Masterbuilt 20051311 GS30D 2-Door Propane Smoker Review

Masterbuilt 20051311 GS30D 2-Door Propane SmokerSo, you’re looking for a backyard smoker to add to your outdoor appliances. But you want to make the right choice, correct? You’re considering the Masterbuilt 20051311 GS30D 2-Door Propane Smoker, but you want to know if this is the right smoker for you and your family.

You’re in the right place because on this page, I’m going to share what I’ve discovered. Hopefully, it will help you make the right decision.

If you’ve never smoked your meats before, the Masterbuilt is an excellent device for any first-time smoker. But it’s not just for beginners. Many long-time enthusiasts favor the Masterbuilt over other brands mostly due to the results it produces.

This quality device is sold primarily online in two different sizes – a 30 inch unit and a 40 incher. It’s a solid smoker, capable of serving you and your guests with many years of flavorful food experiences.

With the Masterbuilt smoker the only limit is how much meat you can fit inside at any one time!

Actually, even the 30-inch model holds plenty of food with its multiple-rack capacity. It’s not a commercial device by any means. But for everyday use out in the backyard, it’s ideal. Masters of the outdoor grill everywhere are enjoying their smokers and most are pleased with the quantities the Masterbuilt can handle. The fact that it’s so affordable is another big reason for its popularity.



There’s no mistaking the tender, juicy taste of well-smoked meat. It doesn’t matter whether you’re smoking chicken, brisket, ribs, pork chops, or fish. When it’s done properly – the result is out of this world!

You get flavorful fish, spectacular chicken and fall-off-the-bone ribs. It’s that unmistakeable Southern barbecue taste that tickles your taste buds. It’s like having a “Rib-fest” quality experience from the comfort of home.

Why Choose A Gas Smoker?

There are basically three ways to smoke your meat. The old-fashioned way is to use wood or charcoal as your fuel source. You could also choose an electric smoker or propane unit.

Having tasted several meats from all three – I would have to say that I liked them all. But if I was to give the nod to one method over the others it would be the wood or charcoal-fired smoker by a slim margin.

However, that method of smoking is also the most difficult type to do. So I wouldn’t suggest it – not even for an experienced pro – unless attending to your smoker all weekend long is something you want to do.

Don’t get me wrong. It can be a lot of fun spending the day in the yard and keeping an eye on things as you smoke your favorite cuts of meat while you enjoy a cold beverage or two.

But you don’t want to get into a situation where you have to babysit the smoker constantly and that’s the way it is with a wood or charcoal-fired setup.

Electric smokers seem easy enough. All you have to do is plug them in and turn them on. But “electric” comes with its own set of problems.

The best option for my money is a quality propane smoker.

Here’s one such device. It’s called the Masterbuilt 20051311. It regulates heat nicely, helping maintain a more consistent temperature. This is the biggest factor in properly smoking meats of any kind. You want to maintain the same temperature – or close to it – as much as possible. Smoking is best done at lower temperatures.

The Masterbuilt 2 door propane smoker fires up fast, so there’s not a lot of waiting around before you actually get to use it. Of all the known methods of smoking, the propane smoker is the easiest. It’s cheaper than electric too. With the soaring cost of electricity these days you have to be careful how much of an added burden you create with additional electrical appliances. Using propane is a lot less hassle than the nonstop attention and years of mastery required to become a champion of charcoal or wood smoking. Few of us have that kind of free time.

Another advantage of the Masterbuilt smoker is that you have three ways to regulate the inside temperature.

  • First, there’s the dial on the front of the device.
  • Next there’s the vent in the back.
  • Additionally, you have the valve that controls the propane coming from the tank. This too can be used to reduce the inside temperature of the smoker.

With the Masterbuilt gas smoker, you’re using very little propane and therefore it represents good value. It spews continuous heat and a more consistent temperature. You don’t have to wait too long for it to fire up like you do with most electric models of smokers.

You have more flexibility with the propane smoker than you do with electric in the sense that you don’t need to locate it near an electrical outlet, or run a lengthy extension cord. This makes it better for picnicking and tailgating than any electric smoker.

Masterbuilt 20051311 Smoker Features

  • The Masterbuilt smoker weighs about 70 pounds. That means it’s not light or particularly easy to move around. However, it is more indicative of a stable smoker that is more likely to last. The trick is to locate your smoker where you want to use it, so you don’t have to move it around. That is of course unless you want to add casters, which is something a lot of buyers do.
  • The vertical design facilitates more effective smoking as the smoke rises from the bottom of the unit to the top infusing your meets with that succulent, smoky BBQ flavor. Another advantage of this vertical design is that it doesn’t take up much space on your backyard patio or deck.
  • I find that the two-door design is fantastic. The lower door provides a separate entrance to the chip tray and water pan so that very little heat and smoke escapes while you are attending to these important elements.
  • The pushbutton electronic igniter is convenient and fast and the insulated doors seem to help the Masterbuilt hold in the heat better than competing brands.
  • Assembly of the device is simple and straightforward. The main compartment comes preassembled. But you do need to add the legs and handles. With plain English directions. your smoker will be completely assembled ready to go ready for seasoning in about an hour or less.
  • Masterbuilt Smokers are fuel-efficient. Mine uses propane only sparingly, so it’s more cost-effective to operate. It averages about 24 hours of smoking time on a single tank of propane, which is
  • It’s a sturdy unit that has a solid feel to it. It is made mostly of quality parts with the possible exception of the chip tray. But there’s an easy and low-cost way to remedy the situation (more on that later).

masterbuilt gas smoker

How Does the Masterbuilt Gas Smoker Work?

After assembling and seasoning, your smoker is ready to use. Connect the propane tank and place your wood chips or chunks in the dish provided (or in a suitable replacement). Turn the smoker up to medium in order to warm it up quickly and then lower the temperature. “Low and slow” is the secret to great smoking and it’s the mantra of grill masters the world over.

Be sure to fill the liquid tray. You can use water, apple,orange, or pineapple juice. Or try apple cider or balsamic vinegar. The possibilities are endless. Just remember that its the wood and the liquid that impacts flavours. To maintain consistency you need to make sure that the liquid tray is topped up and you need to add wood chips or chunks regularly.

The beauty of the Masterbuilt gas smoker is that you don’t have to stay glued to it. You just need to check on it once in a while and load in fresh chips or chunks when the time is right. Just preheat the smoker, place to meat on the removable racks, close the door and let your new Masterbuilt do its thing.



There are a few suggestions that I recommend:

  • Pick up a cast-iron skillet and use it in place of the wood chip tray provided. This will help ensure that the wood does not catch on fire and ruin your meat.
  • Don’t be alarmed by leaking smoke. The smoke needs to vent and the last thing you want is to have an airtight smoker. Use it as is and you can get great results right out of the box, after seasoning of course.
  • Whatever you choose – chips or chunks – be sure to soak them first. Minimum soaking time seems to be about 15 to 20 minutes. Soaking helps extend the life of your wood while preventing it from igniting.
  • Another tip is to line the bottom of your smoker with aluminum foil. What ruins more smokers and barbecues more than being left out in the rain and snow is the salt used to season your foods. This causes these devices to rot from the inside out and it really limits the number of years of service that an otherwise reliable smoker can provide.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I buy the 30 inch or 40 inch model?

Most buyers love the two doors and that’s currently only available in the 30-inch model. The larger 40-inch version naturally holds more food and allows you to smoke a full rack of ribs on a single shelf.

Should I use chunks or wood chips – which is better?

Use mostly chunks instead of chips. Chunks last much longer providing better overall value. Choose from Hickory, Apple, Cherry ,Mesquite or Pecan chunks – depending on the flavors you prefer with each cut of meat.

How do you keep temperature levels below 300?

You can regulate the temperature by setting the knob on the front of the smoker. If the temperature inside is too high, open the back vent. Another option is to reduce the amount of propane flowing from the tank.

What Buyers Most Like About the Masterbuilt Propane Smoker

1. It’s an affordable unit to both buy and maintain. It uses very little propane and produces delicious results. It’s easy to operate even for the first-timer.

2. The Masterbuilt Propane Smoker is more robust and seemingly authentic than electric smokers.

3. Consistently, this smoker does a very good job of smoking meats to perfection.

4. It’s well-designed for the backyard. Small and compact, yet spacious enough to smoke food for group events like family reunions and parties. With this smoker and a decent barbecue, you have what it takes to achieve mastery of the grill.

5. With the separate doors on the front, it’s very easy for anyone to use with just a little practice.

What Some People Don’t Like About The Masterbuilt 20051311 gs30D 2-Door Propane Smoker

1. Many buyers agree that the chip tray provided is all but useless. It’s too small and ineffective at what it’s supposed to do.

2. It would be nice if this smoker came with wheels, or at least legs that were pre-drilled to accept standard casters. Wheels would make moving it a whole lot easier.

3. A large rack of ribs needs to be cut in half in order to fit into the 30-inch smoker. A minor inconvenience for some. Not a problem at all for others.

4. The door thermometer seems inaccurate and maybe off anywhere from 10° to 25°. The recommended solution is to purchase a digital thermometer with your smoker and use it.

5. Packaging could be improved. Some units have been received with “shipping rash” – minor scratches or dents due to inadequate boxing and foam.

The Verdict

The Masterbuilt 20051311 propane smoker is an excellent backyard appliance for the price. It uses readily available and reasonably priced propane as its fuel. Its vertical design allows for efficient use of space and provides for effective smoking.

Having two doors (on the 30 inch unit) is very helpful. Most importantly, this is a smoker that delivers incredibly tasty food. By all accounts, this company provides excellent customer service and is interested in satisfying customers.

All in all, the Masterbuilt smoker is quite affordable and well worth the money. It’s a great starter smoker. But that’s not all it’s good for. Anybody who wants to smoke meats on a regular basis in their own backyard, from beginner to veteran, can easily do so with this handy tool. One reviewer mentioned that it’s good for anyone up to about the semi-pro level. That’s a wide range. But it proves just how useful this smoker can be.

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