posted November 19, 2021
Masterbuilt Gravity Series Review
Hey Grillers, hey! Today I’m here to give you an in-depth look at the Masterbuilt Gravity Series 800 charcoal grill and smoker. Masterbuilt chose trailblazing here with the first widely available charcoal-fed cooking system that is nearly as easy to use as a pellet grill. Follow along and see if the Gravity Series is the right choice for you!
Masterbuilt sent us this grill for testing and review purposes, however, all opinions are our own.
Masterbuilt Gravity Series Features
The Masterbuilt Gravity Series 800 packs a serious punch with these top-notch features:
- Heats to 225 degrees Fahrenheit in just 8 minutes, 450 degrees in 10, or 700 degrees in a measly 14
- 800 square inches of cooking space
- Cast iron grill grates, two porcelain-coated warming/smoking racks, and a heavy-duty griddle included
- 10 lbs of lump or 16 lbs briquette charcoal capacity
- WiFi and Bluetooth enabled controller with a count up/down timer, 4 temperature probe outlets, and one included probe
- Stainless steel foldable front shelf
- Removable grease tray for quick and easy cleanup
Masterbuilt Gravity Series Assembly
The Masterbuilt Gravity Series 800 was easy to assemble, albeit time-consuming. It took me about two hours from start to finish but I’m sure it would go a bit quicker with a helping hand.
A lot of the work goes into building the cart, shelves, and other accessories as the main grill body comes pre-attached to the hopper. Most of the internal pieces come with a coating of oil on them to protect them from rust, so make sure and follow the seasoning procedure recommended in the manual before your first use!
How to Use a Masterbuilt Gravity Series
When you’re ready for your first cooking session, getting this grill lit is incredibly easy. Let’s run through it.
Light it up!
- Open your hopper lid and ash door and remove the air intake slides between the main body and hopper.
- Load the hopper with your favorite charcoal. If you’re wanting to add some smoke flavor, place a fist-sized wood chunk of your choice about every 2 inches of charcoal as you load it up. NEVER use match light charcoal, fast lighting charcoal, or lighter fluid.
- Put your favorite fire starter in the charcoal grate behind the ash door and light.
- Wait 1-2 minutes and then set your desired temperature on the digital controller.
- Close the hopper lid and ash doors and wait until the grill gets up to temperature.
The Masterbuilt Gravity Series 800 is an absolute grilling muscle. With a 700 degree maximum temperature, this grill can go from slow smokin’ to a screamin’ sear within mere minutes!
The grill quickly gets up to 450 degrees which are absolutely perfect for your standard “burgers and dogs” backyard cookout, hot and fast steaks, brats, pork chops, or your favorite grillin’ items. Where it really shines though is how quickly you can go from a low and slow temperature to an absolute screaming hot sear.
For my first cook, I decided to reverse sear some choice New York Strip steaks that I found at the local grocery store. Nothing special. I ran the grill at 225 for an hour or so, until the steaks were about 15 degrees from medium-rare. Then I pulled them off of the grill to rest and started a timer. In less than 10 minutes, the grill was up to 700 degrees and ready for a sear. Those steaks went right back on for about 1 minute per side and the sear produced was absolutely beautiful!
The ability to go from low and slow to burning hot sear so quickly and easily has to be my absolute favorite thing about the Masterbuilt Gravity Series 800.
To say this smoker does its job well is a slight understatement. Set at 225, one full hopper of lump charcoal lasted about 9 hours for me in mid-40-degree outdoor temperatures. Load up your hopper with charcoal, placing wood chunks every few inches, and let ‘er rip! If you’re finding you need more smoke, you can add a wood chunk or two to your ash pail as you go.
This time I went with a nice rack of St. Louis style spare ribs, along with veggies for smoked salsa. I ran the grill at 225 degrees for around 5 hours and I was very impressed with the results. The ribs spent 3 hours in the smoke, one and a half hours wrapped up, and then another half hour or so with a glaze tightening upon them. When finished, they were very moist, had an incredible smoke ring, and were absolutely chock full of that smoky, wood, and charcoal flavor we all know and love.
One unique feature that the Masterbuilt Gravity Series 800 offers that its brothers lack is the ability to switch out your grates for a heavy-duty griddle. When I say heavy-duty, I mean it. The griddle is made from thick cold-rolled steel and fits perfectly within the grill. It’s nice and secure when cooking on it with very little side-to-side movement in any direction, and has a nice drain hole in the lower-left corner to help you get rid of the crud while cooking.
To use the griddle, all you need to do is remove your grates and switch out the grilling manifold inside with the griddle manifold. Masterbuilt was nice enough to include some hooks on the left side of the grill under the shelf to hang your grates/griddle when not in use and the lower shelf to store whichever manifold you aren’t using at the moment.
What We Like
Here’s our top three things we like about the Masterbuilt Gravity.
- The griddle. This inclusion takes the grill to a whole new level. Breakfast burritos? Yes. Smashburgers? You betcha! Versatility is important and this hits the nail on the head.
- Ease of use. Combining the ease of a pellet grill with the flavor of charcoal and wood chunks is a beautiful thing. The Masterbuild Gravity Series 800 lights easy, holds temperature very well and pumps out incredible food with immense flavor.
- Safety features. The grill has multiple safety switches located on the main lid, the hopper lid, and the ash door. The lid switch limits the grill to 500 degrees while open so it doesn’t get too hot and the switches on the hopper lid and ash door keep the hopper from burning up like a charcoal chimney.
What Could be Improved
Even though we love the Masterbuilt Gravity Series, there are a few improvements we feel could be made to make it even better and more user-friendly.
- Thin Metal Construction. I’d like to see build material that is a little thicker than what was used, but at this price point, I can’t expect more than Masterbuilt has given. This grill won’t last forever, but I am willing to bet you’ll get a solid 5-10 years out of it.
- Weak power cable connections. Be very careful with your power cable. There is very little strain relief where it enters the controller and the solder connections can be ripped off the controller circuit board fairly easily. I recommend using some zip ties underneath the controller shelf to give the power cord a little slack to help protect it.
- The app. I hardly ever use the WiFi or Bluetooth capabilities on the grills that have them. Unfortunately, when the app first connects to the grill it will turn the grill off for some reason, requiring you to walk back out to your smoker and physically turn the controller back on.
Pellet Grills vs Masterbuilt Gravity Series Smokers
Still on the fence about picking up a gravity-fed grill over a pellet smoker? Check out the side-by-side comparison video we did of the two to help you decide!
Masterbuilt Gravity Series Recipes
Now that you know all you need to know about the Masterbuilt Gravity Series, fire up the smoke and make something tasty! We recommend trying these popular recipes from Hey Grill Hey:
The Masterbuilt Gravity Series is a welcome addition to the grilling and smoking market. Combining the ease-of-use from a pellet grill with the undeniably great flavor and high heat of a charcoal grill is something I’ve wanted to see in a backyard BBQ hero setting for a long time.
It’s hard to find a more versatile cooker on the market with the Gravity Series 800’s feature set. I find that the pros heavily outweigh the cons here especially when looking at the capabilities this grill has with the small amount of space it requires on your back deck or patio.
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