The 560 is a game changer for charcoal grilling—and that’s not a title we bestow lightly. That Kingsford Original is $12.99 at my local grocery store -- $6 less than a 20-pound bag of Traeger pellets at Amazon or Home Depot, and $4 less than the same size bag from Weber. A product that has everyone discussing its merits like this can either be a set up for a let down or confirmation of our expectations. The app also allows you to turn the grill off remotely. In over a dozen cooks, I haven’t experienced this, and the problem doesn’t appear to be widespread based on user reviews. That’s about the same as what I’d get out of a bag of pellets: around two or three uses, not necessarily 10 hours. Naturally, this generates a lot of interest. We followed the instructions, opening the air-tight hopper and filling it with charcoal—we used natural hardwood briquettes, as well as hardwood lump charcoal. We might note here: While we appreciate and admire the novel design, it’s not necessary to understand how or why it works. If that’s not enough, Masterbuilt also has the Gravity Series 1050 for $800. The Takeaway: Masterbuilt just made charcoal grilling a whole lot easier with the 560 Digital. Just make sure the grill has cooled down before removing the ash. With the Gravity Series 560, Masterbuilt has designed a charcoal grill that gives aspiring pitmasters an alternative to wood pellets. Next we turned the power on, pressed the temperature button, and set the desired temperature with the dial. If you dismissed using charcoal in the past for the hassle and cleanup it demands, the speed and ease of starting the 560 make it worth reconsidering. There was still ample smoke flavor in the food when I did low-and-slow baby back ribs and pork shoulder. With a temperature range of 150 to 700 degrees, the 560 Digital Charcoal Grill is a remarkable multi-purpose backyard cooker—it will smoke as well as grill meat. The features list is mostly the same, but you get a folding front shelf, cord storage and those warming/smoking grates fold up so you can easily access the main cooking area at the bottom. The ease of ash clean up is another major selling point. We were impressed with the Masterbuilt 560. I used about two-thirds of a bag during my longest cook of seven hours, and got about three more hours out of remainder. But we didn’t run into any issues, and the electronics appear relatively inexpensive if a repair is required. The smoke ring wasn’t as defined as what I’ve seen on the Ironwood 650 or SmokeFire EX4, but it’s still there. It was so easy to achieve and so tasty. At $500, it ’s a considerable value compared to gas grills of similar size, especially when you factor in the versatility. The only thing you’ll have to clean is the grease collection pan. There are cheaper pellet brands, but those are the two I use most often. (Keep in mind that it’s important to watch for a couple of minutes to be sure it’s burning well before closing the door.) So now almost anyone can smoke and grill using charcoal with expert results. Like pellet grills, a fan helps maintain the desired cooking temperature. The ease of use, without much time required to get up to speed, and the versatility of being able to smoke low and slow—as well as sear equally well—are what elevate this grill above the rest. There’s one on the main grill lid too, and while that one doesn’t stop the fan entirely, it does alert the controller that you have the 560 open. The fuel and heat source are on the side of the cooking area, so the heat and smoke travel into the main chamber. If you’d rather go with pellets over charcoal though, there are several options for under $1,000. Popular Mechanics participates in various affiliate marketing programs, which means we may get paid commissions on editorially chosen products purchased through our links to retailer sites. We found this to be a nice temp, between a sear and slower cook, that gave our burgers a deep, brownish red color with dark grill lines. All rights reserved. Lighting the 560 was a fairly simple process. Instead of having to navigate through a menu with a rotating knob, each item has a dedicated button. Masterbuilt 560 Review – Is This the Future of Charcoal Cooking? With the Gravity Series 560, Masterbuilt has designed a charcoal grill that gives aspiring pitmasters an alternative to wood pellets. The company says you can get through 12-15 hours of use with a 16-pound bag of briquettes or 10 pounds of lump charcoal. There’s no step-by-step guidance or even the ability to send temperature info to the grill. During a few cooks, I double checked temperatures with the Smoke X2 and found the 560 was within three to five degrees of what I had set most of the time. Unlike Traeger or Weber, the app doesn’t let you know when a shutdown cycle is complete as the controller turns off immediately. The grill reached operating heats quickly, up to 700 degrees in less than 15 minutes. Masterbuilt has managed to take care of it all. Because of its higher temperature range, the 560 does a better job of searing than any of the pellet grills I’ve tested. The 560 is capable of temperatures from 150 to 700 degrees Fahrenheit. When it comes to connected grills, pellet models are all the rage. But if what you have at the bottom of the hopper is leftover from a previous cook, it will take an extra few minutes to get things going. In the case of the 560, you pour charcoal in the top of this chamber and a side door on the bottom gives you access to clean out ash and light the charcoal from the bottom. 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