Author Topic: First post, ongoing problem......  (Read 5072 times)

Offline 93slayer

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First post, ongoing problem......
« on: March 05, 2014, 08:32:35 am »
Hey all,
First post here. Only posting for advice.
Got my smoker for Christmas, so its 3 months old now. Since new it hasnt heated with meat over 250*..... actually I cant think of a time it ever got above 250..... Thats all factory. factory door thermometer. Ive added a blick that i preheat on the grill for 30 mins at near 500*.....helps slightly....
Now i just did 2 whole chickens, 5 pork chops and 2 potatoes on sunday and the temp never hit above 215-225......
after 4 hours the chickens still werent done.

granted all of my smokes were outside, its winter.. (10*- 35*)... So i used an insulated blanket to wrap the smoker and help it out.......
also i have been smoking with the vent shut, because ithought it would keep the temps up...... learned here not to do that.

My next move is to put it in a shed.....

So i have debated a dual element setup, or swapping an element thats bigger or replacing the element.

Then i thought: i just got this thing. Why should i have to fiddle with anything this early?

Help me out....

If i dont get it figured out ill be selling this for cheap on craigslist and moving onto a Masterbuilt that comes with a 1200 watt element instead piddly 500.....

Offline Wildcat

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Re: First post, ongoing problem......
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2014, 11:57:58 am »
Sounds like your smoker is working just fine. The problem is that you are expecting it to cook fast. The Bradley is a low and slow smoker. It is designed to hot smoke around 200 to 230 degrees F for hot smoking (like making pulled pork) and very low temps for cold smoking (like smoking cheese). Some things are best to do on a grill but the Bradley can do most things with patience. Also, the door temp gauge is very inaccurate due to its location in relation to the heat source, especially with meat inside. I hope this helps.
Life is short. Smile while you still have teeth.



CLICK HERE for Recipe Site:  http://www.susanminor.org/

Offline tskeeter

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Re: First post, ongoing problem......
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2014, 01:27:49 pm »
Ditto on Wildcat's comments.  A 500 watt Bradley smoker won't heat like a 3,000 - 9,000 watt electric oven.  As your owner's manual says "normal cooking temperature is 200F - 250F".  This should be interpreted as a statement indicating the operating specifications, not as a cooking suggestion.  You should also be aware that there is a high temperature limit control that interrupts the power to the heating element when the sensor reads, I think, 270F.  Since the high temp sensor is in the back wall, above the heating element, when your door thermometer is reading 250F, the high temp sensor is probably reading around 270F.

As you have correctly determined, part, but not all of your problem getting your smoker back up to temp after putting the food in is related to closing your vent damper.  Poultry, along with fish and sausage, are high moisture content products that need the damper about 3/4 or more open to let the moisture being released by meat vent to the outside.  If your chickens happened to be the very common, brine injected birds, they were releasing a lot of moisture. 

Interesting that you suggest Masterbuilt as an alternative.  Yes, it does have a larger heating element, gets warmer, and seems to handle cold weather and wind more readily than a Bradley.  I gave away my Masterbuilt and bought a Bradley.  In order to get the automation of the puck feeder.  I found having to regularly tend to the smoker to feed additional chips was a pain in the backside.  Tied up big chunks of my time and limited what I could do while the smoker was on.  And the arrangement of the heating element and the chip tray means you have to perform some gymnastics to reliably generate smoke.  (Read the reviews on the Cabella's web site to learn how to deal with this issue.)  One of the things I like about my Bradley is I can start some pork shoulder on Friday night.  Go to bed.  Apply four hours of smoke while I sleep.  And have pulled pork for dinner Saturday evening.  If I was to try that with a Masterbuilt, I'd be up half the night refilling wood chips.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2014, 02:20:00 pm by tskeeter »

beefmann

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Re: First post, ongoing problem......
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2014, 01:33:14 pm »
X3... smokers are  low and  slow cookers,,, think along the lines of a crock pot

Offline pjplovedog

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Re: First post, ongoing problem......
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2014, 01:47:49 pm »
Sounds like your smoker is behaving as designed.
I think the Bradley is a great tool for low and slow smoke.  Low and slow is the key, and patience.  I don't think everybody's personality is made like that.  I personally use it most on days when I have a lot of time, plan on being around and am feeling patient. I've had to improvise when my pork shoulder didn't get up to temp quickly enough, finish in the oven when necessary, and have learned to plan ahead to have extra time, and try to wait until the outside temp is reasonably warm if I am trying to hot smoke.   
If your expectations are that you need to get 'er done faster, then perhaps a Bradley is not the right tool for you personally.  I also have a charcoal Cajun grill that I can throw wood chunks on one side to cook a bit hotter and faster when it's appropriate or if I am trying to get some chickens done for dinner and have a time limit on that. 
Spend some time reading the vast amount of very good information available on this forum, and learn from some of the others here.  Welcome, anyway and hope you find what you enjoy!
:)

 

 

NePaSmoKer

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Re: First post, ongoing problem......
« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2014, 01:53:17 pm »
I'm running a Bradley test element of 750w and it struggles to get close to 250. Its just the nature of the beast.

Offline RedJada

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Re: First post, ongoing problem......
« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2014, 03:02:37 pm »
 Everyone has gave the right answers. Smoking is not cooking (baking) Smoking is low temps for long times. Just out of curiosity, how did your cook come out? Before you decide to sell, You should give it another try. But this time ask here first as to what you want to do, you will get great advice on how do it.

Offline 93slayer

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Re: First post, ongoing problem......
« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2014, 04:15:38 pm »
The chickens were undercooked at 4 hours.
 But after reading your replies I've figured it's me, so I'll make some adjustments to my next batch.
Thanks for the replies.

I'd like to do the 900w swap to help with recovery and heat up......
But I'm not gonna give up on the Bradley yet.

I have smoked for a little over 2 years now. It's not a big thing usually, just once a month or so I'll do chicken or pork chops. I started with a vertical charcoal system that worked me to death. Always messing with the air or adding wood or water...... So I read up on modern electric smokers for the ease of use. The easiest was the Bradley in my eyes. I wanted the biggest and latest model but my gf surprised me on Xmas with my 611. So I've been experimenting with it since.
I've done 4 whole chickens now, lots of small chicken pieces, Mac and cheese, pork chops and baked potatoes.

All in all I'm still learning. I'll adjust my times and keep on getting it!

Offline Wildcat

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Re: First post, ongoing problem......
« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2014, 04:39:32 pm »
I do my chicken on the grill using both hard wood and charcoal for multiple reasons - gets done faster, skin is better, and less likely to get dried out. I also do my steaks on the grill. Most everything else I do in the Bradley. The Bradley takes time but in my opinion the purity of the smoke makes it taste better than using hard wood. You have to be patient though.
Life is short. Smile while you still have teeth.



CLICK HERE for Recipe Site:  http://www.susanminor.org/

beefmann

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Re: First post, ongoing problem......
« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2014, 04:40:44 pm »
93,

keep experimenting and asking  questions ,,  we were all new at  once and  know what your  going through,,, come on and ask  questions , you  will get information like you  just have ,, many with the same information, or  slightly  different  view  point though all  good information.


lots of good friendly people here that are always  willing to  share and give advice

Beef

Offline 93slayer

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Re: First post, ongoing problem......
« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2014, 04:47:27 pm »
Thanks guys.
I hope to be a part of this forum on a regular basis.

Offline pjplovedog

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Re: First post, ongoing problem......
« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2014, 04:56:32 pm »
I do my chicken on the grill using both hard wood and charcoal for multiple reasons - gets done faster, skin is better, and less likely to get dried out. I also do my steaks on the grill. Most everything else I do in the Bradley. The Bradley takes time but in my opinion the purity of the smoke makes it taste better than using hard wood. You have to be patient though.
I do the same,  with chicken. 
I do think that you can't beat the Bradley for ribs, pork shoulder/butt and of course smoked salmon, smoked sausage, cheese.... almonds... I am so wanting the rain to stop so I can plug it in!!

:)

Offline pokermeister

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Re: First post, ongoing problem......
« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2014, 09:37:20 am »
Slayer, no one has suggested this yet, but to aid in heat recovery (starting out and after opening the door ), put boiling water in the bowl. Also, having a foil wrapped brick in the bottom of the smoker will help. Some people preheat the brick in a regular oven before smoking. Hope this helps.
Life is short, eat the dessert first!

Offline BigRich

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Re: First post, ongoing problem......
« Reply #13 on: March 06, 2014, 04:28:51 pm »
Boiling water definitely helps bring the temp back up!

Offline 93slayer

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Re: First post, ongoing problem......
« Reply #14 on: March 06, 2014, 07:12:50 pm »
Will try boiling the water.
Been using the brick....I preheat it on the grill for 30mins at 500*
Gonna be at least a week or so for me to do it again. Working all weekend, 12 hr nights. Plus she put the foot down in smoked food this week. 2 chickens and pork chops was a lot of food for us to eat. She's a little smoked out haha
« Last Edit: March 06, 2014, 07:14:28 pm by 93slayer »