Initial Setup and Using the Masterbuilt Vertical Propane Smoker

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

  1. tt ace

    tt ace Smoke Blower SMF Premier Member

    This is a very good smoker.  If they have it, get the one that is a little larger so you do not have to cut briskets, ribs, etc in half.  You do not need to soak wood chunks, but I do recommend you soak chips if you use them.  I recommend smoking ribs for a first smoke. If smoking spareribs,  use the 3-2-1 method (3 hours smoking, 2 hours in foil, 1 final hour unwrapped) at a temp between 230-250.  If using baby back ribs, use a 2-2-1 method.  Make sure you get a good thermometer.  I recommend the Maverick ET-732.  Most of all have fun and experiment!!

  2. no peek n

    no peek n Smoke Blower

    I went with the MB XL 40" , I did want to do Whole Brisket packers without cutting them down, and Full racks of ribs without cutting them , I can fit 3-4 BB racks on a grate at a time , and toss on some Snossages and maybe do a Fattie, or roast Beast at the same time, I do big smokes all at once, and then vaccume pack the rest in the frezer for Munchies down the road when the weather Sucks outside.

  3. I'm also pretty much a novice, and picked up the Masterbuilt GS40 at amazon. It was $159 when I bought it about 4 weeks ago, seems to be $195 now. Check around and you might find a deal. Amazon does have a cover and a cast iron pan that they recommend to buy with it. I bought both for a total addition of about $30.

    I wholeheartedly agree with everyone suggesting you get the Maverick ET-732 thermometer as well. This smoker is VERY easy to maintain temp, but the built-in thermometer isn't any good at reading temp.

    For a first smoke, I suggest pork butt. It's tolerant of temp swings, can take a lot of smoke, and unlike ribs (which are hard to judge temp and doneness), you can pretty much go by temp. When the internal gets to be about 200, you're good to go. It takes longer than ribs, but with a propane smoker, there's no worry about temp fluctuation and adding more fuel like you'd have with charcoal.

    Good luck! As I said, I'm still a novice, but with proper research and preparation, my family and friends have LOVED everything I've made so far.
  4. tt ace

    tt ace Smoke Blower SMF Premier Member

    Actually using the 3-2-1 or 2-2-1 method, ribs are fairly easy to smoke.  Also it is not a long smoke so it is easier for beginners.
  5. skersh

    skersh Newbie

    Thanks for all the info. Very cool that this thread is almost two years old and still running strong. I found this site after having flareups on my first smoke with the POS pan. Just finished applying the foil and looking forward to smoking somthing this weekend.

    One question - if the vents on the back of the smoker isn't for controlling the amount of smoke, what is it there for? Just more temp control than the flame level? Do most folks leave them closed as much as possible? I was planning to run the leads for my thermometer through the vent slots, but that would leave all of them open slightly. My other option is to remove a couple screws from one of the handles and run the leads through the pre-drilled screw holes.
  6. tt ace

    tt ace Smoke Blower SMF Premier Member

    The vents are to control the flow of air which does control the heat.  Use the vents to help with the flow.  You can run the leads through the vents ass you will want the vents open anyway.  I run my thermometer leads through the top smoke stack. and put the sensor on the top shelf. Also watch how many wood chunks you put in the pan at once.  You do not need a lot, i.e. 2-4 good chunks will do.  That will also help with the flareup problem.
  7. dslunceford

    dslunceford Newbie

    Anyone experience a leak on this before? I put a brisket on a couple of hours ago, and in checking, it seems there is flame not just under the smoker box area, but near the ignitor area, under the door seam. I don't think I've seen that before. It's a bit of a PITA to see, especially given its drizzling outside, so more difficult to lie down and give it a good look (as the box is hot as well)...
  8. warsmokeeagle

    warsmokeeagle Fire Starter

    I had that happen once - flames were coming out by the knob. Cut off the gas for a minute, hold up the pan and scrub the burner clean. It started right back up for me no problem.
  9. dslunceford

    dslunceford Newbie

    Yeah, burner was covered in soot. Cleaned it out and removed the foil cigars I had covering the chip pan holes and seems to be fine. I moved brisket to the oven for an hour, just put t back on the smoker. We'll see how it turns out.

    Edit: was first brisket and think despite the initial problem, it came out well
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2013
  10. allanatc

    allanatc Newbie

    TT Ace,

    Thanks so much for the suggestions! I just ordered the Masterbuilt 40" smoker on Amazon along with a cover, the Maverick thermometer and a cast iron skillet just in case I need it. I am looking forward to getting started. Hopefully everything works out OK. Any suggestions on how to season the smoker? I have heard I will need to run it for about 2 hours with wood in it, but I don't know any details.

  11. allanatc

    allanatc Newbie

    Can you please explain this in laymen terms? I don't want to assume anything. Does 3-2-1 (3 hours smoking, 2 in foil, 1 final hour unwrapped) mean 3 total hours in the smoker, the first 2 wrapped in foil, the last unwrapped? Or is it 3 hours in the smoker, 2 in the oven wrapped in foil and 1 additional hour in the oven unwrapped? Sorry that I am so confused... just want to make sure I am getting everything right!

  12. tt ace

    tt ace Smoke Blower SMF Premier Member

    3-2-1 means three hours of smoke ( I use a temp of around 235), then two hours in foil, and one final hour unwrapped.  I do all of this in the smoker, though you can do the last three hours in the oven if you want.
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2013
  13. tt ace

    tt ace Smoke Blower SMF Premier Member

    The instruction manual that comes with the smoker usually has instructions on seasoning.  However, here is what most people do.  Wash out the inside of the smoker to get rid of any oils, etc.  Light the smoker unit. Heat it until the temperature is around 275. Put three wood chunks in the wood bowl. Allow the unit to run empty of food or water for at least two hours to remove the new-unit smell.
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2013
  14. looking into the Maverick ET 732 Thermometer and there are several different models with the same name and number.

    Maverick ET732 Long Range Wireless Dual 2 Probe BBQ Smoker Meat Thermometer Set With DBTech Meat Temperature Magnet...


    Maverick Et732 Long Range Wireless Dual 2 Probe BBQ Smoker Meat Thermometer **Special Edition**


    Maverick ET732 Long Range Wireless Dual 2 Probe BBQ Smoker Meat Thermometer Set with Original Meathead Meat Temperature...

    First two are the  same discounted price at 59.99, but list price differs as much as 89.99. and 65.00 and the third @41.95. Can anyone describe/explain the differences in English?

    Better success with one or the other? My box is only a few feet from the door so long distance remote is not really necessary but on days/nights I don't want to sit out there and stare at the thermometer til 4 A.M. it would get some use.

    Thanks in advance. Best site and info anywhere!
  15. dslunceford

    dslunceford Newbie

    They are all the same, just different sellers. The colors are relatively new option. The ones that come with "meatheads temp guide" may have some affiliation to a different BBQ site (that's also a great resource).

    It looks like Amazon sells only the White directly...other colors are sold by third parties and fulfilled by Amazon.
  16. allanatc

    allanatc Newbie

    Well I have finally put the smoker together and I am planning on pre-seasoning it tonight for my first smoke tomorrow. I found a recipe online for pork tenderloin, so that is what I will begin with...(and maybe some ribs too haha). I bought 5 pound bags of hickory, mesquite, apple, cherry, and pecan wood chunks. For the pork tenderloin I am going to use a combination of apple and cherry wood. Thank you all for your amazing advice. I'll be sure to post pictures... but only if it doesn't suck haha. 

    Looking forward to my first smoke!
  17. allanatc

    allanatc Newbie

    How do you control temperature on this thing? I am doing the pre-seasoning and I am having a hard time with the wood catching fire and holding a consistent temperature. I have family coming over tomorrow so any help ASAP is greatly appreciated!!

  18. smoke n brew

    smoke n brew Newbie

    I have a MBXL40 as well. I read a lot of people using cast iron pans, but I didn't like the extra amount of of gas it took just to heat the pan, and then of course, the chunks caught fire. Here is what I did, i took a grate off another BBQ, and laid it across the opening of the burner. I got a $1.00 store metal cake tin, put a couple of chunks of wood in it, covered it with foil, and poked a hole in it. Set the "chip pan" on the grate with 1/4 of it or so above the burner, and the hole on the far side away from the burner. Now you can control the amount of smoke you want w/o having to adjust the heat. Easy peezy. I use a 13x9x2 cake pan for a water pan, and I fill it with hot water, set the burner on high, slide the chip pan over just a little over the heat, and by the time I get back from the kitchen, there are wisps of smoke, and the water is about ready to boil. As sonn as there is smoke, load meat. leave the burner on high for another ten minutes or so, until the thermometer starts to cross the 275F mark. At that point, roll the heat down to about 1/2 and wait another 10 or 15 minutes and track your temp. I suggest you close the vent somewhere between 1/2 and 3/4 shut. I know people will start throwing darts at that, so try this: leave the vent wide open, the gas at 1/2 and watch your temps for 20 minutes, now w/o resetting the gas valve, close the vent to 1/2, and see what happens. In my year plus experience, I have much better temp control with the vent 1/2 closed.

    I hope this will help you. If you have any questions, just ask.
  19. smoke n brew

    smoke n brew Newbie

    Hey, you're that kinky beer dude, that always wants pics. J/K
  20. allanatc

    allanatc Newbie

    Well my first smoke has been completed and I am very happy with the product! The smoke ring was beautiful and the flavor was awesome. The only trouble I ran into was getting the meat to the temperature I wanted, so I finished off the cook in the oven. It was pretty windy out today, so keeping a consistent temperature was also tough, but I made it through. 4 pork loins came out great. Looking forward to additional smokes. If you want the recipe I used for this pork loin smoke, please just let me know. I would love to share it!

    Happy Smoking!!


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