my masterbuilt vertical smoker wont stay up to temp

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Fire Starter
Original poster
Dec 2, 2013
so i got my first ever charcoal smoker this christmas and figure i try it out. i used standard charcoal from kingsford the first time and the temp dropped dramatically so i tried lump charcoal and the same thing. heres a link to the smoker that i have

i have been looking online and seen people say it could be the charcoal pan not getting enough air to keep the coals hot? any answers would be great really wanna use the thing! 
I have a very similar smoker... you're going to need to do at least one modification to make it hold heat: you're going to need to build a charcoal basket (do a search on the forums for charcoal basket). Ditch that shallow pan that it comes with, or use it as an ash catcher if you raise the basket.

I believe that will solve most of your problem. I also had to add some hi-temp rope gasket around the door and add a latch to hold the door shut tight on mine. Yours seems to have a better latch system than mine, so those modifications may not apply to you. Those shallow coal trays just do not work for keeping these things up to temp... I'm astounded they don't sell them with baskets.

Good luck and keep me updated!
It's hard to see, but here is a picture of a "temporary basket" I made. It's just some wire racking, bent at about 45-degree angles. Until I could find some expanded metal, and build a proper charcoal basket, this at least raised the charcoal out of the tray, so it could get some airflow, and it still holds a decent amount of charcoal. That tray in the bottom of this picture is the one my smoker came with, after using an angle grinder with a cutoff wheel to chop it down to about an inch, instead of the three inches it was. That tray gave me the exact same problem you have.

Your smoker seems to be a bit squatter, with dual doors, instead of one door like mine, but I think the problem is exactly the same. Build a 6-inch charcoal box and raise your water pan and chip box. You're going to lose a little bit of space for the food, but it shouldn't be a problem, as you'll still have ample space for basic smoking, from what I see!

I took a close up picture of the tray I cut down, and my temporary "basket". I checked Home Depot today, and they don't carry expanded metal for a proper basket. I'm having a heck of a time finding any here. In the meantime, something like this at least gets it up out of the tray, for much better airflow. I've done some long cooks, and it has worked pretty well. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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