Masterbuilt 20051311 Review: All-Round Elegant Propane Smoker

Masterbuilt 20051311 Review

Photo: Masterbuilt

What We Like

  • Generous 717-square-inch cooking space
  • 4 premium grilling racks
  • Easy push-button ignition
  • Efficient flame management system
  • Reliable temperature control

What We Don’t Like

  • Inner door liner is not very reliable
  • No cover included

Bottom Line

A reliable, easy-to-use and efficient smoker that is designed to offer cooking versatility to families that regularly enjoy smoked foods.


It is a joy maximizing on the cooking efficiency of the 20051311 without dedicated a lot of time and effort to the cooking process.

Thanks to the smoker’s excellent heat management system and hassle-free operation, you can sit back and relax as your food is cooked with the right balance of heat to support slow flavor infusion.

Masterbuilt 20051311 Review

Masterbuilt 20051311

Photo: Masterbuilt

Performance: Well-balanced with Enhanced Usability

Masterbuilt 20051311 offers just the right balance of performance and usability to make it an ideal smoker for all-round home use.

When you want to prepare medium or large food quantities, this smoker promises to deliver across all cooking tasks, especially because it is propane-powered, and gives you more control over the heating process.

It offers you a decent cooking capacity of 717 square inches, which means that even when smoking small food quantities, much of the space is being utilized. The heat and smoke are constantly directed towards the food.

When you want to feed a couple of people or a crowd, you can capitalize on the 4-premium chrome-coated racks, which provide robust space for you to get creative with the smoking process and styles.

The entire unit is capable of smoking a decent amount of food, and a wide variety too. And if the manufacturer’s promises are anything to go by, expect the smoker to accommodate 2 full turkeys, or 4 pork butts, or 4 pork rib racks, or 8 full chickens. You can always diversity your meals because space won’t be an issue.

Design: Standard for Ease of Access

The 20051311’s design assumes the standard rectangular tower shape with a large front door that gives you access to the main chamber.

Its design simplifies the process of loading and monitoring food as it cooks. And because each of the 4 chrome-coated smoking grills is retractable for easy access, getting food in and out of the smoker is pretty easy.

Also, with a smoker’s height of 36.81 inches, a lot of the sections you will be interacting with commonly are elevated sufficiently from the ground, especially the smoke chamber. Maybe it would have been more efficient to adopt an offset design for the heater and wood chamber, in which case you wouldn’t have to bend too much to access the heater’s control panel located at the bottom of the unit.

But we can appreciate the fact that overall, this unit is compact, and will not demand too much horizontal space if there’s not a lot of it available outdoor. 

On the smoke’s exterior, there are 2 a cool-touch wire handles that are very resourceful when you want to transport the unit or shift its positions. This handle remains impressively cool and it should not pose any burn risks even with extensive cooking.

Installation: Hassle-free and Fast

Like most of the other consumer smokers out there, the 20051311 is meant for outdoor use, where you can maximize on its robust features without any limitations of risks.

When installing this unit, assembly takes up the most time, although there are detailed and clear instructions to help you with the process. And because this is a propane-powered smoker, expect quite a handful of components that need proper installation for the unit to work properly.

Assembly requires turning the unit upside down and attaching all the components in the specified order. Take extra caution when assembling the control panel and the burner to ensure everything is firmly fixed. Propane can be hazardous if it leaks around flammable material.

Something worth noting during assembly is that the manufacturer recommends using the provided hose and regulator. Often, this is the case because such components are tailored towards the smoker’s specifications. While this is typically good to minimize any malfunction risks, getting their replacements when needed may be hard if they are brand-specific.

You may, however, need to get a cover for the smoker as this model does not come with one. Over-exposure of the metal components to the elements puts the smoker at risk of rusting.

Smoking Setup: Straightforward and Easy to Operate

After successfully assembling the control panel and burner box to the main unit, the smoking setup is pretty much done and ready for use.

Remember that the 20051311 is a water smoker so even before loading up the food and powering the unit up, ensure the water bowl is filled up and well-slotted into the cooking grate on the bottom.

The best smoking outcomes in terms of meat tenderness and flavor richness are achieved by ensuring the smoker door is constantly closed. Opening it only risks losing the temperature and smoke combination that transforms your meats and foods.

This model adopts a push-button ignition system on its control panel for easy and fast burner lighting. You won’t be wasting time on this process especially on windy days when lighting matches can easily turn into a nightmare.

A wise design choice was to separate the water chamber from the smoking chamber such that if you need to add water to make any related adjustments, you can do so without disturbing the cooking process.

If you take a closer look at the cabinet, you’ll notice a liner on its inner side, which is installed to keep as much smoke and heat as possible, inside. But it’s important to clarify that the liner is not a seal. Some smoke may escape from the chamber.

Heating: Efficient and Easy to Regulate

There are many features on this smoker designed to enhance the cooking process and make it more efficient. Because the smoker uses propane, temperature adjustment is easier and more reliable here.

The control panel on the bottom helps with temperature adjustments, it is pretty simple to use. Expect the smoker to hit temperature highs of 400℉ (210℃), which is more than enough for most of the foods you’ll prepare. It is recommended that you cure your smoker before first use, and periodically, by preheating it to 400℉.

Integrating the temperature gauge on the front door was an intuitive choice because it will always be in your line of sight, so glancing at it is almost automatic. The gauge will give you an accurate internal temperature reading all the time, and you can adjust the heat accordingly at the control panel.

While this model misses out on chimney that helps a bit with heat regulation, it does offer reliable dampeners for the same reason. Adjusting the dampener openings allows you to control heat and even smoking intensity. 

Heat transmission from the flame disk to the wood chamber is important. The smoker optimizes this process by relying on the patented porcelain-coated flame disk bowl to transmit the flame to the wood chips while insulating the burner from grease.

Cleaning: Straightforward and Easy

When it comes to cleaning your 20051311, you just only need to apply the best practices and this process should be fast, easy, and effective.

For the smoking racks/grates, ensure you clean them using a soft grill brush, which is gentle but effective and ensures no damage is done on the chrome coating applied to these components.

And because most of the surfaces that come into contact with food are almost guaranteed to have grease on them especially after repeated usage, it is recommended that you use a mild cleaning agent, which is effective in dislodging these oils and leaving the smoker ready for the next food.

Oven cleaners are not recommended for this smoker. Instead, and especially for the outer surfaces, simply use a damp rag to clean off dust and other dirt, regularly.

Price: Moderate, but with Great Value

For a little over $200, you are getting an efficient smoker that is also significantly greener than non-propane models. The heating performance of this smoker is proven, not to mention the reliability of this system given that propane does not intensify machine wear.

Also, it offers a lot of convenience in its ease of use. Push-start ignition plus the ease of cleaning the entire unit makes it very convenient especially for all-round home use when making the food should be the primary focus, not tedious setups, cleaning, or adjustments.

Its closest rival, the Cuisinart COS-244, may cost slightly less but offers low heating efficiency and without the convenience of push-button ignition


A reliable all-round smoker that promises reliability and excellent smoking outcomes for a wide variety of family meals. 

Expect the propane-powered 20051311 to offer the heating versatility needed to produce flavor-rich smoked foods on-demand and conveniently, through a simplified operation.


  • Product Name: Masterbuilt 20051311
  • Product Brand: Masterbuilt
  • Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 21.4 x 43.5 inches
  • Total Cooking Area: 717 square inches
  • Number of Cooking Grates: 4
  • Fuel Type: Propane
  • Main Material: Steel
  • Warranty: 90 days
  • Product Weight: 58.4 pounds

Key Features

  • Decent 717-square-inch cooking space for sizable meals
  • 4 chrome-coated grill racks maximize smoking capacity
  • Convenient push-button ignition for fast and easy starts
  • Porcelain-coated flame disk for efficient heat transmission
  • Easy-to-read integrated temperature gauge
  • Stay-cool handles for safe and easy smoker handling