Masterbuilt 2-Door Charcoal and Propane Smoker - Questions/Suggestions

Discussion in 'Propane Smokers' started by kevev99, May 13, 2014.

  1. kevev99

    kevev99 Newbie

    Hi all.  So over the weekend I picked up a Masterbuilt 2-Door Charcoal and Propane Smoker at Home Depot. Here's the link to my specific model:

    I also picked up the following digital smoker thermometer:

    The only mod I've made thus far was putting on a new regulator with a needle valve:

    I did this so I can regulate the gas flow and hopefully control the temperature better with the needle valve instead of the main knob on the unit. I figure I can set it to LOW and go from there with gas flow. So far I've done the conditioning of the smoker by oiling down the racks and inside of the doors and heating it up to 400+ a couple of times with dampened mesquite wood chips in the pan. Now I'm getting ready to take my first crack at smoking some meat. I've seen some other mods people have done for covering up the holes on the chip pan, using an aluminum catering tray for the water pan instead of the super small stock pan that came with the unit, and possibly using a cast iron skillet for wood chunks/chips instead of the stock chip pan. I have some newbie questions around getting started:

    1) When heating the smoker up prior to putting the meats on, what temp should I preheat to? My expected cooking temp or higher, knowing the temp will decrease with the water pan and meat taking up space?

    2) Once everything is on and going, what's the best way to lower the temperature if it's too high? Obviously opening the door is one way to get a quick drop, but once closed again it will rise. I expect to have the lower side vents open about 1/2 way, and the top vent open about 3/4 of the way. Is top vent adjustment the best course?

    3) Probably a stupid question, but I plan to use wood chunks. Should I soak them first, wrap them in foil, a combination? I'd like to have an idea on what people have found to be ideal for their situation, and kind of experiment from there.

    4) Finally, any other suggestions are welcome.

    Thanks for any input. I look forward to sharing experiences here with everyone.
  2. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

  3. isucyclone

    isucyclone Fire Starter

    Hi Kev,

    This is the same smoker that I have and I have been very happy with it! I haven't done any specific mods to mine, however I have considered the needle valve but so far have been fine with out it.  I rarely use a water pan when I smoke (personal preference) so I haven't worried about using a different water pan. I use wood chunks, but don't put them directly in the factory chip pan or the will burn very quickly. I usually put a foil pan or a cast iron skillet on top of the chip pan and put my chunks in that.  As for your specific questions..

    1) I heat the smoker up hot initially and brush the grates off. Then open the door to cool it off and close it back up to adjust it to my desired cooking temperature.  Putting your meat in will decrease the temp so minor adjustments will be needed to get it back up. I don't adjust the vents much, my bottom vents are probably 1/2 open and the top is ~3/4 open. Adjusting the bottom vents will likely have a bigger affect on temperature.

    2) During the cook, if the temp gets very high, I open the door to decrease it quickly and also turn down the knob slightly then let it recover. Once you use it a few times you will get a feel for how much adjustment is needed. I have found that once i get all the meat in and the temp set, it will stay there quite well. I have done many overnight smokes and often only need to make at most one adjustment.

    3) As I mentioned, I use dry wood chunks in a secondary pan on top of the factory chip pan.

    Good luck, I am sure you will enjoy it!
  4. kevev99

    kevev99 Newbie

    Hi guys. Thanks for the info. It's much appreciated. I like the whole set high, open it up, and go from there. Much easier to work with in my opinion. I'm not worried too much about a 10-20 degree flux, so that's good. My digital thermometer allows me to set a high and low range and will alert if out of range. I was planning on +/- 15 degrees, but 20 may be better. I'll go dry wood too, and I'm going to plug up the slits in the wood pan with foil like I saw someone else do on here. I'll hold off on the cast iron right now, but figure I'll get there at some point.

    Now I just need to figure out what I'll be smoking on Thursday for dinner!

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