BRADLEY SMOKER | "Taste the Great Outdoors"

Bradley Smokers => The Digital Smokers (BTDS76P & BTDS108P) => Topic started by: Rob in WA on May 11, 2006, 02:14:05 PM

Title: Digital or Original?
Post by: Rob in WA on May 11, 2006, 02:14:05 PM
I was all set to buy a digital until I ran across this forum and read about the problems w/keeping the temperature even in the digital.  Is this a problem w/the original?  Should I save my money and buy an original or go for the digital?

Title: Re: Digital or Original?
Post by: iceman on May 11, 2006, 02:31:45 PM
Welcome to the forum Rob. Do what ever you want. Your going to have to fiddle with either one a bit to get things going right. It's no big deal. Just depends on how much of a "I gotta have the new gadgets" syndrome you have. There is naturally more input on the old style units because of the exposure. Things are way to new IMO to be judging the latest models. Have fun. :)
Title: Re: Digital or Original?
Post by: Rob in WA on May 11, 2006, 04:15:32 PM
I've read your posts in the other thread Rat, that's why I'm thinking maybe I should just buy the original.

I'm not really into having new gadgets, I'm just wondering if the extra $100 is worth it for the digital.

Title: Re: Digital or Original?
Post by: Arcs_n_Sparks on May 11, 2006, 07:55:27 PM
Rob in WA,

The original BS has a rheostat control; constant power input. This means you may have to tweak it (over time) to reflect the food loading and the fact that the food starts increasing in temperature from when you put it in. Door opening and closing, changing water, etc... also affect the heat balance. Most users get use to these affects and become quite adept at adjusting the slider a few times to settle in.

A number of users have built their own temperature controllers to do this; usually PID controllers. Some have used off-the-shelf components (most), and a few have built them from scratch (me, since I am a glutton for punishment).

Bradley incorporated a closed-loop controller in their new digital smokers. What is not clear (at least to me) is the various control parameters of the new controller, and how well it maintains temperature. The control loops usually get tuned to a particular set of circumstances. Thus, if you run the unit with no food (a heat sink), you will get different performance than a fully loaded smoker (a large heat sink). Opening and closing the vent also will affect the heat balance quite a bit, and thus the control loop performance. An aggressive control loop will have overshoot and settling time evidence. A conservative loop will have an underdamped response and longer time to reach setpoint. In addition, there appears to be a time-out issue (which I would consign to the law of unintended consequences: a well intended safety feature that collided with real-world smoking).

What you see is anecdotal evidence from a few users on their experience (which is either good, bad, or ugly). Of course, us anal-retentive engineers would want to know a lot more about the circumstances of their experience, and how it relates to the design (especially me, since I am prototyping a PID controller for the original BS, and would actually like to give a few to my friends without it blowing up in my face).

So I will follow iceman's comments and welcome you to forum. This is a great place to learn a lot and exchange ideas with fellow smokers. It's a great crowd....

Arcs_n_Sparks
Title: Re: Digital or Original?
Post by: Rob in WA on May 11, 2006, 09:59:41 PM
Wow guys, great info and thanks for the welcome.  It sounds like there's still a few bugs to work out on the digital.  They had an original in town for a good price and I've got 40 lbs of Black Cod (Sable Fish) right off the boat from Alaska that I can't wait to smoke, so I went ahead and bought it.  I'm a professional chef so I'm not too intimidated by the learning curve.  If there is a reliable temperature controller out there as an add-on I'd be very interested in it though.
Title: Re: Digital or Original?
Post by: manxman on May 12, 2006, 01:37:45 AM
Welcome to the forum Rob in WA, to me arcs n sparks and iceman summed things up very well and I think you have made the best decision at this moment in time.

I am sure forum members would be very interested in your views and comments on the quality of the food you get from your BS, you being a professional chef and all that. :)
Title: Re: Digital or Original?
Post by: iceman on May 12, 2006, 09:06:25 AM
Rob, let me know how and what you do to the Black Cod. Myself (and probably Kummok) end up with tons of it each season up here in Alaska. I've never tried smoking it (always thought it would be to oily ).
Title: Re: Digital or Original?
Post by: Oldman on May 12, 2006, 09:52:39 AM
Quote
Rob, let me know how and what you do to the Black Cod. Myself (and probably Kummok) end up with tons of it each season up here in Alaska. I've never tried smoking it (always thought it would be to oily ).
Strange, but about the only fish I ever smoke is mullet or once in a while a mackeral and they are oily. 

Seeing how I have never seen a cod...let alone one that is called black I googled this image:
(http://www.daveharasti.com/favpics/slides/Black%20Cod.jpg)
Now is this a regular cod, or is this different? Other than coloring it looks almost like a gag grouper to me. Which is a darker meat fish. In the Gulf we have serveral types of grouper.

Gag Grouper
(http://www.myweb.cableone.net/captscott/pics/fish/grouper%20text.jpg)

Black Grouper
(http://www.reelbusycharters.com/fishimages/grouper.jpg)

Nassau Grouper
(http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/fish/Gallery/Descript/NassauGrouper/nassaugrouper.JPG)

Red Grouper
(http://www.b-love.com/images/Red%20Grouper.jpg)

Now there are several more types of Groupers here... However, the best Grouper is the one between the slices of a bun~~~~
(http://www.jbhooks.com/grouper.jpg)

Now the cod we get here in the stores is a white fish. Not oiley.  So someone post a picture of what is a cod in your area.


Quote
I guess i cant reply here.  :'(  RIGHT OLDMAN
You could have answer the question. You could have stated facts about the 6 rack that you have or had, and you could have started facts about the 4 rack that you posted about yesterday.  Instead it seems you want to start a flame war... I suggest you don't.
Olds
Title: Re: Digital or Original?
Post by: Oldman on May 12, 2006, 10:50:30 AM
Quote
Your wrong olds and this is going to end right now.No flamming no bashing no na da just a nice smoke .Be well my old friend and stay cool .
Fair enough.
Title: Re: Digital or Original?
Post by: Rob in WA on May 12, 2006, 03:24:49 PM
Black Cod is very different then "normal" cod, it is very oily.  It's not really even in the cod family, it's also known as sablefish.

Here's what it looks like after it's been caught:

(http://nrimp.dfw.state.or.us/MRP/images/species/sablefish.jpg)

and here's how it looks in the smoker:

(http://members.rennlist.com/robinwa/Codsmoke.jpg)


I'm just just trying one fish today to see how it goes, I'll report back tonight or tomorrow as to how it turns out.  This is my first time smoking anything in the BS.  I brined it in salt, soy, molasses, brown sugar, lemon pepper, garlic and ginger for about four hours.  I'm using hickory to smoke it with and trying to keep the temperature around 135.  I'll increase the temp. in a few hours to 170.  I don't know how long I should smoke it for, I'm think 5 or 6 hours?
Title: Re: Digital or Original?
Post by: IKnowWood on May 12, 2006, 09:18:00 PM
wow!!  Looking at that fish, the fins, the profile of the back fins and form,  that looks like a fun fish to bring in.  Power and Flight. 

now Rob, one thing that concerns me in your picture of the fish in the smoker is the vent.  it looks closed and you have some flow-back in the Generator.   That is not good.  It can cause major issues in the smoke generator.  I do not know how open the vent needs to be, but I do know you do not want smoke coming out from the seal of the Generator and the Smoke Box.

Otherwise,   how was the Sablefish..
Title: Re: Digital or Original?
Post by: Oldman on May 13, 2006, 04:01:46 AM
Thanks for the image. I google this:

Quote
Sablefish
 

a.k.a.: Alaska cod, black cod, butterfish, coalfish, sable, skilfish

Waters:Pacific Northwest coast

Description (in water): Though it's often referred to as Alaska or black cod or butterfish, the sablefish is actually related to neither. Most of these long, slender black fish range from 1 to 25 lbs. (they can grow up to 100 lbs.).

Description (in market): The white meat of the sablefish is fine-textured, oily, and succulent. The flavor is rich and distinctive; the fat content is high. The skin is edible.

Sold as: Whole, fillets, steaks; smoked

Best cooking: Sablefish can be baked, poached, broiled, grilled (use a grill basket), or pan-fried. Whole fish (or large fillets) can be roasted with the skin left on.

Buying tips: Whole specimens should look alive, be well iced and smell of seawater. Fillets and steaks should have pure white skin that glistens and is free of browning and signs of drying.

Unlike most oily fish, sablefish freezes well; in fact, it is standardly shipped frozen from Alaska to markets across the continental U.S.

Substitutes: Salmon, blackfish, grouper, mackerel, monkfish, sturgeon

Notes: Smoked sablefish, usually marketed as just "sable" has been an American Jewish-deli favorite for decades.

I knew it looked like a grouper, now it seems it can be a substitute as well. Interesting. One day I will have to get me some and smoke it.

Thanks again,
Olds
Title: Re: Digital or Original?
Post by: Rob in WA on May 13, 2006, 03:16:52 PM
Inknow: Thanks for the tips, I'll keep an eye on that.

Olds:  Nice site you have there, good info. I took your advise and threw a chicken on last night, easy and tasty.

The Black Cod didn't turn out so good, 5 hours wasn't enough.  I just put it back in, I'm thinking it may need another 3-5 hours.  What little we tried was also very salty.  I did 1 cup salt to 7 cups water, plus soy and the other spices I added.  I will have to play w/the cure next time.
Title: Re: Digital or Original?
Post by: IKnowWood on May 13, 2006, 06:11:41 PM
Rob, you have now realized what it means to be a Food Smoker and experimentation that evolves in the Bradley world of cooking. Knowledge + Experiences = Good Eats   (note I say Experiences [ with 'es'] instead of experience, you learn by doing how to work with what you got)

when you get hooked its fun to learn.   just need to balance the rest of your life to not go to intense. 
Title: Re: Digital or Original?
Post by: Oldman on May 13, 2006, 06:58:04 PM
Rob glad they turned out ok. Next given that the fish you are smoking to be somewhat oiley  I might suggest you check out some of the recipes for salmon. There are 10 of them listed. All tested and proven by the members.
Olds
Title: Re: Digital or Original?
Post by: Suds on May 22, 2006, 11:41:06 AM
I am brand new to smoking and I just purchased a new 4 rack digital (hasn't shipped yet), so I hope it's a good system.

I bought a cheap $99 dollar smoker from Canadian Tire last year and loved the food (smoke salmon) but I had to replenish the wood every 50 minutes which was a real pain in the toot and there was no temperature control.  I am really looking forward to trying the new BSD4 (Bradley Smoker Digital 4 Rack) and learning all the secrets to making great smoked salmon, and for the first time making Texas style Brisket (which I have never had but have seen on TV programs) and smoked turkey.

Cheers,

Suds
Title: Re: Digital or Original?
Post by: Oldman on May 22, 2006, 03:05:15 PM
Welcome Suds,

I cannot say about the 4 rack digital myself, but there was a posting about it that said good things. I take it you are going just with salt and pepper on the Brisket?
Olds
Title: Re: Digital or Original?
Post by: Suds on May 22, 2006, 03:19:27 PM
I thought I would follow the receipe I found on the Bradley site.  Does anyone have experience and advice on how to cook the brisket?

Cheers,

Suds
Title: Re: Digital or Original?
Post by: Arcs_n_Sparks on May 22, 2006, 07:13:45 PM
Suds,

Welcome to the forum. Lots of good advice here and pointers to receipe sites.

Give us feedback on your digital unit; there is little data out there and we look forward to hearing people's experience with the new hardware.

Arcs_n_Sparks
Title: Re: Digital or Original?
Post by: BigSmoker on May 22, 2006, 07:43:06 PM
I thought I would follow the receipe I found on the Bradley site.  Does anyone have experience and advice on how to cook the brisket?

Cheers,

Suds

Search on brisket inside the forum and you should get plenty of info.  If you still have any questions post them and I'll give you any details you need ;).
Title: Re: Digital or Original?
Post by: Suds on May 22, 2006, 08:25:14 PM
Thanks folks.  This sure seems like it's a friendly forum.  I will let you know how my smoker works, but don't expect anything for probably two weeks as I just order it on Saturday.

Cheers,

Suds
Title: Re: Digital or Original?
Post by: jaeger on May 22, 2006, 09:24:49 PM
Welcome to the forum Suds!
Title: Re: Digital or Original?
Post by: Habanero Smoker on May 23, 2006, 04:26:27 AM
I thought I would follow the receipe I found on the Bradley site.  Does anyone have experience and advice on how to cook the brisket?

Cheers,

Suds
Welcome the forum.

Here is an alternate sight that is good for those who are trying brisket for the first time. It gives step by step instructions on preparation, and use the site Big Smoker mentions on how to smoke brisket using the BS.

http://www.virtualweberbullet.com/brisketselect.html
Title: Re: Digital or Original?
Post by: TomG on May 23, 2006, 08:09:00 AM
HS, Great link :)  In light of the recent threads on grass v. grain fed beef, I thought the following excerpt particularly interesting.

"White, Hard Fat
The conventional wisdom in barbecue circles is to choose a brisket covered in white, hard fat. This indicates that the animal was fattened on grain at the feedlot during the final weeks before slaughter. Fat that is not ultra-white, trending toward yellow, is an indication of grass feeding and is thought to be less desirable for barbecued brisket"
Title: Re: Digital or Original?
Post by: Habanero Smoker on May 23, 2006, 02:13:38 PM


HS, Great link :)  In light of the recent threads on grass v. grain fed beef, I thought the following excerpt particularly interesting.

"White, Hard Fat
The conventional wisdom in barbecue circles is to choose a brisket covered in white, hard fat. This indicates that the animal was fattened on grain at the feedlot during the final weeks before slaughter. Fat that is not ultra-white, trending toward yellow, is an indication of grass feeding and is thought to be less desirable for barbecued brisket"

I'm hoping to get hold of some brisket from grass raised cattle either late spring or early summer. That is something I would like to test. Everything I've read so far would indicate that it is a much leaner meat.
Title: Re: Digital or Original?
Post by: fleabag on May 23, 2006, 02:21:19 PM
I went with the digital and I'm happy with it.  Might not be worth the extra $$$

Remember this isn't an oven - the vent is open and air is constantly flowing.  The internal temp will be based on a number of things including external air temp and how open the vents are.  I noticed that when I closed the vent, the internal temp was the same as the setting.

The digital setting on the smoke control is not too usefull.  You can do the same by just limiting the number of disks you load.
Title: Re: Digital or Original?
Post by: Habanero Smoker on May 24, 2006, 03:27:04 AM
I went with the digital and I'm happy with it.  Might not be worth the extra $$$

Remember this isn't an oven - the vent is open and air is constantly flowing.  The internal temp will be based on a number of things including external air temp and how open the vents are.  I noticed that when I closed the vent, the internal temp was the same as the setting.

The digital setting on the smoke control is not too usefull.  You can do the same by just limiting the number of disks you load.

Fleabag welcome to the forum.

Anything that makes smoking easier, makes me happy. :) Thanks for the review. Please post more about the digital, as you gain more experience with it. As a comparison do a search on PID, Raptor or Guru and see how these devices perform in maintaining cabinet temperatures.
Title: Re: Digital or Original?
Post by: iceman on May 24, 2006, 09:35:12 AM
Welcome Fleabag. Interesting report on the new smoker. Keep us posted on your findings. What kind of temps were you operating at?
Title: Re: Digital or Original?
Post by: J C on May 24, 2006, 10:19:42 AM
HI : to all you smokers out there , First I want thank you all for some great Information ,Now that being said i know this ? has been asked but please one more time ! I now am ready to buy a 2nd. smoker I have a SmokeShack smoker now and and I am very Intersead In the DBS or maybe the Org. the cost part is not THAT Imoport. So whigh to go and why ? this my ? to all of you... I have come to Idea they are open for improvement .. Looking forward to you comments .    J C
Title: Re: Digital or Original?
Post by: Arcs_n_Sparks on May 24, 2006, 12:50:29 PM
J C,

Welcome to the forum. As you note, lots of good advice and receipe pointers here.

The vast majority of wisdom here is from pounding on the original BS (or competitors), so there is a lot of accumulated data and information. The DBS is very new, so there is little feedback out there. The DBS was intended to make temperature control easier and add some timing features. Many members find controlling the temperature in the original BS reasonable, or have bolted on temperature controllers. All depends on how much convenience you want......

Let us know what you do...

Arcs_n_Sparks
Title: Re: Digital or Original?
Post by: Suds on May 31, 2006, 02:32:55 PM
Smoker arrived today (4 rack digital)!  I ran a quick test (basically seasoning the smoker) the smoke timer worked great.  Temperature set to 150F (empty smoker) the temperature peaked at 185F and then settled and remained steady at 158F with the vent open.  I've got my salmon in the brine and looking foward to smoking it tomorrow.

Does anyone have a good recipe for smoked turkey or chicken breast?

I will let you know how the salmon turns out.

Cheers,

Suds :)
Title: Re: Digital or Original?
Post by: Habanero Smoker on May 31, 2006, 04:44:34 PM
Smoker arrived today (4 rack digital)!  I ran a quick test (basically seasoning the smoker) the smoke timer worked great.  Temperature set to 150F (empty smoker) the temperature peaked at 185F and then settled and remained steady at 158F with the vent open.  I've got my salmon in the brine and looking foward to smoking it tomorrow.

Does anyone have a good recipe for smoked turkey or chicken breast?

I will let you know how the salmon turns out.

Cheers,

Suds :)

Welcome to the forum Suds. Have you tried searching the Members Recipe Site http://www.susanminor.org
 
Title: Re: Digital or Original?
Post by: Suds on June 01, 2006, 10:11:31 PM
I smoked my salmon today and I am really pleased with the Bradley digital smoker.  The weather conditions were 70F very light wind and overcast with ocassional light rain.  I set the temperature for 150F and over the 4 hour period the temperature fluctuated between 150-162 with the vent partially opened.  I smoked three full size fillets.  Compared to my old True North smoker the Bradley is a cadilac.  I am looking forward to smoking a brisket, chicken and turkey.  I would have posted some pictures but my daughter borrowed my digital camera. :)

Cheers,

Suds