A gravity-fed smoker designed specifically for the outdoor cook was the first of its type when it was introduced by Masterbuilt in 2019. Prior to that time, the majority of gravity-fed smokers had been prohibitively expensive and were more often seen on the competition circuit than on a home patio. Masterbuilt dominated the backyard gravity smoker market with its three sizes: 560, 800, and 1050.
What does a gravity-fed smoker include, and how does it work?
Unlike a pellet grill, a gravity-fed smoker uses charcoal that is fed into the grill by a conveyor belt. As an alternative to the traditional pellet hopper, you may use either lump charcoal or briquettes in the charcoal chute. A digitally controlled fan is used to ignite and control the fire under the charcoal. Gravity draws down the next layer of charcoal as it burns, ensuring that the fire is always fueled by a steady supply of ash.
Isn’t it going to use a lot of charcoal?
Damper closes, extinguishing the fire and preventing re-ignition of the grill after the cook is done. However, although the ash is falling to the ash bin, there is still plenty of charcoal in the hopper that is waiting to be used.
For a smoke taste, wood pieces may be added to charcoal, or charcoal can be used alone if that’s more your style.
Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560
- Assembled Dimensions: W54 x H52 x D24.6
- Assembled Weight: 147lbs.
- Hopper Capacity: 10lbs lump/16lbs briquettes
- Main Cooking Area: 320 sq. in
- Warming Rack Area: 240 sq. in (2 shelves)
- Cooking Grates: Cast Iron, reversible (smoke and sear)
- Folding Front Shelf: no
- Temperature Range: 225° – 700° F
- Meat Probe(s): 1 included, space for 4
- Digital Control: yes
- Connectivity: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi
- App: Apple or Google Play
- Warranty: 1-year limited
Size of the Masterbuilt 560.
A 52-inch smoker with a 54-inch width and a 24-and-a-half-inch depth from Masterbuilt’s Gravity Feed line. Nearly 147 lbs. is the unit’s total weight.
Capacity for Food
If you use the included grilling grates, Masterbuilt claims that its 560 model can cook four racks of ribs at a time. A total of 8 chickens or 21 burgers may be prepared at a time. For sausages, it can store up to 37, and for hot dogs, we’re estimating roughly seven packets at a time would be fine. You’ll be able to get the kids to eat in a flash.
Space for Cooking
The smoker’s cooking surface is 22 by 15 inches, with a 7 by 15-inch top grate. When grilling, the top rack serves as a warming rack, and when smoking, it serves as a second shelf.
One side of the cast iron grates may be used for indirect smoking and the other for high-temperature cooking. This appliance has a total of 560 square feet of cooking area.
Range of Temperatures
The grill has a temperature range of 225° to 700°. The integrated fan/controller combination does all the work to keep the temperature stable, and it can be adjusted in 5-degree increments using the temperature control panel.
Check out Masterbuilt Gravity Series 800 Review and Masterbuilt Gravity Series 1050 Review
The outside of this charcoal grill smoker is made of enameled steel. Charcoal bags may be stored in the enlarged metal storage rack between the grill’s two wheels under the grill.
This model’s cooking chamber seals are superior than those of most others. The longer the smoke is in the chamber, the deeper the smoke rings will be and the smoke flavor will be infused into the meat.
Smoke retention isn’t a major issue with this barbecue since it mostly functions as a pellet grill. The 560 grill has a vent at the rear, so there’s no need to use high-temperature Permatex on the grill lid to keep smoke from escaping. You don’t require any adjustments to the device in order to improve the penetration of smoke.
There is a 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hour assembly time for the gravity series 560. We wouldn’t call this a quick and simple build, but with a little perseverance, you should be able to get it done.
This Masterbuilt charcoal smoker is lightweight and portable. The device is equipped with two 8-inch rear wheels and two 3-inch front lockable swivel casters. Pulling the grill around on level surfaces should be simple thanks to the grill’s swivel casters, which are placed on the side below the handle.
Check out Best Portable Pellet Grills You Can Grill and Smoke Everywhere
I can’t think of a way to make this gravity charcoal barbecue smoker any simpler to operate. The digital temperature control may be used to set the temperature by dialing in the desired temperature and waiting for 7 to 13 minutes. A steady 225° takes seven minutes, while a roaring 700° takes thirteen minutes.
Shelves on the Side
There is a handy side shelf just above the digital temperature control and thermometer ports for storing food and cooking accessories. When it comes to grilling, the lack of flat surface is the one thing I always wish was standard across the board.
It’s easy to place a cutting board full of meat into the 560 gravity series’ side shelf, which is around a foot square in size.
The Charcoal Hopper
Over 12 hours of briquettes may be stored in the vertical charcoal hopper. It may store up to 10 pounds of lump, depending on the size of the lump charcoal you’re using.
Depending on the size and manufacturer, it may hold up to 16 pounds of briquettes. We’ve heard that briquettes may burn for up to 15 hours on low and slow, but you can always add additional charcoal as needed during cooking.
Having the grill lid up means the hopper lid can’t completely open, which is a very little issue. Having both open at the same time doesn’t seem necessary in most cases, but it is unusual that it was intended this way.
When it comes to value for money, the Masterbuilt Gravity 560 is hard to beat. Other than professional versions meant for competition, there are few grills we can compare this with, and we’re glad there is a gravity feed grill accessible to the rest of us.