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Idea on how to add wood chips easier to a Masterbuilt smoker

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I've got a propane Masterbuilt vertical smoker (my first smoker).

I've done a lot of the mods that were recommended... cast iron fry pan for wood chips, using an aluminum disposable tray for water, checking internal smoker temp with an independent thermometer. 

All good ideas.

I've never gave much thought to adding gasket material to the doors, or making the smoke vents larger - I don't think either one is a problem for me.


But, one thing that's pretty stupid, but a real pain - is adding wood chips to the smoker.

First I tried 'throwing' a hand full into the fire pan - most landed on the ground, bouncing off the edge of the pan or the grate on to.

Then I tried a spatula.  Eh, not so good.

Well, this is a pretty obvious solution, but as I used it again yesterday when I was smoking pork chops, I thought I'd share the idea that I invented.  I say I invented it because I haven't read it anywhere else.  :)


First, I've found that if you buy aluminum pans at grocery stores, you're paying way more than you have to.  I've found 3 sizes of aluminum pans in stock all the time at Home Depot for a fraction of the price.  One of the sizes at Home Depot is the perfect fit replacement for the steel water pan that comes with the Masterbuilt smoker.


So, for my idea.  There's a small size aluminum pan that's sold 10 to a pack (I think).

What I did was use a pair of scissors, I cut two of the corners from top to bottom, then folded the short side of the pan down flat.

In essence, this makes a 'chute' - you can fill the pan with wood chips, and slide them right into the fire pan without any of them spilling on the ground or into the fire burner area.  I've used the same one now for 4 different smokes and it's still working fine.  The wood chips slide right out of it - although I do use dry chips.  If they are soaked in water, maybe it won't work as well but I've stopped soaking the wood chips.  I never saw the value of doing that.

Here's some pics.  






post #2 of 8

Thumbs Up

post #3 of 8
I like the looks of that idea!

I love disposable aluminum pans, trays, and covers. They're cheap enough that you don't mind experimenting with different designs, yet sturdy enough to be used for a long time when you hit on a good design. And they're easy to work, so you can tweak things to get them just right while experimenting.

Later, if you want to make something even more sturdy, you already have the dimensions all worked out.

I've been getting the disposable steam table trays and covers from Sam's club.

Poke a bunch of holes in the bottoms with a Phillips screwdriver, and you have a smoking tray for nuts.

Bend one into the right shape and you have a "funnel" for feeding the smoked nuts back into the bags or jars that the nuts came in.

Need a drip pan that's custom sized, or a heat shield or deflector to guide the smoke and airflow where you want it? No problem bending and cutting with ease!

I've run a bunch of the nut-smoking trays (with the zillions of screwdriver holes) through the dishwasher a few times to keep them clean. The detergent discolors (oxidizes) the aluminum surface at first, but who cares? Home anodizing! :)

I use them for drying pellets in my kitchen oven and then just warp the pan so I can funnel them into a Mason jar.

Just be mindful of how sharp the cut edges of that aluminum are. I like using thin leather gloves when working with cut edges.

Every smoking fanatic should have a pack or two of those pans on hand for those last-minute or spur of the moment brainstorm custom fabrication needs.

Your chip chute looks handy! It's great to have the right tool for the job. I love seeing the inventions people come up with on here. I've gotten so many great ideas from this forum, it really has improved my smoking.

Tabbed in.
post #4 of 8

Great idea!



post #5 of 8
That looks like a lot of chips together - how do you keep them from going up in flames?

I use the skillet with chunks for that reason - also easy to take out and put in if you have some heavy duty BBQ gloves.
post #6 of 8
I'm with n8pee on this one. Get a small Lodge skillet, some $5 Wells Lamont leather work gloves, and you're done. One initial spend of about $20, and that's it.
post #7 of 8
Looks like a little ingenuity solved your issues. I heat my house with a wood burning stove. The "shovel" that I use to clean out the ashes is the perfect size for what you're doing. I used it to add wood and coals to my 7-in-1 until I upgraded.
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 

If you look closely at the photos, you'll see that I use a cast iron skillet on top of the sheet metal tray.

The wood chips go in the skillet and I don't know why, but they never catch on fire.

Funny thing, the only time I had a fire start was when I used 'chunks' of wood instead of the chips.


To make the cast iron skillet fit better, I removed the handle from it, so it fits nicely into the fire tray.



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