What is a Masterbuilt Gravity Series Smoker?
A question we often get asked, and for a good reason too. The Masterbuilt gravity series range of cookers came to market in 2019. This BBQ & Smoker Grill has completely revolutionised the way people cook food outdoors; since it is gas or pellet smoker convenience but runs on a real charcoal fire, it’s also truly set and forget.
The Gravity series range operates on a very simple principle:
- Simply load the charcoal into the right-hand side of the unit into its patent charcoal chamber/hopper shoot.
- Light the charcoal from underneath with a Firestarter via a side door. Let the fire starter take for a few minutes.
- Close the charcoal hopper doors, plug into the mains, and set the desired temperature on the digital control panel.
This activates a small fan and stokes the fire to your required temperature. The charcoal burns in the charcoal hopper’s lower part, and the fan blows heat into the main cooking chamber. As the charcoal burns, the small pieces of spent charcoal drop into an ash pan at the bottom of the charcoal shoot. Gravity is literally doing all the work for you! When you are done, baffle the charcoal shoot off with the supplied sliders, the fire goes out, and you can leave any charcoal that’s left over until the next cook.
Can you cook low and slow on a Masterbuilt Gravity Series?
Yes, you can! This is one of the best smokers we have used here at ProSmoke BBQ. Our background is in offset wood-fired cooking; this is often considered the gold standard of BBQ, so we have very high standards. The great thing about the BBQ Smoker Grill is the forced air draft you get from the onboard fan; this will always ensure you are running a “clean fire” and getting that sacred “thin blue smoke”.
They draft excellent, meaning you get lots of clean air and smoker over your food; this will help build an excellent bark and smoke ring for these super long cooks, brisket, lamb shoulder, pulled pork etc.
By getting lots of convection, your food will also cook quicker than traditional BBQ’s.
Low convection BBQs like ceramic kamados or kettles are very hard to get the classic southern Texas-style cuts of meat to cook correctly. The Masterbuilt excels in this and many other departments; convection is always key!
But can it “steak house” sear?
Absolutely! We were initially sceptical about this BBQ Smoker grill being good in every department. We’ve heard these claims before from pellet cooker manufacturers and have been constantly underwhelmed by their ability to sear; they just don’t get hot enough for a great crust. The Masterbuilt Gravity Series is a completely different animal; it gets hot, really hot!
Simply turn the dial to maximum, and the digital onboard fan will ensure you get searing temperatures in the cook chamber. It will go as far as pushing flames into the cooking chamber. But it’s not just hot in one area like a pellet cooker would be; we are talking searing across the whole surface, even temperatures all over every time!
What’s the difference between the Masterbuilt 560, 800 & 1050?
In short, they all run the same gravity series technology with onboard digital fan and charcoal hopper/shoot, but there are some small differences. The model numbers refer to the cooking space in square inches.
The Masterbuilt 560 comes with 2 half-size warming racks which will make another complete level or 2 half levels; this can be expanded by purchasing 2 more warming racks, giving you 3 complete levels of cooking space.
The 800 and 1050 come with all the warming racks as standard. They are much deeper and allow for food that requires more height. The 800 series is the only model that comes with a flat plate griddle for plancha cooking, great for breakfasts and hot dogs.
The 800 and 1050 are more insulated than the 560, but all models are double skinned metal with an air gap in between; this helps with the insulation properties. The 800 and 1050 are based on a more square design and have stainless steel front and side shelves.
Why are the Masterbuilt Gravity Series called “smart” BBQ’s?
All models come equipped with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth; this enables you to link them to your smartphone and monitor your cooks remotely. Each model of gravity series comes with an internal thermostat in the cooker to monitor the temperatures along with a meat probe for one piece of meat; you can expand your cooker with up to 4 meat probes total.
Are your Gravity Series smokes the latest version?
Yes! We buy all our stock from Masterbuilt directly; we get fresh stock every couple of months, year-round. This means we get the latest changes first. The current Masterbuilts all have the updated safety switches, porcelain lined charcoal chamber, and updated fire grate to reduce fuel wastage and help with fire management.
What’s the recommended fuel for a Gravity series?
As discussed, the BBQ Smoker Grill Gravity Series is pellet and gas convenience, but it runs on real wood charcoal for ultimate flavour because, let’s face It, it’s not real BBQ unless it’s real fire!
There are two main types of charcoal, lump wood and briquettes.
Lump wood is charcoal made from actual wood chunks/branches burnt in a low oxygen environment, using a kiln device. Then what’s left is your lump wood charcoal. This is considered the best type of BBQ charcoal and the cleanest burn; it’s made from different types of hardwood from around the world that impart very subtle flavours.
Charcoal briquettes are the other popular fuel. These are made from the leftover dust of the lump wood process and moulded together with a natural binder like potato starch. This binder can sometimes give them a different smell or taste, but they will have very little flavour.
As a rule, briquettes will last longer and provide a longer burn time and are often the chosen fuel for long, low and slow cooks. But if you buy a lump wood like the Big K Restaurant Charcoal, this is made from a South African hardwood which is extremely dense, so the length of burn time will be less noticeable between the two.
Our longest burning briquette is the heat bead, these have lots of stamina but can be hard to light, so we recommend you add some charcoal to them.
Will the Masterbuilt Gravity Series give me a good smoke profile?
Yes, it sure will. Its digital fan that forces the air draft will always give you a clean fire, and we absolutely recommend you add wood chips or chunks to your fuel, experiment with different flavours. You can even place a long hardwood split log, often used for open fires or offset smokers, into the charcoal chamber, then surround it with charcoal; this will give you a long clean smoke.
The Masterbuilt instructions will recommend you place wood chunks/chips in the ash bucket, so the falling coals can ignite them and add smoke. But we much prefer to place these through the charcoal in the hopper/shoot. We offer Extra Large BBQ Wood Chips that work great for this or even our Wood Chunks. The benefit of chips is if you need some quick smoke, you can throw a handful into the ash pan.
What about if I need spare in the future?
ProSmoke is the number 1 gravity series specialist in the UK, so there’s not much we don’t know about these BBQ & Smoker Grills. For that reason, we always keep a complete inventory for all our customers; you are never on your own, even in the winter, we are one of the few year-round BBQ suppliers.
What’s the best way to clean the Masterbuilt Gravity Series?
We don’t advise using degreasers in BBQs; we like to keep them seasoned (a layer of oil). This helps protect against rust; you want to open your BBQ and see nothing but gloss black burnt on oil on the sides and inner of the lid. The Masterbuilt has a large drip pan in the bottom of the unit, and you want to brush all the large bits of old food down into here, giving the cast iron grill grates a good clean with a BBQ Brush. We recommend our all-natural Grill Badger Brush.
Once all the large pieces of food have been removed. You can then get in there with a paper towel or cloth and wipe all the thick grease up. Once the thick grease is removed, we like to wipe the remaining grease around the cooker to help keep a layer of seasoning on it.
You can alternatively run the smoker at 315 degrees/600F for 1-2 hours, this does a “burn off” cycle, but you may find it burns off too much seasoning, in which case you will need to follow the manufacturers seasoning process afterwards.
We highly recommend investing in our Masterbuilt manifold kit; this is stainless steel metal cover that sits over the standard Masterbuilt heat manifold (the bit that the heat exits form to heat the BBQ). The manifold has turned up edges to help funnel grease over the ends rather than allowing it directly over the area the heat escapes, reducing flareups. Once you are finished cooking, simply remove the stainless-steel sheet and clean it with hot water. We also have available drip pan holders in the kit, allowing you to mount a disposable drip pan over the manifold to catch all the drips. This will make clean up easier and give you the option to use the drippings for your gravy etc.
Do all Masterbuilt gravity smokers have a rotisserie option?
Yes, they do, this is an optional extra, but it’s an absolute must in our opinion. As with all Masterbuilt accessories, the Rotisserie Kit is designed in premium quality materials, meaning you can add up to 9kg’s of meat! The gravity series models come with a removable insert in the body to mount the spit through, attach the bracket to the other side, and you are ready to go. If you use it in conjunction with our heat manifold kit, you can mount a drip tray under the rotisserie catching all the drippings.