Masterbuilt MB20052318 MPS 230S Propane Smoker Review
Propane smoker cabinets come in all shapes and sizes. Finding the one that is right for you can depend on a wide range of factors. The most important is often determining just how much meat you will be smoking in any one given session. From there you can backtrack to try to pair volume and quality with the price point that fits your budget.
In recent years, Masterbuilt has been flooding the market with a variety of cabinet smokers. Their MPS 230S Propane Smoker falls in the middle of their line with just enough space to prepare meat for a barbecue cookout. Yet if you want to use it to smoke a salmon fillet or spareribs for family supper, you won’t feel like you’re wasting a ton of space.
It comes with four chrome-plated grates that can be removed or adjusted as needed. The door includes a highly accurate temperature gauge that helps you ideal in the heat for what you are smoking.
The Masterbuilt 230S Propane Smoker has a single stainless steel burner element that produced 15,400 BTUs of heat. Above it is a patented porcelain flame disk bowl. It serves dual purposes in protecting the burner and its ports from drippings, while also holding the smoking wood. This smoker also comes with a push-button ignition, which makes it easy to start.
Construction & Ease of Assembly
For its relatively low price point, the Masterbuilt 230S Propane Smoker has the quality where you need it. The door seals better than the competitors in this size and price range and has good insulation value. This is very helpful for smoking meats and fresh sausages in the cold days of fall.
At this time, Masterbuilt does not offer a natural gas conversion kit for the 230S Propane Smoker.
There’s not much in the way of assembly. You should be able to have it fully put together in a little over half an hour.
The Masterbuilt 230S Propane Smoker can handle pretty much everything you throw at it. They claim that it can handle up to 8 chickens, 2 turkeys, 4 racks of pork spareribs, or 4 Boston butt pork shoulders. This is perhaps a little bit of an overstatement with the chickens and pork shoulders. Still, it has the capacity to handle enough to cater even a large cookout.
If you want to smoke ring or link sausages, you can set a single rack at the highest position. You can then use a little bit of butcher’s twine to tie the sausages on. As long as the links don’t physically touch the smoke will permeate and perfume them all.
The porcelain flame disk that doubles as a wood chip bowl are a little bit of a double-edged sword. While it helps to save space in the overall set up, it can potentially catch too much grease during a major smoking session. If you heavily load the racks with chickens the rendering grease can pool up in the bowl, which can overpower the wood smoke with burning grease.
Just keep an eye on it, if you notice the bowl building up with a lot of rendered fat, you might want to pull it out and pour it off when you reload the smoking wood. It might also help to use wood chunks or soak wood chips in water the night before to reduce flareups.
It only weighs 56 pounds, which means you can move it easily. With a little forethought, you could use it as a portable smoker for get-togethers and tailgate parties.
When all four chrome-plated racks are installed the Masterbuilt 230S Propane Smoker provides you with 734 total square inches of smoking space.
Masterbuilt’s claims about the capacity is perhaps a little overstated. If you want to smoke four racks of pork spareribs you will need to cut them down into three rib portions. To fit eight chickens in the cabinet you would need to cut them down into quarters, then position them carefully.
The “Patented Porcelain Coated Flame Disk Bowl” is designed to both protect the stainless steel propane burner from excess drippings. At the same time, it also helps hold a generous portion of smoking woods.
Ease to Clean
The Masterbuilt 230S Propane Smoker is relatively easy to clean. The chrome-plated cooking grates need to be scraped down after every smoking session. A nylon-bristled grill brush will reduce the amount of scuffing that could come from using a metal wire brush.
The Porcelain Coated Flame Disk Bowl also needs a little bit of extra attention. If you smoke something with excess marinade or a fatty piece of meat the drippings can gunk up the bowl. Fortunately, the porcelain coating protects the metal, which means you use a butter knife to scrape it off, and then soak it in warm soapy water.
Keep an eye on the internal probe for the temperature gauge for soot and grease buildup. Give it a wipe down if necessary. Built-up gunk could cause inaccurate readings.
The Porcelain Coated Flame Disk Bowl comes with a 1-year limited warranty. This is just about right compared to competitors in this size and price range.
If you are looking for a propane cabinet smoker that is big enough to handle a major cookout, yet not so big that it’s overkill to smoke up a family meal, the Masterbuilt 230S Propane Smoker deserves a good hard look.
It has insulation in the door to handle smoking in the cold. The Porcelain Coated Flame Disk Bowl does a good job of protecting the burner. Loading it with wood chunks and checking the grease level will help the unit to produce rich, clean smoke.
- Pairs the right size with friendly price tag
- Dual-purpose porcelain flame disk bowl
- Protection of a 1-year warranty
- Relatively easy to clean
- Push-button electric ignition
- Flame disk bowl can collect too much grease
- Manufacturer overstates the maximum capacity
- Chrome-plated grates can scrape and stick
- Temperature probe needs periodic cleaning