Author Topic: which way should I go  (Read 4856 times)

Offline firstimesmker

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which way should I go
« on: February 14, 2014, 06:58:07 am »
Hello All, i have a quick question and hope this is the right place for it. My question is a short one.  Am i better to buy a BS611 and a pid or simply buy the BTDS76JB as i can get a good deal  at Costco here in Canada. Thanks

Offline Saber 4

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Re: which way should I go
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2014, 08:32:44 am »
The answer to your question will best be answered by what you plan on cooking and what you might decide to start doing after you've been around here for a while. There are two schools of thought around here and you will surely hear from both in this post. I have the 4 rack digital unmodified and love it, of course I'm in Texas so extreme cold and heat recovery aren't that big an issue for me and as I get into sausage I plan on using a water bath so hopefully I can get by without upgrading. You might let us know what you plan on doing with it so everyone can give you a more informed answer.

And Welcome to the forum and the Bradley smoker world.

Offline STLstyle

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Re: which way should I go
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2014, 09:03:27 am »
If it were me I would get the original model over the digi.  You can take the money you save and get a PID if so inclined at similar cost for the digital.  The PID runs the heat source so if you buy a PID and have a digital it renders the digital control relatively useless.  The PID also will allow you to make sausage, jerky, etc not to mention tighter temp control for all styles of cooking.

This is a "highly opinionated" topic.  I have a 6 rack digital and it worked fine as is.  I later purchased a PID and second element bc I wanted to improve performance.  It was not necessary but it definitely helps with temp recovery on large loads and in colder weather.

Since then I've made sausage and the PID does a great job for that.

That's my 2 cents.


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Offline Jim O

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Re: which way should I go
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2014, 09:05:59 am »
What Saber said ! I also have an unmodified digital 4 rack and as long as I keep it out of the wind,have no problem smoking in winter.  I just vent it out the window in my garage..

Incidentely, I live in central Ont.
- smoking
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Offline tskeeter

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Re: which way should I go
« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2014, 09:27:59 am »
Let me tag onto Saber's comment that your equipment configuration is a function of what you want to smoke.

The Bradley is known for fairly wide temperature swings over each heating cycle.  About 20 degrees +/- your set point.  For many things you smoke, this isn't an issue.  But there are some products that are sensitive to excess temperature.  Some common examples are sausage and fish.  Overheating sausage causes a condition referred to as "fatting out" where the chips of fat in the sausage melt and drip out of the sausage.  This makes for dry sausage.  With fish, a similar thing happens with fish that is heated to too high a temperature too quickly.  Proteins cook out of the fish and accumulate in yellowish globs on the surface of the fish that aren't very attractive.  The technical term (at least in these forums) for this accumulation is "boogers".  A PID will control the temperatures to within 1 or 2 degrees +/- your temperature set point.

A second reason why many forum members use a PID is to control modified heating elements.  So far, nobody has decided to test the capacity of the stock heat control system with modified heating systems that draw more power.

So, if you plan on smoking temperature sensitive products, a PID is in order.  And the additional cost of a digital unit probably isn't justified.

But, that's not what I did.  I went with a digital and a PID.  I wanted the six rack cabinet that was only available as a digital model, in order to have more room to hang sausage for smoking.  Then I added the PID for improved temperature control and to control heating system modifications.   

Offline renoman

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Re: which way should I go
« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2014, 01:42:52 pm »
The original with a PID will give you a much better smoker than the Digital. I have a digital and then got a PID and the "digital" function is now pretty much useless. I would only buy digital if going with the 6 rack for extra room.

Offline RAF128

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Re: which way should I go
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2014, 01:14:49 am »
Depends on what you want to do.  If you want to hang sausage then the 6 rack.   If not the 4.
I've got a 6 rack and a PID and love it.   I do a lot of sausage when I have time, and prefer to hang it.

Offline firstimesmker

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Re: which way should I go
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2014, 06:15:04 am »
great advice ,thank you.  I mainly plan to do ribs, some beef, but not too much sausage or fish yet.  I went to lowes and they were sold out of the obs, and the similar model at another store is the older slider type adjustment.  If i went this type i guess i could just by a pid and the slider wouldn't be used? I will  need to make a decision soon, my wife is going crazy with all my talking about it and promising to make ribs...lol. Thanks for all the great advice. Also would anyone know where i can buy a pid in canada.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2014, 07:31:51 am by firstimesmker »

Offline Salmonsmoker

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Re: which way should I go
« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2014, 08:40:54 am »
great advice ,thank you.  I mainly plan to do ribs, some beef, but not too much sausage or fish yet.  I went to lowes and they were sold out of the obs, and the similar model at another store is the older slider type adjustment.  If i went this type i guess i could just by a pid and the slider wouldn't be used? I will  need to make a decision soon, my wife is going crazy with all my talking about it and promising to make ribs...lol. Thanks for all the great advice. Also would anyone know where i can buy a pid in canada.

In large part, a great deal of us on this forum use pid's from Auber Instruments. They make a single probe and dual probe models that are tuned for the Bradley Smoker. I don't know what the import fees would be, but Auber ships anywhere. I have the six rack digital for capacity reasons because I smoke a lot of salmon yearly. As others have said, with the pid the digital controls no longer serve a function except for smoke timing. My smoke generator is only for producing smoke. Don't discount your not thinking of doing much sausage yet. I think you will find that as you mature with your Bradley, your area of exploration is going to expand beyond what you ever thought. Besides sausage there's curing and smoking your own ham, bacon, pastrami.....don't forget smoked cheese.
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Offline tailfeathers

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Re: which way should I go
« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2014, 09:01:50 am »

great advice ,thank you.  I mainly plan to do ribs, some beef, but not too much sausage or fish yet.  I went to lowes and they were sold out of the obs, and the similar model at another store is the older slider type adjustment.  If i went this type i guess i could just by a pid and the slider wouldn't be used? I will  need to make a decision soon, my wife is going crazy with all my talking about it and promising to make ribs...lol. Thanks for all the great advice. Also would anyone know where i can buy a pid in canada.

In large part, a great deal of us on this forum use pid's from Auber Instruments. They make a single probe and dual probe models that are tuned for the Bradley Smoker. I don't know what the import fees would be, but Auber ships anywhere. I have the six rack digital for capacity reasons because I smoke a lot of salmon yearly. As others have said, with the pid the digital controls no longer serve a function except for smoke timing. My smoke generator is only for producing smoke. Don't discount your not thinking of doing much sausage yet. I think you will find that as you mature with your Bradley, your area of exploration is going to expand beyond what you ever thought. Besides sausage there's curing and smoking your own ham, bacon, pastrami.....don't forget smoked cheese.
x2 what salmon smoker said. I would never have dreamed that I would be using my Bradley for all the goodies I make now. It's like an addiction all it's own.


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Offline Grouperman941

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Re: which way should I go
« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2014, 09:46:03 am »
When I went through this, the best option for me was to go with the OBS, with the idea that I could add PID later. I went about a year without the PID and cooked a lot of great things. I have one now and use it every time, but except for salmon, I don't think I need the PID for most of my cooks.

My advice would be to do what I did if you are looking for the most value. If money doesn't matter and you want the capacity, get the digital 6. I would still wait on the PID to see what the smoker can do on its own first.
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Offline Salmonsmoker

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Re: which way should I go
« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2014, 10:33:55 pm »
When I went through this, the best option for me was to go with the OBS, with the idea that I could add PID later. I went about a year without the PID and cooked a lot of great things. I have one now and use it every time, but except for salmon, I don't think I need the PID for most of my cooks.

My advice would be to do what I did if you are looking for the most value. If money doesn't matter and you want the capacity, get the digital 6. I would still wait on the PID to see what the smoker can do on its own first.

Keep in mind that temperature swings without the pid will be much greater. If tight temp. controls an issue, the pid will take care of that. I used my 6-rack for quite a few years without a pid for smoking salmon and had to manually re-set the temps. for a 4 step multi temp. smoking session. The pid lets me set and forget, so to speak.
Give a man a beer and he'll waste a day.
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Offline North Smoker

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Re: which way should I go
« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2014, 08:41:02 am »
Not sure where you are located here in Canada but if you want to smoke on most months of the year then you may need the element upgrade which will make the stock digital controls unuseable. I bought an Original BS611 so I could upgrade with a PID and upgrade the element, glad I did because the recovery times on cool days are not good. If you only want to smoke during the warm summer months then the stock Digital may be good enough.

Offline drano

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Re: which way should I go
« Reply #13 on: February 16, 2014, 08:42:30 am »
As others said, try to forecast what you'll be doing 5 years from now.
If you plan to stay with ribs, etc, and 4 racks is big enough, get the original, and enjoy. 
If you think you'll do sausage, the 6 rack is great for added cabinet size. 
I've got the old original, and added a PID for sausage.  I'd like a 6 rack for added cabinet size.

Of course, once you're hooked, you'll want to do everything with the smoker, so might as well get the 6 rack, and you can add a PID when you start making sausage.   ;D

Offline firstimesmker

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Re: which way should I go
« Reply #14 on: February 18, 2014, 09:51:02 am »
Thanks you for all the great advice, i have decided to buy the OBS 611 from Lowes.  I have to drive almost 3 hours round trip to get it, but i'm thinking it will be worth every minute.  I plan to order the pid as well as i have family in the states who can get it without duty or expensive shipping.  I assume Auberins is the best place for this? any other suggestions? Thanks again for all the great advice, i'll post pictures after my first smoke....if the warmer weather ever comes..:)