Masterbuilt 560 Review - Is This the Future of Charcoal Cooking?
When the email hit my inbox the other morning I knew I wanted to do a Masterbuilt Gravity Series Grill Review.
I have had a few previous glimpses at this cooker via the @KamadoJoe Instagram page where chef Eric was cooking for crowds over various Kamado Joe and Masterbuilt devices.
Masterbuilt gravity series is packed with clever features
It will cook with hardwood lump charcoal or briquettes
The first thing I found significant about the grill is that it can operate both with hardwood lump charcoal and briquettes. As a Kamado guy who uses lump charcoal 99% of the time, the ability to use readily accessible briquettes is a smart move for Masterbuilt.
Its gravity-fed hopper claims to hold about 10lbs of hardwood lump charcoal or about 16lbs of briquettes. Cooking with charcoal is great for high heat searing but also you get the added benefit of smoky flavor.
Unlike other charcoal smokers, the digital control panel is in charge of temperature control. It will allow you to quickly switch back and forth from using charcoal to smoke and then grill sear foods at a higher temperature.
Gravity Series hits your desired temperature quickly with fan assisted temperature control
Light the charcoal with a firestarter or a few wads of paper and set the DIGITALFAN™ CONTROL to your desired cooking temperature using the grills control panel or your wireless device.
The grill claims to be able to reach a smoking temperature of about 225F in seven minutes and can have you grilling at 700F in 13 minutes. The DIGITALFAN™ CONTROL uses a digitally controlled fan which adjusts the temperature as it moves air from the charcoal hopper to the cooking chamber giving it just the amount of airflow for your desired temperature. This is quite a wide temperature range for such a short amount of time.
Monitor food temperatures with up to four probes
Similar sized pellet grills often come with a single and occasionally dual temperature sensing meat probes integration to the control panel. Someone at Masterbuilt was thinking clearly when they added not one or two, but four individual temperature monitoring ports to this grill. Now if you're cooking something like a turkey, you can monitor white meat, dark meat stuffing, and even a side dish simultaneously so your meal is cooked safely and properly.
At a $ 499.00 price point, this cooker has the potential to be quite disruptive to both pellet and charcoal grill sales into 2020.
UPDATE: The Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560 Digital Charcoal Grill & Smoker is now available at WalMart.
After having cooked with this grill over two dozen times I find it to be a fun cooker and a good value for the money. However, the price point is low with this cooker so one shouldn't set expectations too high.
I appreciate the porcelain coated grill grate which is relatively easy to clean.
The size of this grill is about right for most users with plenty of square inches of cooking space to do most things with some room to spare.
Although it has the capacity to accept four meat probes, it only comes with one. At least a second included probe would have been a nice touch.
Another thing I find odd is that the hardware sealing the hopper lid, and firebox area seem to be more durable than the material of the grill itself.
I applaud the innovation shown with this grill.
If you're looking for a fun grill with interesting features and the ability to use different types of charcoal this is definitely worth looking at. It's probably not going to be something you pass down to your grandchildren but until then you can have loads of fun using it.