Review of the Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560 Digital Charcoal Smoker

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The Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560 is the first hopper-fed charcoal barbecue with digital control.

I test a lot of grills, so seeing a manufacturer attempt something new is always exciting.

To be honest, I dislike charcoal cooking owing to the inconveniences it entails, so I was eager to see whether the Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560 could provide me with the simplicity of a pellet grill while still providing the taste of charcoal.

Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560 Overview & First Impressions

Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560 Digital Charcoal Smoker Review

The Gravity series is essentially a pellet smoker without pellets.

Let me explain.

You have a computerized control panel that allows you to adjust your precise temperature between 225 and 700 degrees Fahrenheit. For remote control, the control panel links to an app.

Instead of pellets, you put lump or briquette charcoal to the hopper. You’ll still need a fire starter, but the fan will regulate the burn rate and the temperature of the grill.

Depending on the temperature and circumstances, the hopper may contain enough charcoal for 12-15 hours of cooking.

We acquired the 560 model for our evaluation; however, there is a nearly similar 1050 model that has a lot more capacity but can only operate for up to 8 hours.

I could put two full racks of ribs on the bottom shelf and one on the top tier.

You could easily sear four large steaks at once.

Manufacturer specifications:

Cooking surface 560 sq in (430 primary + 130 warming)
Hopper capacity 10 lbs of lump or 16 lbs of briquettes
Shelves and storage Small side tray and open storage area
Meat probes One included (capacity for four)
Wifi/App Yes
Warranty 1 year
Price Check price at Amazon or BBQGuys

I was curious to see how well this approach worked in practice.

I’m pleased to report that the grill can maintain fairly consistent temperatures. Depending on whether you were grilling or smoking, the accuracy ranged from average to somewhat better. We’ll discuss our test findings later in the review.

The Masterbuilt 560 has some storage and prep facilities, although they are ordinary.

What I like

  • Simpleness of usage With the simplicity of digital controls, you can achieve charcoal grilling or smoking outcomes.
  • Temperature range tolerance Because most pellet smokers can’t reach close to 700 degrees Fahrenheit, this grill has an edge when it comes to searing.
  • tidy up Cooking with charcoal requires a lot of cleanup. The Gravity Series, on the other hand.
  • Temperature stability The fan and computerized controls keep the temperature stable.

What I don’t like

  • Tray for charcoal hopper The cutouts in the tray are too big, allowing too much charcoal to fall through. I discovered a decent hack to enhance this, so continue reading until the end of the review for that.
  • Build quality is average. I’ve already observed some paint peeling off after a few usage, and the materials utilized are plainly mediocre.
  • Warranty period is limited. A one-year warranty on a grill seems excessive. It makes me concerned that Masterbuilt will not support their new technology.

I’ve heard from other reviews that they’ve had malfunctioning fans; I haven’t had that issue yet, but it’s something to keep a watch on.

Being an early consumer of any first-generation product carries some risk.

I’ll go into more detail about my experience with this grill in the remainder of this review, but here’s what I believe in a nutshell.

If you are a die-hard charcoal griller who has discreetly glanced over the fence and admired some of the features that you saw on a pellet grill, then this grill is quite appealing.

It will not endure for decades, but it is less expensive than most other digitally controlled grills. Everything I made was delicious, and none of the flaws I encountered were deal breakers for me.

Packaging and assembly

The grill arrived in excellent condition. There was a lot of cardboard, foam, and transparent wrapping. I noticed no evidence of metal-on-metal rubbing of components.

This was not the simplest grill to assemble, but it was also not a nightmare.

Putting the fiberglass gasket between the hopper and the ash bin was a little difficult.

The grill took around 2 hours and 20 minutes to assemble, although you could definitely reduce this time in half if you had assistance.

Everything I unpacked was extremely nicely painted, and there were no gouges or spots with no paint.

While assembling a grill, I spend more time than most inspecting for bad manufacturing or material handling, but I saw none with the Gravity 560.

Everything fit together just as it should.

Design and build quality

For a grill at this price, I would say the material strength is average.

The majority of it is thin sheet metal, which is standard for many grill producers.

The grill looks to be somewhat durable, although not substantially more so than comparable grills.

With no real temperature marks, the temperature gauge does not inspire trust either. It’s more aesthetically pleasing since you can see the temperature measurement on the digital panel.

The side tray seems to be riveted on. That is a little alarming since it may break off if you pulled too hard.

Furthermore, those rivets may corrode one day, and the side tray may follow suit. The bottom storage compartment is rather strong.

The strength looks to be enough given the grill’s size and pricing.

The wheels utilized are ordinary. They are made of plastic and have a stronger plastic tread on the exterior.

They aren’t particularly heavy duty, but they seem to be durable and make the grill simple to move about.

Issues with the build quality

Some of the high-temperature black paint is flaking off the grill in strategic spots. Black paint is bubbling off the bottom of the hopper lid and right below the firebox shut off sliding plate in the ash drop location.

These parts will now need to be lubricated on a regular basis to prevent corrosion. The paint shouldn’t be peeling this early. If this is usual, the instructions should state to maintain those parts lubricated.

The ash drop door’s one-piece rubber seal also seems to adhere to the metal it shuts against after a cook.

This is the part closest to the fire, and it is also where the ends of the one-piece seal are fused together.

My assumption is that the adhesive that holds the two ends together can’t withstand the heat, so every time the grill gets hot enough, it partly melts the glue.

I don’t understand why the bonded portion couldn’t be installed at the BOTTOM of the door, away from the flames.

It’s not as simple as pulling the rubber seal and sliding it around the door frame.

Cooking on the Gravity 560

I intended to put this grill through its paces in a variety of cooking conditions. I smoked three racks of ribs to put the low and slow skills to the test. In addition, I’ve grilled steak and pork chops.

Ease of operation

I’ve never used a smoker before. This was the most basic charcoal grill.

  1. Fill the hopper with charcoal
  2. Light a fire starter block in the beginning area.
  3. Three minutes later, I shut the door. Turn on the grill to your desired temperature and walk away.

How simple is that?

After cooking a variety of dishes, I can confidently state that the grill operates just as stated. The temperature regulation is quite precise. It keeps the grill temperature you specify.

It was as effective for searing steaks as it was for cooking chicken thighs at lesser temperatures.

Using the app

Wifi and Bluetooth are used to link this grill to the Masterbuilt app.

As far as Apps go, this one is about average.

It sometimes seems to have connection troubles, but it is much superior than others I have tried.

It has some nice features, but it lacks rationale.

For example, if you specify a temperature for the meat probe, the alarm will sound when it reaches that temperature.

However, if you try to modify the temperature and reset the alarm, it will not allow you to do so.

I had to shut the app off and start over.

This is inconvenient if you want to conduct a reverse sear where you first aim for 110F and then raise the heat to 135F.

5 stars in the App Store.5 on Google Play and 1.7 on the App StoreOthers seem to have had similar experiences to mine. The app Masterbuilt has a rating of 1.8.

Ease of Cleaning

When compared to other charcoal grills on the market, this one is a breeze to clean.

All of the ashes fall into a tray, which you may remove and discard.

To clear anything that has dropped down from the grates, a full-size grease pan slides out from the rear of the grill.

To gather general grease for simple disposal, a smaller grease tray connects to the grease pan. The cast-iron grates are simple to maintain.

Grate performance and quality

For me, the grates were a mixed bag. I was pleased with how effectively the cast-iron seared.

But to prevent them from rusting, I had to bathe them with oil many times, considerably more than I had to on other cast-iron grates.

I’m not sure why they’re different. I’m a bit concerned about how long they’ll survive and how much supervision they’ll need.

In case you were wondering, I prepared some pork ribs. They were delicious and juicy.

Testing the Gravity 560

Every grill I examine goes through several typical testing to assess how well it performs in a variety of areas.

Come up to temp speed test

According to Masterbuilt, this grill can reach 225°F in 7 minutes and 700°F in 13 minutes.

I am pleased to report that Masterbuilt stands by their statements. I really reach 700F in little under 12 minutes.

I measured temps as high as 737F on many occasions, so it’s fair to say this grill can sear.

Temperature accuracy test

I used my ThermoWorks Signals to compare the temperature differential between what I set the grill control to and what was recorded over the grill surface.

I took the following measurements at various temperatures.

Grill set to Left side Middle Right side
225°F 217°F  227°F 211°F
350°F 347°F 397°F 368°F
400°F 391°F 428°F 396°F

As you can see:

  • At lower temperatures, the actual gill temperature accuracy was off by 010 in the center of the grill.
  • At higher temperatures, the actual gill temperature accuracy was off by 047 degrees in the centre of the grill.

It’s worth noting that the temps SEEM to stabilize the longer the grill remains at a certain temperature.

This performance is above average for a charcoal barbecue, in my opinion.

Modding the hopper base tray

The hopper base tray, which retains all of the charcoal, was my only complaint about this burner.

As the cut outs are burnt, ash and small fragments will fall through the apertures and into the ashy bucket.

The problem I experienced was that full briquettes and significant bits of lump would still fall through on a regular basis.

After cook sessions, I noticed myself tossing away a lot of pieces.

The image below shows how large briquettes may fall through.

So I rectified this problem by inserting chromed metal rods approximately an inch in diameter into the center of each cutout.

They are only kept together by strain. For the rods, I utilized some extended hot dog cookers I purchased at the local grocery shop. It’s inexpensive, straightforward, and, most importantly, it works!

Masterbuilt should address this in the future.

Should you buy the Masterbuilt Gravity 560?

The smoker is intended for folks who desire the flavor of charcoal cooking without the inconveniences.This barbecue

So can you have your cake and eat it too?

The Masterbuilt Gravity Series is an intriguing offering that should appeal to a wide range of people.

Masterbuilt deserves credit for inventing rather than just producing another Traeger clone.

Everything I made was delicious, and none of the faults I discovered were deal breakers.

That said, I’m concerned about the build quality. Cheaply constructed grills may be a major hassle, especially when electrical components are involved.

If you don’t mind taking that chance and taking care of the grill and keeping it out of the weather, I say go for it.


How long does charcoal last in Masterbuilt 560?

Instead of pellets, you put lump or briquette charcoal to the hopper. You’ll still need a fire starter, but the fan will regulate the burn rate and the temperature of the grill. Depending on the temperature and circumstances, the hopper may contain enough charcoal for 12-15 hours of cooking.

How long does it take for the Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560 to reach 700 degrees?

The control panel lets you to regulate the cooking temperature with a twist of the knob from 150° to 700°F. Once the doors are closed and the fan is turned on, Masterbuilt says it will achieve 225°F in 7 minutes and 700°F in 13 minutes.

How long does the Masterbuilt 560 burn for?

It’s perfect for Masterbuilt® Gravity Series® and other charcoal cooking devices. How long will it stay in the hopper? Depending on temperature, it may last up to 15 hours in the Gravity Series® 560, 12 hours in the Gravity Series® 800, and 8 hours in the Gravity Series® 1050.

How long does charcoal last in a Masterbuilt smoker?

Set the temperature on the digital control panel or your smart device, and the DigitalFanTM will keep it there. For up to 13 hours, the charcoal tray may contain 16 pounds of briquette charcoal or 12 pounds of lump charcoal. Masterbuilt can help you master the technique of charcoal smoking.

Can you leave a charcoal smoker on overnight?

Even during a few hours, a charcoal smoker should never be left alone. This is due to the tool’s susceptibility to weather fluctuations. Strong winds might cause the coals to become unstable, resulting in a fire or explosion. If the smoker is left unattended, heavy rain might produce similar problems.

How often do you replenish charcoal in a smoker?

You’ll need to replace the charcoal and wood chips every hour, and make sure the water pan has at least 2 inches of liquid in it. Before using your smoker for the first time, read the manufacturer’s instructions for seasoning it. Some versions may need you to burn off the manufacturing grease.

Can you use lump charcoal in Masterbuilt gravity?

Lump charcoal is more expensive than briquettes, but it provides an entirely new and one-of-a-kind charcoal grilling experience. If you’re cooking on a Gravity Series® barbecue or want to test lump charcoal on your favorite charcoal barbecue, we suggest Masterbuilt Lump Charcoal.

How much meat can fit on Masterbuilt 560?

Food Storage:

Masterbuilt claims that its 560 model can cook four racks of ribs at once when utilizing the provided grilling grates. That equates to around 8 birds or 21 burgers at a time.

Can the Masterbuilt 560 get wet?

The Masterbuilt 560 is not water resistant. The kettle’s cover shuts on top rather than behind it, enabling rainfall to enter the kettle. It’s not much, but dampness paired with cast-iron grates is a bad combination.

Do I need to put water in my Masterbuilt smoker?

There are many reasons to fill the smoker water pan. Water may be used to assist regulate the temperature of a smoker. If it’s freezing outdoors, you may add hot or boiling water to the pan, which will help the smoker heat up faster.


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