The Masterbuilt 560 Gravity Grill and Smoker is a pretty cool new product for 2020 that I think is going to be a massive hit. While the first impressions on this grill are pretty strong folks have a lot of questions about how it works, dimensions and reliability. I’ll do my best to clear up as much confusion as I can!
Here is a quick “hands on” first touch walk through for this grill.
How Does the Masterbuilt 560 Work?
The operational concept for the grill is stunningly simple. You fill the charcoal hopper on the right side of the grill and light the charcoal at the base. A digital control measures the temperature inside the grill and regulates the air flow to the lit charcoal with a fan to either increase or decrease the temperature to the target set point.
The grill has a temperature range of 150-700F. Masterbuilt advertises that the grill will reach 225F in 7 minutes and 700F in 13 minutes.
You can use either briquettes or lump charcoal in this grill but it is critically important that you do NOT use “Ready To Light” charcoal such as MatchLight. The hopper will hold up to 16 pounds of Kingsford briquettes. When you are done using the grill you will need to insert the Heat Intake and Air Intake sliders to choke off the air to the burning charcoal so the unused briquettes can be used in future cooks.
Depending upon factors like target smoking temperature, ambient conditions, quality of charcoal, etc. you can expect at least 10 and up to 15 hours of Low and Slow smoking. You can add smoking wood to the ash bucket and the hot embers that fall on the wood chunks will cause the wood to slowly burn and provide smoke. Alternatively you can add chunks of wood into the hopper with the charcoal but the wood will burn hotter and faster producing less smoke.
The grill utilizes a heat manifold to disperse the heat from the right side of the grill to the left. I haven’t seen anyone create a temperature map on the grate but the few videos I have seen make it look like the heat is distributed relatively evenly.
The grill comes with a meat probe thermometer and can be controlled with your phone via WiFi/Bluetooth.
FAQ About The MasterBuilt Gravity Fed 560
How Big Is The Grill?
The grill has a footprint of 24.65 x 53.39 x 52.24 inches and weighs in at 148 pounds.
The grill has a 560 square inches of grilling space but the distribution of the space between the primary cooking grate and the elevated grates is unclear. One YouTuber reported that the lower grate dimensions are 22.5 x 14.75 inches which would result in 332 square inches for the primary grate and 228 square inches for the elevated grates. However, the specifications that Home Depot provides states the lower grate is 430 square inches and the elevated grates are 130 square inches. I suspect the YouTube values are correct.
Speaking of grill grates, Masterbuilt has thrown a goofy gimmick into the mix. Apparently the primary grill grates are reversible and you should use one side for Searing and the other side for Smoking. Umm…okay.
Can You Add More Charcoal While Cooking?
There are a variety of safety mechanisms on this grill that are designed to keep you from burning yourself up. Masterbuilt recommends that you not refill the charcoal hopper while the grill is operational as flames can come out of the top when the lid is removed. However, if you must add charcoal they suggest you do so when the grill temperature is 250F or lower.
When you open the latch to the hopper or to the ash basket the blower fan automatically shuts down so it won’t blow flames at you. A related safety feature is that if the grill is running hotter than 500F and you open the lid then the grill will cycle down so you don’t get exposed to flames. Once you close the lid the grill will return to target temperatures.
What Is The Quality?
It is hard to make any definitive statements about the long term durability and quality of the grill.
The grill only carries a one year warranty which is troubling but is pretty standard for Masterbuilt products. Reviews on Amazon indicate that assembly can be a pain in the neck but once the grill is put together it runs great.
The grill comes with WiFi/Bluetooth control but it sounds like the app is pretty glitchy.
Here is a snapshot of the customer reviews for the 560 Gravity that have been posted at the Home Depot website. Those reviews look pretty dang solid to me!
Here is a snapshot of the customer reviews that have been posted on Walmart’s website. The single 1 star review was from a customer who received a grill where the control thermometer inside the grill was busted.
Between Walmart and Home Depot there are 80 reviews and overall they look pretty positive. The reviews for this grill on Amazon are very similar to the ones from Walmart and Home Depot.