First Impressions: Day 1 with MBG 1050 - (long post warning -- too excited to be brief)

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MiamiSmoker305

Fire Starter
Original poster
SMF Premier Member
May 18, 2020
31
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After my MES 30 died, I decided to do what any red-blooded man would do, upgrade the MES with a PID and add a MB Gravity 1050 to the arsenal. I cooking for a large (30 heads) Nochebuena dinner on Christmas eve (my extended family is Cuban) and Christmas breakfast on 12/25. After much forum lurking and Facebook videos, I chose the 1050 over the 800 for the extra capacity. I bought the MB Griddle add-on to give me the one feature of the 800 that I was missing. Here in South Florida, there are never any clearance deals on the MBGS and I was not willing to buy a used one, so I went to the local HD and plopped down a little over a stack on the 1050, a MB branded cover, Royal Oak lump coal, and cherry/hickory/whiskey barrel wood blocks. The next day, I bought the griddle to make French toast, eggs and bacon for Christmas breakfast.


Assembly and HD shenanigans

I got the pleasure of getting to assemble a 1050 twice this weekend. The first unit I took home was heavily damaged and was missing the grill grates. I should have known better when the box looked like it had been in a wet warehouse for two years. Looking back, it was obvious this unit fell on its head from a forklift and was put in a corner of the warehouse not to be sold. Stupidly, I took it home (I was pleased that the box fit perfectly on its side in my Genesis GV70). The bottom of the box literally dissolved when I got home. I removed what was left of the cover and immediately noticed two huge dents on the hood cover. Stupidly (again) I was willing to overlook this as the inside of the hood looked sealed and was not dented. I spent the next few hours assembling the unit, following the directions to a "T". The process took longer than 2 hours but was not painful or difficult at all. All the holes lined up and outside of the dents, the grill looked like a beautiful beast in my family room. At the end of the build, the damage list grew: the firebox cover was dented and misaligned, one of the warming rack has a major bend in the grates and the ash door was damaged and severely misaligned, making it hard to lock.

When I got to the step where I had to install the grill plates, they were nowhere to be found. My heart dropped. I was tired and defeated and went to bed. I could not believe I was not going to be able to burn-in, season and cook on Sunday. The heavy grates must have fallen out of the deteriorated box at some point while it was in the naughty corner.

I called HD on Sunday and spoke with a manager. He told me to come down so we could work it out. I did not bring the grill with me as it was too big and heavy. HD did the right thing and shipped a new box to my house this morning, 9:30 AM, took the damaged grill and the damaged box and all the packing trash. They discounted the new grill $100, so I basically got the griddle for $30. Assembling the 2nd grill went the same as the first. Took all day as I was multi-tasking with work and I had to flip the unit both times by myself. The grill grates were in the box, and I only cut myself once. The new 1050 was nicknamed "The Beast" because it is, in every way.

Burn-in and (not) seasoning process

The burn-in process was easy. The grill does a great job of getting up to temp. The fan and manifold work extremely well. I was very impressed and wanted to start cooking right away. I went to the grocery store during the first 60-minute session and bought my meat for NB and Xmas, a few fresh bacon/cheddar burgers, a pack of "party wings" - smaller size and sliced pork belly for the first cook. While prepping the meat, I did the send part of the burn-in process and wiped down the grill grates with a dry napkin. In hindsight, I should have wiped them down with an oil-soaked napkin afterwards. Luckily, only the burgers stuck and not in a bad way. I will clean the grill, wipe everything down with dish soap and water and will run the seasoning process again before my big cook. I did have to add more lump to do the 2nd burn-in because I was at the store for more than 60 mins. I added more lump and a mixture of cherry and hickory wood blocks for the first cook.

First cook results

Everything came out freaking AWESOME. Coming from gas (tru infrared) and an electric smoker, I did not know to cook with lump. I set the temp to 450 (BBQ range on the included thermometer) and the cooker did the rest. The wings (MC lemon pepper & MC Holy Voodoo) took the longest to cook, but came out nicely cooked, crispy and with the perfect amount of char. The burgers (bacon and cheddar incorporated in the beef) cooked quickly and did not suffer any damage due to the sticking situation. The pork belly (garlic powder, MC Holy Cow, "Mario's blend" 50/50 salt pepper blend from a local Argentinian grocery/butcher shop) came out very tasty and the fat rendered nice-enough for a hot and fast cook. Next time, I will use the higher racks to cook the belly's slower to render the fat a little more. I will sear it to get color and crisp up the skin at the end of the cook.

I found the grill very easy to manage. I cooked everything on the bottom rack. The large size of the 1050 gave me plenty of room small flare-ups were small and easy to manage. They gave me that fire kissed touch I have been longing for with my gas grill. Temperature control was easier than expected. The app and wi-fi worked flawlessly and was a huge help as the front panel of the controller was a little confusing - I had a probe in at start-up and the display only wanted to show the probe temp. I cranked the temp up to 600 to try to crisp up the pork belly skin and then to do a subsequent burn-off. Most importantly, the wife and kids were happy with the food. This helped justify the new investment.

What's next

I'm excited to smoke two 25 LB whole pork legs with skin and bone for NB dinner. I will do a couple more test cooks between now and then to get better with the grill - there are major hot/cold spots I need to figure out. I bought a small pork butt to make some pulled port this week. I'm expecting pork leg smoke to take many hours (12-16 maybe?) so I will also use the MES 30 to cook a couple of prime rib roasts simultaneously. I am a fan of this cooker and cannot wait to do more with it. I'm famous in my friend circle for my beef plate short ribs. They come out awesome in the MES. I cannot imagine what it will be like to have awesome tasting ribs WITH a smoke ring!!!

As far as mods are concerned. I am likely going to add the Klotes hybrid manifold cover/waterpan holder. It sucks to pay $140 for something that could be made from $20 in sheet metal. But not having the equipment to bend the metal, I have no choice. The updates MB made to the 1050 in 2021 addressed a lot of the issues that were fixed with mods. The switches look sturdy, and I will use contact cleaner and WD-40 regularly. The gap on the rear of the hood is now smaller, so heat loss isn't an issue. The ash grate has smaller gaps, so there was a very small amount of unburned lump in the ash basket. Someone on FB replaced the front shelf with a larger one that folds from Amazon. I'm not concerned with the firebox deterioration - MB says that is expected. I will use foil to protect the firebox cover.

It makes no sense to me to have to spend an additional $200-$700 for things the OEM should have included in the first place. IMO, this is the only negative thing I have to say about this cooker. I feel like I can cook anything in it, and it will come out great. I kept the gas grill as a backup and quick cook option, but I am slowly wondering how long before I sell it. I don't need it now that I have "The Beast".

If you made it this far, thank you for allowing me to share my experience and thoughts. I love this forum and sharing my love of BBQ/smoking meats with other enthusiasts.


BentWarmingRack.jpeg
DamagedFireboxCover.jpeg
TheBeastOutside.jpeg
TheDamagedDud.jpeg



TTYL
- Travis
 
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Absolutely 0 mods are necessary lol. If things make it easier for you or put you at ease /shrug all good but I wouldn't blame the manufacturer for some weird thing you think should be stock that would add hundreds onto the cost. The whole point of these grills was an "affordable" gravity feed. They coulda done a lot of stuff different but then it would be 3 times the price.

Damage on these models is pretty prevalent and a lot of it probably comes from shipping from china lol. Sucks you had to build two but at least you knew what you were doing with the 2nd one. I wouldn't give my 560 up for nothing. Well maybe for a 1050 LOL

Glad you got a good one lookin forward to some food posts remember if there are no pics it didn't happen.
madhouse.jpg
 
Welcome, I have the Klotes hybrid water pan and it works great, I did get the LSS hopper cover and it does seal nicely...are they both needed...no, but they do help. I have not loaded my hopper up with lump as I do feel it burns too hot and burns faster than briquettes. I have the griddle but have not used it since I also have a Blackstone. My MB800 was cheap @$347 from Walmart, the griddle just weighed down the box more...lol

Please post up pics of your cooks, we are simple people and need the picture book version...lol
 
The gravity grill smokes food with the closest flavor to a good offest I have had out of 10 or so different smokers. Compared to electric its not even in the same solar system. Enjoy your new smoker you will be making some of the best food you have probably ever made(I know I did). And while I somewhat agree no mods are necessary. I would say the firebox mod is necessary within 15 cooks or so(factory will be burned through unless they have changed them). And the larger middle cook rack is very nice to have. I pretty much used the middle rack for all my smoking. Biscuit tests showed it was super even on that rack.
 
I have the 850 and after my first two or so cooks saw how cleanup under the trade was. Mess. I started putting a disposable aluminum tray with wire support and handles underneath the grates and it works great. I add a little water and no cleanup needed or risk of flare ups. The wire handles are just the right size for the 850 where they reach the inside lip that the grates sit on, then the weight of the grates on top holds everything in place. I can send you more details-size if the pan etc if interested
 
I have the 850 and after my first two or so cooks saw how cleanup under the trade was. Mess. I started putting a disposable aluminum tray with wire support and handles underneath the grates and it works great. I add a little water and no cleanup needed or risk of flare ups. The wire handles are just the right size for the 850 where they reach the inside lip that the grates sit on, then the weight of the grates on top holds everything in place. I can send you more details-size if the pan etc if interested
I have a 1050. Send the information, but I wonder if they will fit as well.
 
I have a 1050. Send the information, but I wonder if they will fit as well.
Sorry for the delay. I didn’t have any more of the pans. I picked a few more up today. Here’s the pictures. They cost $6.99 and on sale now buy 2 get 1 free. That could add up but I don’t cook every week and the convenience is great.
 

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Welcome and good to see another 1050 owner around. I unfortunately disagree that no mods are necessary.

My smoker is less than two years old and here are some pics. Keep in mind I have the cover, and keep it on my patio under an overhang, so it is reasonably well protected from the elements. I use it typically a couple times a month, maybe? It is not heavy use by any stretch of the imagination and I take good care of it.

In addition to the below I also had massive leaks around the hopper lid. Installing the hopper lid mod fixed that. I've had problems with switches too, but those are pretty easy to fix (once you figure out what the problem is)

In general I think MB has used inferior quality materials and the thinnest gauge metal they could get away with. The result is it just doesn't hold up.

Cooks the best food I've ever made - by far - but damn if it's not a pain to keep running. I've had probably five months of downtime in under two years waiting on parts and troubleshooting.

Firebox - pic from November before I put the LSS Firebox mod in:
IMG_0991.jpeg



Manifold - pic from Saturday while I had it out for cleaning:
IMG_1276.jpeg
 
Sorry for the delay. I didn’t have any more of the pans. I picked a few more up today. Here’s the pictures. They cost $6.99 and on sale now buy 2 get 1 free. That could add up but I don’t cook every week and the convenience is great.
You might consider seeing if full or half pans from Sams Club would work. Far more cost effective.
 
Something I never really understood, people buy a new smoker and then immediately start thinking about adding mods. They come to sites like this one looking for what they need to do.

My best advice, cook on the smoker for 6 months. Learn the smoker. Then decide for yourself about whether it needs mods or not.
 
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Something I never really understood, people buy a new smoker and then immediately start thinking about adding mods. They come to sites like this one looking for what they need to do.

My best advice, cook on the smoker for 6 months. Learn the smoker. Then decide for yourself about whether it needs mods or not.
I'm the opposite here. I did not want to add mods to the 1050, but the quality just wasn't there. Although to be fair I did wait over a year before adding mods and in general terms agree with you, with the exception of the firebox mod.

I'll advise that people add the firebox mod immediately. Once the firebox becomes warped and deformed like mine in the above pic it is incredibly difficult to get a mod in there, just doesn't fit without a lot of hammering. I wound up damaging my gaskets installing the firebox mod - wish I had done that one when the smoker was new, but hindsight there is 20/20.
 
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Something I never really understood, people buy a new smoker and then immediately start thinking about adding mods. They come to sites like this one looking for what they need to do.

My best advice, cook on the smoker for 6 months. Learn the smoker. Then decide for yourself about whether it needs mods or not.
I generally agree with you on most smokers. Most of the mods for this are aimed at extending the life of it or correcting known flaws. That said my buddy has cooked on his stock for about two years and turns out A+ food. He does use foil pans over the manifold.
 
I generally agree with you on most smokers. Most of the mods for this are aimed at extending the life of it or correcting known flaws. That said my buddy has cooked on his stock for about two years and turns out A+ food. He does use foil pans over the manifold.

I've had my 560 two years now. I replaced the switches a couple months ago and that's the only problem I've had. They were $21 for three switches from Amazon and 30 minutes time.

My point is, that people should not rely on what someone posts on the internet. Learn the smoker for themselves no matter what kind of smoker they buy. They may decide that a mod is needed, they may find they don't need it. But there's nothing like personal experience and they'll be better for it.

I also think there's a desire to " soup up " the smoker and make it better than factory when the mod is not really needed.

I've added the LSS manifold cover with brackets just to put a water pan below the lower grate. Not necessary. I could cook on the middle grate and put a pan on the lower grate. But I think its better on top of the manifold because it doesn't impact air flow through the cooker. Again, not needed, just desired.

( edit to add, the 560 is more cramped for space inside the cook chamber so adding a water pan can limit how the air flows through the cooker, this would be different for the 1050, which I'd like to upgrade to )

I also added the LSS hopper cover because I got tired of dealing with a piece of aluminum foil and I had slight leaks. I thought it might burn less charcoal if it was air tight, which btw, is a real problem with these smokers, they are charcoal hogs.

And I had a guy build a middle grate from expanded metal to replace those cheap factory grates. Not necessary, just better.

But I also don't try to use it as a grill and run high heat. Its a great smoker. My Kettles are a better grill. Early on, I perused the MB Facebook groups and I got the impression that a lot of those who had troubles used it for high heat. And some even took it up to 700* for pizza. That may or may not be a truth, its just my impression.

To be totally fair, the 560 is secondary smoker for me, my main smoker is an offset. So it doesn't get the use others may put on theirs. But I use it far more in the winter than the offset.
 
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I also added the LSS hopper cover because I got tired of dealing with a piece of aluminum foil and I had slight leaks. I thought it might burn less charcoal if it was air tight, which btw, is a real problem with these smokers, they are charcoal hogs.

They definitely are hogs, but it's a trade off I'm OK with. Between work, kids, and stuff around the house I don't have as much time to dedicate to hobbies as I'd like. The WSM I used to have burned super efficiently, but I had to keep a reasonably close eye on it. The 1050 is on autopilot for any cook under 8 hours, and for anything over 8 hours requires one refill.

I look at the added fuel consumption as a price to pay for the convenience, and I'm happy to pay it as it means I get more bbq :)
 
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