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Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560 Review: Game-Changer?

10-Seconds on the Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560

Hard to start but this barbecue is spot on with it’s temperature regulation once it’s going.

A charcoal barbecue that regulates the temperature like a pellet grill? You don’t even need to top up the charcoal. And, it can smoke AND grill?

The Masterbuilt Gravity Series sounds great on the surface right…

But, does this attractively priced barbecue actually work well? Masterbuilt are primarily an electric smoker brand after all.

In this Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560 review, we put this automatic charcoal smoker to the test.

We’ll break down whether this smoker and grill combo is the real deal or just a gimmick you shouldn’t waste your money on.

Is it easy to use? Are there huge temperature swings? Does the WiFi work well? And, how does it stack up against the competition?

We answer these questions plus more as we walk you through our experience using this baby.

** Note ** The exact model that we’ve reviewed here is the Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560.

But, if you’re thinking of buying the Gravity Series 800 or Gravity Series 1050, they’re pretty much the same barbecue, just different sizes. So, all of the information here does apply to the larger models too. There’s a couple of minor differences between the models that we will discuss below.

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Table of Contents

The Quick Version of Our Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560 Review

Overall, we were surprised how good the Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560 Charcoal Smoker really is.

Masterbuilt have their place in the market, selling pretty cheap and average quality but still work alright electric smokers. So, we did doubt if they’d be any good at charcoal smoking. And, if they could pull off the whole gravity fed, automatic temperature regulation thing but, they really do.

Once you get the Masterbuilt Gravity 560 going (it has taken us up to an hour before), this barbecue gets up to temp quickly and keeps a very steady temperature throughout your cook.

There’s a bit of temperature variance across the grates. But, once you get to know where to put things on your barbecue, it won’t make or break your cook.

Whether you’re at low and slow temperatures or high heat, the Masterbuilt Gravity 560 manages to stay within a few degrees fahrenheit of your target. We’ve used it in cold weather, windy weather and of course on a nice day and you really are getting the precision you’d expect from a quality pellet smoker.

In terms of flavor, the Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560 doesn’t let off a super smoky taste running it on charcoal alone.

You can still get a good smoke ring and bark. But, if you want a stronger smokiness, add a few chunks of wood throughout your charcoal as you pop it in the hopper. The wood will smoke with your charcoal as it gravity feeds to the bottom of the hopper, giving you really great flavor.

Sliced brisket smoked on the Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560

Holding up to 10 pounds of lump charcoal or 16 pounds of briquettes, the pellet hopper is large enough that you’re not going to need to refill even for 12 hour smokes. And, it legit gets hot enough to grill and sear well.

Grilling steaks on the Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560 Charcoal Barbecue

The biggest area of concern when it comes to the Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560 is the quality of the build.

Masterbuilt do keep things affordable and this unfortunately means this barbecue won’t last forever. We do have a few areas where the paint is flaking from high heat that happened pretty early on. And, as Masterbuilt point out in the user manual, you do need to regularly oil the grates and the inside of the cooking chamber to prevent rust.

So, if you’re alright with a little bit more maintenance and are happy with the good price, average quality build then you can cook some great barbecue on this one.

With really reliable temperature regulation and the wide temperature range that truely lets you smoke or grill, the Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560 is a great buy for anyone who enjoys the charcoal flavor but doesn’t want any of the hassle.

Masterbuilt really have brought set and forget to charcoal smoking. And the WiFi works well too!

About Masterbuilt

Masterbuilt is a household name in the world of barbecue.

With over forty years of experience, Masterbuilt is what most people think of first when you say electric smoker. Their affordable yet decent product range has earnt them huge popularity, especially with beginners and those seeking hassle-free smoking options.

More recently Masterbuilt made a groundbreaking move by introducing the first gravity-fed set-and-forget charcoal smoker to the market. With it they aimed to redefine charcoal cooking with an impressively innovative product, the Gravity Series that’s reviewed here.

Basically, they aimed to combine the convenience of electric smoking with the flavor of charcoal.

About the Masterbuilt Gravity Series Charcoal Grills and Smokers

The Masterbuilt Gravity Series of Charcoal Grills and Smokers were the first set and forget charcoal barbecues to be brought to the market.

Using a gravity-fed charcoal hopper and a digital control panel that automatically and precisely maintains the set temperature, these barbecues give you the convenience of an electric or pellet smoker with the authentic smoky flavor of charcoal.

They’re an ingenious idea those who love the flavor you get from cooking with charcoal but don’t like the constant attention that charcoal demands.

And, if that’s not enough, Masterbuilt have also integrated WiFi into the Gravity Series so you can not only view the ambient and internal meat temperature of what you’re cooking. But, you can also change the barbecue’s temperature directly from your smartphone.

The digital control panel means you do need electricity to run a Masterbuilt Gravity Series Grill and Smoker. And, while everything is fully automated once it’s going, you do need to manually light this barbecue.

The 560 Digital Charcoal Grill and Smoker that’s reviewed in detail here is the smallest in the Gravity Series line up.

Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560 Digital Charcoal Grill and Smoker

There’s also the larger 800 Digital Charcoal Grill and Smoker which has a griddle as well. And, the largest 1050 Digital Charcoal Grill and Smoker too.

With the exception of the extra griddle plate on the 800 model, these larger smokers operate in the same way that the 560 does.

Features of the Masterbuilt Portable Charcoal

Construction:

  • Powder-coated steel body
  • Double sided smoke and sear cast iron cooking grates
  • Porcelain-coated steel top cooking racks
  • 560 square inch cooking capacity
  • GravityFed™ vertical charcoal hopper holds 10 lbs. of lump charcoal or 16 lbs. of briquettes

Ease of use:

  • 150 – 700°F temperature range
  • Digital control panel to set the temperature target
  • WiFi for remote control
  • 4 probe ports to plug meat probes in for internal temperature monitoring

Included extras:

  • 1 meat probe

Unboxing and Setting Up the Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560 Charcoal Grill and Smoker

The Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560 Digital Charcoal comes in one pretty big box.

Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560 Digital Charcoal Grill + Smoker in box

Ours was very well packaged. Everything was very neatly slotted in there and we didn’t have any damaged pieces.

There are a lot of parts though. I’d say more than most barbecues. Because of that, the Gravity 560 does take a while to put together.

On the plus side, the instructions are pretty straight-forward and you’re only doing this once. I’d set aside at least 2 hours to get the barbecue ready to be burnt in. You will need 2 people for at least some of the setup.

But, it’s actually not that bad to get it together.

We didn’t have any issues with hardware missing or pieces not lining up. The barbecue is pretty well made from that standpoint.

Once your Masterbuilt Gravity is built it’s time to pre-season it.

Seasoning it or burning it in is such an important step because it burns off any leftover unwanted residue from manufacturing and it helps to prevent rust.

To get the Masterbuilt Gravity 560 ready for it’s first actual use you need to run it not once but twice.

The first time you’ll pop about half a hoppers full of charcoal in, light it and run it for 60 minutes at  250°F (121°C). Then, you need to bump the temperature up to 400°F (204°C) and let it go for another 30 minutes.

Then, shut the grill down following the shutdown instructions, let it cool completely then oil the grates, charcoal grate and inside of the cooking chamber with a light layer of cooking oil.

Once that’s done, get the smoker going again and run it for another 60 minutes at 350°F (177°C).

Seasoning the Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560

Note – We seasoned our Lodge cast iron skillets at the same time as we did the smoker. The skillets don’t come with the barbecue but do give you a bit of an idea of how big the smoker is too.

You can check out Masterbuilt’s full seasoning instructions here. Or, watch the video below.

Most barbecues don’t need two separate cooks to burn them in. But, because this Masterbuilt isn’t made from top quality steel, definitely don’t skimp on the oiling or second smoke!

Skipping this step really increases the chance your smoker will rust sooner rather than later.

So, do it right and do it once.

Construction and Build Quality

As we touched on above, the Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560 Grill + Smoker went together really well.

The parts all fit where they should and Masterbuilt have done a good job of manufacturing it and packaging it so that everything is as good as it can be.

The quality of the Masterbuit Gravity Series 560 is pretty decent

But, like all Masterbuilt smokers, the Gravity Series isn’t a top quality product. They are after all, designed to be a more budget-friendly purchase.

The materials used are average. The steel is thin, you can see why it needs oiling as an extra preventative against rust and, overtime I expect this barbecue won’t look top notch.

Thin steel of the Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560 body

In saying that, for a Masterbuilt, I’d say that the Gravity Series is better built than most of their other barbecues.

The cart is fairly sturdy, the ash bucket is heavy-duty, the cool-touch handles are strong, and the quality of the all-important digital control panel is better than we expected.

Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560 Built and Ready for Seasoning

Inside, the cast iron grates are actually reversible. One side is thinner for smoking and the other side is thicker for grilling and searing.

They’re marked so you won’t forget which is which.

reversible cast iron grates on Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560 grill and smoker

The areas that aren’t as good a quality are:

  • The drip tray – the thin steel looks like it would rust if washed and left wet
  • The two large plastic wheels – be careful when moving
  • And the built-in temperature gauge that doesn’t even have temperature markings. You do use the digital control panel for a precise temperature reading anyway.
Plastic wheels on the Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560 Grill Smoker

If you like your smoker to give a really right seal, just be aware that out of the box, the Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560 will leak a bit of smoke around the cooking chamber door.

Smoke leaking from the cooking chamber door on Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560

There are rubber gaskets on the hopper and ash basket door so no smoke goes through there. And, there’s a felt gasket between the hopper and the cooking chamber. But, you’d have to fit a gasket around the cooking door if you want to make sure no smoke gets out.

You do not have to fit an aftermarket gasket though! Smoke leakage is minimal and you will still make good barbecue out of the box.

Overall, we’re impressed with how good a quality the Gravity Series is for what’s a pretty affordable, not so good quality Masterbuilt barbecue.

We’d expect it to last quite a few years for sure. But, don’t expect a super heavy duty grill. You will need to look after it properly to keept it in good shape.

Capacity

How Much Can You Fit on the Masterbuilt Gravity 560?

The Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560 has 560 square inches of cooking space.

This is made up of the 430 square inch bottom rack and 2 x 65 square inch warming racks that slot into above the main grill grate.

So, how much can you practically cook on the Masterbuilt Gravity 560?

Masterbuilt say their 560 square inches will fit 4 pork shoulders or 8 chickens or 21 burger patties. But, I reckon you’d struggle to get that much chicken on there. They’d have to be small chickens as would the pork shoulders.

This is a really large pork shoulder crammed a little close to a large rack of pork ribs…

And, in the picture below, you can see we did a medium sized brisket on the bottom grate with a very small pork shoulder on the middle rack and a small rack of pork ribs at the top.

But, just be aware that for one, you can’t use the top racks for grilling. And two, although you can smoke meat on the top racks, we find that the temperature is significantly lower than on the bottom racks. This means that anything on those top warming racks is going to take proportionally a lot longer than whatevers down the bottom.

It’s not a problem if you’re planning for it and are okay with those top ribs taking more than 6 hours to smoke. But, in general, we usually only smoke on the bottom rack only.

We do, however, find the top warming racks good for cooking your sides.

You can split the warming racks to use both levels. Or, you can sit both racks on the same level to create a larger single rack like so…

Steak and sides on Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560

Hopper Size on the Masterbuilt Gravity 560

In terms of hopper capacity, the Masterbuilt Gravity Digital Charcoal Grill and Smokers are quite good because you can literally just dump a bag of charcoal into the hopper and leave it there over multiple cooks.

Inside the hopper of the Masterbuilt Gravity Digital Charcoal Grill and Smoker

When you shut the grill down properly, it starves any remaining charcoal of oxygen so you can save any unburnt charcoal.

This is great to minimize wastage and running costs but it’s also just convenient. There’s no trying to work out how much charcoal you think you’ll use. And, you don’t need to check it mid-cook.

The Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560 can fit up to 10 lbs. of lump charcoal or 16 lbs. of briquettes.

Masterbuilt claim that this should last you anywhere between 12-15 hours of low and slow use and we’ve found that accurate. When you’re grilling over high heat, you’ll use more charcoal and shouldn’t get this long out of a single hopper.

What's the Difference Between the Masterbuilt Gravity 560 and 800 vs 1050?

The difference between the Masterbuilt Gravity 560 and Gravity 1050 is pretty much the size.

The 560 gives you 560 square inches of cooking space while the 1050 gives you 1050. But, the 1050 also has a front folding stainless steel shelf and a cord storage space.

The Masterbuilt Gravity Series 800 is a little different.

Yes, you’ve got 800 square inches of cooking space. But, there’s also a flat top griddle insert for an even better grilling experience. It’s the only model in the Gravity Series range with this feature. But, it’s also got the same folding front shelf and cord storage as the 1050.

Check out the chart below for all the differences.

Masterbuilt Gravity 560 vs 800 vs 1050

Starting the Masterbuilt Gravity Series Digital Charcoal Smoker

Starting the Masterbuilt Gravity Digital Charcoal Grill and Smoker is the only part of the process that’s not automated. You need to manually light the charcoal. And, unfortunately we haven’t found it as easy as they said…

So, when you’re using other charcoal smokers where you’re adding the charcoal every cook, you can get the charcoal started in a charcoal chimney and dump it in. It takes a bit of time but always works.

But, because you literally dump a whole bag of charcoal in the Masterbuilt Gravity’s huge hopper and you can shut down the grill, saving the charcoal in there for next time, dumping hot coals into the bottom of the hopper just isn’t possible.

Instead, Masterbuilt have created this little shelf. Push a few firestarters in there, light them, close the doors up and the flames will get the charcoal above going, in theory.

But, this smoker has literally taken us more than one hour to start on multiple occassions when we’re using our preferred natural firestarters!

With both lump charcoal and briquettes, getting that charcoal going was just so slow, even if we packed as many natural firestarters into the grate as we could fit (many more than in the first picture above).

So, we tried a few different lighting options.

Adding a piece of small hardwood kindling worked slightly better because the flame would burn longer but still meant we needed about 30 minutes to get the smoker going.

The only way we were able to actually get the Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560 going like Masterbuilt said was to use the super nasty, chemically firestarters.

As you can see by the photos, the regular firestarters put out a lot more heat than the nautral ones.

By forcing as many of these as we could in (the slightly larger size doesn’t fit into the slot very well), we could then close the doors and the charcoal would be lit first time around.

Our smoker would still beep at us and display the warning code that the charcoal had not ignited properly. But, after clearning the error code and checking the charcoal, it was in fact lit and the grill’s temperature would keep rising as expected.

Totally fine you’re alright with using a normal type of firestarter. But, if you do prefer natural, we’d recommend using a blowtorch or an electric firestarter to start this grill. It’s super frustrating to spend upwards of an hour trying to get the thing going when you just want a quick grilled steak.

After you’ve got the charcoal lit though, this smoker gets up to temp very quickly.

Masterbuilt state that it can reach 225˚F in 8 minutes or 700˚F in 15 minutes. We’ve found that to be fairly accurate with both lump charcoal and briquettes.

Graph showing the Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560 getting up to temp

Another thing Masterbuilt recommend you do before you get the smoker going is give the charcoal stopper a shake.

This will help any loose ash that’s caught on the charcoal to fall into the hopper.

We’ve found that especially when you’re trying to get the grill really hot for grilling or searing this step is particularly important! Give it a good long shake and really get rid of any leftover ash because it will stop your charcoal from getting hot enough and leave you wondering what’s going on.

Smoking Performance

The Masterbuilt Gravity Series claims to be a set and forget charcoal smoker but, I honestly didn’t think it would really deliver on it. But, set and forget it truely is.

This thing really does revolutionize charcoal smoking.

Once you’ve got it going you simply select the temperature you want to smoke at and it will do the rest.

Low and slow temperature showing on the control panel of the Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560

There’s absolutely no vents to adjust and the really large hopper means that unless you’re smoking really long and slow, you shouldn’t need to top it up.

Masterbuilt claim you can get 12 hours of low and slow smoking out of a hopper full of charcoal. We’ve done 8, 10 and 12 hour smokes at a variety of temperatures and have never had the charcoal run out. We simply make sure it’s full at the start of our cook and don’t think about it again.

And the temperature holds steadier than some of the best PID based pellet smokers we’ve used before as well.

Masterbuilt Gravity 560 temperature graph showing it holding a steady temperature

If you open the lid to add food, wrap or unwrap, the temperature will dip significantly as you’d expect on any barbecue and it’ll take a little while to get back up. But, it’s seriously impressive how tightly the Masterbuilt can hold the heat levels.

Here’s another graph showing a complete smoke of a rack of pork ribs we did on the Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560.

We used the MEATER Block to monitor the internal and ambient temperature to measure it against the accuracy of the smoker itself and the included meat probe.

The first two temperature dips were from us opening the lid. The first was to wrap the meat, it was open a while. And, the second was to add some sides to the smoker. The last dip was from removing the ribs from the smoker to rest as it reached it’s internal target temp.

We made no changes to the smokers temperature or setup during that cook. We turned it on, added our meat and came back at the end.

The brisket we did didn’t look as crash hot as it sometimes does but it was one of the best we’ve ever done. Delicious. Moist. Really tender. Full of flavor.

Brisket smoked on the Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560

One complaint we had about smoking on the Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560 is that there’s quite a large temperature difference between the main cooking grate and the top racks.

As you can see in the picture below, we did a whole brisket down low, then a small pork shoulder on the middle grate and rack of ribs on the top.

The pork shoulder and ribs took a lot longer than normal to cook and the ambient temperature up there was sitting a good 30 – 40°F lower then the temperature on the bottom rack as measured by the MEATER probes.

The temperature difference isn’t the worst thing. If you’re expecting it then you can plan for it. The ribs above finished at around about the same time as the brisket instead of being cooked earlier.

But, after a bit of trial and error on the Masterbuilt 560, we found we generally preferred using the top racks for sides instead of the main event.

Smoked mac n cheese on the Masterbuilt Gravity 560

Another thing we didn’t like about smoking on the Masterbuilt Gravity 560 is that we get a bit of charcoal ash blowing through the cooking chamber, settling on the meat.

Thin layer of ash sitting on the foil of wrapped pork shoulder on the Masterbuilt Gravity 560

We get this more when we use charcoal briquettes in the smoker, less when we use lump charcoal. And, we haven’t seen it be an issue when we’re grilling at higher heat. Just the low and slow temperatures.

Shaking out that charcoal grate in the hopper before you start and even mid-cook if it does get ashy seems to help to move the ash through the hopper into the ash bucket so the fans can’t blow it into the cooking chamber.

Charcoal tray and ash bucket at the bottom of the hopper on the Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560

In terms of the flavor you get from smoking on the Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560 Digital, it’s reasonably subtle for a charcoal smoker.

Smoke production is moderate as are the smoke rings and the meat definitely isn’t overwhelmingly charcoally. I really like it.

But, if you do prefer a smokier flavor or want to more of a woody depth, you can add wood chunks through the charcoal.

You’ve got to add them in to the hopper while you’re adding the charcoal to distribute them every now and then. There’s no way to immediately add a chunk mid cook. But, the wood chunks will gravity feed down to the fire along with the charcoal and definitely give you a deeper smoked flavor with a more pronounced smoke ring.

Grilling Performance

We were also plesantly surprised with how well grilling on the Masterbuilt Gravity Series Digital Charcoal Grill + Smoker went.

This thing gets HOT. And, just like when you’re smoking, you don’t need to do anything other than dial the temperature up to where you’d like it and leave it get there itself.

The sear marks are on point and you’ve got that great charcoally flavor without any of the hard work you usually get for it.

It really is as easy as grilling on a gas grill but the flavor is so much better!

As you can see in the picture below, there is a bit of a temperature variance from one side of the grill to the other.

Grilling burger patties on the Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560 Digital showing temperature difference between left and right side

The left hand and back side of our grill gives a little higher heat and any meat there cooks a little harder and faster than the rest of the cook. But, because you’re standing there watching and flipping your meat, we didn’t find it a problem to just shuffle things around to get a more even cook.

The flare ups also give you some direct flame to really get your grill on.

Flare ups while searing steaks on Masterbuilt Gravity Digital

Overall we’re very impressed with how the Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560 performs while high-heat grilling.

It’s as easy as advertised and the results are just as good as you’d expect from a regular charcoal grill.

WiFi on the Masterbuilt Gravity Series

By connecting the Masterbuilt Gravity’s WiFi to your home internet system and using the Masterbuilt app on your smartphone or tablet you can fully operate this grill remotely.

It’s not Bluetooth so you’re not limited to being within a certain range. Instead, you can see what’s going on inside your grill AND change the settings from anywhere that you have internet access.

Masterbuilt’s app works well too.

Connecting it is simple and worked for us the first time. You’re going to open the app and hold the connection button on the digital control panel and it’ll sync with your grill.

Connecting the Masterbuilt Gravity 560 to Masterbuilt app using WiFi

Once it’s connected to you set the grills temperature, see it’s current temperature, set timers and see a session graph of the ambient temperature the barbecue has been at for this cook.

If you’ve connected up the single meat probe that comes with the smoker, or hooked up 3 others, you can also see the internal temperature of each piece of meat the probe is in.

Screenshot of Masterbuilt app showing the current temperature and temp target

The Masterbuilt App definitely isn’t as advanced as something like the independent MEATER wireless meat probe app. You don’t get an estimated cook time and can’t label your probes.

But, what’s there works and works well. And, the basic information is definitely enough to help you to cook great food.

I think it’s enough to use as a complete solution. You don’t really need a separate meat thermometer setup.

There’s a whole tab that takes you directly to some pretty great recipes as well.

Recipes on the Masterbuilt App

Powering the Masterbuilt 560

Because it’s a digital charcoal smoker, you do need power to run the Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560 Grill and Smoker.

The grill comes with a regular wall plug. Simply plug it into your outdoor socket or run an extension cord from inside of your house.

The power is needed to run the digital control panel and heat regulating fans.

This smoker and grill will not work without power. We have tried it and it’s just not getting enough airflow to operate as an offline charcoal smoker.

Included Extras

The Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560 Digital Charcoal Grill + Smoker comes with the grill, reversible cast iron grates, heavy-duty ash bucket and 1 wired meat probe.

You don’t need to buy anything else (apart from charcoal) to use this barbecue to grill or smoke.

Optional Extras

It’s always a good idea to buy a grill cover to protect your barbecue from the weather. It’s well worth the cost!

Here’s a link to the Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560 Cover.

And, if you do want to use the other 3 meat probe ports you’ll need to grab yourself a pack of Meat Temp Probes.

That’s the boring accessories out of the way.

For the Masterbuilt Gravity Series smokers you can also get the really awesome rotisserie kit.

This kit fits any of the Gravity Series of smokers and can hold up to 20 pounds of meat at a time.

Yes, that’s enough to smoke a turkey making the Masterbuilt Gravity Digital Charcoal one of our favorite smokers for turkey.

Because the Masterbuilt Gravity Series can get so hot, it’s also perfect for pizza. There’s an Outdoor Pizza Oven attachment that reduces the cooking space and gives you a pizza stone too.

We haven’t personally used the Masterbuilt Pizza Kit. It’s got good reviews. But, if you’ve got the space and want something to do pizza, we’d definitely go an Ooni instead of spending the money on this attachment. If you’re interested, check out our comprehensive Ooni reviews.

Cleaning the Masterbuilt Portable Charcoal

The top racks are porcelain-coated wire so you can clean those in soapy water with no issues. But, because the bottom grates are cast iron, make sure that you thoroughly dry them after cleaning to prevent rust.

If you do get any rust on them, scrub the rusty bit with a wire brush and season again with vegetable shortening.

After each use you should empty the ash bucket once the ash is completely cold.

Then, you’ll also pop the drip pan and tray out and give those a clean. Just be sure to dry them thoroughly. The quality of Masterbuilt smokers isn’t crash hot and the components will rust if you don’t look after them properly.

Masterbuilt also suggest checking your grill every now and then, even when it’s not in use and has the cover on, to look for any moisture build up that could cause rust. Just make sure everything’s dry and treat any rust if you see any.

Warranty

As can be expected from a grill that’s not the best quality, Masterbuilt also have a shorter 1 year warranty.

If you look after your Gravity Series you should get much longer than 1 year out of it. But, unfortunately you don’t have that peace of mind that comes from an extended warranty.

Pros and Cons of the Masterbuilt Gravity Series

What We Like About the Masterbuilt Gravity 560

  • Versatility: The Gravity Series 560 has a wide temperature range and is very good as both a smoker, a grill, and everything in between.
  • Precise Automatic Temperature Control: The digital control panel maintains a remarkably precise temperature, giving you a true set and forget charcoal experience.
  • Fast Start-Up: You’re ready to cook within 10 – 20 minutes depending on how hotter temperature you’re using.
  • WiFi Connectivity: The built-in Wi-Fi lets you monitor and control the grill from your smartphone or tablet from anywhere that has an internet connection.
  • Great Flavor: Using charcoal and wood chunks if you want to gives your food a distinct but not overwhelming smoky flavor that’s very different to food smoked on a fully wood based pellet smoker.

What We Don't Like About the Masterbuilt Gravity 560

  • Average Build Quality: Although I’d say the quality of the Masterbuilt Gravity Series is better than a basic Masterbuilt electric smoker, this grill is suspectible to rusting. You need to keep it out of the rain, clean it regularly, and treat any rust early to make sure it lasts.
  • Short Warranty: The gril comes with a 1 year warranty which is the shortest you’ll get from any grill manufacturer.
  • Electricity Dependence: The digital control panel requires electricity to operate, you can’t use it when the power’s out.

Specs for the Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560 Digital Charcoal

Barbecue material: Powder-coated steel

Grate material: Reversable cast iron bottom grates with porcelain-coated steel warming racks

Cooking capacity: 560 sq. in.

Pellet hopper capacity:10 lbs. of lump charcoal or 16 lbs. of briquettes

Heat Range: 150-700°F

WiFi: Yes

Fuel type: Charcoal

Electricity required: Yes

Model: Gravity Series 560

Price guide: $$

Assembled size (in): 54 L × 24 D × 52 H

Weight: 147 lbs

Warranty: 1 year

Should I Buy the Masterbuilt Gravity Series Digital Charcoal Grill and Smoker?

The Masterbuilt Gravity Series of Digital Charcoal Barbecues are a great choice for anyone who:

  • Loves the charcoal flavor but doesn’t want to babysit a manual smoker
  • Wants a fully automated barbecue that’s easy to operate
  • Needs to be able to both smoke and grill well
  • Likes using their smartphone or tablet to view and operate their barbecue without having to buy a separate wireless smoker thermometer

What Other Digital Charocal Barbecues Should I Consider?

At the time of writing this, there isn’t a lot of choice when it comes to fully automated, set and forget charcoal grilling and smoking.

Remember, Masterbuilt brought this technology to the market with this Gravity Series. And, there currently isn’t a better quality, hardier version of this exact concept.

But, if you’re put off by the average quality of the Masterbuilt or some other aspect of it, here’s a few other options you might want to look at.

Kamado Joe Konnected Joe

  • Digital charcoal cooking in a kamado
  • Fully automated, including lighting the charcoal
  • Much more expensive than the Masterbuilt Digital Charcoal
  • Very good quality build

Z Grills Backyard Warrior 7002C2E

  • Set and forget smoking
  • Very precise temperature control
  • Lighter smoky flavor
  • Runs off of hardwood pellets, not charcoal
  • Similar price to the Masterbuilt Gravity 560

Learn more in our Z Grills range review.

FAQs About the Masterbuilt Gravity Series Digital Charcoal Smokers

The Masterbuilt Gravity Series of barbecues uses a gravity-fed charcoal system along with a digital control panel to maintain precise temperature control for grilling and smoking.

The digital control panel adjusts the built-in fan that blows air on the charcoal fire at the right rate based on how hot you want the grill. The charcoal simply gravity feeds down the hopper chute as it’s needed to give up to 12 hours of completely unassisted charcoal cooking.

Yes. All Masterbuilt Gravity Series Grills and Smokers need electricity to run the digital control panel and the fan. When the power is out there’s not enough airflow to keep the charcoal burning properly and no way to manually regulate the temperaure.

The maximum temperature typically reaches around 700 degrees Fahrenheit (370 degrees Celsius), making it suitable for high-temperature grilling.

Yes you can grill on the Masterbuilt 560. With a maximum temperature of 700°F (370°C), it gets well and truely hot enough for great grilling and searing.

Yes, the Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560, 800 and 1050 all have WiFi built in.

The Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560 has 560 square inches of cooking space split over 3 racks.

The bottom holds 430 square inches and is the only one that’s suitable for grilling and the top two racks give you an additional 130 square inches of smoking, baking or warming space.

Yes. The Masterbuilt Gravity Series of Smokers and Grills can run off either lump charcoal or charcoal briquettes. We have tested both and find the lump charcoal is a little easier to light and results in less ash. Here are our favorite lump charcoals to use in this and any other charcoal smoker.

Yes, adding wood chunks or large chips through the charcoal when you first add it provides an extra level of smokiness to the food you can cook on the Masterbuilt Gravity Series barbecues.

The Masterbuilt Gravity Series Grills and Smokers burn charcoal. You can add wood chunks for an extra smoky flavor. But, we don’t advise adding hardwood pellets to your hopper because they’re too small and will just fall through the charcoal grate.

Masterbuilt advertise that you can hit 225˚F in 8 minutes and 700˚F in 15 minutes on their Gravity Series of grills and smokers. We found it to be slightly longer than this. But, still very fast.

The hopper is the same size on the 3 different Masterbuilt Gravity Series Smokers. So, while one hopper full of charcoal should last 12 + hours on the smallest 560 model, you’re looking at about 8 hours of low and slow smoking before you need to add more fuel on the larger 1050 square inch model.

Yes, the Masterbuilt Gravity Series grill and smoker will work in cold conditions. But, it’s not at all insulated so, depending on how cold it is, the digital control panel might have a hard time reaching or maintaining such a stable temperature.

We have successfully used it in cold but not freezing conditions. Doing so used more fuel but, it was able to maintain a decent temperature.

It’s not advisable to use the Masterbuilt Gravity 560 in wet weather as the digital control panel is electric and might get damaged.

It’s also not advisable to leave your Masterbuilt 560 out in wet weather. It’s not great quality and is suspectible to rusting.

Jared Brown, an avid lover of all things meat has a fearless enthusiasm for experimenting with anything that's grilling, smoking or outdoor cooking. With a wealth of experience across a range different barbecue types, Jared's got a real knack for helping others make a decision they're happy with, ensuring they find the perfect fit regardless of conventional notions of the 'right' choice. This unique approach has made Jared a trusted guide in the world of barbecue.

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