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Author Topic: The NEW Bradley Counter Top Smoker My Initial Review  (Read 30052 times)

Offline Tenpoint5

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The NEW Bradley Counter Top Smoker My Initial Review
« on: August 12, 2013, 02:58:55 pm »
I just wanted to give my thoughts and initial impression of the 2-rack. As I went through the burn in seasoning session.



The box says it is a counter top smoker. However the owners manual says that it is a convection smoker. This made me want to look into things a little better and is what made me decide to basically do a review.

Out of the box





It was at this point in the inspection I got excited. NO PLASTIC!!! Yes it is all metal no worries about cracked plastic or doors falling off.



Another nifty little idea is the rack tool. No more burnt fingertips!! Only drawback on it is there isn't any place to hang it. You know to keep it handy. More on that later



Works rather well on both the food racks and the drip tray. I like the bigger drip tray that covers the whole bottom of the oven.



The back of the unit with the exhaust on the right. I have to attach the discharge hose to it yet.



The bisquette catch bin. This is on the left side of the back of the unit. The black button on top of it. Is used to expel the spent pucks into the water in the catch bin after the smoke period is complete. Simple to use. Rotate 90º clockwise and pull out. Reverse to put it back. works pretty good!









Poked and prodded around and noticed. That there is no way to access the puck burner plate. On my other Bradley's I burn pucks for 20 minutes. This unit burns them for 30. Will there be more residue? Will being unable to clean it effect the feeder or even the burning of the pucks? Will find out when we use it, I guess.

Lets get this outside for the seasoning session. First off we filled the spent puck bin with water to the indicator line. then placed it into the back of the unit.



Plugged the unit in, and the first thing I noticed is that the display is really hard to read. The display could be A LOT brighter. Even with my hand over it to block out most of the light it was hard to read.

Positioned the exhaust tube so that the smoke would be traveling up hill. Will this cause an issue of condensation forming in the tube? This will be something I will look for as I continue using the unit.



Will be looking for black smoke residue running down the back of the unit by the exhaust hole. The exhaust hole is in the upper left back corner of the oven.

To power the unit up. You push the Oven button. The blower fan begins and the unit starts to warm up. Then you set the time that you want the oven to run for. Then you set the oven temp. Now here is where things get interesting. Unlike the digital smokers which allow you to set temps in 10º degree increments. You are afforded 5 POWER LEVELS to choose from, it auto starts at PL 05. So you will be cooking in a temperature range rather than at an exact temperature. This unit isn't big enough to do sausage in any how. So I wont complain there. I was going to say that there should be a sticker on the front of the unit with the power levels and ranges on it. Then I thought about it. If they do that then there is going to be that one guy who is going to raise a stink, because the temp swing went out of the ranges for the power level it was set at. If your interested here they are.

The Power Level and ranges are:
PL 01  73-103ºC    160-220ºF
PL 02  90-110        190-230
PL 03  110-130      230-270
PL 04  125-150      260-300
PL 05  145-164      290-330

Now to set up the Smoker feature. Pretty simple turn it on and set the smoke time. There is a bit of interesting information in the owners manual if you read it. I did, so I didn't freak out. When you first plug your unit in and fire up the smoker. the smoker will advance 2 times so that the pucks can get to the heating element. It will only cycle once if you leave the unit plugged in continually.  I was only going to apply 30 minutes of smoke during the seasoning session. So I had put 3 puck in knowing that it would cycle. As I turned on the smoke. I watched the first puck get cycled in. but when the plunger cycled the second time. The remaining 2 pucks lifted and tilted forward into the void. Thus the plunger failed to grab the second puck and load it in. I looked and there isn't a manual feed button to manually run another cycle. Thus I waited for the 30 minutes to time out and tried it again. Yes I could have just shut it off and turned it back on. But I didn't. That being said there should be a manual advance button if this should happen during a smoke and you catch it. I restarted the smoke cycle and it cycled one time. I had another misfeed. This could be an issue. I shut it off this time and restarted it again but pushed down on the pucks with my finger keeping them flat. Everything went well.

Temp in cabinet at start up was 78º. After 15 minutes, No Smoke we covered that above, the temp was 238º. At 30 minutes the temp was reading 300º.

By now the smoke is rolling and filling up the oven. WOW does this thing make some smoke! I tried to get you some pictures but they didn't turn out. I did have some issues with the smoke. The smoke leaked out of the oven in a couple of places.

I had smoke exiting out from under the unit, from where the pencil is located.



I had a small amount of smoke escaping, from the middle of the door on the top. About where the dark shadow is in the picture.



I also had a small amount of smoke exiting through the feeder tube.



Remember when I said there needed to be a hook or something to hang the rack tool on? This will work for now.





Just to let you know. The used puck bin IS HOT! DO NOT grab it with your fingers to empty it. DON'T ASK how I know this.
The best way to empty it is wait until the unit cools down after a cook. I wanted to see how the puck extractor worked. It does a pretty good job. As long as you remember to turn it before pulling. The knob will come off if you don't. How do we get the bin out you ask? Well you use the rack tool. it seems it was made for this. Well until you try to empty the water out anyhow.



A look inside the bin



After dumping the water out.



In conclusion I have a question for you. Have you noticed that I have refrained from calling it a smoker? That I have been referring to it as an oven. This unit in my opinion is not a smoker in the traditional sense. You are not going to be putting a brisket or a pork butt in this thing and doing a long cook. This unit is more suited for making appetizers. Maybe even baking. I see it being used to hot smoke a couple steaks or hamburgers and finishing in the unit or transferring to a grill. The 2 rack will be best suited for the single person or a couple. It probably wouldn't be the best choice for a large family like mine (6 people). With the smoke leakage. I don't see it very popular with the ladies in the kitchen. Now us guys we like that smokehouse smell. I am hoping that after the unit has been heated and cooled a couple of times these issues will go away. If you do a lot of camping. This is the unit for you I believe. It has a small compact size for easy storage in your camper. Not to mention it has a small footprint. So it won't take up much real estate on the picnic table.

As I said in the beginning. These are just my thoughts and opinions on the Bradley Counter Top Smoker, as I went through the seasoning process. Thanks for looking and listening!
Bacon is the Crack Cocaine of the Food World.

Be careful about calling yourself and EXPERT! An ex is a has-been, and a spurt is a drip under pressure!


Offline Saber 4

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Re: The NEW Bradley Counter Top Smoker My Initial Review
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2013, 03:24:28 pm »
Chris,
That is a good detailed accounting, I've got mine warming up for the seasoning period. I have 6 pucks out as I thought I had read to season for 2 hours I'll keep an eye on the smoke leakage and puck advance issues you mentioned, I am going to hang my probe in the box and see how the temps compare to the readout. I do agree with you about the screen being difficult to read. I noticed that the door seals on mine are glued to the door across the top and bottom but the sides are not, we'll see how this works out I may need to get some high temp glue if it's an issue. Let me know if you want people to keep adding their thoughts to your post or start separate posts, don't want to be a hijacker. I'll try to get some smoke pictures as it seasons, I'm going the opposite of you on the smoke tube and leaving it off since it is outside and I don't have anywhere to hang it like you did.

Offline Tenpoint5

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Re: The NEW Bradley Counter Top Smoker My Initial Review
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2013, 03:31:32 pm »
Either place would be fine to post in. It will be fun to see how these first 15 machines work in the real world. They can test them all they want in a factory or warehouse. Where the temps are constant, and there is no wind, heat, or cold. Not to mention they usually ain't cooking anything in them when they are doing the tests.
Bacon is the Crack Cocaine of the Food World.

Be careful about calling yourself and EXPERT! An ex is a has-been, and a spurt is a drip under pressure!


Offline ragweed

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Re: The NEW Bradley Counter Top Smoker My Initial Review
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2013, 03:56:01 pm »
Great review, Chris.  I had some of the same observations as I seasoned mine and now cooking in it.  The display is hard to read, definitely an outdoor unit as I had lots of leakage in the same spots as you.  The exhaust hose doesn't like me so I'm not using during the cook.  Haven't had a problem yet with the puck advance.  I have 4 chicken hind 1/4s in there now.  The unit pre-heated quickly, ten minutes.  Recovered quickly after adding the chicken and is holding nicely at 240 F.

Offline Bradley (Head Office)

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Re: The NEW Bradley Counter Top Smoker My Initial Review
« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2013, 04:02:54 pm »
Hi Chris

Thanks for the review.

If possible can you email me a copy of the review c/w pictures

I can then print them out and take them to the next R&D meeting.

My email is brian@bradleysmoker.com

If all the other members can do the same thing it would be appreciated.

Brian.

Offline Tenpoint5

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Re: The NEW Bradley Counter Top Smoker My Initial Review
« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2013, 04:03:49 pm »
Saber I did go back and look. I seasoned incorrectly.  According to line 4 under the operation paragraph on page 4. It says load 6 bisquettes into the feeder tube and run empty for a couple of hours. Looks like I get to play with it some more.
Bacon is the Crack Cocaine of the Food World.

Be careful about calling yourself and EXPERT! An ex is a has-been, and a spurt is a drip under pressure!


Offline Tenpoint5

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Re: The NEW Bradley Counter Top Smoker My Initial Review
« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2013, 04:05:29 pm »
Hi Chris

Thanks for the review.

If possible can you email me a copy of the review c/w pictures

I can then print them out and take them to the next R&D meeting.

My email is brian@bradleysmoker.com

If all the other members can do the same thing it would be appreciated.

Brian.

Will do or atleast try too!
Bacon is the Crack Cocaine of the Food World.

Be careful about calling yourself and EXPERT! An ex is a has-been, and a spurt is a drip under pressure!


Offline beefmann

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Re: The NEW Bradley Counter Top Smoker My Initial Review
« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2013, 04:11:16 pm »
 Great  review  Chris,  a lot of  information there , It  looks  like there  could be a  few additions on it for the next generation like a puck advance button for situation you  ran  into,,, it also  sounds  like there  might be an  issue with the  puck mechanism or puck tube  being slightly  out of alignment...  over all a  good review...

a also agree it  looks more  like an  oven over a smoker... it would be also  good  for smoking  a  steak or two  in it over   using the 4  or 6  rack  units.


just my  view
Where Da Beef ! ! !
OBS with Original 900 watt mod
auber PID with Smoke timer and duration time
Rec Tec RT 680 pellet grill

Offline Tenpoint5

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Re: The NEW Bradley Counter Top Smoker My Initial Review
« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2013, 05:21:49 pm »
In using the 2 rack to heat up some pulled chicken and some kielbasa for supper tonight. When I went out to check on things. I thought of something else that would be nice if there is an upgrade or rework of the 2 rack. It would be nice if the display would flash time and temp. Instead of just the temp.
Bacon is the Crack Cocaine of the Food World.

Be careful about calling yourself and EXPERT! An ex is a has-been, and a spurt is a drip under pressure!


Offline Saber 4

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Re: The NEW Bradley Counter Top Smoker My Initial Review
« Reply #9 on: August 12, 2013, 06:09:06 pm »
Saber I did go back and look. I seasoned incorrectly.  According to line 4 under the operation paragraph on page 4. It says load 6 bisquettes into the feeder tube and run empty for a couple of hours. Looks like I get to play with it some more.

I didn't have any trouble with puck advancing with the 6 pucks, I set it for 2 hours so 2 pucks are still in the tube on top. It might be a good idea to load a couple of bubba pucks to add weight as I can see the problem you were having with smaller amounts.

In using the 2 rack to heat up some pulled chicken and some kielbasa for supper tonight. When I went out to check on things. I thought of something else that would be nice if there is an upgrade or rework of the 2 rack. It would be nice if the display would flash time and temp. Instead of just the temp.

If you touch the time button it will show time remaining for a few seconds then go back to temp.

I had the same smoke leak issues as you and other's have reported I think as an outdoor unit it will work great but it would need a little tighter tolerances to work inside. It took longer than 15 minutes to get smoke and I think the 30 minute puck time is a little to long as the smoke drops significantly in the last 5-10 minutes.

With power setting 03 the temperature stayed around 208-220 with only one drop to 196 by my Bradley probe thermometer.

Here's a picture of it with the smoke going



I didn't want to use the whole smoke tube and when the smoke did start rolling I didn't like how close the smoke elbow was to the top so I cut a short stack about 3 inches to keep the smoke off the top of the unit.



Hi Chris

Thanks for the review.

If possible can you email me a copy of the review c/w pictures

I can then print them out and take them to the next R&D meeting.

My email is brian@bradleysmoker.com

If all the other members can do the same thing it would be appreciated.

Brian.


I'll email you with all my thoughts after I get done with my first smoke tomorrow Brian, Thank you for the generous gift and taking the time to ask for our input, it really makes it easy to sell people on the Bradley.


Offline ragweed

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Re: The NEW Bradley Counter Top Smoker My Initial Review
« Reply #10 on: August 12, 2013, 06:15:26 pm »
The chicken 1/4's turned out great!  The unit maintained temp at 240 set at PL3.  No problems with puck advance.  Both timers shut off per programming.  All in all, an uneventful first smoke/cook.

Offline Saber 4

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Re: The NEW Bradley Counter Top Smoker My Initial Review
« Reply #11 on: August 12, 2013, 06:51:44 pm »
The chicken 1/4's turned out great!  The unit maintained temp at 240 set at PL3.  No problems with puck advance.  Both timers shut off per programming.  All in all, an uneventful first smoke/cook.

That's good to hear, how was the skin with the convection cooking? I'm hoping it will be crispier than in the big bradley's

Offline Bradley (Head Office)

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Re: The NEW Bradley Counter Top Smoker My Initial Review
« Reply #12 on: August 12, 2013, 07:32:27 pm »
Quote
I'll email you with all my thoughts after I get done with my first smoke tomorrow Brian, Thank you for the generous gift and taking the time to ask for our input, it really makes it easy to sell people on the Bradley.

Thanks

We are looking forward to all the input.

Brian

Offline Toker

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Re: The NEW Bradley Counter Top Smoker My Initial Review
« Reply #13 on: August 12, 2013, 07:41:53 pm »
Hey Chris, i try to figure out about the exhaust thing, do you ABSOLUTLY NEED to use the flexible hose to exhaust the smoke out or you can use the holes in the back? I mean, if you don't plug the hose what will be happening? I think i don't fully understand the need for the hose. I don't have one now that is why I'm asking. Sorry if it's sound stupid question.

And if you start the smoke only, can you still use the fan or the fan is only for the heat?

Offline Tenpoint5

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Re: The NEW Bradley Counter Top Smoker My Initial Review
« Reply #14 on: August 12, 2013, 08:15:26 pm »
Hey Chris, i try to figure out about the exhaust thing, do you ABSOLUTLY NEED to use the flexible hose to exhaust the smoke out or you can use the holes in the back? I mean, if you don't plug the hose what will be happening? I think i don't fully understand the need for the hose. I don't have one now that is why I'm asking. Sorry if it's sound stupid question.

And if you start the smoke only, can you still use the fan or the fan is only for the heat?

You can't cold smoke with it Francis. So the main heating element and the smoker element and the blower fans have to be all connected somehow. As for the flexible hose. Yes you need to use the hose to vent the smoke as the only place for the smoke to exit the oven is through that connector.  In your situation I am thinking that you could hard pipe the exhaust with pvc pipe. You would use the hose the same as the steal pipe you use on your other Bradleys to vent smoke out through the window. Hope that helps my friend!
Bacon is the Crack Cocaine of the Food World.

Be careful about calling yourself and EXPERT! An ex is a has-been, and a spurt is a drip under pressure!