Masterbuilt Gravity Series 1050 Digital Charcoal Grill + Smoker MB20041220 Review
Masterbuilt knows just how popular charcoal smokers used to be. Though they have started to fall out of favor in recent years due to sweeping improvements offered by electric smokers and wood pellet grills. This is due in large part to the consistency offered by these alternative heat sources. Of course, the common complaint against them is that you just don’t get the smoky fire-kissed flavors that so many people love from charcoal.
In a true moment of inspiration, Masterbuilt has stepped up to astoundingly offer the best of both worlds in the Masterbuilt MB20041220 Gravity Series 1050. This charcoal smoker used a special side charcoal chute to hold jumbo lump or charcoal briquettes. The automated digital control system then delivers the coals to the flames in a steady stream.
Yet this isn’t just a smoker that’s capable of consistently holding temperatures in the 165-degree range. When dial in just right you can also use the Masterbuilt Gravity Series 1050 as a direct flame grill or wood-fired oven that’s capable of getting as hot as 700-degrees Fahrenheit!
This level of versatility and control is thanks to both the gravity-fed delivery system and the way the digital control center operates the internal fan. This ensures that the charcoal flames or smoking woods you use to get exactly the right amount of oxygen they need to burn for up to 16 hours at a consistent temperature range. Even if you start to run out of charcoal, the hopper chute is still very easy to reload.
Construction & Ease of Assembly
You get the sense that Masterbuilt knew that if this smoker was going to be taken seriously that they had to infuse the engineering concept with the highest material build quality. Of course, this translates to commercial grade stainless steel and aircraft-grade aluminum with heat resistant heavy duty black powder coat.
The Masterbuilt Gravity Series 1050 with its wide temperature range is incredibly versatile. You can easily dial it down into the 165-degree range for cold smoking applications like seafood, sausages, and even some cheeses. Yet you can also crank it up a little to the 225 to the 250-degree range for traditional barbecue meats like Boston butt pork shoulder, ribs, or beef brisket.
Yet it can also be used for high heat applications in the 350 to 500-degree range for searing off steaks and chops. It can even be cranked up to 700 degrees with proper preheating for making things like smoky, wood-fired, fresh dough pizzas.
Simply put, you just can’t get this level of versatility out of most of the competitors in the grilling industry.
If there is a knock against the Masterbuilt Gravity Series 1050 it’s the overall lack of vertical cooking space inside the primary cooking chamber. Sure, there is enough room for a tall pork shoulder or even a big smoked turkey. Though there just isn’t any feasible way to do something like hanging a string of link sausages.
As the name implies the Masterbuilt Gravity Series 1050 has a whopping 1,050 square inches of grate space inside the primary smoking chamber. Though this is split up between three different racks. This is all fine and good when smoking meats, but when it comes to direct searing at high temperatures you only have around 400 square inches of primary cooking space. This is still enough to make steaks, burgers, or chops for a family of four or more.
The digital control center is the primary special feature that makes the Masterbuilt Gravity Series 1050 so versatile. It essentially controls the fans and coordinates the gravity-fed delivery of charcoal to the primary firebox area. It also has WiFi connectivity that allows you to keep tabs on the Masterbuilt Gravity Series 1050’s performance without having to be attending it all day at the grill side.
The vertical hopper is also a key special feature of the Masterbuilt Gravity Series 1050. It lets you load it up and can burn for up to 16 hours on its own. Though this rating is on the lowest possible temperature. If you crank it up to a higher temperature, the maximum burn time will inevitably be shorter.
Ease to Clean
The Masterbuilt Gravity Series 1050 is a little bit more effort to clean than a gas or electric smoker. This is just part and parcel of being a charcoal smoker. Though the efficient burn rate produced by the fan and the digital controls makes for less total ash and fewer spent embers.
The grates on the Masterbuilt Gravity Series 1050 are porcelain coated. This also makes for easy scraping and faster cleanup. Even if you do end up with some stuck-on material like a caramelized marinade, you can just take the grates out and soak them in warm soapy water. The porcelain will prevent the underlying metal from rusting.
Masterbuilt warrants the metal parts of the Masterbuilt Gravity Series 1050 for up to 5 years and provides 3 years of coverage for the rest of the components.
If you love charcoal smokers and grills, but demand convenience and ease to control, then the Masterbuilt Gravity Series 1050 needs to be near the top of your list. Not only is it a great charcoal smoker with a digital control center and wireless connectivity, but it can also be turned into a high-heat, direct flame charcoal grill. You just have to give it sufficient time to preheat.
True the warranty is a little sparse, and you can’t really hang meats like link sausages, but that’s a small tradeoff for all the convenience that comes with this versatile charcoal smoker and grill.
- Digital control center with wireless connectivity
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Tons of grate space
- Superior material build quality
- The automated charcoal gravity feed system
- Heavy to put together
- Doesn’t move easily
- Can’t hang meats