I had my first look at the Masterbuilt XL Pellet Smoker today and it made a serious first impression. If you haven’t seen this smoker before then the video below is a fun and QUICK introduction.
I saw a floor model at my local Academy Sports store and thought it looked beautiful. The first thing that struck me was the sheer size of the smoker compared to every other pellet smoker I have played with.
Here is what Masterbuilt says it can handle in a single cook:
This smoker has six over sized racks and those numbers are completely reasonable. You could easily smoke 12 racks of ribs at once without having to cut them in half or any of that silliness.
This is also the only vertical cabinet style pellet smoker that I know of and I think the design is striking. I would be delighted to have something as pretty as this sitting on my deck.
The smoker has a two door configuration. The top door opens the smoking cabinet. The bottom door opens up to the heating element, drip tray and water reservoir. This configuration lets you replenish the water levels without opening up the main smoking cabinet and losing heat.
The water reservoir, on the left side of the smoker, slides out for easy access and looks like it has a nice capacity.
The drip tray, which also serves as the heat deflector, is sloped to the left and directs any drippings to a grease tray.
The grease tray is on the side of the smoker and can be easily accessed and cleaned during the cook if needed.
There is an tray for spent ashes on the front of the smoker that looks like it was designed for ease of access and cleaning. It wasn’t clear to me how ashes get to the tray from the burn pot.
The smoker has a 17 pound hopper and uses approximately two pounds of pellets per hour. So, if you want to do a 10 hour brisket cook you will need to plan on refilling the hopper at some point during the cook.
The smoker has a solid handle on the back along with some wheels that make it easy to move the smoker around.
The Masterbuilt XL Pellet Smoker has a working temperature range of 180-350F. The BIG question about this smoker is whether or not the digital controls work like they should. Masterbuilt makes great electric smokers but the biggest weakness with them is the reliability of the control panels.
Most pellet smokers can maintain a set temperature in the +/- 15 degree range. The best smokers can hold +/- 5 degrees. That being said, there is a lot of technology that went into those controllers and it isn’t something that you just buy off the shelf.
Here is another video from Masterbuilt showing the functionality of their digital control panel.
I have not been able to find any user reviews for this smoker on the reliability of the control panel.
This smoker comes in at a very attractive price of $599.
At this price point I really want to add this smoker to my list of the Great Alternatives to Traeger Grills or maybe even the best smokers under $1,000 but that just can’t happen until they have been tested enough in the real world.
If you have any hands on experience with this smoker, positive or negative, please leave a comment below so others can benefit.