The Masterbuilt Thermotemp XL Propane Smoker was—by far—our favorite smoker to use during the tests. It was the very definition of set-it-and-forget-it: Hook up the propane, turn the dial to the proposed temperature, hit the ignition switch, and away you go. An internal sensor adjusts the flame to maintain the target temp, all without any fiddling around to keep it there. Not only that, but the wood chip bin that infuses the smoke into your food was large enough to hold two hours of chips at a time. That means you don’t have to run outside to keep feeding the smoker every hour, freeing you up to hang with your guests at the party, stay inside and watch football, or do anything else your heart desires while your food cooks.
When it came to overall construction and design, we were pretty impressed. The smoker has four removable racks, which can hold six turkeys, eight racks of ribs, or eight pork butts. It also looks gorgeous with a large viewing window, but not at the expense of functionality. The two doors latch firmly into place, and we loved how the handles didn’t get hot to the touch as we used the unit. The top door gives you access to the food, and the bottom door opens to the water pan and wood chip bin, allowing you to refill the chips without releasing the heat in the smoking chamber. They really thought through the process while designing this smoker—the propane hookup even includes a tank fuel level gauge so you know how much propane is in the tank. Overall, this thing was solid and sturdy, and we have no reason to believe this smoker wouldn’t last five years or longer with proper care.
That’s not to say there weren’t a few hiccups along the way. This smoker took over an hour to build with a lot of frustrating, unclear steps. It was so complicated, we accidentally omitted an essential part of the ignition hookup. When we got ready to season the smoker (turning it to high heat for an hour to remove any odors and coatings from the production process), the smoker wouldn’t stay lit. Luckily, that provided the opportunity to test Masterbuilt’s customer service, which turned out to be top-notch. They walked us through the troubleshooting steps, and the smoker was up and running in no time at all.
In the end, the Masterbuilt created a smoke-flavored, super tender brisket that tasted better than the competition. Easy to use and it created a delicious product? Yup, that’s why the Masterbuilt Thermotemp XL Propane Smoker was an easy choice for our pick for Best Overall.
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