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Masterbuilt Pro MDS 230S Dual Fuel Smoker Caught Fire!

Fire Dawg

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Fairly new to smoking and excited to find the forum, it's unfortunate this is my first post though!

I bought the "Masterbuilt Pro MDS 230S Dual Fuel Smoker" from Home Depot when I saw a deal online making it $150. Being new to smoking I thought to myself dual fuel, awesome! But right out of the box I noticed the same issues everyone else saw with temperature control issues and the chips catching fire. Immediately I started regretting propane smoking as it had to be watched nearly as much as charcoal in my mind with chips burning out in minutes, even when soaked and chips catching fire. Being new, I thought this was what you get for using propane and chips vs charcoal and wood.

Cue a few months later I'm smoking two pork shoulders, babysitting it like usual and about 8h into the smoke. I fill the water tray, spray down my pork shoulders, and refill the wood chips. I go into the garage for 30 minutes and come back to check on the smoker temperature. Over 500! Shit! I open the door to cool it and I'm welcomed to 2-4 flames with the smoker paint and unit on fire! Not wanting to burn the house down, I grabbed the fire extinguisher and that was that.

I am a firefighter and respond to plenty of grill fires each year. I make sure to clean my unit, not overfill the wood, check the unit for leaks, and take general care. I contacted Masterbuilt who has already had one unit recalled, and submitted a CPSC complaint after being ignored by support. After a few weeks they send me a one sentence reply of "We've forwarded this to management." Another week or so and I get a phone call of them being apathetic and offer me a replacement of the same unit. No, I don't want another poorly designed unit! I chop it up to them not wanting to include a $2 extra chip tray that does not have vents on the bottom for charcoal. It seems most chip trays are 6-8" off the burner where this one had direct flame contact.

Luckily Home Depot was cool. They took the unit back, gave me $100 off a new smoker, and replaced the fire extinguisher.

I've only used the Dyna-Glo smoker a few times, but it seems to be doing alright. I'm not a big fan of my Dyna-Glo grill, but so far so good. When I move onto some property I'm hoping to move to an offset smoker, but until then propane will have to do.
 

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BandCollector

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Yikes! What a mess. Good thing you are a firefighter and knew what to do immediately!

I would have stood there watching it burn and wondering how to get it off my deck.

I think I better buy an extinguisher!

John
 

Fire Dawg

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Yikes! What a mess. Good thing you are a firefighter and knew what to do immediately!

I would have stood there watching it burn and wondering how to get it off my deck.

I think I better buy an extinguisher!

John
Yes! I HIGHLY recommend you buy multiple fire extinguishers for your house. At a minimum buy a 2 1/2lb ABC rated extinguisher for your kitchen, garage, and grill/smoker. They're about $20 each and last 5-10 years. Just make sure to tip them upside down and bang them a few times with a rubber mallet every 6-12 months to keep the powder from sticking to the bottom. I weld, woodwork, and work on automotive, so I keep a 2 1/2lb and a 5lb in the garage. This was the first time I used a small 2 1/2lb and it goes fast! Also, DO NOT use water on a grease fire. Smokers, grills, pans filled with grease. All it does is spread the grease and cause a bigger fire! You need to smother it. I recommend Googling on how to put out a grease fire.

The acronym PASS is used with a fire extinguisher for a fire. Use the link below for more information.

Here's some information on fire extinguishers: https://www.usfa.fema.gov/prevention/outreach/extinguishers.html
 
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OldSmoke

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Sorry you had a terrible experience.

I bought the non dual-fuel model. While waiting for it to be delivered I did a lot of reading on this forum and before the first fire, ditched the original chip tray for a cast iron pan covered in foil, sitting on a couple of wok grates. Using chunks works well without bursting into flames. As delivered, I agree, it is a very poor design.

I think your experience shows that having a remote read thermometer can be a safety measure as well as for tracking the smoke. I set mine with alarms for over and under temp. I am going to follow your suggestion for a fire extinguisher. My neighbor burned their house to the ground a few Christmases ago with a turkey fryer.
 

Fire Dawg

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Joined Oct 14, 2020
Sorry you had a terrible experience.

I bought the non dual-fuel model. While waiting for it to be delivered I did a lot of reading on this forum and before the first fire, ditched the original chip tray for a cast iron pan covered in foil, sitting on a couple of wok grates. Using chunks works well without bursting into flames. As delivered, I agree, it is a very poor design.

I think your experience shows that having a remote read thermometer can be a safety measure as well as for tracking the smoke. I set mine with alarms for over and under temp. I am going to follow your suggestion for a fire extinguisher. My neighbor burned their house to the ground a few Christmases ago with a turkey fryer.
I read about the cast iron mod, and that smoker would have been great if I wasn't an idiot thinking this was just how smoking was and researched the problem first. Oh to be ignorant. We have a digital read thermometer with 4 probes, but the wife was sitting inside and checking on it in between working. It went up that quick, although I do admit I don't use the thermometer as much as I should.

At the least, I'm glad this situation will prompt people to grab a fire extinguisher. The amount of homes that could be saved from total or partial loss from a fire is huge if people had fire extinguishers and were trained. The majority of fires are electrical and/or concealed though. Maybe a 65/35 ratio?
 

SmokinAl

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Man that is a real bummer, good thing you were prepared. I have fire extinguishers in several spots in my house, patio & garage. Never had to use one, but it’s nice to know they are there & ready to go!
Al
 

chopsaw

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Glad it worked out better than worse .
I Started my Gas grill couple years ago to burn it off . Walked away for to long . Came back to thick black smoke rolling out of it . No flames yet , but I knew if I opened the lid and leaned it out it was going up . Kept my wits , turned off the burners . Good thing I keep a pair of welding gloves back there . I rolled it away from everything and waited . No damage and I learned my lesson .
The welding gloves saved me from getting some bad burns .
 

Bearcarver

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This is why I always say, "I never do overnight Smokes with my MES, or leave the area while it's going, but mine is on my Wood Front Porch, under a wood ceiling, next to an ALL WOOD House.

If it was out in the yard far enough from anything that burns, it would be different.

Bear
 

bill1

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so you're sure there couldn't have been grease accumulating somewhere from cooking 2 butts at the same time? Otherwise what else could have caused the fire besides a damaged hose at the burner? Is the regulator on the tank functioning properly?
 

Fat Old Guy

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I bought the same one. Haven't had it flame up other than due to my error(unsoaked wood). I will definitely clean it well before I use it again. I use welding gloves to handle things when I smoke but will have to go out and get a dedicated extinguisher for the smoker.

Glad you caught it in time and HD took care of you.
 
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Joined Jun 22, 2020
couple things I've noticed with my masterbuilt 230s

1) the paint will peel after a couple cooks - I'm dealing with this by scraping the peeling paint off with a plastic drywall knife and reseasoning every time I do this.

2) the included chip tray SUCKS (I can't stress this enough) - I went out and bought a 12 inch lodge cast iron skillet, used a dremel with a cut off blade to cut off the last inch of the handle, and use that - it fills all but the corners of the chip/burner area and works great (just make sure you have good heat resistant gloves!). Keeping the existing chip tray in place, I place the skillet right over that, and it can handle all but the largest chunks. The 12 inch is better imo than the 10 inch as it will also help catch some of the drips that the water pan won't. Also, I haven't had to soak the chips/chunks with the cast iron pan as it protects it from the flare ups more than the included chip tray does.

3) I have to replace the water about every 4 hours or so (still using the existing water pan). I've read of a few people modifying a foil pan to cover more of the area above the chip tray, but I haven't tried that yet). I have noticed that whenever the temperature starts to spike, I usually have to refill the water tray.

Hope that helps. I've had to make a few mods to the 230s to make it work the way I want - still haven't tried charcoal yet... :-)
 
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Joined Jun 22, 2020
I got six good years out of that model after I did this mod:

View attachment 475486
Can you tell me where you bought or made that support for the cast iron pan? I'm looking for something like that to replace the original chip tray

It doesn't happen often, but i occasionally run in space issues between my cast iron pan and the existing water tray if the chunk is too big

Thank you in advance
 

ttkt57

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Joined Jul 18, 2014
Can you tell me where you bought or made that support for the cast iron pan? I'm looking for something like that to replace the original chip tray

It doesn't happen often, but i occasionally run in space issues between my cast iron pan and the existing water tray if the chunk is too big

Thank you in advance
I bought the trivet on Amazon. It's a Lodge item. Drilled and tapped 1/4-20 holes (if memory serves) and that's about it. Very sturdy. Went in a unit at my son's house when the rest of my unit rusted out.

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bill1

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I've bent 3/8 rebar into a stand that works pretty good. It's strong but not as strong as me and a good vise.
 

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