We bought the Masterbuilt Pro Dual Fuel Smoker to be our first smoker that did both propane and charcoal cooking. I had heard about the ease of smoking meat with propane and I loved the flavor and taste of charcoal cooking, and I wondered if I could get both in a single unit.
I knew that the Masterbuilt offered plenty of flexibility by allowing us to smoke with either gas or charcoal as the heat source. My journey with the Masterbuilt Pro Dual Fuel Smoker can be found in the video linked below.
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What we’re going to cover:
On this page, we will show why or why not the Masterbuilt Pro is the smoker that will fit your needs. Every situation is different and not all smokers are created equal. We’ll give you the information on the Masterbuilt Pro, so you can decide if it’s right for you.
Getting to know the Masterbuilt Pro Dual Fuel Smoker
At a price point of under $250, the Masterbuilt offers much more cooking space than its horizontal competitors. We have the Oklahoma Joe’s Highland model as well, and can fit more barbecue on the Masterbuilt than I can on the Highland which is at least $50 more.
This Masterbuilt is similar to other vertical smokers like the Oklahoma Joe’s Bandera model. However, it differs from many of its other competitors by being a true dual fuel smoker. This allows you to cook with both charcoal and propane, depending on what you’re cooking and the flavor that you’re trying to achieve.
All of the Masterbuilt smokers are made of steel painted with high temperature paint. As with most smokers in the $250 range, the metal that this smoker is made out of is light, meaning that it’s easy to move around the patio. When you get into thicker metals for a smoker, they become difficult to move from the garage to the driveway and vice versa.
The tradeoff for more portability is that it can be more easily affected by wind and rain. It’s inevitable that at some point you’re going to set out to smoke something and inclement weather will set in. With the Masterbuilt Pro smoker, we found that even with the thinner metal they use to keep costs down, we were still able to main temperature in all sorts of weather.
Another complaint about smokers in the sub $300 price range is that their paint burns off and rust can form easily on the outside. We’re proud to say that after over 30 cooks, the paint on the Masterbuilt Pro has not shown any cosmetic issues. With other smokers around the same price point, you can usually begin to see the paint bubble and chip after just a couple of uses. It speaks well of this particular smoker that this far into ownership we haven’t had paint or rust issues.
Masterbuilt Pro Smoker Features
4 Cooking Racks: The Masterbuilt Pro Dual Fuel Smoker has some great features to consider when looking at this grill. First, it goes without saying that the multiple vertical racks are a huge bonus when cooking a large amount of food. There are four metal racks included with the Dual Fuel Pro, and they can fit everything from packer briskets to whole turkeys to racks of ribs.
With traditional horizontal smokers, there tends to be a lot of wasted height in the cooking chamber. There’s usually one horizontal grate with a couple of feet of room overhead. If you’re not cooking something tall like a turkey, it ends up being wasted space.
No Wasted Vertical Space: With the Masterbuilt Dual Fuel, wasted space isn’t something to worry about. With interchangeable racks and multiple rack spacers to hold them, you can load up this smoker to take advantage of all the space it has to offer. If you’re cooking a case of pork shoulders, just set the grate height so that the next shoulder sits just above the one you’ve already loaded. This process works the same way no matter the food you’re cooking on the unit.
Dual Doors: The dual door design allows you to keep your cooking chamber hot while adding coals or refreshing smoker wood. With single door units, there’s a massive amount of heat lost every time you open the door to maintain the fire. On the Masterbuilt Pro, there is a separate door for the firebox and a door for the main cooking chamber.
During a longer cook like a packer brisket, i’ve needed to add coals to the firepan 4-5 times during the cook to maintain temperature. That’s the nature of using charcoal, but I love that this unit allowed me to add coals without opening the cooking chamber door. In my opinion this is a huge bonus for this particular smoker.
Dual Fuel Capability: The dual fuel feature of the Masterbuilt Pro is also another reason that I love this unit. I know that a piece of meat is only going to take on so much smoke flavor before it hits an internal temperature where smoke won’t have any more effect.
When smoking something like a pork butt or a brisket, I love starting with charcoal and chunks of wood to add smoke. After 3-5 hours when I know the meat won’t pick up more smoke flavor, I like that I can switch to propane when I wrap the meat in foil or butcher paper and finish the cook at a stable temperature.
Room for Wireless Thermometers: For me, it’s good to know that for the back end of a cook, I can insert a WIFI enabled thermometer, turn on the propane and let my probe alarm tell me how things are progressing. We like using wireless alarms like the Thermoworks Smoke to keep us posted on how a cook is doing while we’re inside watching the game.
There’s just enough room in between the door and the cooking chamber for a thermometer probe wire without crimping the wire and damaging the probe. If you add gasket seal to the door to limit smoke loss, there’s still enough space for a probe wire without worrying about damaging the delicate probe which are costly to replace.
Like almost any smoker or grill, the key to longevity is to store the unit in a dry covered place. Whether you’re storing the grill outside under a cover or wheeling it into the garage after each cook, you’re going to find that your grill will last longer when properly taken care of.
With all metal smokers, rust is the enemy that we all need to combat. There’s no better encourager of rust than leaving metal exposed to rain. If you plan on keeping this smoker outside without a cover, you might want to invest in some sandpaper and high temperature black paint to keep the rust away.
Almost all of the smokers that you find in big box stores like Lowes, Home Depot and Walmart are considered 3-5 season grills. It’s not publicized or spoken of, but the experts know them as what they are. These are smokers and grills that are constructed to keep prices in a range that consumers want to pay.
What this means for you is that you should know going in that this isn’t going to be a lifetime unit for you. This is meant to last a few seasons and then be replaced. If you’re in the market for a smoker that will last you a lifetime, you’re looking in the $1,000+ range and higher.
That doesn’t mean that this isn’t a good smoker, quite the contrary. This smoker is designed to last 3-5 years, and if you take care of it should last you many more. If you want to leave it outside and not address exterior rust, then this is a 3-5 year smoker grill.
The door seal on the Masterbuilt Pro is metal on metal, which allows for some smoke to escape the unit during a cook. Don’t be surprised if some smoke is leaking out through the door seal, as that’s how this unit is designed.
If you’d like to minimize or completely eliminate smoke from getting out of your cooking chamber except for what goes out the exhaust, then it’s time to consider some gasket tape seal.
If you’ve ever seen a kamado grill, the two halves of the “egg style” grill have gasket tape where the two halves meet to close the lid. This tape has an almost “felt” type feel to it, and it’s meant to create a tight seal that won’t let smoke out. We like the lavalock high temp gasket for our smokers, and it holds the heat in quite nicely.
On the Masterbuilt Pro, the lowest available temperature we’ve achieved with propane is about 200 degrees. This is on the low end of low and slow cooking, but it’s probably a bit too hot to be smoking cheese. If you’re looking to smoke cheese on a smoker, you really want to look into an offset or indirect smoker that’s made to impart smoke without heat.
We’ve had the Pro Dual Fuel smoker up to 450 degrees. For a smoker grill, there is plenty of “grill” in this smoker. We’ve done burgers and sausages, and the grill gets hot enough to crisp the skin of a brat.
To get more of a direct flame cooking, just remove the water pan from the bottom of the smoker, and you have the lowest grate that you can set up as a direct grill surface.
We’ve said that the Masterbuilt is on the light end of the spectrum of all available grills, and that means it’s portable. There are two rear wheels that make it simple to move around, and it’s not so heavy that one person couldn’t lift it into the back of a pickup truck. The wheels are smaller than what I’ve seen on grills weighing much more, but that makes sense. This grill doesn’t need huge bulky wheels because it’s so lightweight. The two wheels are the perfect size for the smoker and allow for exceptional movement on all solid surfaces.
A point of note would be that the wheels do not lock. However, the smoker must be tipped back before it can be moved, so the wheels not having a lock do not put the smoker at risk of rolling away. When this grill is upright, the wheels do not come in contact with the ground.
There is a rear handle located directly above the wheels, making mobility a breeze. Just tip the unit back onto its wheels and pull it by the handle to take it anywhere you want to it go.
Packaging and Assembly
For our unit, the smoker arrived in perfect condition and was almost completely assembled right out of the box. Everything was included in the box, and it came with very clear instructions to guide us in assembling the smoker.
There are grates to put into their rack slots and you’ll need to unwrap the water pan and put on the handles, but there’s not an extensive assembly process with the Masterbuilt.
Our kids even loved playing with the sizable cardboard box once we pulled the grill out, so we saw that cardboard box for longer than I planned as it had been quickly transformed into some type of ship that took up half the garage for a few weeks. All this to say that the grill was well packed and came in great shape. There has obviously been some thought that went into packaging this grill.
Ease of Use
This smoker is easy to use for both experienced and inexperienced smokers. The dual fuel option allows you to cook with whatever fuel source you are most comfortable with.
You might find that cooking with propane is easier than charcoal, because the temperature is more consistent with propane. You also might want to get started cooking with charcoal, and this unit is designed to do both.
The convenience of being able to set a temperature with propane and set it and forget it is one of the great conveniences with this particular grill. For times when you’re feeling adventurous and want to cook with charcoal, this grill has you covered there as well.
The Masterbuilt Pro is easy to use and produces some amazing food. One of the best briskets that I’ve ever cooked in my life was on the Masterbuilt Pro. Was it the cooker, recipe, meat, weather or something else that made that brisket so special? I don’t know, but I know that the Masterbuilt can cook some great competition meats with authority.
Cleaning the Masterbuilt Pro is as easy as cooking on it. It comes with an included removable drip pan that you will fill with water to add moisture to the cook. However, its other purpose is to catch the drippings from the meat, making for an easier clean up.
The cooking racks on the inside of the smoker completely slide out which makes for easy cleaning. We take our cooking grates inside and soak them in the sink for a bit before taking the scrubbing sponge to them. They get clean as a whistle in no time.
The Masterbuilt Pro should be wiped down after each cook, but will not have to be thoroughly cleaned each time. A clean grill is a happy grill, though, and walking out to a clean grill puts you in the right mood to startup your next cook.
Along with wiping down the smoker after each cook, the ashes should be cleaned out as well. Ash buildup will restrict the airflow to the firebox, making it nearly impossible to set higher temperatures in your smoker.
As a general rule of thumb, all smokers should be thoroughly cleaned a couple times a year, depending on how often you are actually cooking on the smoker. Charcoal cooks will require more frequent cleanings, so if you use charcoal as your fuel source for the majority of your cooks, at least three cleanings a year should do the trick.Make sure to let your Masterbuilt Pro fully cool down before you attempt to get rid of the ash as it may still be hot from your last cook. Once the ash is completely cool, we have been known to grab our trusty Shop Vac to quickly sweep away the ash and dust left over after a cook.
The suggested MSRP of the Masterbuilt Pro is $249, and there’s alot of grill to like here at this price point. It can be purchased at both Home Depot.
If you prefer to see this smoker in person before deciding to purchase it, check your local Home Depot and compare the price in store with their online price to make sure you’re paying the lowest price available.
If you’re anything like me, it might be worth the extra cost of shipping something as large, bulky and heavy as this grill. I know that I’ve messed up the paint on the back of my SUV getting huge boxed grills in and out without all the help I’ve needed. Learn from my mistakes and let someone else do the heavy lifting
The Masterbuilt Pro Dual Fuel Smoker is a great choice for anyone looking for a versatile smoker at a mid-entry price point. The competition to this smoker has skimped where the Masterbuilt hasn’t, making this smoker one to beat at this price point.
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