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Masterbuilt 7 in 1. Keeping temperature low

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I bought the Masterbuilt 7 in 1 propane smoker as my introductory piece of smoking equipment. A few days ago on thanksgiving I smoked up a few racks of ribs and a small bird. It actually turned out pretty good but I had a few problems.

First, was temperature regulation. I had a hard time keeping the smoker under 300*F. I attempted to turn down the burner, but too low and the flame would go out. From what I see in other burners, the masterbuilt one is a fairly hot burner (55,000 BTU) compared to other propane smokers that have burners in the 15,000 BTU range. I also live in South Florida and it was a little over 80*F that day.

For those of you unfamiliar with this smoker, it has no air vent except for the one at the very top.

There is a large water bowl that is supplied with it. Does the water bowl play a huge part in keeping the temperatures down? It was about 1/3 filled.. maybe I should have put in more water?

post #2 of 8
A very good friend of mine who has only cooked on a Weber Grill bought himself a very expensive stainless steel gas smoker simular to the Bayou Classic only larger, about the size of a small fridge. He used it once before I visited him to help out. I found that this gas smoker was very difficult to keep the temp below 300 degrees as well. It has a water bowl as well and we kept is full the entire time but I am not so sure that this will help the temp low, I do know that it will help keep the meats from drying out from the gas heat. Since this time he has purchased a Brinkman charcol smoker w/sfb and is wondering why he ever purchased the gas type he started with. I know this is no help to you but just thought I would let you know that others have had the same questions as you.
post #3 of 8
Might want to check out the ECB mods. Mine I just drilled a few holes in the top about 8 an 1/8 inch diameter and it worked like a charm!
post #4 of 8
I have the same smoker and fill the water bowl 2/3 to almost full. I usually use charcoal with mine and don't have any problems staying around 225-250 on fairly hot summer days. But, part of that is determined by how much charcoal I put in.

Your question is somewhat interesting though as you're using gas only so the venting question is a little confusing. If you look at the 3 legs, there are vents on each leg for the charcoal pan. Plus, the one on the top as you said. That really affects the charcoal burn. You can close the top and/or block some of the leg vents to slow the charcoal burn.

But if just strictly gas, I would still think you can keep your temps down. A lot has to do with placement in that winds can blow out the gas at low settings. You can also put a wind break of sorts to help burn a lower setting.

The other thing you might try is cooking on the bottom rack instead of the top rack. Get a digital thermometer and cut a potato in half and stick in through. That way, you'll get a temp read on the bottom rack as the top rack will be hotter.

The best advice I can give, use charcoal and then the gas if you need a heat assist. Sometimes I do in Colorado in cold temps and longer smokes.
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 

did a small boston butt a couple of weeks ago and found out a few things...

While the built in thermometer was fairly accurate, it was very slow to respond to heat changes, at times being 50-75 degrees off. My maverick Et73 did a much better job.

Keeping the pan filled with water helps greatly to maintain a lower temperature

I must put very small amount of wood in the pan. If the wood ignites into flames at all, the temperature will skyrocket.

During my boston butt smoke I was able to keep a steady 230 for hours... I just had to sit back, watch the remote thermometer receiver, and played video games with my little brother.


but i still wouldnt recommed this smoker.. the access door to add wood/charcoal is way too small. The water pan is too close to the wood/charcoal pan and adding/removing can be next to impossible. THere is no venting on the bottom for air control.

its a jack of all.... master of none....
post #6 of 8
couple of solutions to your masterbuilt, i have an older one but the same things apply

1. put your wood chips in foil, cylinder shaped and poke with holes

2. as for venting the bottom, i am not sure but mine has an stainless steel wood/charcoal pan that has vents in it, if yours doesnt, drill some holes in it... i also found an old grill that fits on top of the water/charcoal pan thus creating air flow

3. change the thermometer

4. keep that waterpan FULL, it will give you even temps

i still use my base in my 7n1 but mostly for starting my charcoal...lol

i have produced some fine Q with this smoker. it is like any other smoker, you have to play with it and get to know your smoker.
post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
i guess you missed a few sentences in my post....

and how did you make the air vents in your pan adjustable?
post #8 of 8
yah sorry was half asleep when i posted..lol

i didnt make my air vents adjustable, i let the smoker tell me what way it wanted to smoke. lots of trial and error. there really is no way adjust it

i mostly use charcoal on mine now with an old webber charcoal grate put on the pan, leaves space from the bottom of the pan to the grate. i lay about a dozen or so charcoal briquettes(depending on weather conditions) directly on the rack, lay water pan on top of charcoal and add wood chips wrapped in foil
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