Author Topic: Bradley Build Quality  (Read 7424 times)

Offline ffrcoupe

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Bradley Build Quality
« on: July 10, 2011, 08:39:25 AM »
I went to my local Gander Mountain to check out the smokers and I must say that I’m a little disappointed in the quality of some of the materials used in the Bradley smokers; particularly the racks. The fit and finish seems fine but the racks and rack holders seem to be weak points. That being said, I am comparing it to the rack on a Weber Kettle.

While I’m sure the racks are sufficient for the given purpose I would expect a little heavier rack given the cost. I could see carrying a 10 lb pork butt in a rack, dropping on the ground, and the rack getting bent like a pretzel. Also, the metal supports for the rack seem to be a little thin but at least they are riveted to the box.

I can also see a failure of the buttons on the control box because they felt like a bent piece of metal over a contact on the circuit board rather than an actual button.

Also, what is up with the little “extension” on the bisquettes feeder? It seems like an after thought.

Like I said, the fit and finish seem fine. The seal on the box seems nice, the feeder tube seems nice, and the boxes seem to be quality.

My overall assessment is that it is the best smoker of this type on the market. There was a competitive model next to it and the door was falling off and the handle was broken.

I would like to know what failures are common and what spare parts I should buy.

TIA

Offline Bavind

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Re: Bradley Build Quality
« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2011, 09:18:24 AM »
I have had mine for a couple of years now and have had no major problems. The plastic base cracked after 6 months and Bradley replaced it extremely fast. As for the racks not being strong enough, I have had a couple 10 lb butts on one rack and had no problems. I am sure the rest of the people on the forum will have similar stories. This is the best smoker I have ever used.

Offline watchdog56

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Re: Bradley Build Quality
« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2011, 01:18:26 PM »
 I have had a couple of *# butts on the same rack and it seemed to handle it just fine.

Offline muebe

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Re: Bradley Build Quality
« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2011, 01:32:35 PM »
I have had 15lbs of butt on one rack before with no problems ;)
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Offline FLBentRider

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Re: Bradley Build Quality
« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2011, 01:50:54 PM »
I have put 32lbs of pork butt on 2 racks with no failures.

Strong enough for me.
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Offline ffrcoupe

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Re: Bradley Build Quality
« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2011, 03:17:17 PM »
All,

I'm not saying the rack won't hold up to normal use. It just left me with a feeling that it is a little flimsy.

Now, how about spares? What should I get, if any?

Thanks :)

Offline ghost9mm

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Re: Bradley Build Quality
« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2011, 03:28:01 PM »
Unless you drive over them, I really don't see a use for spares, now if you are talking about the possibility of a element going bad, then I would say it would be a good idea to have a spare element, other then that I feel the Bradley Company provides one hell of product for the money...and please don't take this statement the wrong way I don't mean any animosity towards you...and welcome to a really great forum... :D
« Last Edit: July 10, 2011, 05:51:15 PM by ghost9mm »
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Offline FLBentRider

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Re: Bradley Build Quality
« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2011, 03:48:03 PM »
Spares, no, but I do have 2 sets of racks.

If you are doing small (thin) items, you can invert one rack over another and get 8 racks in.

This works well for Jerky, Moooinks, ABTs...
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Offline KyNola

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Re: Bradley Build Quality
« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2011, 05:43:29 PM »
ffrcoupe, first of all welcome to the forum!  One simple question, did you buy a Bradley?  If you're looking for info about the durability of the Bradley prior to buying one, you've come to the right place.  Comparing a Bradley to a Weber Kettle is unreasonable as they are totally different tools.  The racks of my Bradley have never failed and I have 12 of them.  The rack holders are totally secure.  I have never, NEVER heard of the rack rails falling off in the tower.

No disrespect intended but just not quite sure where you're headed with this.     

Offline ffrcoupe

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Re: Bradley Build Quality
« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2011, 07:01:59 PM »
Quote from: KyNola
ffrcoupe, first of all welcome to the forum!

Thanks!

Quote from: KyNola
One simple question, did you buy a Bradley?  If you're looking for info about the durability of the Bradley prior to buying one, you've come to the right place.  Comparing a Bradley to a Weber Kettle is unreasonable as they are totally different tools.  The racks of my Bradley have never failed and I have 12 of them.  The rack holders are totally secure.  I have never, NEVER heard of the rack rails falling off in the tower.

No. I haven't bought a Bradley yet. I am "kicking the tires" right now and just researching possible faults. :)

Quote from: KyNola
No disrespect intended but just not quite sure where you're headed with this.

None taken. I have a very thick skin and am not offended easily. On the bad side maybe, I call things as I see them and some people might get offended by my directness.

I think my plan is to get the 6 rack digital with a cold smoke adapter, sausage hooks, cover, a pack of extra racks, and 5 Flavor Variety Bisquettes.

Are the jerky racks that much different than the regular racks?

What do you all think about the Jim Beam bisquettes? I'm excited to smoke with wood from a Jim Beam barrel.  ;D

Offline Quarlow

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Re: Bradley Build Quality
« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2011, 08:35:52 PM »
Jim Beam bisquettes are oak with the barrel flavour, they are good. The jerky racks are not worth buying as the non-stick coating will come off shortly. Get some frog mats from Yard and Pool. They are forum approved and the mats are worth their weight for the price. I have had my OBS (original Bradley Smoker) for over 2 yrs and have not had a problem yet. To be fair to you and to Bradley, they had a string of bad heat elements which they seem to have gotten straightened away. There may still be some smokers out there with the bad elements but Bradleys customer service is second to none and they will fix you up right quick. But to be on the safe side I would order a replacement element, if yours happens to go out you have one for back up which you can put in and keep on smokin' and then contact Bradley and they will send you a new one.
 You mentioned  the extension on the end of the smoke generator, this is not an extension it is the actual bisquette burner.
As for the buttons I cannot say about the Digital but my brother has had one for 2 yrs and had no troubles with it. Occasionally on the OBS the advance button, a few people have had them stick in but just flipping them back out fixes it.
 The racks are plenty strong as are the rack supports. That said I will use 2 racks at once when I put a big turkey in to smoke. I have never heard of anyone having trouble with them.
To compare it to a Weber is apples and turnips. Two different machines for different types of work.
 OH yeah, Welcome to the forum, and you don't need a thick skin to hang out here. Unless you attack our beloved Bradleys. ;D We are passionate about them and will defend them, but you just asked viable questions so we can play nice. :D :D :D Every so often someone comes on here that just wants to stir things up and they find a hornets nest. But we all love to help others have the best experience with their smokers and these guys are good with them. Alot of trial and error has gone into the knowledge you will find here.
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Offline KyNola

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Re: Bradley Build Quality
« Reply #11 on: July 11, 2011, 11:25:27 AM »
I think my plan is to get the 6 rack digital with a cold smoke adapter, sausage hooks, cover, a pack of extra racks, and 5 Flavor Variety Bisquettes.

Are the jerky racks that much different than the regular racks?

What do you all think about the Jim Beam bisquettes? I'm excited to smoke with wood from a Jim Beam barrel.  ;D
Good plan on all of the things you are purchasing.  The jerky racks are not as deep as the regular racks.  As Q said earlier, the non-stick coating has a tendency to peel off of the jerky racks but I have 8 of them and use Frogmats in them and again as Q said, the Frogmats are worth every penny as they are a high temp material, up to over 500 degrees Farenheit, nothing sticks to them and have a very small grid on them so if you want to smoke something that is small such as nuts, they won't fall through.

I have not used the Jim Beam bisquettes but lots of folks here like them.  One thing you need to know is when you first put something in the Bradley you will probably experience wide temp swings in the tower, as much as 20-30 degrees.  If you are going to make your own sausages, you may want to purchase an Auber PID to tightly control the heat in the tower.  The Bradley heating element is full on until it hits the setpoint and then shuts off and may drop 20-30 degrees and then back on full, up and down until the meat in the smoker begins to come up to temp.  A PID turns the heating element on and off many times a minute to hold the temp within 1 or 2 degrees+/- of the setpoint.  Just something for you to know while "you're kicking the tires". ;)

My apologies if I came on a bit strong the first time.  We have had some folks who blow in here just to insult the smoker, the forum and the folks here.   

Offline ffrcoupe

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Re: Bradley Build Quality
« Reply #12 on: July 11, 2011, 05:45:46 PM »
Quarlow & KyNola, thanks for the advice.

I’m going to lose the jerky racks and get a couple frogmats. I have some sil mats that are very similar that I use for baking. (Yes, I bake too).

That’s good advice to double up on the rack when doing a turkey.

I like the idea of getting a PID but I think I’ll use my new smoker a couple of times and hold off on making sausage until I get the hang of the unit.

I am considering a heating element upgrade but I’m not sure if I should get the 900w element or add another 500w. I would think that it’s easier to replace the 500w with a 900w. I have a feeling once I get smokin’ / cookin’ I’m going to be loading it up.

I totally understand the defensive posture when it comes to trolls. I’m on quite a few other forum boards and while they can be amusing at times, they are mostly annoying.

and good eatin'.

Offline Gamefish

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Re: Bradley Build Quality
« Reply #13 on: July 11, 2011, 07:08:23 PM »
I went to my local Gander Mountain to check out the smokers and I must say that I’m a little disappointed in the quality of some of the materials used in the Bradley smokers; particularly the racks. The fit and finish seems fine but the racks and rack holders seem to be weak points. That being said, I am comparing it to the rack on a Weber Kettle.

While I’m sure the racks are sufficient for the given purpose I would expect a little heavier rack given the cost. I could see carrying a 10 lb pork butt in a rack, dropping on the ground, and the rack getting bent like a pretzel. Also, the metal supports for the rack seem to be a little thin but at least they are riveted to the box.

I can also see a failure of the buttons on the control box because they felt like a bent piece of metal over a contact on the circuit board rather than an actual button.

Also, what is up with the little “extension” on the bisquettes feeder? It seems like an after thought.

Like I said, the fit and finish seem fine. The seal on the box seems nice, the feeder tube seems nice, and the boxes seem to be quality.

My overall assessment is that it is the best smoker of this type on the market. There was a competitive model next to it and the door was falling off and the handle was broken.

I would like to know what failures are common and what spare parts I should buy.

TIA


SPAM from a competitor wanting to stir things up - that is all!!!

Offline ffrcoupe

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Re: Bradley Build Quality
« Reply #14 on: July 11, 2011, 07:36:03 PM »
SPAM from a competitor wanting to stir things up - that is all!!!

Speaking of 's.

« Last Edit: July 11, 2011, 08:15:39 PM by ffrcoupe »