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Masterbuild XL Mods - Post your mods here!

arwes

Newbie
15
10
Joined Aug 27, 2009
I can already tell I'm going to have to do this too.  Smoking some chickens, and twice now I've had to put a fire out.  Until I can get a cheap cast iron skillet, I'm taking the wood pan out of the old Brinkmann split door and using it.  Probably going tomorrow to get a cheap skillet and a burner grate.  Thanks for sharing your ingenuity!
 

darthtrader

Newbie
18
12
Joined Oct 6, 2010
The water pan is seriously useless rubbish if you're going to cook at a temp over 200ºF for more than two hours.  The dinky grease bowl wasn't cutting it either, so I killed two birds with one stone.  I'm not too thrilled about using an aluminum disposable pan... Seems like a waste.  Here's what I'm using instead.  It's a full sized stainless steel steam table pan.  I just sat it on top of the existing water pan rack.  It works great!  The water lasts for as long as I want it to, gives the meat enough shielding from direct heat and serves as a drip pan for easy cleanup.  I'll see about taking a few pics later this weekend during my next rib cook.  

 
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bikr4jc

Fire Starter
71
11
Joined Oct 15, 2010
I was wondering around Walmart the other day and found this for $9...  I knew what I wanted for.... the rack will be used for something...  rib rack??





 
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bikr4jc

Fire Starter
71
11
Joined Oct 15, 2010
By the way, is my smoker getting dirty enough???  It is getting some use!!!
 

otis857

Smoke Blower
78
13
Joined Aug 16, 2007
Thank you guys for all these mod suggestions. I've been lurking here and looking at propane smokers as a replacement for my old Bar B Chef offset smoker. After researching it out, I bought a Masterbuilt XL last night. Bass Pro shops had them on sale for $179, and the build quality was definately the deciding factor. I haven't seen the GOSM to compare, but the other sub $300 smokers were stamped sheet metal and looked chintzy.

Aside from the chip and water pan, is there any value to insulating the insides of the smoker with some sort of heat proof thin insulating material? I thought about the material being inside with the food, so I thought about using sheet metal to cover it up. It looks easy enough to add insulation on the sides. The top & back, not so much. Seems to me that would help with keeping the heat in and the propane usage down. Also, how well does the door seal? I read a few comments on other smokers that people needed to install oven gaskets to seal them up. Is this an issue with the XL?
 

otis857

Smoke Blower
78
13
Joined Aug 16, 2007
I went out to Bass Pro Shops and bought a Masterbuilt XL this past weekend and am looking to get started on the mods. Has anyone considered simply closing off the vents on the bottom of the smoke pan?  A piece of round sheet metal pop rivted or welded to it would suffice, I would think. Also, I ran across a comment on the net about using cement board on the inside of a smoker for insulation. Home depot has it cheap and I'll let you know if it pans out.
 

otis857

Smoke Blower
78
13
Joined Aug 16, 2007
Well, the 1/2" cement backer board idea worked out pretty good. It's cheap, can be cut easily with a skill saw and fits in well between the tube steel frame sections. You need to use a small grinder to notch out the backer board where the nutserts for the door lock are to get it to fin it place. I didnt notch out where the handle nuts are welded and it bows slightly there, but not enough to interfere with anything. I used 1" sheet metal strips going from front to rear and pop rivited into the tubing to hold the backer board in place. My digital camera went DOA or I'd post some pics.

A side note, my wife wanted me to paint the outside of it to match the brown patio set and BBQ island it will be sitting next to. I was able to match it close enough using some leftover DuPont automotive paint and it looks pretty cool. Now, I may have the only brown metalic Masterbuilt smoker on the planet. Once the water pan and chip pan mods are done, Im ready to fire it up with some ribs. OH YA!!
 

jakethessnake

Fire Starter
62
11
Joined Sep 14, 2009
Anybody know how low of a temp these things can go to and still have usuable smoke? I just ordered mine yesterday after finding a $20 off $100+ purchase at Bass Pro. Coupon code is SAVEPC6 and expires 12-13-10
 

dbarnett66

Smoke Blower
84
10
Joined Jun 27, 2008
I have been looking for a used stove grate to no avail when I saw my stock wood chunk pan and had a simple revelation. Wouldn't the cast iron frying pan just sit fine on top of the wood chip pan? Sometimes solutions are to simple to see clearly...LOL.
 

otis857

Smoke Blower
78
13
Joined Aug 16, 2007
I fired up my smoker for the first smoke on Saturday. As others have said, the chip pan is junk! I tried modifying it with some strips of sheet metal over the vents. Still let the chips catch fire. Now I have to find a cheap cast iron skillet or heavy guage chip pan.

I made a bigger water pan from a pan I found at Target for $10 that holds about 1/2 gallon. It was slightly wider than the original one and much deaper and longer. This was nice because I cut out the metal wires out of the rack that keeps the stock pan from moving side to side and bent the lengthwise running wires out a little, which let the Target pan slip right in.

The door leaks smoke too. Others have discussed smoker gasket tape. I found some on ebay but it is pretty wide for this door. So I found this link to another company selling self adhesive felt tape that's both narrower and cheaper. http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=120638055780&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT

Hope this helps the cause
 

fantn

Newbie
9
10
Joined Dec 2, 2010
Instead of a stove grate and cast iron skillet I picked up a larger diameter 3 legged dutch oven. The legs are not quite long enough but it seemed to work well. I will need to get something to raise it up some to give more room for air flow. Another issue is adding more wood chips. I got a large $8 water tray for the first smoke and had to pull it completely out to add wood from above. I may look for two smaller trays that I can use in the center of the water rack, but allows me to split the open for easy access to add chips.

First smoke of three fatties and a 9 lb ham went great.
 

jakethessnake

Fire Starter
62
11
Joined Sep 14, 2009
I have been looking for a used stove grate to no avail when I saw my stock wood chunk pan and had a simple revelation. Wouldn't the cast iron frying pan just sit fine on top of the wood chip pan? Sometimes solutions are to simple to see clearly...LOL.
I ended up doing this when I seasoned mine last night, it worked great. I'll just keep doing it this way until I find an oven grate.
 
 

jakethessnake

Fire Starter
62
11
Joined Sep 14, 2009
The water pan is seriously useless rubbish if you're going to cook at a temp over 200ºF for more than two hours.  The dinky grease bowl wasn't cutting it either, so I killed two birds with one stone.  I'm not too thrilled about using an aluminum disposable pan... Seems like a waste.  Here's what I'm using instead.  It's a full sized stainless steel steam table pan.  I just sat it on top of the existing water pan rack.  It works great!  The water lasts for as long as I want it to, gives the meat enough shielding from direct heat and serves as a drip pan for easy cleanup.  I'll see about taking a few pics later this weekend during my next rib cook.  

After my first smoke (I used a big roaster pan) I cant imagine how useless that tiny pan would be. I ran my large roaster pan empty a couple times and it's about 3x the size. Where did you find a roaster pan at? And how ell does it fit.


I was wondering around Walmart the other day and found this for $9...  I knew what I wanted for.... the rack will be used for something...  rib rack??







Gong to mod the bottom rack to accept the new pan.....

Coming soon...

Bring on the pics! I almost bought one of them yesterday and will for sure if it's a semi easy mod.
 

darthtrader

Newbie
18
12
Joined Oct 6, 2010
Hey Jake, sorry it's taken so long for an answer.  It's been a busy season.  I've had my big hotel pans for as long as I can remember.  I think they were "accidentally" brought home from a company BBQ by a clepto family member, so I didn't buy them.  I think you can get them at restaurant supply stores.  You could even try Smart and Final.  They have a lot of restaurant supply stuff, but you don't have to buy batches like you would at a bulk supply store.  I also see them at used restaurant supply stores for cheap.
 

jakethessnake

Fire Starter
62
11
Joined Sep 14, 2009
Hey Jake, sorry it's taken so long for an answer.  It's been a busy season.  I've had my big hotel pans for as long as I can remember.  I think they were "accidentally" brought home from a company BBQ by a clepto family member, so I didn't buy them.  I think you can get them at restaurant supply stores.  You could even try Smart and Final.  They have a lot of restaurant supply stuff, but you don't have to buy batches like you would at a bulk supply store.  I also see them at used restaurant supply stores for cheap.
No problem, I ended up getting a big pan with a rack in it from Walmart. It was a pretty good sized heavy duty pan and it's worked great so far. I am LOVING this smoker. It's so much easier and more consistent than my big ole stick burner. Not to mention it's WAY more efficient. The amount of wood it took my old smoker to heat up is about enough to run the Masterbuilt for 12 hours. I've probably used it 5 times in the last month and am getting ready to fire it up here in a few hours for my first standing rib roast.
 

otis857

Smoke Blower
78
13
Joined Aug 16, 2007
After a few smoke sessions, I found some more areas to address. Im wondering if you guys have these problems too. First off, I smoked some chicken over the weekend in some Very cold (for Az)  and windy conditions. it was during a medium breeze and 40 degrees after dark here. Even with the backer board for insulation, I could barely get the smoker up to 225 degrees. I got the bird smoked, but it surprised me how long it took to get up to temp. In the warmer weather, I had the control valve set down to nearly the lowest setting to maintain 225. Im thinking of getting a regulator from a turkey fryer to allow for better heat control on both ends of the spectrum to address this problem.

Second problem is I still have the wood chunks catching fire, even with using a cast iron frying pan (no lid) . A question for bikr4jc; How far off the burner is the bottom of your frying pan?  Do you still have wood chunks catch fire? I hate to chunk down 25 bucks for a cast iron lid for my FREE frying pan, only to drill holes in it and make it otherwise useless. Im cheap, what can I say?
Will increasing the height from the burner to the bottom of the pan end this problem? Or buy a lid & hack it up?
 

jakethessnake

Fire Starter
62
11
Joined Sep 14, 2009
I've only had the chunks catch fire once, on my last smoke. I was running the burner wide open and it was about 275+ degrees at the time. I have my cast iron pan right on top of the included chip pan.

I've also had it going in single digit temps without issue. The other day around 40 degrees, the dial was about at 20%. When it was single digit temps, I had to almost max it out to hit 225, and after a half an hour, it started climbing again. It seems to fluctuate for some reason. I had it at 225 @ about 20% so I moved it and waited 10-15 mins. I did this 3 times and ended up going about 60% to get 245 degrees. For a while, it wasn't even moving. I also got the fittings to do a needle valve and an oven seal for the door.

I really dont like the vent on this thing, it allows wind to blow right into it and I think that may be the problem, hopefully a chimney style vent will fix that. I haven't quite figured out how I want to do that though.
 
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otis857

Smoke Blower
78
13
Joined Aug 16, 2007
Im convinced the wind, more than the temps were the problem. The rear vent is something I wanted to change too. Maybe fabricate something like the small chimney that Traeger uses on their smokers. It may help draw more smoke out of it too. But it looks like a fabrication, unless anyone knows where you can buy a ready made universal style chimney with a 90 degree angle. Im thinking about using some 2.5" exhaust tubing and DIY one.
 

jakethessnake

Fire Starter
62
11
Joined Sep 14, 2009
Im convinced the wind, more than the temps were the problem. The rear vent is something I wanted to change too. Maybe fabricate something like the small chimney that Traeger uses on their smokers. It may help draw more smoke out of it too. But it looks like a fabrication, unless anyone knows where you can buy a ready made universal style chimney with a 90 degree angle. Im thinking about using some 2.5" exhaust tubing and DIY one.

I'm actually thinking about blocking the factory one and cutting a hole in top of it, I'm not too fond of cutting holes like that though
 

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