Smoker 101

A grill grate with the word

Welcome to Smoker 101, your ultimate guide to mastering the art of smoking delicious meats with Masterbuilt. Whether you're a seasoned pitmaster or novice griller, this is your go-to resource for unlocking the full potential of your Masterbuilt smoker. With these essential tips and step-by-step tutorials, elevate your barbecue game and savor the rich, smoky flavors Masterbuilt is renowned for.

Types of Smokers

Grill and Smoker Combo Grills

Masterbuilt Grill and Smoker Combo Grills, otherwise known as the Gravity Series®, offer a versatile and convenient solution for outdoor cooking enthusiasts. One of the key benefits is the dual functionality, allowing users to both grill and smoke their favorite foods in a single unit. This versatility provides a wide range of cooking options, from searing to slow smoking. Additionally, digital temperature control allows users to set and monitor the cooking temperature with precision and ease.

Need go-to tips for smoking on your Gravity Series®? Check out our article How to Smoke on a Charcoal Grill

Vertical Smoker

The Masterbuilt Vertical Smoker is designed to provide consistent and even heat distribution throughout the cooking chamber. This will allow for your meat to be smoked to perfection with a delicious, smoky flavor. The smokers' cooking space allows for the preparation of large quantities of food, making them ideal for gatherings and events. Offered in sizes of both 30 and 40 inches, this smoker stands out as an excellent selection for those seeking precision and convenience. Additionally, Masterbuilt Vertical Smokers offer a digital version that seamlessly blends technology and tradition with user-friendly features such as digital temperature controls. Learn more about Vertical Smokers.

An open vertical smoker with 4 racks of food sits on a paved patio

How to Choose the Right Smoker for You

Choosing the right Masterbuilt smoker involves considering several key factors to align with your specific preferences and cooking needs. First, determine the fuel type you prefer - electric or charcoal. Electric smokers are convenient and convenient, while charcoal provides a traditional smoking experience. Consider the size of the smoker based on your typical cooking requirements, as Masterbuilt offers a range of sizes. Features such as temperature control, insulation, and ease of cleaning are crucial for a positive cooking experience. If you value digital precision, opt for models with advanced controls.

Wood to Use for Smoking

When smoking on an electric smoker, charcoal grill, or offset smoker, it's crucial to choose the appropriate wood for your smoking needs. Selecting the right wood for smoking in a Masterbuilt smoker is a critical element in achieving the desired flavor for your barbecue.

The woods listed provide the ideal smoke and flavor pairings for specific meats:

  1. Oak
  2. Hickory
  3. Mesquite
  4. Maple
  5. Pecan
  6. Apple

Learn more about each wood type

How to Smoke Meat

Smoking meat is an art that demands both patience and technique. Start by carefully choosing high-quality cuts of meat and marinating them with your preferred rubs or brines to elevate the flavor profile. Preheat your smoker to the desired temperature, usually opting for low and slow to achieve perfect tenderness. Select the appropriate wood chips or chunks to infuse a distinctive smokiness. The essence of slow cooking lies in allowing the meat to absorb the smoky flavors until it reaches the desired tenderness, accompanied by a beautifully caramelized exterior.

How Long does it Take to Smoke

The control panel on top of a Masterbuilt vertical smoker with an open air damper to the right. A person's hand is visible as the person adjusts the smoker settings.

The duration it takes to smoke meat varies depending on several factors, including the type of meat, its size, and the chosen smoking temperature. Smoking is a low and slow cooking method, with temperatures ranging from 225°F to 275°F (107°C to 135°C). For smaller cuts (such as ribs or chicken pieces) the process can take 3-5 hours, while larger cuts (such as brisket or pork shoulder) can require 10-14 hours more. It is crucial to prioritize internal temperature over time, using a meat thermometer to ensure the meat reaches its safe and desired temperature.

Need a recipe to follow? Try our Smoked Apple Ribs!

What Type of Smoke is Best

Choosing the optimal smoke flavor revolves around exploring the distinct characteristics of different wood options. Fruitwood like apple introduces a milder, slightly sweet flavor, while hardwoods such as hickory contribute a more robust, earthy taste. The preference for the best smoke is subjective, offering the opportunity to customize your cooking experience according to your individual liking and the specific dish you're preparing.

Top Tips for Smoking Success

Achieving smoking success involves a combination of technique, preparation, and a keen understanding of your smoker. Ensure that your smoker is well-preheated and use the right type of wood for your preferred taste. Lastly, don't forget to maintain good airflow in your smoker and resist the temptation to open the lid/door too frequently.

The digital control panel of a Gravity Series Grill + Smoker. The panel extends from the left of the grill. A person's hand is visible as the person adjusts the grill settings.

Common Pitfalls of Smoking for the First Time

Learning how to smoke meat for the first time can be both exciting and daunting, but patience is key! One common mistake is not allowing sufficient time for the smoker to preheat, affecting the cooking process. Inconsistent temperature control can lead to your meat cooking unevenly.

Smoking for the first time? Use this guide to help you along the way!


Whether you're drawn to the precision of a Vertical Smoker or the versatility of a Grill and Smoker Combo, Masterbuilt offers a range of options to suit every smoking preference.