Good comparison. I would sugggest cooking differently next time. Run your stick burner the way you prefer and the Gravity to promote smoke flavor. I do see more smoke flavor at lower temps. It smolders the wood in the ash bin for a longer time. May want to see if that makes a difference,Hang with me here....... I'm gonna make a case that GF's are not about smoke flavor. I could be right, I could be wrong.
I found a Masterbuilt 560 GF on sale for half price. I expected to get a lot of white billowy smoke, I was surprised that it was blue thin smoke. Cuz, when I light a chimney of charcoal, I get white billowy smoke until it all ignites.
I remember watching " BBQ Pitmasters " and the guy who invented GF was a contestant, Walter Stump. He said " the superheated air cleans the smoke " . That stuck with me and until I bought the MB560, I was skeptical.
Stump is still building GF's, here's his site
The fan blowing on the charcoal does " superheat " the smoke. And while it gets rid of the smoke particles we don't want, does it also get rid of the good smoke particles ?
Earlier this summer, I did a comparison rib cook. I did a rack of ribs in my Franklin offset and a rack in my MB560. Everything about the ribs was the same, except the smoker. At 2.5 hours into the cook, I checked the ribs to wrap. The Franklin ribs had the right color and were ready, but the MB ribs were still pale. They had not taken on enough smoke to get the right color. I left them on another 30 minutes before wrapping and they never did develop the same color.
Now that was a one off comparison. Maybe I did not have enough hickory in the MB ? I had a small thin split vertically in the hopper and a couple good size chunks in the ash bin. I'm gonna do this comparison again and put more wood in the MB.
Stump developed his GF for comp cooking. If you go to the link , there's a whole story of why. He did not want to have to tend to a smoker at comps. The GF really caught on with comp cookers, because of that. It was like a pellet smoker with better smoke flavor.
But in comps, smoke flavor is secondary at the most. They doctor those meats up with brines, marinades, rubs, sauces ...........so many different flavors that smoke flavor has got to get completely covered. They're producing a " one bite " piece of meat that has to packed with flavor.
So that's where I'm at on my MB gravity feed. I'm questioning if the " superheated " air does too good a job . I think the problems with pellet smokers are similar, they burn too clean, but the amount of moisture in pellets is another factor.
Here's the pics of the final product of my rib comparson. The MB rib is in the middle. It never got the color of the offset ribs, which the one on the right is a duroc rib from the offset, the other two were commodity ribs from Sams.
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