New Guy Question - managing temp on a Masterbuilt GS40

Discussion in 'Propane Smokers' started by slidedude, Apr 21, 2014.

  1. slidedude

    slidedude Newbie

    Hi all,

    I have a propane Masterbuilt GS40...had some failures this weekend, and I think they were mainly due to bad temp control.

    I can't seem to get this puppy to live in the sweet zone of 220-225. If I set it low, it seems to idle at 210-212. If I barely turn it up, it seems to shoot up to 230-235. Nudge it back down a little and it dips below 220 again. Touchy control...

    I think I overdid some meat this past weekend (both brisket and ribs came out kinda dry and tough)., so I figured I'd try some dry runs this week and try some meat again this coming weekend.

    My setup for the dry runs:

    Using a cast iron skillet on top of the stock wood pan to keep the chips from burning up

    about 2 cups of applewood in the pan

    Air vents in the back open all the way

    no water in the water pan (just for the tests)

    My initial questions:

    1) Is the vent in the back a more effective way to manage temperature?

    2) Am I overthinking the temperature? Am I better off just allowing it to run a little on the low side, and just expect a longer cooktime?

    3) Do you folks run the smoker a little hotter at first to get the chips to start burning, then back it of to the target?

    As I've been compiling this, my remote is telling me the smoker is running right around 216-218. Maybe I should just relax, huh?

    Sorry for the newbie questions, and thanks for any guidance. I am on "high receive"...:)
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2014
  2. Slidedude,

    I have a Masterbuilt 30 inch & I have the same problem with small adjustments being either higher or lower. There seems to be a mod to add a needle valve inline to help with those adjustments. However, you did answer your own question, in that that small of a temperature differential is not the end of the world. A little low & your cook will be a little longer & a little higher (I think to 240 or so) is fine as well. I really like the smoker & so far everything I have on it ( pork butts, brisket, wings, & jerky) have turned out great. I'm not sure if I saw the mod info on this site or another. When I find it, I will shoot you a link

  3. slidedude

    slidedude Newbie

    Thanks Kevin!

    Yeah, even with the temp fluctuations, it never got above 240 - mostly high 230's. This is when I was doing a brisket, and it came out dry and tough....but it was small 6 lb. piece that had been all trimmed down by Safeway. I'm reading that smaller briskets will end up tougher and more difficult to smoke effectively...and "garbage in, garbage out", so next time I know what cut to get and I will get it at a local Kinder's. 

    My St. Louis ribs came out a little dry too - I think I just cooked them too long and a bit too high. I kept them around 235ish, sprayed them with apple cider vinegar/cooking oil every 45 minutes or so...let them go 4 hours. Again, I think it's a simple as overcooking.

    I'm going to brine some chicken thighs and give them a try this weekend.

    I'll look around for the mod you mentioned, and I'd appreciate a link if you find it first...:)

    Thanks again!
  4. toddmog

    toddmog Fire Starter

    My responses in red.  Hope they are helpful and didn't come off rude. [​IMG]  
  5. slidedude

    slidedude Newbie

    Rude?? No way man - VERY helpful! I am using the Maverick thermometer. I was concerned about creosote buildup - thanks for that. I'm interested in a mod I keep hearing about (needle valve?) that may allow me to regulate the temp better. I'm also going to get a gasket to help seal the door a little better.

    Thanks for all the comments!
  6. toddmog

    toddmog Fire Starter

    This is the gasket I use.  I bought the wool instead of nomex since I have no desire to run that hot.

    The needle valve will allow you to more fine tune your temps...though most seem to use them to get lower temps.  I have one sitting in the packaging still since I'm able to hit my target temps with relative ease.

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