foil with a few holes was just too much work.  I love this smoker for the simplicity.  Roll it out of the garage fire it up, smoke, eat.


BTW, I use the door thermo, but only as a guide.  I use my Maverick's to keep an eye on the temp.

post #5 of 18

X2 as to what Billdawg said about the regulator.  One thing I want to do to mine - and I have the valve already - is put a control valve just past the regulator.  I picked up one of the Bayou Classic valves and even though it stated on the package that it's 1/4" MNPT x 1/4" FNPT it's not!  It's 1/2" x 1/2"!!!  So... I can't install it until I swing by Home Depot and pick up a few reducers...the control valve should make fine tuning the temps a lot easier.



post #6 of 18
Originally Posted by GrayStratCat View Post

X2 as to what Billdawg said about the regulator.  One thing I want to do to mine - and I have the valve already - is put a control valve just past the regulator.  I picked up one of the Bayou Classic valves and even though it stated on the package that it's 1/4" MNPT x 1/4" FNPT it's not!  It's 1/2" x 1/2"!!!  So... I can't install it until I swing by Home Depot and pick up a few reducers...the control valve should make fine tuning the temps a lot easier.



I got the Bayou Classic high output regulator from Lowe's with the orifice included and all I needed to do was pick up an elbow so I could attach it to the valve. I didnt have to step down any. I wonder if you just got a different model regulator than I did? I did have to take the bottom of the smoker apart to do this, but it was very simple.


post #7 of 18

I ordered one of these:




Even though the packaging states 1/4" x 1/4" and so does their webpage... it's really 1/2" x 1/2" and the factory hose/regulator on the Master Forge is 1/4" x 1/4".  I plan on using the existing regulator and hose assembly that came with the Master Forge and put this in-line right after the factory regulator.  If the valve would have had the pipe thread size as stated, all I would have had to do is break the hose connection from the regulator, apply a little LP/NG pipe dope and I would have been done... but NOOOOOOOOOO... couldn't be that simple... now I need 2 1/4" reducers to make this thing work...


Ya know, I almost bought the whole regulator assembly with the needle valve built into the regulator but decided to go the with just the needle valve.... hind sight... always 20-20...


Oh well, no biggy, a couple reducers and I should be 'cookin' with gas'!  241.png



post #8 of 18

Ahhhhhh, I see what you are doing now. I bought the whole assembly    http://www.lowes.com/pd_83441-1337-M5HPR-1_0__?productId=3318632&Ntt=bayou+classic&pl=1&currentURL=%2Fpl__0__s%3FNtt%3Dbayou%2Bclassic&facetInfo=


Like you said, that will be perfect once stepped down. I find the needle valve makes it easier to make minute adjustments.

post #9 of 18

Yep, Billdawg, that's the same exact regulator assembly I was looking at before deciding to go with the in-line needle valve instead.


I plan on swinging by Home Depot tomorrow am to pick up the reducers....I have  a nice sirloin tip roast I plan on smoking tomorrow w/ some ABTs so I need to get this gas fitting thing DUN!



post #10 of 18

I just bought a MF gas a couple of months ago, first smoker for me other than my Orion. I did a few mods also. Couldn't find the rope gasket local, (Naples florida who needs it right) and hate ordering things and waiting so I bought a felt gasket from Ace hardware for The Big Green Egg Xlarge. One was enough too do both doors. I cut it in half length wise.


I also took a regulator with a needle valve on it from my Bass Pro Shop fish fryer and put it on the smoker. This gives me the ability to fine tune the flame. The one on the door it seemed I barely turned it and the temp would drop or raise too much.


Also i drilled a hole on each side by the handles, installed a lamp fixture nipple to run my probes in. I couldn't find a bolt in my garage with the right threads to close the hole when not in use but found a grease fitting nipple works great lol.


For the seams around the top leaking smoke/heat I got this putty from Ace Hardware called PC Farenheit. used a putty knife to apply it in the crack and after it dried masked off an inch below it and sprayed some flt blk high temp paint to cover up the ugly brown color the putty was. I see the bottom seam in mine is leaking some grease now after many cooks so I am going to seal that soon.


I had problems with the chips catching on fire also after smoking. I started wrapping them in foil and someone on here posted to set the chip pan on top of the rack holder instead of sliding it in between, that raises it up about another inch and so far with the foil, soaked chips and that I have not caught on fire.


I am very happy with it for what I paid.

post #11 of 18

I have the MF 2 door that Lowe's sells as well. I LOVE it, it gets used the most. It is a very good unit for the price. It is as easy to use as my WSM. MF also has GREAT costumer service. I had a weld break on a rack called them and they sent me 4 new grates no questions asked, at no charge. 


I filled my water pan 3/4 full of sand and covered with HD foil, to make a small catch basin. I place a disposable pan on grate just above sand filled pan for water. I can get temps above 300 now, I have had it to almost 400 with no meat or water in it. I have considered switching out the regulator to an adjustable one but have not done that yet. I have talked to the guy I get my propane from and he said I needed to determine if it was high presser, or low presser regulator first. If anyone knows this answer I would like to know. The stock thermometer is JUNK. Mine was off over 50 degrees and very erratic. 


I use a combo of lump, chunks, and chips. Hand full of lump in center of pan, chunks around that, and chips filling in, chips and chunks are dry. I add a few chunks, and hand full of chips about every hour. I place chip pan on top of the rails once the chunks and lump starts to burn. That 1 " makes a HUGE difference on flare ups. Some times I use the chip pan lid other times I use foil, and others yet no cover at all. I will be getting the A-Maze-N pellet smoker soon and give that a try, not quite sure where I will place it yet.


I had a rope gasket on the doors but the glue has given out and rope fell off, tried to reattach it with high temp silicone but it didn't stick to the rope, guess I need to start all over and NOT use the rope glue this time. A buddy of mine suggested drilling a few holes in the door where the gasket goes to give the silicone more grab, think that's what I am going to do, as well as clean it good with either acetone or alcohol.  Too darn cold right now too fool with it.


Most of the time my side vents are almost closed. I run the vent stack damper between 1/2 and full open. I find the side vents don't help much on temps, just the stack damper. The side vents will let ALLOT of smoke out if left open much, as they are at the chip pan level.


Another suggestion I have for you is make your self a wind break. Wind affects this smokers temps big time. I currently use 4 sections of insulated duct work for my wind break. I am pondering the idea of an insulated smoke shack for it, but that is just in the thought stage. 

post #12 of 18

@harleysmoker, I drilled 2 holes near the handles on both sides of my smoker as well for the probe wires.  Depending on which way the wind is blowing and where I put my smoker, I can run my probe base stations on either side of the smoker.  I usually just roll up 2 small pieces of HD aluminum foil to close the holes not in use, but the grease zerk idea is pretty cool!


As for the idea of sliding the smoke box onto the higher rail, I believe it might have been one of my posts where you read that, since I posted that a few weeks ago... but I'm sure others have thought about doing so or maybe even posted the same idea before me.  But, it really does make a difference if you're still using chunks/chips (I've gone to the AMNPS).


I also did my first smoke with the water pan filled 3/4 full with sand last week (but no small aluminum pan full of water on an upper rack like sprky states).  I did notice that the temps seemed much more stable after opening the upper door to spritz...the other thing I noticed is that there was a LOT LESS drips coming from the bottom of the smoker.  That steam from the water pan has to go somewhere....I am going to try the small aluminum pan with water on an upper grate as suggested by sprky.


@spky.  Instead of swapping out your whole regulator assembly, have you thought of just putting a needle valve after the factory regulator?  That's what I'm doing today (see my earlier post in this thread).  Just my VH $0.02..  Also your statement about your side vents not doing much for temps....I have no idea as to why, but I find my side vents impact temps drastically compared to what the small flap in the chimney does...again, just my observation.



post #13 of 18

Harleysmoker, I will give the chip pan movement to the top of the rack a try and see how that works.


I have to agree with GrayStratCat about the side vents. I bent the tabs up even and completely closed off the side vents since the smoker gets so much ventilation from underneath. I found with the vents open at all it loses heat and smoke because of their positioning.


Sprky, I also agree about the wind affecting the temps dramatically. I live right on the marsh and have can get some pretty serious wind. I am looking at building an insulated box for the smoker as well. That should block all of the wind and cut down on the amount of gas use as well. The sand in the water pan idea is intriguing. I will have to give this a try. I hate how much the temp drops when you open the door just for a second.

post #14 of 18

In case anyone is interested, here's the run down on installing the needle valve.


Here's the needle valve I used:





... and the fittings from Home Depot - showing the part number - I used.  I'm pretty sure Lowe's carries Watts fittings as well.


Needle Valve 2.jpg




Here's everything finished.  I used LP/NG pipe dope on all the fittings and checked all the connections with soapy water before lighting the burner.


Needle Valve 4.jpg


I'm smoking a beef sirloin tip right now in the Master Forge and I have to tell ya, temp control is pretty precise with this little bad dog....



post #15 of 18

Have the MF 2 door from Lowes as well. Works great for me and a nice price point. I'm in Oregon with heavy winds & rain so built a 3 sided hooch to help out and put casters on the base....a big plus with the casters on for ease of moving around. I use the dust AMNS and just need to open the bottom vents a bit more for air flow. On others I rely on the Maverick for temps. Have not done any gas mods....I seem to have no issue getting temps high enough for chicken or turkeys. That's my story and I'm sticking to it....for now.

post #16 of 18

Chef, when you are the using the AMNS for hot smoking, where are you placing it inside the smoker? I just got one this week and have been debating on where to put it. I figured putting it in the chip pan might cause it to burn all at once.

post #17 of 18


Originally Posted by GrayStratCat View Post

@spky.  Instead of swapping out your whole regulator assembly, have you thought of just putting a needle valve after the factory regulator?  Yes I have thought bought doing this as well  

Also your statement about your side vents not doing much for temps....I have no idea as to why, but I find my side vents impact temps drastically compared to what the small flap in the chimney does...again, just my observation.

I can't explain it either, I ran it with vents wide open and full closed an hour each way, and there was only like 10 or 15 degrees difference, but there was a HUGE amount of smoke loss when wide open. I have not tried this since I started using the sand may make a difference I don't know. My only thought is the wind break I use. I am going to play around with it and see if I cant figure out why this happens, as it's baffling to me, since you see the exact opposite.





post #18 of 18

@ sprky: I'm running sand in my pan now too, based on your suggestion as well as a few others.  I smoked a sirloin tip yesterday and I could swing the smoker temp easily 15 - 20* by only adjusting the bottom vents...When I first got my Master Forge I was surprised at how much heat and smoke loss there was from the bottom vents... on a cold morning you can really SEE the heat escaping from the bottom vents if they're open too much. 


I picked up an AMNPS not too long ago and found that in order to keep it lit/smoldering, you have to run with the side vents fairly open to get enough oxygen to the AMNPS... Kind of self defeating because of the heat loss....oh well, summer is right around the corner and when I'm smoking when the outdoor temp is 90*, it's not going to be such a big deal....


I'm interested in what you find out from your experiment.



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