Review: Masterbuilt GS40 Black Propane Smoker, 40-Inch

For the price of around $200 you can purchase the Masterbuilt GS40 Black Propane Smoker, 40-Inch. It is a very large smoker that will allow you to cook meat for a really big family and some friends. Like anything though, it has both its pros and its cons. But before we get to that, firing up this smoker before actually cooking meat is a must because there is a lot of chemical residue in it when it is brand new.

So let’s get going. We’ll start off with the pros. Thanks to it being a smoker that runs on propane you will get some great temperature control. You’ll be able to just set it at the desired temperature and it will stay there for as long as you need it too. It is also a very big smoker, so capacity is another thing that it has going for it. You could easily smoke up to four whole turkeys at a time with the Masterbuilt GS40 Black Propane Smoker. And the grates are adjustable so you can make as an effective use of the room inside the smoker as possible.

Now, a problem that most smokers of this type have is losing temperature when the door is opened to check on the meat. With the Masterbuilt GS40 Black Propane Smoker the problem is at least ameliorated because once the door is closed, it gets back to the desired temperature very fast. And one more thing the Masterbuilt GS40 Black Propane Smoker gets right is the temperature gauge. It is very accurate, which is a big plus.

But the Masterbuilt GS40 Black Propane Smoker struggles in the drip/water pan department. The pan is very small, and some users get around this with a little bit of ingenuity. So it’s not exactly the end of the world, but still, you would expect it to be up to par. Then you have the smoke pan, which has the same problem as well.

Two other concerns include the large propane consumption and the leaking door, which might be tied together actually. The door leaks smoke and heat, a problem which plagues many smokers of this type and the loss of heat automatically leads to an increase in propane consumption. This is another problem that a crafty user can get around by insulating the door themselves, which will lead to a pretty significant decrease in propane consumption.

Now for the conclusion. The Masterbuilt GS40 Black Propane Smoker is a great tool for the BBQ chef. It comes at a good price, and most of its problems can be solved with ingenuity, and little to no elbow grease. If you are in the market for a good propane smoker, the Masterbuilt GS40 might be the right tool for you. It is big, it’s reliable, it has very good temperature control, it has a good price, and with a few adjustments it is almost perfect.

Types of Wood For Your Smoker

Smoking BBQ is a process of cooking meat using smoke. It is an old process, and in the olden days logs were burned until they turned into embers, and the smoke they emanated was what used to cook the meat, and give it flavor. But when using logs to smoke, temperature control is a very delicate art, so it was a method of cooking reserved only for the masters of the craft. Today, smokers come with a two part mechanism: the heating, which can be electric, gas or charcoal, and the smoking, which usually comes from hardwood.

Hardwood is the most commonly used type of wood in this process. Nut woods and fruit woods are included in this category, while softwoods, like fir, pine or redwood tend to be avoided, because they burn fast and leave an unpleasant flavor. Hardwood, on the other hand, or more specifically dried hardwood, has more minerals than softwood, and it burns slower, while giving the meat a much better flavoring.

Hardwood comes in many different forms. One of them is the log, which we’ve already covered, but in case you want to use logs, just remember that they have to be turned to ember before they are any good to you. Then you have chunks. Chunks can be anywhere from the size of an egg to the size of your fist. They burn slowly and two medium sized chunks can provide smoke for a whole lot of food. They are easy to find and they are one of the most popular form of wood used for smoking. Chips are like the cousin of the chunks, or better yet their sidekick if you’d prefer. They are also very easy to get a hold of, but they are good for short cooks, because they burn pretty fast. For longer cooks it is better to just go with chunks.

Pellets are also a main contender, especially since there are cookers using pellets both as a heat source and as a smoke source. Pellets are rods made of compressed sawdust, without any adhesive or glues (if they are food grade pellets, avoid any other). Cookers that use pellets are very versatile because you can control the temperature and the environment that the meat is cooked in by feeding the pellets as you deem appropriate. You can also find specific flavors straight from manufacturers. You can find Jack Daniel’s flavored pellets made from the charcoal and oak from the barrels that held the whiskey.

Pellet chunks are chunks of sawdust compressed until they are shaped like a brick. These also come in a variety of flavors and they are not a bad choice at all. On the same note, you have bisquettes, small puck-shaped chunks of compressed sawdust. And while we’re at it, sawdust itself can be used for smoking, but it is rarely done so, because it burns very fast. There are some smaller smokers out there however that do use it.