Masterbuilt XL MPS 340/G ThermoTemp Propane Smoker
Updated 12-06-2021 – Dan Alvazrez
Vertical propane smokers make smoking food a lot easier than you’d expect. Reasonable price points, convenient use, and fantastic final results together make them one of the more popular smoker types on the market these days.
The smokers don’t need electricity, and their vertical design takes barely any space on your deck. Even a beginner pitmaster or home cook can quickly start cooking for friends and family. With the Masterbuilt 340/G ThermoTemp, smoking has now been made even more accessible.
How? Well, most outdoor cookers come with inbuilt heat estimators that tend to be inaccurate. Vertical propane smokers infamously utilize cheap, low-quality “thermometers” that end up being useless for cooking. These conventional gauges are prone to show temp readings that are inaccurate by 50-100°F.
There will be many a time where you’ll have to ensure your meats are smoking at a steady low temp for quite a few hours. So, you will have to monitor your cooking temp with an accurate thermometer device.
Luckily, the Masterbuilt MPS 340/G ThermoTemp XL Propane Smoker doesn’t have poor quality inbuilt thermometers. It doesn’t have a thermometer at all. In its place, the smoker uses a thermostat present inside its smokebox. The device controls the flow of fuel to the burners so that the set cooking temp is maintained.
In this review, I’ll give you an in-depth analysis of the grill’s features, pros, cons, and background. So, let’s get a better look at the Masterbuilt MPS 340/G ThermoTemp XL Propane Smoker.
Suppose you’re a smoke and grill fan like me. In that case, you’ll enjoy their solid work and American originality in combination with a family-friendly background. The production of quality is the antiquity of Masterbuilt. It started with Dawson McLemore as a household project, which eventually grew into a flourishing business.
Masterbuilt started making electric smokers back in 1973. The Christian family-owned company is one of the oldest names in the electric smoker industry. Their longevity and strife for patron satisfaction is something that many people appreciate to this day.
The company’s standard of quality is creating and producing the most innovative products in the smoker and grill industry. Masterbuilt smokers are built to aid you along your smoking journey, whether you’re a beginner or a backyard pitmaster pro. You just have to select the fuel type and then get started.
You get to enjoy specifications like inbuilt thermometers, patented wooden chip storage systems, and Bluetooth, as well as Smart tech. With all this, Masterbuilt has made cooking a thrilling experience. And it’s these features we’re going to be looking at in the Masterbuilt MPS 340/G ThermoTemp XL Propane Smoker.
Temperature control: The ThermoTemp’s thermostat is present halfway at the rear of its smokebox. It can sense cooking temps and will then transmit the information to the burners. You can set the temperature between 175° and 350°F, and the burners will maintain your set temp using the thermostat’s information.
You start the 340/G smoker up by pushing in the knob and picking a temperature. Push the electric ignitor button and observe the burner to see the ignition happen. Then, keep moving in the knob for 5 seconds to start a fire sensor that regulates the safety valve on the propane burner.
If the fire goes out suddenly, the valve will turn off the flow of propane to the burner, which is a handy feature to have on a windy day. On a typical summer day with room temp around 80-90 degrees Fahrenheit, you’ll get even hotter cooking temperatures. We checked the following with digital thermal probes:
Set temperature on the temp knob
Actual temperature from top to bottom
185° to 175°F
240° to 222°F
325° to 305°F
355° to 326°F
Just as you’d expect with a gas smoker, the ThermoTemp is usually warmer at the top. This variance in temperature between the top and bottom racks is still reasonable compared to that in other models. Also, a range of 180° to 350°F is quite impressive. Most other propane smokers have difficulty going below 250°F for slow smoking, while others can’t reach 325°F for more crispiness while cooking.
Design: Some vertical propane smokers just have one door to place the food at the top and the wood on the bottom. Unlike these models, the ThermoTemp has an individual entry for the higher and lower compartments, so you can load the food and wood chips separately.
While not vital, this feature lets you refill wood without affecting the cooking temp in the upper smokebox. The smoker’s doors lock shut using some heavy-duty hardware. Like other smoker models with a similar price tag, there is a lack of insulation in the walls or the door seals.
The upper smokebox contains four chrome-plated racks measuring 19.5 by 12 inches. Some propane smokers have multiple slots on either side so that you can position the racks at any height. The Masterbuilt MPS 340/G has fixed frames six inches apart. If you need to smoke a large turkey, you’ll probably have to take out a rack for more room.
You can slide the air damper close at the upper rear of the cupboard to keep in smoke and humidity. You then open it to let out moisture for crisping your food. An aluminum-steel water pot is present on a mount at the smokebox bottom. It also works as a drip pan while you make sauces and gravies.
The stainless steel tray for the wood chips is connected to the lower door, so you don’t have to remove it to change the wood chip loads repeatedly. Ensure you’re wearing gloves before removing the lid to put in fresh wood since it will get hot. That’s because wood chips will burn up fast.
The idea that is soaking wood chips in water prolongs smoking is a myth, so don’t fall for it. All it does is make a little steam. When the water evaporates off, the wood chips burn away rapidly. It’s better to use wood chunks to prolong smoke time instead. You can easily fit 4 to 6 pieces in the tray.
The smoker takes around ten minutes, after which the first smoke puffs start wafting around the area. With the temp knob set at 225°F for slow cooking, the wood can last around an hour before replacement is needed.
Cleanup: I learned something a while ago. It’s that smokers have windows. You need to clean them as often as possible. Otherwise, you won’t remember that the now black display was initially transparent. One slab of ribs will leave the window foggy and stained.
If you prefer to keep an eye on your food as it’s cooking, clean the windows, they should clean the windows before and after cooking. A minute with a paper cloth and a few sprays of Windex will clear it all right up.
Ribs: What better way to test a smoker than by cooking up some delicious ribs? Racks in propane smokers typically aren’t broad enough to host an entire slab of ribs. The shelves have a width of 19.5 inches. Even so, nobody wants their food pushed right up against the heated container walls where there’s a risk of burning and stopping airflow.
The usable cooking space width is around 18 inches. A chunk of baby back ribs can be as long as 20 inches long, so you may have to cut them in half. And if you have to cook small amounts of food, it’s best to use the warmer upper racks.
You can place the half slabs on the second topmost rack and monitor the cooking temperature via a digital probe. The weather manages to stay steady with barely any variance. So, you’re left with moist smokey ribs.
Some people like to suspend ribs and frankfurters from the top of their propane smokers, which is why some models have inbuilt hooks in them. The ThermoTemp does not have this ability, but you’re still able to hang your hooks from the top rack, 22 inches above the water pan.
Chicken: A large pair of chicken thighs will use four racks at 325°F to cook. If you want crisp skin, leave the water pan clear and open the back air damper completely. Try and keep your cooking as even as possible during this process. The top part will finish a few minutes earlier than the lower racks, but by the end, everything’s all well-cooked.
Pork Butt: You’ll want to slow cook at 225°F with a filled water pan. The pan works twice as hard, acting as both a drip and water pan. As with the ribs, the ThermoTemp’s consistent temp and ideal smoke give delicious results with barely any effort. Meanwhile, any drippings that miss the pan end up in a slide-out tray on the lower left.
Fuel: The Masterbuilt MPS 340/G has an appropriate LP propane container bracket that fixes the tank to its lower right, so you won’t need to manage the tank and smoker individually. A fuel gauge combined with the controller offers a rough idea of how much fuel is in the tank.
Even with such a helpful feature, it’s always best to have a backup propane tank. You wouldn’t like to run out of propane gas late at night as you’re having a 12-hour cook session. While the smoker’s bottom doesn’t get too hot, it should be kept on pavers or a mat when present in any area that can be affected by heat.
Safety: Masterbuilt keeps your safety a priority, with features like the safety valve that turns off the gas if the burner fire goes out. There’s also the regulator and fuel gauge to manage the gas safely and efficiently. That’s why you won’t have to worry about running out of gas suddenly with a half-cooked slab of meat and some hungry guests.
I can’t lie. The unboxing can be tedious. The ThermoTemp is the first smoker that may need some unpacking instructions because the product is packed like a Thanksgiving turkey. Once unboxed, though, the manual instructions are alright, and the setup isn’t too bad.
The only issue would be guiding the thermostat and its wire through a tiny, skewed hole. The good thing is if there are any missing parts, you can just call customer service, and they’ll send them over right away.
The company provides a limited one-year limit which doesn’t include rusting or paint finishes.
Pros and Cons
- Thermostat for more accurate temp control. Unlike other propane smokers with cheap thermometers, the ThermoTemp has a thermostat at the rear of the smoker to communicate with the burner system. This provides more accurate and steady temperatures.
- Comes with a tank connector and fuel gauge. The propane tank connects to a bracket on the smoker’s side, making it convenient to move the appliance around. The fuel gauge prevents you from running out of gas during a cook.
- Dual door access. If you want to use the chip tray, you just open the lower door without affecting your cook. The tray is conveniently connected to the door, making it easy to reload.
- Short warranty. A one-year limited warranty exclusive of cover paint or rust isn’t ideal, considering other cheaper brands such as Pit Boss now offer 5 years.
- Poor visibility while the door is closed. The glass door looks great but fogs up from moistness as you cook, so it’s not practical to check how the food is cooking.
The Masterbuilt MPS 340/G ThermoTemp XL Propane Smoker effectively provides groundbreaking use of thermostats a propane smoker at a reasonable price. This latest gas smoker from Masterbuilt offers a unique design with tons of cool features.
In my opinion, the most fantastic feature is the thermostat that controls the airflow to the burner while giving you a more accurate temp reading as you smoke your meat. While there is a more compact 330/G model that can save you money, the XL version is still the better option if you want to smoke a large amount of food for lots of people.
Will Masterbuilt get more creative and start a revolution of thermal control, not just for propane smokers but grills as well? Well, we’re keeping an eye out after this model’s release, that’s for sure.