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Propane Smokers item created by bmudd14474, Dec 15, 2010
love it , easy to use, holds a ton of meat, awesome
Pros - Easy assembly, great temp control, lots of space, solid
Cons - puny water pan, chip pan is worthless
After seeing plenty of great reviews here and elsewhere on the net, I decided to pull the trigger on this smoker. This is a really solid smoker, seems to be very well built. More insulation might be nice for cold North Dakota winters, but I have yet to use this in very cold weather. I had a little smoke loss through the door and around the thermometer, but not enough to be concerning.
I had only used a friend's smoker once and wasn't really sure what to expect. It was really easy to set up. Once I had it together, using it was a no-brainer.
Lots of space. This thing comes with four racks with lots of space. You can easily do ribs to a big turkey in here with room to spare.
Great temp control: When I used this, the temps were in the upper 40's to low 50's. Once I found where I needed to be on the dial, this smoker would hold 180 on the nose with very little deviation so I was able to sit back and enjoy the smoking process without having to constantly worry about temperature fluctuations.
Do yourself a favor and get a cast iron skillet and some 3" stainless steel bolts and nuts for standoffs and toss the chip pan that comes with this unit. The chip pan just doesn't pass muster. I picked up a used skillet at the thrift store for next to nothing, only wish I had got one a bit bigger now that I have it. I haven't used the water pan yet, but it is definitely small and will most likely not be sufficient when doing a big batch of sausage.
You'll definitely want a good thermometer, probably two. The one that comes with this was accurate to within maybe 20 degrees once the unit was at operating temp, but consistently read warmer than it actually was.
No hooks for sausage. You could place some solid dowels on top of the uppermost rack mounts, but you lose several inches of space. I'm contemplating getting some stainless hooks to mount through the roof to gain a little more room, or getting some stainless hardware to support dowels from the roof.
All in all, I would definitely recommend this to anybody looking for an easy to use propane smoker.
Just got it. Assembly wasn't too bad and I have just finished seasoning it. I could keep it under 200 degrees and could get to 420 degrees
Pros - Big volume smoker
Cons - Smoke pan and water pan pretty much worthless
This is my second gas smoker with the Brinkman Home Depot vertical as my first. Used the Brinkman for several years and for $150 it can't be beat. Only down side is size. The big Masterbuilt does not have that problem although my first whole brisket barely fit. Ditch the smoke pan and use the water pan and rack as the smoke pan. You will have to drill more holes in the bracket rails to do this. You want the bottom of the smoke pan 3" above the burner. Don't smother the burner like some folks have done on this board. Next buy a lasagna pan at Kmart or Walmart for $15 or less and use that on the lowest rack bracket and rack as your water pan. Insert favorite meats, add favorite chunks of wood, water, propane and you are good to go. Have had issue with it holding temperature. Lowest setting goes too low and a touch above that seems to go too high but it's good that it will go lower than 200 for colder smoking. Just have to learn your particular smokers personality and adjust accordingly. Burner looks a little flimsy and a spare might be advisable to buy if MB still makes them. This smoker is not shown on their website anymore. Glad I got mine. Charbroil shows a similar one and I got their vinyl cover way cheaper and it fits perfect. Only issue I have had with my MB XL so far is one 8# picnic would not come up to temperature after 9 hrs. Had to finish in the kitchen oven. This picnic had a huge bone in it. Biggest I have ever seen in a shoulder. Also the MB XL seems to go thru propane a lot faster than my old Brinkman. Have not looked up specs to compare BTU's. Brinkman had a heavier duty burner thats for sure.
Pros - Volume of cooking area and Price (No cutting ribs in half - Full rack cooking)
Cons - None if you modify
Please excuse the mess on the pics.. Just got finished smokin meat...No one beats this behemoth for the price... You would pay at least 800 dollars for something this size. I smoked 4 full size pork ribs without cutting, 16 chicken thighs and 1 - 5 pound brisket.. I really love this smoker. The rope seal idea is a waste of time and money... I made 2 modifications. 1. I welded the water pan tray to accomidate a 14" stainless steel dog dish. A bowl is too deep get a stainless steel dog dish fits perfect for clearance. Its low profile and got it for only 12.00 on ebay.. No more water problems lasts 12 hours (Dont really understand why you need to smoke/cook more than 8 hrs for anything). 2. I also welded flat plate on the wood chip bowl to seal the over size slots. Then drilled holes on the feet to make jack bolts to adjust height of the wood chip plate to allow heat of burner to get into smoker..11.00 dollars for 5/16 bolts, nuts and washers..only for 23 dollars made my smoker perfect (This will help with temp, you can lower the pan and make the heat down to 200 degrees) ... I have a friend who has a bradley and paid 425.00 for it.. he is pissed. I could buy 2 of my smokers for his biscut smoker.. People no smoker for the price is better than this... Just be a little creative and slightly modify to make perfect. I cook texas style... 4 hour ribs with my own dry rub and homemade sauce applied last 20 min... for appetizers.. pork rib tips smoked 2.5 hours with sauce. I smoked a perfect brisket (6 lb) in 6.5 hrs.. 3 hrs without foil and 3.5 hours in foil...Perfect 180* internal temp of brisket.. Chicken 3 hours total came out so moist and perfect. I maintain 250* degrees for all cooking... 200 degrees to 230 degrees is just way too low and a waste of time and propane (Save some money). Only smoke meat for 1 hour with wood and the rest of time just cooking with no smoke or you will over smoke and taste like burned timber. I use apple wood or pecan wood. My dry rub - 3 Tbspn paprika, 3 Tbspn garlic powder, 1 Tbspn cumin, 1 Tblspn Salt, 1 Tblspn pepper, 1 Tbspn ground mustard, 2 teaspn cheyene pepper, 1 Tblspn ground ginger, 1 Cup white sugar, 2 Cup brown sugar. This dry rub will last you for a few BBQ's. I buy large plastic screw on lid containers on ebay to store the dry rub. I have been doing this for several years and experimented alot. Remember alway use a temp probe to measure if the meat is done....Well i ranted enough... If you have any questions just ask. This is my hobby and passion
Pros - Large cooking area, well built
Cons - Chip pan, but can be fixed,water pan can be replaced with 14 1/2 " x11" lasagna pan from K-mart.
I bought this last week, and seasoned it on Saturday. I used chunks and started it up. It caught fire soon after. I sprinkled water on it and closed the door. More fire. I poured the chunks on some aluminum foil, and left the top open a little, and then I rolled some Jack Daniels chips in tin foil like a burrito, and left the ends open to let the smoke out, and placed it on top of the chunks. I adjusted the flame by turning the propane valve down until it stayed at 225. No more fire. It stayed right on 225 for 2 hours, then I turned the propane off, and it stayed at 225 for another hour, just with the wood smoking. I left the door closed and it went to 200 for about 45 minutes. Curing done! There was a little smoke escaping around the door and the seam at the top, but the vent is open all the way, so I don't see why everyone wants to get rope sealer. It's a smoker. That's what they do. ALWAYS Leave the vent wide open! After you smoke meat for about 2 hours, it has taken most of the smoke it's going to take, so I don't see a need for a larger chip pan. I did take a sledge hammer and pound the center down on the three vents to close the air holes off in the chip pan, It leaves a small opening, but I think you should ALWAYS put foil under your chunks or chips and leave the top almost closed. This prevents FIRE, and gives you plenty of smoke. A little bourbon on the chips gives a nice sweet smoke. I built a dolly with 2x4s and casters, drilled holes and attached it to the legs with bolts, and painted it black. I looks like it came with the unit. The metal is heavier than other smokers, and just more solid. Ready to cook some ribs and tri-tip. ENJOY
Pros - Keeps temperature perfect
Cons - Cant use the chip tray provided because it catches fire
Love this smoker, we make everything from jerky to pulled pork. Just smoked a pastrami and it turned out great. The only problem is the chip tray catches fire even with soaked wood chips so i use another smoker box with a lid instead. Cant complain to much i only paid 179.00can from Bass Pro Shops (floor model).
Pros - Great price, Easy to use, Large capacity
Cons - Not much available from Masterbuilt, Chip tray is horrible
This is a great smoker for the price. It will easily handle 8 to 10 racks of ribs! It is easy to manage temps. Get hot quick! The down side is there is no information available from the Masterbuilt website, no cover available from Masterbuilt but there are covers available from other sources. Fluid leaks through the bolts for the legs. There should be some instructions for sealing the threads so they don't leak. The "patented" chip tray needs to be replaced. Most people (myself included) replaced it with a cast iron skillet. Works great! You can start smoking with minimal difficulty right away. Bass Pro Shops carry this model so you can go and see it before buying.
Pros - Respectable size cabinet 24w x 17d x 33h, easy assembly,
Cons - Worthless chip pan, grease drips all around bottom
Needing to replace my old smoker for lack of being able to smoke a large turkey or hang sausage, I was ready to build one from a 55 gallon barrel. All the affordable units were just way too small for my desires. When I was at BPS last week and saw the size of the Masterbuilt Extra Wide Propane Smoker, I had to get one. This unit has (4) adjustable 22" wide x 15" deep racks. That's over 1300 sq inches ! The smoke cabinet itself measures 24w x 17d x 33h.
Assembly went rather well, except only one of the front legs had 2 holes drilled for the front control panel. I lined up the other leg with clamps & drilled matching holes.
Regardless of which brand you buy, you may desire to make some personal modifications as I've done...just my personal preferences.
None of the electric or gas smokers have casters which makes them rather awkward to move around. On my workbench I built a grill frame from two 3/16" x 2" x 29" flat bar stock. One for the back and one for the front legs. Make sure alignment is perfectly square. Then connected them by welding (10) 3/8 rods 21" long to create a grill. Then I drilled 1/2" holes for the threaded 3" casters, the front two are locking.
The supplied chip pan is worthless, the holes in the pan allow the chips to ignite. I bent a small grill "U" shaped to position over the burner allowing for air space and I use a cast iron skillet for the chips.
I felt the water pan was rather small, so I got a 14" round Stainless Steel pan for 2 bucks from a used resturaunt equipment dealer for water, and cut the two rails on the water grid frame so I could bend the two larger rails to accomodate the larger pan.
None of the supplied temp guages are very accurate. I use two digitals and hang the probe into the backside top vent. One for the smoker temp, the other is the meat probe.
Just a few modifications and I now have a custom designed smoker, I feel is perfect !!!!
Now Masterbuilt needs to make available a waterproof cover.
Pros - Great price, Large cabinet, good build quality
Cons - Chip pan is junk, water pan is too small
After researching upright propane smokers, I chose the Masterbuilt XL. A lot of SMF members favorably reviewed the GOSM big block, but it was discontinued at Bass Pro Shops and only available online at the time of purchase. First off, the build quality and design is pretty good. It uses a 1/2" square tube frame, similar to custom built upright smokers I have seen online, only smaller. This separates it from much of the competition that uses only stamped sheet metal cabinets. The door is double walled sheet metal that fits OK, but doesn't seal completely and there is no insulation in the smoker anywhere else. Assembly is easy and quick. On my first smoke, I found it is easy to control and bring the temp down to 200 degrees, but I have not yet tried to go lower. There are 4 smoking racks and the slides have extra mounting holes for more flexability.
Now for the bad news. The chip pan is the single biggest problem and a waste of metal, hence the 3 star rating. It is a thin, porcelin coated pan that uses vent slots in the bottom. This allows far to much heat inside the pan and the wood chunks catch fire. SMF has a number of posts on inexpensive tweaks that solve this problem. Next, the water pan is entirely too small. Its only good for a couple of hours before needing to be refilled. Plan on replacing it with a larger pan. The last problem is one that seems to be shared by all upright mass produced smokers, the door leaks. This is easily fixed with self adhesive felt trim that's readily available online.
Overall, The Masterbuilt XL is a great value. It's cabinet design and build quality is quite good for a 200 dollar smoker. It has good temperature control and it's large enough to smoke as much meat as the average family is ever likely to cook at any one time. Once the chip pan and water pan issues are addressed, this is a great addition for any backyard chef.