Going to add a new smoker - advise please

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Alsta

Smoke Blower
Original poster
★ Lifetime Premier ★
Apr 20, 2021
145
180
Perth Amboy, NJ
Hey all,

I'm using my tax money to get me a new smoker and I'm looking at these 2 units:

Masterbuilt Digital 1305-Sq in Gray Vertical Charcoal Smoker​

or

Masterbuilt

Gravity Series 560 Digital Charcoal Grill and Smoker Combo in Black​


I kinda like the vertical due to its size but I'm reading some so-so reviews online so I figured I'd come to those I trust.

Any suggestions as to which way to go?
 
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What do you plan to use it for? The gravity vertical is strictly a smoker, while the 560 is a smoker than you can use as a grill (all the way up to 700f cook temps, if you dare push it that far).

560 will chew through charcoal a lot faster than the vertical, but is more versatile. It comes down to your use case and what other equipment you may have.
 
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IMO - no matter the brand or style, 560 just wouldn't do it.

I was taking a gander at this one this weekend. Thinking hard about putting my Pit Boss pro with aftermarket PID out in the classifieds for a few hundred and trying this out if I could sell it.

Pit-Boss-Pro-Series-4-Series-Vertical-Smoker (Lowes version)
 
I would go with the GF 560.

I bought a 560 two years ago when I found it on sale at Walmart for $250. I had my doubts about gravity feeds, but thought I could not go wrong at that price.

I expected to get white billowy smoke from the charcoal and the chunks smoldering. That did not happen. After it gets up to temp, it produces clean blue thin smoke. I was really impressed.

IMO, its as close to stick burner smoke flavor as can be found in a charcoal/chunk smoker.

I like mine so much, I'm constantly watching sale prices so I can upgrade to the 1050. If you've got the funds, I would definitely go that route.

But all that said, I know nothing about the other vertical smoker. So, FWIW.
 
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Definitely the Gf, but I've seen the 560 and the cooking chamber is pretty small.
I had that vertical Charcoal Smoker when it first came out. It always had issues and kept overheating and causing the control board to turn off. I thought it was a great idea at first, it's not.
 
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I had my 560 4 years and love it. I would advise you to look in person at lowes Walmart and home depot as they often have non advertised 800s and 1050s on sale
 
Thanks all -

I'm looking to supplement my Texas Trio from Char-Grill And also something large enough that I could start making bacon (and possibly sausage) in ( Y 'all's posts make me hungry, lol )
That was one of the reasons I was looking at the Vertical.

But I think the 560s chamber is large enough to hang the bellies???
 
Definitely the Gf, but I've seen the 560 and the cooking chamber is pretty small.
I had that vertical Charcoal Smoker when it first came out. It always had issues and kept overheating and causing the control board to turn off. I thought it was a great idea at first, it's not.

I've looked at the 1050 in person at Academy, and not only is it larger but it feels like a heavier build. First thing I noticed was the lid to the cook chamber was much heavier than my 560.

And the 800 is a middle choice, but I know nothing about it. I did see one on sale at Walmart this winter for $380.
 
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Thanks all -

I'm looking to supplement my Texas Trio from Char-Grill And also something large enough that I could start making bacon (and possibly sausage) in ( Y 'all's posts make me hungry, lol )
That was one of the reasons I was looking at the Vertical.

But I think the 560s chamber is large enough to hang the bellies???
The 560 is not as big as you think, and in fact the main cook surface on your Texas Trio is bigger than the 560's total cook surface. (779 vs 560 sq in).

Bellies and hanging sausage take a good bit of space, especially sausage with the need for a vertical component. I have a 1050 and I've only filled it a couple of times when cooking for 20+ people, but other than that most of my cooks are for 10 or fewer. I feel it's a good size. I could almost certainly get away with an 800 for 95%+ of my cooks, but think a 560 would feel a little too small.

I'd try to check them out in person before making a decision. I was debating between the 800 and 1050 when I bought mine, and someone on here told me I'd never regret going with the bigger size and having more cook surface. Two years later that has proven true multiple times. When in doubt, go bigger :emoji_sunglasses:
 
As to size, another consideration is use of the lower grate on the 560.

There's many reports on both of the MB GF Facebook groups of grease fires. What generally happens, people smoke a fatty meat, don't clean up before using the MB as a grill. They crank up the heat to 500* plus, which the unit then increases the fan speed, which blows embers into the cook chamber and they hit a grease pocket.

I feel much better smoking any meat if I have a drip pan. And there's two ways of using the drip pan. There's a mod from LSS that allows putting a drip pan below the bottom grate. Or just put the drip pan on the bottom grate.

Either way, depending upon the size of the drip pan, it will impact air flow inside the cook chamber. The drip pan acts like a heat deflector on a pellet smoker. The air/heat goes around the outside and then rises, which I've seen a lot of pellet users smoke on the middle grate, as opposed to right on top of the deflector.

I almost always do the same on the MB560. Obviously, with a drip pan on the lower grate it forces using the middle grate. But even with a drip pan below the lower grate, there's a diff in temps between the grates.

So the short version is, not all the cooking space on the 560 will be usable. Which is my primary reason for wanting to upgrade to the 1050.
 
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