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Masterbuilt Gravity 560 Review

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    Masterbuilt Gravity 560 Review

    The short and sweet answer is that this smoker is really, really good, and I am very impressed. By way of background, I've been smoking for about 5 years, mostly on a Pit Barrel Cooker, though I added a Weber last year. I expect both will be going up for sale in time for summer (anyone want em?). I spent a good amount of time hanging out in the Facebook group looking for tips and thoughts on it.

    I picked it up from Ace's Hardware with a 15% off coupon with free shipping and free assembly, so $425 + tax. I did not take the free assembly because I wanted to put it together myself, and it took me four hours. WIth 2 people, I can believe it can be done in the suggested 2 hours, but I admit I spent about 30 minutes looking around for a part that never came with the smoker. Probably not my finest moment, but I figured if anything goes wrong down the road, I know how to take it apart and put it back together, and I assured myself that nothing was damaged (except my pride...slightly). Also, you need to use painter's tape or a magnetic screwdriver to get the cover handle on. That cost me about 30 minutes until I was able to figure it out. I also added the Masterbuilt cover for $50, which is really quite nice and high quality.

    I seasoned the grill and cooked tandoori chicken and naan on it yesterday and came away very impressed. I started off the chicken at 400, and upped it to 475 to sear it a bit and it came out perfect. Easy to adjust temps via the controller!

    The pros of the grill:

    --The wheels are nice as I store my PBC in the garage and have to lug it out every time.

    --Shelf space is great as the PBC/Weber have no shelves. Same with the little storage under the grill. It really helps with all of the going back and forth between the grill and the house.

    --Start-up time is amazing. I'd have to wait about 15-20 minutes before cooking with the PBC/Weber. With the 560, I stuff my weber cubes in there, light them with a match and get the fan going, and within minutes I'm at 250, 350, and 400. I did not time it with a stopwatch (many YouTube videos did if you want to see), but I'm totally buying the 225 in 7 minutes and 700 in 13 minutes. I used Royal Oak lump. Side note: these squares are supposed to fit perfectly https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00138MO16/, as you kind have to break up the cubes to fit.

    --Temp control is outstanding from what I can tell. I checked with my Inkbird, and the results from the grill temp and the Inkbird were pretty close within 10 degrees. The actual temp controller is pretty easy to use and fairly self explanatory (click temp button, move dial, click temp button).

    --The app works well with the iPhone, and lets you check on temp throughout the house. I haven't quite got the set temp and time working yet via the app, as the temp set via the grill doesn't let me override it with the app, but it's easy to set timers and notifications. Probably a bit more experimentation required there.

    --The 700 degrees will let you sear steaks seriously.

    --The ability to mod the 560 seems exponentially greater than either the PBC or the Weber. There's a long list of mods actively updated on the Facebook group including upgrading the cord to be more waterproof, tweaking the charcoal grate to prevent more coal from falling through and not being burnt up, adding front shelves, and adding lights. I personally did the foil hopper mod (added tin foil under the hopper lid to prevent creosote build-up), and ordered a battery pack and cord to make the set-up truly wireless (no electric extension cord from the house needed).


    Cons:

    --The warranty is for one year. Given the grill is $500 versus 2K+ comparables and comes with Wifi, I'm not expecting the greatest build quality. It looks decently well built, but I will admit, I can't really tell where they might have cut corners on the build. I am choosing at this point to invest additional time in cleaning it after every cook ( https://youtu.be/YD8Md2a61M4 ) and keep it in the garage with a cover like the others to extend its life as long as possible. I figure that I have some extra cash to invest in parts if things break down. Let's just say I never clean my PBC or Weber, and they have been rock solid.

    --The grill grates are cast iron, but pretty heavy. I don't have high expectations for them, but when they die, I will replace them with something better. Fortunately, Joe's Grill Grates over at Facebook will make custom grills for the smoker that are a big upgrade, which I will probably buy at some point. As it stands, they offer a full main grill grate, and two half grates, when we could obviously fit in three full shelves of grates. I am assuming this is a cost saving move. Joe's grates will fix that issue nicely if you want the extra space for cooking immediately.

    Other

    --The 1050 just came out with, as you might imagine, 1050 inches of space for $797. Could be a good upgrade for those that like cooking for larger groups.

    --Food quality is excellent, and similar to the PBC. I don't think the 560 delivers better-tasting food, but because it allows for a significantly greater amount of control over the temp (and eliminates food dropping into coals), it allows the chef to more consistently produce great-tasting food by reducing the potential for overcooking/mistakes with different cuts of meat. This would be the case for low and slow briskets, chicken, ribs etc. but I would expect the ability to go to 700 gives the 560 the edge on steaks. Coming from a PBC that was very much set and forget, this adds a lot of nice frills that makes life easier for the chef. With the 560, we have the temp control of a pellet grill, but the nice smokey taste of the charcoal. It's a unique grill at this price point.
    Last edited by zero_credit; April 5, 2020, 10:49 AM.

    #2
    Thanks for the review!

    Comment


      #3
      Thanks. Got a picture of your baby in action?

      Comment


        #4
        I got some pics of the food, but I totally forgot about pics of the smoker in action. I will post food pics in a bit. Some posters have commented elsewhere about excessive smoke, but I felt like mine was just perfect in terms of generating good smoke.

        Comment


        • Attjack
          Attjack commented
          Editing a comment
          Just a pic of the product goes a long way IMO.

        #5
        Thanks for the review. I have been wondering about this one since I currently use a pbc myself.

        Comment


          #6
          There are a lot of exciting new consumer level products coming to the market. Some people have been putting some serious brainpower toward managing cooking fires!

          Comment


            #7
            Thanks for the post. I am looking into this as well,, if you could throw some pics in action, it would be appreciated

            Comment


            #8
            Great review, thanks.

            Comment


              #9
              Nice job here. I agree it is a fun cooker to use. I've been using Fatwood starter sticks and they work very nicely. I was bummed to see my beloved Weber cubes would not fit.

              Comment


              • Huskee
                Huskee commented
                Editing a comment
                Polarbear777 I actually cut them in half quite often since a half cube will light chimney of charcoal, but you can't do that on this cooker.

              • zero_credit
                zero_credit commented
                Editing a comment
                I agree Polarbear, it is messy. Will change them out next time for these Fatwoods or the Amazon ones I mentioned.

              • tbob4
                tbob4 commented
                Editing a comment
                I KNEW that’s what you were cooking on. I just knew it! I feel giddy now that I know I guessed right and didn’t press you to reveal. Made my day.

              #10
              There's apparently a rotisserie attachment coming later this spring/summer.

              Comment


                #11
                Nice wright up, looks amazing.

                Comment


                  #12
                  I would have added some commentary about Masterbuilt Customer Service, but they are basically shut down via phone due to the virus, and email responses have been slow. I'm going to reserve judgement there.

                  I have read many posts on FB detailing good customer service responsiveness to grills that were damaged during shipping (I assume these kinds of posts are more common because no-one posts to say my grill was perfect..) and various issues, so when they are up and running, they do seem helpful.

                  I will say the FB group responds within minutes to any issue you might have, and several MB folks I think hang out there.

                  Comment


                  • BRBNBBQ
                    BRBNBBQ commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Try contacting Masterbuilt directly via FB messenger. From what I've seen that's the best way to get a quick resolution right now.

                  #13
                  Last comment: Coming from the PBC, I'd usually have to wait until the next day to put it away because there's no way to cool it down quicker. Putting in the two baffles drops the grill down to cool enough to clean it within 15 minutes. Really nice!

                  Comment


                    #14
                    I've had my 560 for a week now. I really like it. Only issue is that the controller is off, but I just use my other thermometers to dial it in. Once I set the differential it is rock steady.

                    Comment


                    • Henrik
                      Henrik commented
                      Editing a comment
                      That's a feature I would love to see on more controllers: to be able to tweak an 'offset', so it shows real temp, if it is off, or if someone wants to cook meat at at certain location in the cooker that is 'far' off where the sensor is.

                    #15
                    Reporting back with pics. Steaks at 700 and melted in your mouth like butter.
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