first smoker! Masterbuilt XL

Discussion in 'Roll Call' started by dewetha, Sep 3, 2011.

  1. dewetha

    dewetha Smoking Fanatic

    it was a long struggle to pick out a smoker. it was a battle between my head,heart and wallet. the wallet won! and a real sweet machine like  a stumps is out of the question. so 200 bucks at Bass Proshops and here i go. I look forward to smoking some pork tenderloins,ribs,turkey breasts and sausage,veggies. those fatties things on this site are definitely on the menu.

    I researched it as much as I could and decided that a propane cabinet style smoke would best fit my needs best. it seams that the Masterbuilt xl was the best of the worst. as far as I can tell all these cheap models need help. the volume for the price is a reason I took the xl over the double door model. this should suit me until the wallet will spring for a 2k smoker :)

    I will continue to research mods but I have these on  my list so far:
    1. fix chip pan. know issue that chip can catch fire
    2. bigger water pan
    3. fix door
    4. insulate
    5. make a rolling stand.
    I hope to get all this done soon. I have a sheet metal buddy that can weld the steel on the inside and make a cart/stand.

    for now I will just raise the chip pan an inch or so up and seal the vents so I can break it in.

    I look forward to learning a lot from you guys. especially when I get this up and running.


    Joe P.
  2. roller

    roller Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    Looks like you got it going !!!!
  3. adiochiro3

    adiochiro3 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Sounds like you have your work cut out for ya.  post some pix of your adventure.
  4. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    [​IMG]    Glad to have you with us!

    Sounds like a great project for the weekend!
  5. dewetha

    dewetha Smoking Fanatic

    after firing it up and testing some smoke, that cavity is huge. I think I will add another item to my modification list. some kind of think plate to cut off half the space. I won't always be cooking that much food.

    since my wife only east chicken or turkey, i will be doing some trail runs. planning on some stuffed chicken later this week.
  6. dewetha

    dewetha Smoking Fanatic

    tomorrow(hopefully) I will make my first mod. it will be to address the chip pan issue. I have a large cast iron griddle(10x20). I plan on drilling holes in 4 corners to allow bolts to be used to elevate the skillet a little above the fire. then I will rest my smoker box on top. I have 2 as they are small so I think I can add one in for a longer smoke time. anyway, my thought was the heated cast iron skillet would help retain some heat and even it out.I have two question for you build/mod masters. 1. how far away from the flame should I place the cast iron? 2. would adding ceramic blocks to the free space on this plate help control an even heat?ok make that 3 questions..if these things work(4 min mark) : about lining the vertical inside walls with them for the long cold winters in Chicago?
  7. dewetha

    dewetha Smoking Fanatic

    well here is my first MOD. I am running some smoke/heat tests now.

    I added a 10 x 20 cast iron skillet. I ma thinking it will even out the heat and make a good base to add smoker boxes or maybe chunks right on it.I am also hoping this big hunk of metal will retain heat. I suppose you can get one at a swap meet or second hand store but I have little to no patients when I want to do something so I bought it.

    I may need to raise the skillet after some testing.

    here are my pics:

    Last edited: Sep 19, 2011
  8. dewetha

    dewetha Smoking Fanatic

    after a few hours the smoker is running like a champ. nice smoke, chips are lasting longer and faster heat recovery after opening the door. or it could all be in my head :) anyway. I hope I can get ventilation mod worked in before the weekend then it should be working like a smoker should.
  9. kdsoup

    kdsoup Newbie

  10. dewetha

    dewetha Smoking Fanatic

    here is my smokestack mod finished just in time to BBQ for the weekend. I purchased a replacement smoke stack from char-griller .$16 + shipping. it is made for a barrel type smoker. I have no metal working skills and half ass handyman skills. i beat it flat as I could and offest it as much as possible. so it's not perfectly straight but it will do. I sealed it off with some high temp silicone.

    2 mods down more to go!


    there is a nut between the cabinet and flange so it won't go anywhere.

  11. dewetha

    dewetha Smoking Fanatic

    finally added some stove gasket to the door. 3/8" covering the top,bottom and latch side. today smoke has had very good temperature control with the door sealed better. smoke escaping was not a concern. after all it has to get out or it will ruin the food. but keeping the heat in is the key.

    one more project down!
  12. minden man

    minden man Newbie

    Okay, the Masterbuilt XL isn't my first smoker, but it is my first bought as a smoker, smoker. I have built freezers into smokers, charcoal bullets into both gas and electric powered smokers. After reading all the different comments on how to best MOD one, this is what I came up with: I am using the factory "chip" pan, but on top of it I placed a 9" cake pan with a 9" pie tin inside of that, acting as a heat diffuser. When I "dry ran" the smoker, putting the cake pan in the center of the chip plate, It got way too hot and ashed the chips in nothing flat. So I took the pie tin put a couple of fist sized chunks of hickory and set the cake tin to the outside edge. It has now been 3 hours, and I still have smoke! I didn't think that 3 hours was even possible on 1 load of chunks, but now I really love this smoker. It holds temperature very well; I have the knob set to the low end of medium and it is holding steady around 250. At the two hour mark I did have to refill the stock water pan, but I am completely happy with my choice of smokers, and I give thanks to everyone that took the time to post  such great info. I do have the "retro kit" coming, but I not sure I even need it at this point.

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