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My take on the Masterbuilt 560

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    My take on the Masterbuilt 560

    So after reading the initial review of the Masterbuild Gravity Series 560, I immediately went out and bought one. My experience has been quite a bit different, but not altogether disappointing. Read on if this is a unit you've been interested in!

    Assembly: So there is a video on assembly of the unit. I probably would have had a much better assembly experience if I'd watched it, but the box was there, begging to be peeked in, and once I started taking out the parts, everything just kind of snowballed. I got everything put together, and I only missed two parts. In my defense they were added on after the manual had already been published. There were a lot of parts and I didn't go through and examine each part to see if it had a separate set of instructions. My fault. Maybe the video covered it. Maybe I'd have shaved an hour off the build time, but I got there. It wasn't too bad, but it wasn't a walk in the park either.

    Quality: OK, this is one of the painful parts of this unit. The quality of the components isn't always where I'd want it to be. That said, it didn't come with the same price tag that my Weber Summit did either, so I can't expect the same level of quality. Some aspects of the outer shrouding can be bent with your fingers and some moderate pressure. There are lots of reports that this thing rusts like a 1970s Toyota Truck. Disturbing new postings can be seen on this site's review of the unit where fireboxes have warped, fans have quit working, etc. Yeah, you're going to have to keep real good care of this thing, watch the firebox like a hawk, and cross your fingers.

    Ease of Use: Alright, this thing actually is really easy to set up and use. Lighting the firebox is super easy. Setting the timers and cook temp is super easy. Loading the charcoal is easy as long as you're either medium height or above and strong enough to hold a bag of charcoal at chest level. Do NOT forget to remove the slide-out metal dampers...and don't forget to put them back in at the end to choke off the fire.

    Accuracy: This is the other pain point. I may have gotten a bum controller, I may live at an altitude that throws all the algorithms off, but this thing runs a LOT hotter than what it tells you it's running at. I found the temps to be initially nearly 300 degrees over what the unit though was going on, and during cooking after the initial spike from ignition settled down, temps were an average of 30 to 50 degrees higher. I was so shocked, I grabbed my old Maverick Redi-Check ET-732 and it was only about 2-5 degrees off from the Tappecue. So either *BOTH* the highly rated temperature probes recommended by AmazingRibs or the one Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560 highly reviewed and then walked back by AmazingRibs is off. My money is on the Grill being off. I cooked a nice forgiving meatloaf for this cook. It was good, but overdone, and the bottom was pretty crusty. It was definitely the grill running hot.

    The grill did slowly (over about 40 minutes) cool down to something resembling where I told it to cook at. It still did average over 30 degrees hotter than what I wanted.

    So the temperature probe for the Tappecue was initially placed on the cast iron grate. The temps went up over 600 when the set point for the grill was 350. To save my gear from overheat damage, I moved the probe up to the lowest level warming rack. That helped by about 50 degrees. This whole time, the Masterbuilt grill never showed anything more than 30 degrees over the initial set point. 30 degrees or nearly 300....Hmmmm.

    Now, can I learn to set the unit to lower temps to account for the drastic difference. I can bring the grill up to temp slowly, instead of going right to the set temp, and waiting 40 minutes for it to cool back down. If it lasts long enough without the burn box falling out, due to rust or holes burnt through the metal, or other fun things I may look forward to...but for that kind of cash layout, I'm going to have to find a way to get along with this grill until I've extracted my money's worth.

    I'm just a little disappointed that the only grill I've ever bought based on recommendations from AmazingRibs turns out to be the one grill they have to pull back their initial high rating on. I don't gamble, folks, I know what kind of luck I have. Don't get me wrong, I'm not blaming this site, and I'm not holding anything against them. This place taught me how to barbeque, grill, and cook over open fire. I've been a Pit member for over four years, and I own both Meathead books and purchased the BBQ Stars video courses (they are amazing, by the way). I have nothing but love for this site, but when I finally kick the bucket, ol' Murphy and I will meet, and I would NOT want to be Mr. Murphy at that point.

    Anyway, to make a long story somewhat short, The grill is made cheaply, and it has yet to be determined whether the cheapness extended to the parts that really matter, or just to the cosmetic parts. Some parts of this got bent when I was assembling it because I pinched it too hard to get a good grip. I'm not the Hulk, nor am I even above average. I'm a computer geek. I break firewalls, not bench press records.
    It does seem to work quite nicely, as long as you're aware that the temperature on your food is not going to be the temperature you program the unit to. The temperature does seem to settle in to something relatively consistent after a long while, so you can at least plan for the difference.

    All that considered, it's a fair grill. I wouldn't rate it even as a silver, but your mileage may vary. Considering my luck I probably got the reject grill from the manufacturer, and everyone else will have a fantastic experience. But this is what I found, the good and the bad.

    #2
    I appreciate yer detailed, clear an open review, amigo!
    Hopin additional cooks work out better fer ya...

    Comment


      #3
      So you are not recommending that those of us that have broke powerlifting records should not assemble it ourselves? Sorry had to put a little personal plug in there. I have been really interested in this pit since announcement as possibly my entry into the electronically controlled smokers, but I am becoming more and more hesitant to buy it. Even if I use it solely for family cooks, my pits and grills get used approximately 5 days a week, it sounds not up to the task for very long.

      Comment


        #4
        That was a good read, thanks for sharing. The one thing I would fix is the temp monitoring. Just pick up the phone and call MB, because it HAS to be faulty. I did several checks when smoking and grilling on the MB560, and was surprised to see how close it was to my FireBoard thermometer (5-8 degree difference). That was a good thing, of course, so having those massive temp differences you report means something is broken.

        See if they can'te replace either the controller or the probe.

        Comment


        • zero_credit
          zero_credit commented
          Editing a comment
          Seconded

        • Polarbear777
          Polarbear777 commented
          Editing a comment
          Agreed. At most (front left corner of main grate, I’ve seen an average of about 30F above the set temp) and a few spots are cooler than set temp. Overall through more than a half dozen long runs for temp testing and 6 probes, I have an average of 10F over the set point across the entire cook chamber.

        #5
        Thanks for all the feedback, y'all! I've done a few cooks on the Gravity since I posted this. It seems that the temp skew increases with the set point. I now have to say that when i do low and slow at 225, this thing is nearly dead on and only varies +/- 8 degrees (superior to my old Traeger pellet grill). When I cook hotter, the temp skews higher, and at 450, it's nearly 50-80 degrees off. I may take Henrik's and zero_credit's advice and try and work with the manufacturer.

        Much of this was to try and get a consistent method down I could use for this weekend (Independence Day Holiday). I've got a pork shoulder for the big day, and I was going to do some beef short ribs tonight, and some chicken on the 5th. Needless to say, that much work on the unit in such a rapid-fire succession will demand that I "know-what-I'm-doing". I can't say that I dislike this device, and if you're looking for something to do mostly smoking on, this really is a great unit. I've not yet experience any of the warping and burnout that the AR review staff have seen, but I haven't put much stress on my Gravity 560 either.

        texastweeter: If I ever stop being a girly-man and decide to get pumped up, I'll need a consistent daily intake of red meat, and yes, I'd probably go with a sturdier unit. You may want to look into the Gravity 1050. It's reputed to have a much better build quality, though I can't speak to it myself.

        Thanks again, and I hope y'all have a happy and relaxing Independence Day weekend!

        Comment


        • texastweeter
          texastweeter commented
          Editing a comment
          I've shared the platform with plenty a powerlifter that I still consider a girly-man, lol. I know old farmers and ranchers with more manliness than most in their little finger. I'm sure you represent in your own way brother.

        • Polarbear777
          Polarbear777 commented
          Editing a comment
          There is no quality difference between the 1050 and the 560. All issues and concerns exist in both. The only difference is the size of the cook chamber. You can seem my data and pics linked below for the 1050.

        #6
        i also bought the masterbuilt 560 gravity....as far as putting it together the handle was a true adventure...i tried by myself,i had to get help..
        after it was up i did add a bag of kingsford blue bad and heated it up 3 times...kinda suprised.....that it did not burn the intire bag.....i did use b&b starter sticks to light
        i cooked cornish hens ,aspargaus,butter onion.over fogo lump black bag
        i cooked whole chicken,stuffed tomatoes,aspargaus,beans over b&b lump charcoal
        i coked beef plate ribs,jalepino cream corn,aspargus,butter onions,and stuffed tomatoes over fogo brown bag
        all came out just fine ,as always i passed it out around the neighood...
        it did burn more charcoal than did my green egg....i am going to cook steaks on it and my pk this weekend to compair
        as far as temp probes go i always use my own and my thermo pin...rarley do i use what comes with the pits...i found the same bluetooth issuev with my sons smokefire...and of course i may be to damn old to use bluetooth,,76
        the unit at this point i would say it is just fine,of course it is not one that you are going to passon....like a pk or green egg
        i did also put wood in the ash box..for extra smoke...not completley sure this is the way to go...asi think this may cause some of the fire box wraping some talk about.

        Comment


        • Polarbear777
          Polarbear777 commented
          Editing a comment
          I’ve only put wood mixed in with the charcoal. Considering the state of my firebox Having done many runs with charcoal only and no food or wood, Wood chunks in the ash bin are not a factor.

        #7
        https://pitmaster.amazingribs.com/fo...ibration-tests

        Comment


          #8
          This thing is not miserly on charcoal and the quality is not great. Especially the electronics. I could never have imagined using wires so thin on an outdoor setting. I have already had switches fail and they are sending me replacements.


          on the other hand it loads, starts, cooks, and cleans like a dream when it’s working. A little more effort on the quality side and they would have had a dominating market cornerer here for quite a while.
          Last edited by Polarbear777; July 9, 2020, 01:01 PM.

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