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Newbie With A Master Forge Propane Smoker

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

Hello everyone gr8 site!!


My question has to do with the master forge propane smoker and temps. I have used it 5 times or so now and each time it is getting harder and harder to keep temps down to the 220 to 230 stage. I am not using the installed temp gauge since it is off by at least 20 degrees. I am running anywhere from 250 to 300 with both side vents barely open and the baffle in the stack 1/4 open. Do you think installing a needle valve might help and if so what would be the procedure.


Thanxxxxxxxx for any replies

post #2 of 16

Hey Shadowwalker,

I was wondering what modifications you ended up making.


I too have a Master Forge propane smoker from Lowe's. I just put it together today and I'll be taking it outside tomorrow to season it. I have been reading all the post about this smoker and I'm concerned even before my first smoking.  lol. 


I know many people praise the Needle Valve which makes me think this is the way to go to insure proper flame control. Here is one thread that has a picture. http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/forum/thread/95405/question-about-smoking-sausage-on-a-propane-smoker


I read another post in a different thread that concerned me because it talked about the potential danger of propane... which is kind of disconcerting.


Let me know if you find anything out.


post #3 of 16

Shadow-walker, I have this same smoker and I found you should open both bottom vents at least halfway or more.  I usually open the top vent all the way open.  I then have the gas valve about halfway open.  I use the side vents to help control heat as much as possible.  I will also make small adjustments to the gas valve.  If you open the top valve all the way you will see the temp drop inside. By keeping it closed you hold more heat and smoke in, you do not get as much draft through the smoker.  The only modification I have made was to get some rtv gasket maker from an auto parts store and make a better seal around both doors.  My door thermometer is also off by at least 20 degrees to hot.

post #4 of 16

Now I don't have that smoker but I was going to say can you adjust the value on the tank as well as the valve on the smoker and then use your vents. The vent on the stack needs to be left wide open for you need then smoke to get out before it becomes stale.

post #5 of 16

I used to deliver Propane, so i have a small idea of what propane can do.    The tank valve is designed to fully seat either in the fully open OR fully closed position.  anything inbetween and there is a POTENTIAL for leaks thru the valve and up the stem.  I always told  people to treat Propane with respect.  just like a loaded shotgun or a copperhead.  don't take chances and things will be Okay.I believe that your exhaust valve should be kept wide open.  If not the potential for stale smoke/ creosote build up is there.  a needle valve will help tame your excess heat problems.  I got mine from the Bayou Classic website, but there are other sources.



post #6 of 16
I also have this smoker, but am having a different problem. Lately I haven't been able to get the smoker to get up over 200 for any length of time, most usually it stays in the 175-180 range. My tanks are at least half full, but from what I have gathered, tank fullness shouldn't affect burner performance with this smoker. I am wondering if the Venturi isn't properly aligned anymore. What should my flame look like when it is full blast? I have all blue flame with the occasional long fleck of yellow, but when I look at it it sort of reminds me of a candle gently swaying when it is getting a light breeze.
post #7 of 16

Chefwillie has one of those smokers & seems to have it dialed in. Hopefully he will be along shortly to give you some answers.

post #8 of 16

My neighbor has that smoker and had problems with high temps. His solution (same one I use with my Brinkmann gasser) is to control the gas in the range between the off position & the ignite position on the dial. Neither smoker show this range as low, high, or anything between but give it a shot. I bet it will allow you to reduce the flame, thus reducing the heat to the temps we all prefer.

post #9 of 16

I bought that same smoker 2 months ago. It would not get above 170, I called the company and they sent me a new burner assembly, put it in and same thing. called them again and they said take back to Lowe's. When I returned to Lowe's the manager that helped me, said that they have had SAME problems with other customers that bought same smoker. I went online and bought Landmann's BB 3605  I am completely satisfied with this smoker it was on sale $299.95 but that included shipping. 

post #10 of 16

sounds like alot of issues with that rig....I think I will pass on that one

post #11 of 16

I haven't had a problem with mine. Either low temps for jerky or high temps crisping my chickens. I had to play around with the vents and added a cast iron chip box. I've been very happy with mine and have used it a lot.

post #12 of 16
Johnsellman, where did you get the cast iron chip box? Did it help with flame up problems that seem to exist with the stamped metal chip box? I've read a few post where people have moved their existing chip box up to where the water pan goes to eliminate flame ups. Other than these few quirks, I' m pretty pleased with the unit.
post #13 of 16

try running the smoker without chips in the chip pan (but do put the pan in) and fill the water, see if your temps spike or are consistently where you want them, i have this smoker as well, and added the pin valve, but also raised the water & chip pan by drilling new holes, so both are as high as they can get while still being in the lower part of the smoker, the water pan is about 1/8" from the lip of the lower door seal, and the chip pan is right up against the water as close as it can get, with that handle on top of it.


What i found when i was using mine (i recently upgraded to a masterbuilt XL) was that the chip pan was to close to the burner and would cause the chips/chunks to catch fire rather then smolder as they should, so my temps would spike much higher then they should be, i.e. i would start at 220ish and in an hour or so it would be in the 250-270 range, then would go back down after all the wood burned up.


I also noticed that i had to close the bottom vents completely to even get the temps up where you can smoke, with them open it wouldn't get over the 170 range.

post #14 of 16

I have had this smoker for over a year now.  My first few attempts with it I couldn't get the temps above 170.  After messing around and using an infared thermometer I found that the water pan was too large and not allowing any ariflow to rise.  My burner chamber was over 350 degrees.  I remvoed the water tray and use a 13x9 throw away aluminum pan.  I had to sacrifice a rack to put it on but it works mint and I can maintain any temp with ease and little fuel. 

post #15 of 16

I have this smoker and our relationship started out with a number of issues. Interestingly, they seem opposite to what others have written here. I found that the lower unit was getting too hot, making the water steam away very quickly. But even then, the temperature in the chamber was between 275-300. 


1. First, I learned how to use the vents. Because of the amount of outside air being allowed in, more vent means less heat. I also keep the top vent mostly closed no matter what temp I need. The lower the temp I need, the more I open the vents, and visa versa. (Personally, all-due-respect, but I've never heard of smoke going stale.)


2. I LOWERED the chip rack by bending the tabs up. My problem was that the chips around the outside of the pan weren't cooking at all. While I soak the chips, I leave the lid off.


3. I added door gaskets. I tried two different kinds before I found one that actually stayed on the doors. This really helped me regulate the heat and keep the smoke in.


4. Water tray was too big! I found the lower unit was getting very hot because the tray was trapping too much heat ...and smoke. I took my hand grinder and removed 1" from one of the sides, and place that side against the door. I also line it with tin foil. Now I have an easy flow of heat and smoke.


5. I bought a Maverick digital thermometer. This thing rocks! I drilled a 5/16" hole just above and near the front of the side tray. This hole is just big enough to push one lead through at a time. 


6. I bought a 26" x 26" FROGMAT and cut it into quarters. Oh my! Easy clean-up! I just lay the racks in the dishwasher top rack first, the lay the FROGMATS on top. A light brushing when they come out and both the racks and the mats look brand new! Seriously, nothing sticks to them! 


Of the changes made, the most profound was making the water tray smaller. Now it lets more heat and smoke rise, the entire pan of chips gradually smoke (one pan will smoke for 2 hours) and the water keeps the chamber air moist without boiling.


Now I hope to find an easy way to clean it!

post #16 of 16

I have been using a charcoal horizontal Brinkman for years and am pretty decent at smoking. I just bought the master forge vertical propane smoker and could not get it to go above 150 degrees. After reading this thread I removed the water pan, laid down a grate where the water pan was, and used a meatloaf size tinfoil container as my water pan. Almost immediately my heat rose to the appropriate levels. The problem is absolutely the water pan that comes with this unit. It blocks all of the heat and smoke. Thanks for all who brought this to my attention. I was not a happy camper at first.

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