Product Review: Masterbuilt M7P 7-in-1 Smoker
Price Range: Affordable Prices
- Solid-Steel Body
- Charcoal and/or Propane Smoking
- Dual Level Smoking (Cook Turkey and Ham at Once)
- Measures 18″ by 18″ by 26 1/2″; Compact
- Versatility. Propane versus Charcoal is one of the great divides in the grilling and smoking community. With propane, you will get a dependable and consistent heat source. Charcoal offers higher temperatures and a more authentic smoky flavor. Having two separate smokers will cost a great deal of money and hog valuable patio space. The Masterbuilt 7-in-1 Smoker and Grill offers the best of all worlds: propane and charcoal grilling, a small patio footprint, and a great deal of customization.
- Price Point. At less than a hundred of dollars, this smoker makes for one of the most affordable smokers currently on the market. For propane smokers, it doesn’t get much cheaper than the Masterbult M7P. Some charcoal smokers can be bought for a lower price, but not many. To get a combination of a propane and charcoal smoker, this is an absolute steal.
- Entry Level Unit. Neither propane nor charcoal are too difficult to begin with if you are new to smoking meats. However, most feel most comfortable smoking meats with a fuel source they have traditionally grilled meats with. If you are an expert at charcoal grilling, great, focus on charcoal smoking to start off. If you are an expert at gas grilling, great, focus on propane smoking. Even if you haven’t grilled before, the intuitiveness of the Masterbuilt Smoker will make you feel at home.
- Propane Smoking. Chicken and fish are where propane really shines. Lower temperatures deliver the best results on the white meats and fish in my experience. This makes propane the ideal fuel source as it keeps a constant flame burning, ensuring the moisture remains in the meats. Propane can also be used for the red meats as the charcoal begins to heat up, but I would recommend turning the propane off after the charcoal really gets going.
- Charcoal Smoking. Burgers, dogs, ribs, and all red meats best benefit from the higher temperatures offered by charcoal smoking. In order to get a full cook through the red meats, you will need the higher temperatures that only charcoal can offer. Along with the high temps, the smoky flavor that comes from burning briquettes can make many a mouth savor. Charcoal and propane can be paired for a powerful combo in order to get the charcoal kick started which is a convenient time saver.
- Water Pan and Wood Chip Tray. Wrap the water bowl in foil due to drippings, this will save you a lot of time and grief as a clean water pan is a happy water pan. In any case, smokers with water pans and wood chip trays are an absolute must in this age. With the water pan, you can add water during the warm months in order to ensure your meats come out as moist as possible, and in Winter fill the water pan with sand to act as a thermal store. Wood chips are an absolute must, they will give the richness to the smoky flavor. Experiment with all kinds of wood chips to find which you like best, I prefer mesquite as all New Mexicans and Texans should.
- Light and Compact. Most smokers suffer from a problem of being bulky. This means the smoker will likely be planted in the ground where you decide on placing it. With the Masterbuilt M7P Smoker, you’ll be able to easily move this smoker around. Pack it into your truck, drive to the game, and smoke meats for an entire tailgate without a major problem. If you ever need to move your smoker on a windy day to a more sheltered spot, just pack everything up and move it all by yourself.
- Easy Assembly. The Masterbuilt Smoker will be delivered right to your house in expert packaging by Amazon. All pieces will be clearly labeled and match up the directions supplied. In less than an hour and a half you will have a newly assembled smoker ready to go. No propane tank will be provided, so you will need to get your own from Walmart, Home Depot, or you favorite propane supplier. Assembly with a partner will make everything easier, but even if you lack mechanical skills, the smoker will be no major challenge to assemble.
- Steel Construction is Thin. This smoker is not built like a tank. For the low price point, you will be getting what you paid for. Expect to get somewhere between three through five years (more if you live in the Southwest) before the smoker rusts out. Loving care and maintenance of your smoker will give you the longest life, but it will be impossible to keep alive forever.
- Temperature Gauge Inaccurate. If I have a pet peeve with smokers, it has to be inaccurate temperature gauges. Perhaps you will get a Masterbuilt M7P Smoker with a well tuned gauge, but it seems unlikely. A digital thermometer is the best way to fix this problem instead of attempting to rig a solution.
- Wind Messes up Propane Smoking. Given the thin construction of this smoker, wind can really hamper your efforts to keep a consistent temperature. Moving your smoker to a protected area will be the surest way to fix this problem, which is simple given how portable this smoker is. Consider using charcoal only if the wind is going to remain a problem.
- Charcoal Space Not Large Enough. Adding fresh charcoal and wood chips is a pain. Due to the compact size of this smoker, Masterbuilt ended up sacrificing on the access space where you add fresh briquettes and wood chips. While the task can be done, it is simply inconvenient.
Masterbuilt M7P vs. Masterbuilt Electric Smoker
- Expect to pay some dozen dollars more for the Masterbuilt Electric Smoker. What does that some dozen dollars get you? First and foremost, you will have an electric smoker instead of a charcoal/gas smoker. Also, the digital thermometer in the Masterbuilt Electric Smoker is leagues better than the Masterbuilt M7P temperature gauge. Insulation of the Masterbuilt Electric Smoker is superior when it comes to smoking on a windy day, but the Masterbuilt M7P wins out for smoking during the Winter. Finally, the Masterbuilt Electric Smoker will offer you more smoking space due to its vertical design. For some dozen dollars more, the differences between these two smokers are considerable.
- More care and thought went into the design of the Masterbuilt Electric Smoker. While I enjoy the versatility and mobility of the Masterbuilt M7P Smoker, it is a lightweight in comparison to the Masterbuilt Electric Smoker. Limited smoking space and the ‘bucket’ design of the Masterbuilt M7P are drawbacks when compared to the Masterbuilt Electric Smoker. When it comes to limited patio space, you’ll find vertical smokers offer the best bang for the buck.
Best for Whom?:
- Masterbuilt M7P Smoker: 1. Anyone new to the world of smoking. If you prefer charcoal and/or propane, the Masterbuilt M7P is the best smoker to start with. 2. Tailgaters. The ease of moving the Masterbuilt M7P around makes its one of the best choices of smokers to buy if you need a smoker that can fit in a car and be easily assembled for a cookout.
- Masterbuilt Electric Smoker: 1. Beginners wanting consistent no-fuss results. The Masterbuilt Electric Smoker is the perfect starting smoker. You get just the right amount of customizable features, but you’ll always find the meat coming out perfectly cooked. 2. Anyone wanting stability. Expect many years of fruitful smoking with the Masterbuilt Electric Smoker, it is solidly built.
- The Masterbuilt M7P offers many fine results, but it has limitations as to what it can get done. If you are on the market for a low-priced smoker that can use either charcoal or gas, then the Masterbuilt M7P makes for one of the best choices. If you need a smoker that can smoke meat almost effortlessly with few hurdles, then the Masterbuilt Electric Smoker wins out.
Value for Money?
- Versatility is key when it comes to the Masterbuilt 7-in-1 Smoker and Grill. Don’t expect to find in this smoker a powerhouse machine built like a rock. This smoker is light and compact, which well suit the needs of tailgaters and anyone with a small patio. Serious design flaws in relation to the smoker’s temperature gauge and vulnerability to wind must be taken into account. Otherwise, being able to choose between propane and/or charcoal makes the entire task of smoking far more enjoyable than being limited to just one.