Master Forge Propane mods

Discussion in 'Propane Smokers' started by davidhef88, May 27, 2012.

  1. davidhef88

    davidhef88 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Did a couple quick mods yesterday that seem to work well.  Bottom vents are pretty much useless and unneeded on this model.  Vents were very loose fitting and heat was escaping from them. I took them off and bent the adjusting tabs all the way over and put them back on backwards and it sealed them up tight.  The water pan is also too large.  I cut the front and back edges off with a sawsall.  Heat seems to be reaching the smoke chamber much better.  I am also running sand in the water pan.  Have the unit running on very low and holding 235-250.  should be using much less gas.
  2. davidhef88

    davidhef88 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    These mods worked great. Cooked an 8 lb. butt and 12 thighs (sorry no Q-view) and used very little fuel. Had the flame almost as low as it could go and had to open the top vent more to let some heat out because I was getting close to 275. Last year I also put a gasket kit on which really seems to help.
  3. Dave,

    where did you get the gasket kit?

    i am losing a ton of heat and smoke thru the doors.  

  4. s2k9k

    s2k9k AMNPS Test Group

    You can get a high temp fiberglass rope gasket (used for ovens) at your helpful hardware place. You can also make a gasket with high temp silicone (RTV), just clean the edge of the door and frame real good, run a small bead around it, cover the bead with some plastic wrap and shut the door, once dried open the door and pull off the plastic wrap and instant form fitting gasket.
  5. Great idea with the water pan. Thanks
  6. davidhef88

    davidhef88 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I picked up my gasket at a local fireplace store.  I think you can get it at Lowes, but it may be a seasonal item. The stuff I got they sell by the foot and has a self stick backing.  Here's a couple pics.[​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
  7. jules rosen

    jules rosen Newbie

    Looks good - Question - Will a gasket give LOWER temps ? 
  8. davidhef88

    davidhef88 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I wouldn't say it would give lower temps, because you are sealing it up. It does however give much more consistent temps. You can get the temp lower in this unit by opening the bottom vents all the way and putting it on low. My only concern with that is you should keep an eye on it as a very slight breeze will blow the flame out creating a potentially dangerous situation.
  9. jules rosen

    jules rosen Newbie

    Thanks - When  I start the smoker with wood chunks  with the propane on its lowest setting  I can get  to 300 very easily.  

    I have experienced blowouts  with bottom door open - , so I am hesitant to open bottom door. My brisket was done in 3.5 hours ( 7 lbs ) I was hesitant ot let it stay any longer as inside temps of the mat were  165 degree's already.  

    SO could I have left it in the smoker more ?

    Also I was using Hickory, does anyone know if Apple or cherry burns at cooler temps ?  

    thanks  would like any suggestions  -

    also  should I use the 1/8" thick or 1/4 " nomex tape ? 
  10. jules rosen

    jules rosen Newbie

    By the way -  I actually have a master built propane two door vertical model  square n tall -  I have cooked beef ribs, and turkyies so far ...
  11. davidhef88

    davidhef88 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    The seal I used was 1/8" thick x 1/2" wide.
  12. I have the Masterforge 2 door. I have seen that people put sand or gravel in the water pan. How does this work?

    My smoker does not get hot enough in cool weather and I am considering putting a larger high pressure burner under it.
  13. davidhef88

    davidhef88 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I use sand and my temps are much more stable than when I was using water. I'm in western NY and deal with the cold also. I find it helpful to preheat the water pan full of sand in the oven to my cook temp
  14. So sand and no water? What type of sand do you use?
  15. davidhef88

    davidhef88 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Yes, sand no water. I use any cheap sand I can get. Types of sand have been up for debate here about safety. If you are concerned and want to see what others have to say about it, use the handy search bar and you should find some info.
  16. danielc

    danielc Newbie

    Hi guys, I was at Lowes tonight checking out the Master Forge dual door unit again, and am seriously considering it (over the Masterbuilt similar model)....any thought on this?

    To me, the construction seems to be better, and the warranty is better,

    I'm wondering though I guess about the temps.   I live in the Toronto area.  While we don't get heat like you would see in the southern US, we do get some hot days. Should I expect to have problems keeping a 225 temp?

    Also being in Canada, I am naturally wondering about winter use.  Would I expect to have trouble getting the temperature up in winter?

    How high a temp should I expect to be able to get with this unit?  

    After trimming the water pan, do you have trouble keeping the temperature low?

    If I left out the water pan and just used a foil pan on a rack with water in it or something would this help in the winter to get higher temps?

    I'm also interested in what you were saying about the bottom vents not being this just because you were trying to cut back on propane use so you run with them closed?   The manual seems to say that they should never be fully closed....I assume to allow for enough air for a clean burn?   The manual doesn't really say much about how they SHOULD be used, so I really don't know...this would be my first smoker.

    I'm seriously considering this unit and am very interested in experiences of others....thanks!

  17. davidhef88

    davidhef88 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hi Daniel. I'm right across the pond in Rochester NY. With the mods I've done I have no problem running 300* in the winter. The entire bottom of the unit is open and gets plenty of air in it. To keep my temps low I open the bottom vents or will even leave the bottom door open a crack if necessary.
  18. danielc

    danielc Newbie

    Ok thanks, I appreciate the input.  I noticed that the demo unit at Lowes seems like the burner was pretty much completely exposed, no protective ring or anything like that, so yeah it seems like it would get lots of air just from the bottom.   But I wasn't sure if this was just the demo model (sometimes they don't use all the parts) or if it's really like I guess it's like that.

    I'm also wondering about why you felt the need to trim the pan.   I can see in the store that it's a pretty tight fit.  Couldn't you reach temperature as it was?   Or you're just able to reach it now with less gas?   I could see that the drip ledges on the sides will still act as a deflector so the heat won't go straight up to the food untouched, so it should be ok.  I assume you just trimmed maybe 1/4" to 1/2" to make sure it still sits under this ledge?

    Speaking of the drop ledge and stuff, have you ever had any problems with leaks or drips from this unit landing on the ground?   This one seems to be designed to funnel everything into the water pan.  The Masterbuilt one seems to allow the droppings which get around the smaller water pan to hit the bottom of the unit and drip into the drip pan underneath, which sounds more prone to leaks on the ground.

    Are you using chips?  or chunks?   Have you tried pellets?  I'm wondering because I seem to find that when I use a smoker box in my bbq I get a longer smoke from pellets than from chips.

    Overall are you happy with the unit?  Would you recommend it to a beginner?

    Sorry for all the questions, but I really appreciate the info.

  19. I have the Masterbuilt Dual Fuel and couldn't be happier with it especially for the price and my skill level. Have had virtually no problems with heat loss and everything seals up pretty well. The only mods I've done were switching to a cast iron pan for wood/chips when running gas and giving up a rack to a foil water pan. Still plenty of room for most things, I've run butts, ribs, briskets, a turkey, cheese, and some sides. Running gas in the winter and placing it out of the wind it easily holds temps and will run well over 300, I've not pushed it to see how high it will go in the winter but I imagine hot enough to burn something mighty quick. 

    I've recently begun working on fire management and it has been pretty easy to control. When running all hot coals for smokes with no gas backup, you will quickly come to appreciate having separate doors.

    Just my two cents, but I'd buy this unit all over again.
  20. davidhef88

    davidhef88 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I highly recommend it. I got mine 3 yrs ago as my first smoker and still love it. I like using chunks. I trimmed 1/2"-3/4" off of the front and back of the pan. I had to have the burner on high to get to temp and it was causing my chunks to burn. Now using way less gas is also a plus. I don't have much leak out of the unit I put a foil pan in my sand pan to catch the drippings.

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