Masterbuilt Portable Charcoal Grill - New Owner w/accessory recommendations for owners (no mods)

  • Some of the links on this forum allow SMF, at no cost to you, to earn a small commission when you click through and make a purchase. Let me know if you have any questions about this.
SMF is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Meniscus

Fire Starter
Original poster
Mar 2, 2023
39
21
I recently purchased a Masterbuilt Portable Charcoal Smoker and figured I would share some recommendations for other owners. I'll try and keep this brief.

1. Water Pan: For those of you who like to do longer smoking sessions with this smoker, you might have considered how to add a water pan. This can certainly be a challenge considering no one wants to give-up space on the grate. My solution was to employ a 1/9th size steam pan. It's the right size to sit directly over the firebox and could be further modified by folding the outside edge to the right. Without modifications, it sits there nicely and it adds the humidity to facilitate increased smoke adhering to the meat. I ended up purchasing mine from Amazon. Here is a link to the one I purchased for just $6.56: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B001PZ9IKW?psc=1&ref=ppx_yo2ov_dt_b_product_details You'll want to make certain you purchase one that is only 2 1/2" in height, too much taller and it won't clear the lid when closed. As stated, you could bend the outer edge of the pan to help clear the lid, but it is relatively easy to cheat it a little to the left without modification.

2. Hot Coal & Ash Containment in the Field: After just a few cooks, it became immediately apparent that you cannot shut down the fire while there's still fuel in the firebox. This is primarily due to the fact that the rear vents do not fully close, by design. I've seen other suggest an ash bucket with a lid when using in the field when you need to get the grill cooled off fast to get back onto the road. While the ash bucket will work by dumping the live coals into the bucket after a cook, I had another idea. The solution is a .50 cal metal ammo can. I used one from Harbor Freight for $18. When done with the cook, you use high temp gloves to remove the entire firebox, with embers intact, and place the entire firebox directly into the ammo can. Then close the lid and wait a few minutes. If you'd like, you can add a little sand into the bottom of the ammo can to help insulate the bottom. The result is a quick and easy way to put the fire out safely, without a lot of fuss trying to dump at the field site. I know this solution is simple, but it also has the benefit of being able to transport the warm coals which have gone out without a lot of downtime when you leave the location. Obviously, you'll want to make certain the ammo box is cool enough to transport safely. However, I have found that it is nice to be able to contain all of the ash and facilitates an easy clean out once cooled. You just dump the spent ash and the coals that have gone out.

3. Cast Iron Grill Grate Option: For those of you who may get frustrated with the provided stamped, porcelain grill grate, I have done a few exhaustive searches to find other grill grates which fit in this Masterbuilt portable model. Choosing not to go with custom sizes from Etsy or other locations and being cheap ('frugal' LOL), I elected to get a cast iron grill grate from Home Depot. The model I chose fits one of the Nexgrill models. It seems to work well enough and has the added benefit of retained, even heat. Don't get me wrong, the provided grill grate seems just fine, but I know that many of us like to use a cast iron grate. Of course, the downside is a little more weight, but the difference is negligible IMHO. The cast iron grate I used was purchased for $15.23 before tax and included free shipping from Home Depot. It's not a bad price for a grate solution if you want to use cast iron in this grill/smoker. Link is provided here: https://www.homedepot.com/p/Nexgril...315022f1c83692fba694bf66809394fe42d10319025b0 I don't have pictures of the cast iron grill grate, but I'll try to take some to post later.

I hope someone finds these suggestions/recommendations helpful, if not now, then maybe on future Google searches years down the line when the manufacturer may not have the replacement grill grate available. :)
 

Attachments

  • 20230228_184102.jpg
    20230228_184102.jpg
    110 KB · Views: 484
As promised in the previous post, here is a picture of the cast iron grill grate. As you can see, this cast iron grill grate is nearly a perfect fit for this grill.
 

Attachments

  • 20230309_203606.jpg
    20230309_203606.jpg
    158.8 KB · Views: 485
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: 912smoker
Here are a couple new pictures of the cast iron grate in use. One picture shows pork meatballs. The other shows a full rack of ribs (cut in half) and then wrapped for finishing. I stacked them on the side to finish as I smoked two pork tenderloins. You can also see the small water pan in use in the second picture. As a bonus, I've included a picture that shows two pans which fit perfectly on this portable smoker: Nordic Ware 8 inch square cake pan (aluminum).
 

Attachments

  • 20230902_170531.jpg
    20230902_170531.jpg
    186.9 KB · Views: 360
  • 20230514_174211.jpg
    20230514_174211.jpg
    162.6 KB · Views: 310
  • 20230911_182121.jpg
    20230911_182121.jpg
    112.9 KB · Views: 319
  • Like
Reactions: 912smoker
Here are a couple new pictures of the cast iron grate in use. One picture shows pork meatballs. The other shows a full rack of ribs (cut in half) and then wrapped for finishing. I stacked them on the side to finish as I smoked two pork tenderloins. You can also see the small water pan in use in the second picture. As a bonus, I've included a picture that shows two pans which fit perfectly on this portable smoker: Nordic Ware 8 inch square cake pan (aluminum).
Thank you so much for all of your info. I just got mine last week, and I am still dial it in for my portable grill. Any more good tips for me?
 
Thank you so much for all of your info. I just got mine last week, and I am still dial it in for my portable grill. Any more good tips for me?
Mine has been working great and I don't think I have any other tips. If anything, in colder temperatures (below 15 degrees F) and while not plugged in (battery power), you may consider using some lithium batteries. I found that if it is very cold and you're not plugged in, the regular alkaline batteries do not provide the current needed for the electronics to work properly.

This is not a design flaw or issue with the electronics, but instead, it is just a limitation of what small alkaline batteries can put out in a cold environment.

I'll also say that although it seems small or minor, using the small water pan as mentioned in my original post makes a big difference in the final results when smoking anything under 300 degrees for any length of time.

Have fun with your new purchase!
 
Mine has been working great and I don't think I have any other tips. If anything, in colder temperatures (below 15 degrees F) and while not plugged in (battery power), you may consider using some lithium batteries. I found that if it is very cold and you're not plugged in, the regular alkaline batteries do not provide the current needed for the electronics to work properly.

This is not a design flaw or issue with the electronics, but instead, it is just a limitation of what small alkaline batteries can put out in a cold environment.

I'll also say that although it seems small or minor, using the small water pan as mentioned in my original post makes a big difference in the final results when smoking anything under 300 degrees for any length of time.

Have fun with your new purchase!
Thank you so much! Have you ever tried to smoke some briskets or St Louis ribs? If so, is it very hard to do it on a small pit?
 
Unfortunately, the typical brisket is quite a bit larger than the area available on this smoker. As for St. Louis Ribs, you can get one rack on unless you tilt them/prop then up to fit 2. You'll have to refill the charcoal a few times for the cook time, but there's no reason why you couldn't do it. I would consider wrapping the first 3 inches of the grill grate (from the firebox) to protect the ribs from the hot side. This will keep the heat moving across the grate and I would rotate them end to end to keep things even. As long as you keep it low and slow (and exercise patience), ribs are no problem. I hope this helps!
 
Sorry for the comment coming a year late. Did you have to cut that cast iron grate at all? Tom Horsman has cast iron grates from an old Camp Chef Woodwind, but stated he had to cut it to fit the length of the MB Portable. Looks like yours might be a more compatible fit for length and width.
 
Unfortunately, the typical brisket is quite a bit larger than the area available on this smoker. As for St. Louis Ribs, you can get one rack on unless you tilt them/prop then up to fit 2. You'll have to refill the charcoal a few times for the cook time, but there's no reason why you couldn't do it. I would consider wrapping the first 3 inches of the grill grate (from the firebox) to protect the ribs from the hot side. This will keep the heat moving across the grate and I would rotate them end to end to keep things even. As long as you keep it low and slow (and exercise patience), ribs are no problem. I hope this helps!
My Pit boss portable smoker has about the same size cooking grid. I just separate the point from the flat. Then cut again if it's still too big. Works perfectly.
And I just noticed this is an older thread!
 
Sorry for the comment coming a year late. Did you have to cut that cast iron grate at all? Tom Horsman has cast iron grates from an old Camp Chef Woodwind, but stated he had to cut it to fit the length of the MB Portable. Looks like yours might be a more compatible fit for length and width.
I did not cut the grate, but I did use a big file to take a little off of the corners just so it fits a little better.
 
SmokingMeatForums.com is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

Hot Threads

Clicky