Initial Setup and Using the Masterbuilt Vertical Propane Smoker

Discussion in 'Propane Smokers' started by tt ace, Nov 23, 2011.

  1. Trying my first smoke today with one rack of baby backs and planing to put a cut up chicken in half way through the 2-2-1 method. I have the masterbuilt pro and I followed instructions for the foil and seasoned about a month ago. I fired it up to a steady 232. All of a sudden I see the temp on the iphone blowing past 300 deg and then by the time I got out there temp was off the chart 400+ (most the igrill can read)

    All my chunks were on fire. Had to take the pan out and dump them. Should I have changed the foil after seasoning?

    At this point, about 45 minutes in, only using a few chunks. Got the temp down but still working on getting it at a steady 230. Keeps going down around 210 then I get it going back up but shooting past 250. As I write this I think I have a steady 238.

    About the chunks. I did not wet them. I got them from Walmart, cheap like $5 for a 540 cu. in. bag.

    Now at a steady 230, dropped 8 in the last five minutes. Another peek and now at 233. Waiting a few minutes before sending this and still 233. I think I can relax now.

    Main question. Why my big fire?
  2. dutch

    dutch Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    When using chunks, you only need to use a couple of pieces that equal the size of a tuna can. Plan on adding a couple of pieces about every 45-60 minutes.
    Soaking your chunks before putting them in the smoker will create steam before they actually start smoking~I don't soak chunks for that reason. As for the big fire? Too much wood smouldering and when you opened the door the influx of fresh air (oxygen) caused the flair up.
  3. warsmokeeagle

    warsmokeeagle Fire Starter

    I smoked a Boston butt the other day (my first try with that). I added a couple of wood chunks every 45 minutes or so to keep a good smoke going. I made the foil modifications to my tray and only had one flare up over 9 hours (I think I filled the water pan too full and some grease made its way into the wood pan). I ended up using a whole bag of apple wood chunks during the day. Should I have emptied the pan of the ashes every so often? Everything tasted great (butt, ribs and burgers), but I don't want to do something that's ill-advised. Thanks for all the help. People think I'm a smoking genius now! I told them I just know how to read. Ha!
  4. tt ace

    tt ace Smoke Blower SMF Premier Member

    I am happy that so many of you are finding the instructions helpful. To Joe442, you did not need to season the smoker with the pan foiled. That may have contributed to the problem. I would have redone the foil. However, you do not need to redo the foil after every smoking session. Warsmokeeagle - you do not need to continually add chunks for the whole smoke. I usually only add chunks about every hour for about half of the projected smoking time. Some say that two hours is all you need as the meat will not take any more smoke after that. Experiment and see what works for you!! The best part is when the friends and relatives love the results!!!
  5. warsmokeeagle

    warsmokeeagle Fire Starter

    Thanks for help. I love this site!
  6. brucec

    brucec Fire Starter

    My Masterbuilt vertical smoker's instructions specifically say not to use chunks - only chips.  I see that a lot of guys here are using chunks with these smokers, anyway.  Anyone know why they don't want you to use chunks?  I can't see how it would do any damage.
  7. tt ace

    tt ace Smoke Blower SMF Premier Member

    Brucec, I never saw that in any of my instructions. Is your smoker a propane model? I rarely use chips any more. Chunks are the way to go. They last a lot longer and provide better smoke. You do not need to soak the chunks either. By the way, I found that the best place to buy chunks locally was at Home Depot or Lowes. :grilling_smilie:
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2013

  8. Newb here. Just bought mine. Seasoned it Saturday, smoked some salmon and chicken breasts in it yesterday. Wildly hooked. 

    I broke the rulz and did use hickory chunks. 

    Why would the manufacturer state NOT to use chunks? 

    Is it because of the crappy design of the chip pan perhaps? 

    I did the tinfoil trick and it worked very well. I will look for a cheap used cast iron frying pan at flea market and an old gas burner trivet. 

    I also plan to insulate mine as I've seen posted here too. You guys are awesome.

    So what is the deal with wood chunks? 

  9. brucec

    brucec Fire Starter

    I've got the propane model.  It only has one door, not double like motokid's, but otherwise the same type.  That's the same thing my instructions say:  "Never use wood chunks."
  10. warsmokeeagle

    warsmokeeagle Fire Starter

    I believe they recommend chips or pellets because of the open slots in the wood pan. Without the modifications talked about in the forum for those smokers (foil or replace with an iron skillet), chunks catch fire rather than just smoking. You could probably use chips without the modifications. I can find chunks easier, and I've used them with the modifications with no problem.
  11. Hmmm.... I would think the smaller chips would catch fire quicker than the larger chunks. 

    At any rate - I used a combination of chips and chunks in mine (with the tin foiled pan trick) and it worked wonderfully. 
  12. warsmokeeagle

    warsmokeeagle Fire Starter

    What I was trying to say is that I think the flames don't get to the pellets because they stay where the flames don't touch them - under the flames - and there isn't as much body to a pellet to burn. The chunks stand up enough that the flames hit them and set a good sized piece of wood on fire.
  13. tt ace

    tt ace Smoke Blower SMF Premier Member

    Who knows why the manufacturer said do not use chunks. That does not make much sense. Go ahead and use the chunks as they are much easier to use and last a lot longer than the chips.
  14. no peek n

    no peek n Smoke Blower

    I have the MB XL Gasser, and have only used Chunks, Chips burn out to fast and catch fire, and you'll have to open the door to much, I put a good chunk on about the size of can of ground pepper,in

     and I get a TBS, for about a Hr or so, then wait another hour in a half, and put one more chunk on (so on and so forth) your self a favor (go get a cast iron pan and save yourself a LOT of greaf, and plus the pan will help in retaining the heat when you open and close the door for chucks or sprittzing your meat..Motokid this is for you too, I have done a LOT.!!!!!!!. A Lot. of smokes on my MB,and others as well, If you want to get the gasser dialed in, and get good results, K.I.S.S...And get the MAV ET-732...You will thank me (us) later...

  15. brucec

    brucec Fire Starter


    What do you set your cast iron pan on?  I thought about setting it on the existing chip pan, but wasn't sure that would work very well.
  16. no peek n

    no peek n Smoke Blower

    Yes right on top of the chip pan,just heat up the smoker for about 20min or so while you are Prep'n you Vittles to go in, then right after you get everbody in the pool toss the chunks on and Close the door, You should see smoke starting in about 10 min's or so....puttin the pan on top keeps it little farther away so it kinda smolders the chucks, and they last alot longer,and still gives enough room for ventilation, It has worked perfect, just put 1-3 chunks in, depending on the size you have, You DO NOT want white Bellowing smoke out of it, just TBS (thin blue smoke) Whispping out of the vents, even when you can barley see the blue smoke, it is perfect like that, that is why i wait about a Hr or so before I stoke another chunk in, Don't want to over power the smoke, cause it will just turn the meat Bitter and have a burnt much Ceritote (spelling)
  17. no peek n

    no peek n Smoke Blower

    TBS, and bottom of MB

  18. no peek n

    no peek n Smoke Blower

    See on bottom

  19. brucec

    brucec Fire Starter

    Thanks for the pic - that helps!
  20. Are you still lining cast iron pan with tin foil? Looks that way from picture, but maybe my eyes are off today. 

    Is that just to make cleanup a little easier?

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