Masterbuild XL Mods - Post your mods here!

Discussion in 'Propane Smokers' started by darthtrader, Oct 10, 2010.

  1. otis857

    otis857 Smoke Blower

    China tool central, aka Harbor freight hole saw kit. They wont last long, but will do the trick for a while before they go dull.
  2. otis857

    otis857 Smoke Blower

    Ive been doing more smoking and less talking lately with my  heavily modified Masterbuilt XL. Overall, its been good, but Im not where I want to be with it yet. Heres some problems that I wonder if you guys see too;

    1. Its a little hard to get the temps below 225 degrees.

    2. The air flow through the smoker could be improved. (this could help problem # 1)

    3. smoke/humidity leakage around the door, Mfr tag and top seams leaves black mess running down the outside in these areas. This is more noticable since mine is painted brown.

    4. hard to keep the temps up on cold, windy days, even with added insulation.

    5. Still not completely happy with the cast iron frying pan for chip pan and water pan mods. The pan may be too close to the flame as I still am fighting heavy smoke problems - trying to get the thin blue smoke consistantly.

    What to do, what to do? [​IMG]

    Im currently fabricating a chimney out of 3" muffler pipe to install on the back, similar to Traeger grills design. I picked up a stove pipe damper and rain cap on amazon cheap enough to give this a try. Hopefully this will address1&2 problems. Anyone know where you can buy small round, adjustable air vents? If I add one or 2 near the bottom, it may really improve the airflow too. Has anyone added a fan like the bbq guru on to a propane smoker? They're a little pricey though, even more than I paid for the smoker.

    I saw a guy on another thread that was MBtechguy, with the Masterbuilt logo next to his name. Are you watching these comments and where does your company stand on these problems? Many of these concerns and fixes could be incorporated into future XL smoker designs and save your future customers all this grief! Now that Masterbuilt has Bass Pro Shops selling this model over the GOSM, You have great market exposure! Now its time to refine your product! These tweaks are getting expensive, frustrating and very time consuming!

    China will build whatever design you specify. [​IMG]
  3. fantn

    fantn Newbie

    I smoked some fatties and a brisket earlier this year and had the same issue with keeping temperature. Air temp was in the 40's with a breeze. The fatties took 5 hours vs 3.5 hrs on a warm day. The brisket never got over 140 degrees in 8.5 hours. Decided to throw it out (painful) since it did not meet the 4 hr danger zone. Waiting on a warmer day before I attempt that again.
  4. What temp was the smoker running? I've had mine running when it was 10 degrees out and 225 was any where from 1/4 to 1/2 on the temp dial depending on the wind. I've also maxed out my Maverick (350+) when I cranked it up in similar weather. There may be something wrong with yours, I seem to recall reading about that somewhere and Masterbuilt fixed whatever it was.
  5. fantn

    fantn Newbie


    That is what is so strange. The Thermometer was on the top shelf and read consistantly at 225 to 275 depending on my adjustment. I kept it at medium on the dial. Changes from first smoke were only raising dutch oven with wood chips higher off the opening to the burner (maybe 1/4 of an inch). The water did not seem to "burn off" as much either this time?. I have checked the thermometer in boiling water since and the meat thermometer read 212 while the smoker thermometer read 215.

    I did have issues with the propane tanks. The tank from the first smoke would not open (handle froze up?). I used the partial from my BBQ Grill to get started and exchanged the frozen one at Lowe's.

    I plan to retry it with som fattie and maybe another ham in early Feb if it warms up on the weekend and see if it works better.
  6. Hmm, that is weird. I keep my temp probe in the middle of the smoker towards the front, about 5 inches lower than the one on the door. They are usually within 5 degrees of each other. What does yours read on the door?
  7. fantn

    fantn Newbie

    I did not pay attention to the thermometer in the door. I noticed today that the spare propane tank I took from the BBQ grill was almost empty. I wonder if low pressure might be a factor. Turned the smoker on with the new tank and the flame looked fine?
  8. gchild

    gchild Newbie

    Having the XL since Xmas, I have found the problems that everyone else has. I sealed the door with wood stove gasket from Lowes, added a bent plate to the door to keep the drippings from dripping out the bottom all over the deck, added a 4" steamer tray (hotel pan) for a water pan/drip tray and replaced the chip pan with a cast iron frying pan sitting on a gas range burner grate. The other thing that was bothering me was the height that the unit was sitting. I built a stand with side tables to make it more accessable, more mobile and more usable. The other thing is I connected it to our buried propane tank for the house, so I didnt have to worry about running out of gas during a smoke.

    I have done several sets of ribs, chuckies, butts and a few chickens and all came out good.

    Over all I think it is a good smoker for the money.

  9. dbarnett66

    dbarnett66 Smoke Blower

    Sweet mods. I use an over sized water pan, so I do not have to worry much about drippings on the bottom. I do have some smoke leaking at the hinge side of the door, but my meat comes out just fine. I too have went with the cast iron frying pan for wood chunks. I love the cart idea. Too bad I do not have the welder or the welding skills to pull off such a feat. Great job!
  10. cbd1

    cbd1 Newbie

    This is what I did after having my flame blow out overnight and ruin 15lbs of pork butt. Now, I intend to still use propane for the hotter cooks, like turkey etc. But, for an overnight cook... Initially, I tried it with one element in the center, but I could only obtain 200deg with cold meat so I added a second element. I figure this way if one element dies overnight, I'll be safe until I can swap it out and won't loose the meat.  Anyway, I have some casters to add as well later today. 

    miersc77 likes this.
  11. dbarnett66

    dbarnett66 Smoke Blower

    Since I have added the frying pan for the wood chunks and a full size Stainless steel catering pan for the water pan, my BBQ is coming out awesome. I only have to turn my gas valve between medium and low to get 225 degrees and it stays there forever. I have a UDS that is collecting dust right now. I like the taste of my pork better with the Master Built propane than I do with the UDS charcoal. The meat seems to be more dusty and gritty from the ash on the UDS. I get some clean BBQ with the propane smoker and a few pecan chunks. I don't have to worry about gaskets or insulation on this baby. I can get this thing way over 300 if I need to beer butt a couple of yard birds. Definitely a thumbs up!
  12. I got a new problem, my smoker wont heat up, the flame looks like it in the med. range even when on high,  if I go from low to high the flame jumps up for a second them back down to the med level.  What kind of maintance do you have to do after smokes or the keep clean, dont know if its dirt or rust or what the hell is going on....
  13. darthtrader

    darthtrader Newbie

    Very cool cart, GChild.  Do you have any pictures of the build to share with us or maybe some pictures of how you attached the smoker to the cart itself?  I want to build a cart for mine too.  It's getting to be a real pain moving this thing around.  

    I have the opposite problem, CBD1.  I'm having trouble getting the smoker below 170.  I have a few of those from my old electric smoker.  I think I'll try modding the XL to fit one.  Could you possibly post some close up pictures of how you have the units attached inside and out?  Thanks in advance!
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2011
  14. I was using a cast iron pan on top of the existing (flawed) factory chip pan that came with the XL, but I think the factory chip pan was dissipating more heat than I wanted and I wasn't getting enough smoke.  I was thinking about getting a stove grate like others have on this forum, but I thought that would put the cast iron pan too close to the flame so rather than not getting enough smoke I would get too much of the white foggy smoke I don't want.  I was looking around a few stores for a good solution, when I found a "grilling wok" at a local grocery store (Fred Meyer).  This will hopefully provide a perfect solution.  I am doing a chuck roast and a butt this weekend, so we'll see how it goes.

    Here is a link to a "grilling wok"  like the one I used on Amazon.  May be the same thing as I have:


    Last edited: Apr 15, 2011
  15. smokethis1

    smokethis1 Newbie

    I am using the chip pan that came with the smoker, but after a few initial fires, I took a sledge hammer and laid the pan on a work bench, and pounded the prongs down almost flat. I have come to the conclusion that it is better to always use aluminum foil under my chips and loosely leave the top of the foil open. I also built a dolly with casters. I have pictures of both mods on my profile page. 
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2011
  16. smokethis1

    smokethis1 Newbie

    I am using the chip pan that came with the smoker, but after a few initial fires, I took a sledge hammer and laid the pan on a work bench, and pounded the prongs down almost flat. I have come to the conclusion that it is better to always use aluminum foil under my chips and loosely leave the top of the foil open. I also built a dolly with casters. I have pictures of both mods on my profile page. 
  17. These are the mods that I made... 14" SS Dog Dish rewelded rack to accomidate and welded all the vent slots on the wood chip pan and installed leveling bolts to adjust heat output.[​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
  18. smokethis1

    smokethis1 Newbie

    I bought a 141/2"x 11" x 2" deep Lasagana pan at K-Mart for $9.95. I cut the rack down the middle, and bent back the wires to the edge on all four corners, and set the pan right in. It holds twice as much water. Works great! The pan goes from front to back instead of side to side, which makes it very easy to add more water without pulling out the tray rack.
  19. darthtrader

    darthtrader Newbie

    I've had this smoker for nearly a year now.  My biggest problem with it is inadequate airflow causing some cooks to turn bitter from stale smoke.  I imagine that this could possibly be due to the exhaust positioning on the back side rather than top and lack of control of the intake.  The poorly fitting door, inaccurate thermostat, the wobbly uneven legs, laughable drip and wood pans...I can deal with all of that, but airflow...that's going to take some major modding.  Is anyone else dissatisfied with this?
  20. otis857

    otis857 Smoke Blower

    I came to the same conclusion! I fabbed a chimney off the back which helps allot, but Im still looking at adding a vent down low on either the front or on each side. If anyone knows where you can buy an adjustable vent similar to other model smokers, please post a link. This would be the last mod I think is needed to get this smoker up to par with more expensive models.

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