maintaining smoke in MGS (XL)...mod picture included

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Original poster
Jan 11, 2011
recently purchased the Masterbuilt XL from BPS...found quite a few faults that are documented well throughout this forum. took care of the door leaking problem with some felt adhesive...but the major problem i am having is keeping smoke going for more than an hour at a time.

as everyone knows the woodchunk pan in this thing is a piece of junk, so i threw it away. set up my own mod in it, using a cooling rack above the flame, and then a baking pan to hold chips/chunks....pic below...


so...this works pretty well imo, better than the previous pan where everything would catch on fire. only issue im having is maintaining smoke for more than an hour at a time. ive tried everything, chips, chunks, foiled chips, foiled chunks, foiled chips and chunks...nothing will last more than an hour. ive used several chunks at once, only gives way too much smoke, and all 3 chunks last 1 hour.

this pan does get really hot because the metal is so thin, do you guys think that may be the reason? should i switch to a cast iron skillet on that rack? has anyone modified in a way that they are able to achieve TBS for more than an hour at a time?

thought about getting an AMAZN but i dont want to have to give up one of my cooking racks to house that. any input or suggestions would be very helpful here.
Having to add chips/chunks every hour or so is not uncommon.. my GOSM will last about 1.5 hours or so but that's about the maximum. I think what makes the difference is how high you are running your flame, how close your pan is to the flame and how much wood will fit in the pan.

It could be that the pan is so close the fire and/or the burner is running so high to keep the heat on point that the wood is just burning up too fast. I have not tried this myself, but if you could find a way to add another layer of metal or even just air space between the wood and the fire, it may help the wood to smoke and burn up just a little slower.

I also think a thicker cast iron smoke box might be a better fit for that smoker.. another option that would be worth trying.

I keep thinking a piece of 1/4 inch steel in the bottom of that pan or even something to hold the wood up off the bottom of the pan a little might help.. it would certainly be worth a try. I still don't think you're going to be able to add more than 15-30 minutes to your favor. As has already been mentioned, a device like the AMNS or other smoke generator would be the ideal setup if you are wanting a little more flexibility in your cooking and be able to walk away for several hours at a time but like you say, that would require you to have to give up a little cooking space.

I will have to measure the distance between the burner and the bottom of the smoke box on the GOSM but that could be making a difference if yours is a lot closer.

Last but not least, I generally use about 4-6 fist sized chunks with a good sized handful of wood chips and it could just be that you need to use a little more wood if you have not tried that. With this suggestion I must caution you to make sure there is plenty of airflow into and out of the smoker via the venting system in your smoker.
yea, thos are all really good ideas...thank you.

the way it is currently, i'll throw in one wood chunk and it gives off the perfect amount of smoke but lasts an hour. if i throw in 3 wood chunks, i'll have way too much smoke, bellowing white smoke, for about an hour.

with that said, i think the AMAZN is the way to go here. i dont mind adding wood every hour at all, but i'm more trying to keep the smoker closed because when i open it it takes a while to bring it back up to temp, plus a little more time to get it stabilized. would love to smoke for 4 hours without having to worry about smoke.
I have a GOSM Big Block with a nice heavy cast iron smoke box and it works very well, so maybe the answer is a cast iron skillet.

You say with one chunk it works ok, but when you throw in three chunks there is too much smoke, I'm assuming the the three chunks are touching the bottom of the pan and all three are burning at the same time, is this correct?

There is a member here, SWQIB (I think that is correct) that stacks his wood one on top of another, that way the surface area of the wood would be the same as the one piece, but the volume would be three times a large, the fire would burn up giving you a longer burn time with the correct amount of smoke, for him and he has thread about it, you might want to search for it.

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never even thought of stacking the wood like that...good idea. i'll look for that thread, thanks a lot.
Oh, justpassingthru...could you tell me the characteristics of your smoke with your cast iron box? Do you use chunks? And how long do they last? Etc.
Sure, no problem, it's the cast iron wood box that came with the GOSM and it's about 3/16" thick (I've heard it can be bought from Landman, the company that took over GOSM), it sits about 4" above the burner, I load it with two chunks of lump charcoal and 4-5 chunks of my smoke wood, the chunks are bigger than a golf ball but smaller than my fist, I preheat my smoker on high until the wood starts to smoke, this takes the smoker past my smoking temp, but after that I open the door to lose heat, turn my flame down and let the smoker settle in at my desired smoking temp.

I have had this amount of wood last 6-7 hours (the box is not full), one time I packed it full with chunks and chips and it went way longer, I smoked a butt and there was wood left at the end of the smoke, 14-16 hours I think, but..., I have modified my smoker by placing a baffle in the top, under the vent, it keeps the heat in the smoker rather that allowing it to go straight through unobstructed, I still have TBS, no creosote, and it lowered my propane consumption which is the primary reason I did it, the extended wood smoking time was a side benefit (I posted a thread about this mod).

Pictures are better than 1000 words.





There is a thread here about a member using a stove grill over the burner hole and setting a cast iron skillet on top, maybe a wok ring would work too, that's all part of the fun of smoking, tinkering with it until you get it dialed in, ....then you haf'ta buy another smoker and begin messin' with it.

I hope this helps, have fun, enjoy this wonderfully hobby of ours with all of it's gastronomic benefits,

BINGO! picked up a cast iron skillet. added another cooling rack increasing the distance from the flame to the woodchunks...tested it out today and perrrrfect TBS for an hour and a half and it was still goin with no end in sight. did just what u said, cranked it on high til it started to smoke and then brought it back down to temp...


i think the flame was way too close to the pan before. man, masterbuilt could really make a great propane smoker if they came and looked at all the mods that have made the XL 50x better huh?

thank you both for all your help with this. cant wait to smoke my packer, ribs, shoulder this weekend for the superbowl...

I am so glad you got it working the way it supposed to work. That is great news!! is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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