Author Topic: 4 Rack smoker issues..  (Read 2821 times)

Offline Ahzz1816

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4 Rack smoker issues..
« on: February 13, 2017, 07:14:47 am »
Hey guys, I just got a bradley 4 rack digital smoker, I went to season it and the temps wouldn't exceed 113 degrees F, so after some panic I realized that I did not plug the unit in correctly. So I went to re season it I loaded the pucks set the temp to 150F and let smoke generator and the oven heat up. The temperature rose fairly slowly and eventually hit 220F and hung around there despite being set at 150. I just brushed it off as a learning curve. I actually adjusted the temperature to 250F and it reached about 280F with lots and lots of smoke.  The next day I went to smoke for the first time using this smoker, I pre heated the oven which got to again around 220f Prepared my 12lb turkey and popped her in. I read online that at 250 it should take about 4.5-5 hours to complete the turkey so I started at noon to have it ready for dinner time.

While cooking the turkey the temperature would not exceed 180 for most of the time, when it finally did it only reached 223. When I had to change the water I lost all heat down to 100F and there was not a ton of smoke.. I used 20 pucks but most of them were scorched on the outside and when I dumped the bowl they would fall apart revealing that most of the wood was not burnt. Is this normal? I had the oven set for 250 and it took 3 hours for it to get to 220 the element gets red and the plugs are firmly pushed in. I smoked in a shed that I have on my property that we do not use so wind wasn't much of a factor.

Please help me I am not sure if this is working right or not, the turkey was amazing but the smoke flavor was light to light for using 20 pucks of hickory. I literally just bought this unit a week ago today.

Offline jesse_sanders

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Re: 4 Rack smoker issues..
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2017, 11:11:55 am »
They're actually a huge waste of money. Get your money back and buy a pellet smoker. Unless modified, which you shouldn't have to do, these things will not make temperature, hold temperature or recover temperature. It's basically a really expensive 0in cabinet to put an amnz tube in and cold smoked stuff.

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Offline Habanero Smoker

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Re: 4 Rack smoker issues..
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2017, 01:51:06 pm »
Once you get to know the Bradley better, it will put out better food than a pellet grill. I'm don't like a strong smoke flavor. I feel that smoke is another ingredient, and should not over power the other flavors. Having said that; I have both, and I don't get much smoke flavor, if any, from a pellet grill. Even using an A-Maz-N smoker tube, I get very little smoke flavor. A pellet grill simply will not produce the flavorful smoke as the Bradley can. I've cooked plenty of food in an unmodified Bradley, it does take patients and an understanding of it's capabilities.

Twenty bisquettes is lot of bisquettes for a turkey; generally for poultry you only want to use 1:40 - 3:00 hours of smoke; of 5 - 9 bisquettes - the rest of the time you cook without smoke. Did you preheat the cabinet, and the bisquette burner prior to using it.

How long did it take for our turkey to finish?

How was the smoke flavor?


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Offline Ahzz1816

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Re: 4 Rack smoker issues..
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2017, 01:54:42 pm »
Once you get to know the Bradley better, it will put out better food than a pellet grill. I'm don't like a strong smoke flavor. I feel that smoke is another ingredient, and should not over power the other flavors. Having said that; I have both, and I don't get much smoke flavor, if any, from a pellet grill. Even using an A-Maz-N smoker tube, I get very little smoke flavor. A pellet grill simply will not produce the flavorful smoke as the Bradley can. I've cooked plenty of food in an unmodified Bradley, it does take patients and an understanding of it's capabilities.

Twenty bisquettes is lot of bisquettes for a turkey; generally for poultry you only want to use 1:40 - 3:00 hours of smoke; of 5 - 9 bisquettes - the rest of the time you cook without smoke. Did you preheat the cabinet, and the bisquette burner prior to using it.

How long did it take for our turkey to finish?

How was the smoke flavor?


I read online it should have been about 4.5-5 hours and that's what I got online as well 20 mins a pound * 12 is 4 hours. The bird spent 6.5 hours in the oven and the smoke flavor was there but very very faint.  The pucks were coming out the same way they went in just black, but when I dumped out the water I could see that the insides were not burning.

Offline GusRobin

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Re: 4 Rack smoker issues..
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2017, 09:28:46 pm »
Did you have the vent open? Although it is counter- intuitive, a closed vent will retain moisture and lower the temp. Especially with poultry
When changing the water, use hot to boiling water so the temp recovery time is shortened.
The pucks do not burn all the way otherwise you get an acrid flavor.
What "flavor" puck did you use? This can effect the smoke taste.
As Hab said, many users never modified their smoker and have many years of good smokes.
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Offline Habanero Smoker

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Re: 4 Rack smoker issues..
« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2017, 02:35:53 am »
A total of 6.5 hours, is not that far off from what I've experienced. As you have noticed, it will take the Bradley some time to get back up to your set temperature. The Bradley recovery time will add a lot of extra cook time, when you load it, or when you open the door to check on how it is roasting, and to change the water bowl.  So for a good amount of time it is not cooking at 225°F, and you have to adjust your time for that.

If you were using the Bradley temperature display, it could be inaccurate once food is loaded. Purchase a digital probe thermometer, place the probe on the lowest rack. That will give you a better readout than Bradley's internal thermometer.

Try preheating to a higher temperature before loading. From what you described your bisquettes burnt normally. I'm not sure why the smoke flavor was faint. But taste is subjective, and what I like can be different from another's taste.

Another question. What was the final internal temperature of the turkey, and where did you take the temperature at?


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Offline Ahzz1816

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Re: 4 Rack smoker issues..
« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2017, 06:04:59 am »
Did you have the vent open? Although it is counter- intuitive, a closed vent will retain moisture and lower the temp. Especially with poultry
When changing the water, use hot to boiling water so the temp recovery time is shortened.
The pucks do not burn all the way otherwise you get an acrid flavor.
What "flavor" puck did you use? This can effect the smoke taste.
As Hab said, many users never modified their smoker and have many years of good smokes.

I used hickory, I had the vent all the way open otherwise my temps wouldn't break 200 even when seasoning. I tired 1/4 and  1/2 open but nothing really changed. I opened the box twice during those 6 hours once to put the bird in and another to change the water, my temp was set to 280 and it sat at 200 usually just below 196-199 and according to the SG 163. Why wouldn't it heat up more?

A total of 6.5 hours, is not that far off from what I've experienced. As you have noticed, it will take the Bradley some time to get back up to your set temperature. The Bradley recovery time will add a lot of extra cook time, when you load it, or when you open the door to check on how it is roasting, and to change the water bowl.  So for a good amount of time it is not cooking at 225°F, and you have to adjust your time for that.

If you were using the Bradley temperature display, it could be inaccurate once food is loaded. Purchase a digital probe thermometer, place the probe on the lowest rack. That will give you a better readout than Bradley's internal thermometer.

Try preheating to a higher temperature before loading. From what you described your bisquettes burnt normally. I'm not sure why the smoke flavor was faint. But taste is subjective, and what I like can be different from another's taste.

Another question. What was the final internal temperature of the turkey, and where did you take the temperature at?

I have a thermpro dual probe thermometer I kept one probe in the bird the other above the bird a few inches  ( I read mixed things where to put the second probe some say above some say below my theory was heat rises)  the unit itself never said anything more than 163F, while my thermopro said it was 220 at that point but with the turkey in it never actually exceeded 220 and took 4 hours to get to that temp. I have only gotten it higher than 250 once.

I preheated the smoker for 3 hours. and at 220F I just said **** it and put the turkey in. I put the probe in the center of the fattest part of the breast, the final temp was 135 I got tired of waiting (kids were hungry)  it was 135F for about 90 mins so I finished it in the oven to 160F .

Maybe I am crazy but, my boss and my brother in law have one of these smokers, I described what was going on and my boss thinks something is wrong.. I bought this smoker based on their recommendations, I have not actually talked to my Brother in law about it yet we don't see each other much. I got the smoker online to and i threw out the box so I have to contact Bradley for a return. It just doesn't feel to me like it is working properly. I just hope they are not a hard company to deal with
« Last Edit: February 14, 2017, 06:24:41 am by Ahzz1816 »

Offline Ahzz1816

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Re: 4 Rack smoker issues..
« Reply #7 on: February 14, 2017, 06:38:18 am »
I just wanted to add, if the pucks shouldn't be burning all they way, why does my bosses pucks burn all the way? his unit is not modified not trying to come across as a ass, I am just wondering. He said his water bowl is just black sludge and only leaves ash but I tried his turkey he smoked using hickory and the flavor was much stronger than mine and it was amazing! granted he has been doing it for 5 years but he said he only smoked for 3 hours and let the oven finish it.

Offline Habanero Smoker

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Re: 4 Rack smoker issues..
« Reply #8 on: February 14, 2017, 01:43:21 pm »
If you smoker is on a circuit that has a lot of other appliances running, your smoker may not be getting the proper voltage to run at 625 watts. Keep the generator on during the full cook. That will give you and additional 125 watts.

An average of 200°F is within the Bradley normal operating range. Heat does rise, but also does evaporated moisture. By placing the probe just above the turkey, or even near it, you will get a lower reading. Moisture is evaporating from the turkey, or any meat for that matter. Evaporation can bring the temperature near the turkey's surface, or other meat as much as 40°F.

You stated you never got above 200°F; even during seasoning, but you also reported that your thermopro was showing a reading of 220°F at some point prior to loading the turkey. I would go with the thermopro reading and move the probe to where I suggested. It is also unusual for no noticeable change in temperature, when the top vent is adjusted. I think you should keep a written log, and record what is going on during your smokes. A lot of things are happening, and recording them as they happen give you a clearer view of what is happening and when.

Though your bisquettes are burning like most members, sometime the burn rate is effected by too much humidity, the type of bisquettes you are burning, the set temperature inside the cabinet, and/or how much compression was used during the manufacture of the bisquettes. Three or less hours of smoke for turkey is what most members use. I generally will use maple, and add 2:40 hours of smoke.


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Offline Ahzz1816

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Re: 4 Rack smoker issues..
« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2017, 12:15:54 pm »
If you smoker is on a circuit that has a lot of other appliances running, your smoker may not be getting the proper voltage to run at 625 watts. Keep the generator on during the full cook. That will give you and additional 125 watts.

An average of 200°F is within the Bradley normal operating range. Heat does rise, but also does evaporated moisture. By placing the probe just above the turkey, or even near it, you will get a lower reading. Moisture is evaporating from the turkey, or any meat for that matter. Evaporation can bring the temperature near the turkey's surface, or other meat as much as 40°F.

You stated you never got above 200°F; even during seasoning, but you also reported that your thermopro was showing a reading of 220°F at some point prior to loading the turkey. I would go with the thermopro reading and move the probe to where I suggested. It is also unusual for no noticeable change in temperature, when the top vent is adjusted. I think you should keep a written log, and record what is going on during your smokes. A lot of things are happening, and recording them as they happen give you a clearer view of what is happening and when.

Though your bisquettes are burning like most members, sometime the burn rate is effected by too much humidity, the type of bisquettes you are burning, the set temperature inside the cabinet, and/or how much compression was used during the manufacture of the bisquettes. Three or less hours of smoke for turkey is what most members use. I generally will use maple, and add 2:40 hours of smoke.

Sorry I was referring to the smokers temperature reading when I said that it never exceeded 200 degrees not the thermopro ( how do you get the degree symbol??).

 I have gotten 2 more turkeys and have a replacement smoker on the way, I am unsure if mine is working or not by the sounds of it I am just paranoid and need to get used to the smoker.

The circuit my smoker was hooked up to has literally nothing on it my garage/shed/unused structure is on it's own circuit with 12ga wiring.

I appreciate all the help I really have a feeling it is just me and not the device, but amazon makes it easy and painless to return and I don't have anything to lose by trying a second one other than a few bucks in pucks.I will be trying another turkey next weekend one in each smoker to see what happens, using your methods and report back.

Again thanks for the help.

P.S. How long to preheat the SG? and how do I know it is ready to go? Last smoke I just let it warm up for a few hours but it was feeding pucks the whole time but all I did was press the power button. I did not realize it was feeding pucks until I opened the smoker to put the turkey in, not sure how I didn't notice this but... I didn't
« Last Edit: February 16, 2017, 12:20:24 pm by Ahzz1816 »

Offline Habanero Smoker

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Re: 4 Rack smoker issues..
« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2017, 01:27:48 pm »
Amazon does make it easy for returns, and since they give you 30 days to return the old merchandise; you can use the box the new smoker comes in to ship your old one back.

When I preheat the generator (bisquette burner) I turn it on, but I do not load the chute until I'm ready to start smoking. When I'm ready to smoke the food, I load the chute with the amount of bisquettes I want to use, load the food, then hit the advance button three times. In your case you may want to take one more step, and reset the timer. A half an hour should be plenty of time to preheat, maybe a little longer when the temperature is below freezing. I preheat both the cabinet and generator at the same time.

The degree symbol is just a habit of mine. I can't help myself. To get the degree symbol, it depends on what equipment you have. I have a PC with a standard keyboard, Macs, iPads etc. use different key combinations. With that keyboard I hold the ALT key down, then using the keypad (not the numbers above the letters) type the numbers 0176; then release the ALT key:

ALT 0176


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Offline Ahzz1816

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Re: 4 Rack smoker issues..
« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2017, 05:55:45 am »
Amazon does make it easy for returns, and since they give you 30 days to return the old merchandise; you can use the box the new smoker comes in to ship your old one back.

When I preheat the generator (bisquette burner) I turn it on, but I do not load the chute until I'm ready to start smoking. When I'm ready to smoke the food, I load the chute with the amount of bisquettes I want to use, load the food, then hit the advance button three times. In your case you may want to take one more step, and reset the timer. A half an hour should be plenty of time to preheat, maybe a little longer when the temperature is below freezing. I preheat both the cabinet and generator at the same time.

The degree symbol is just a habit of mine. I can't help myself. To get the degree symbol, it depends on what equipment you have. I have a PC with a standard keyboard, Macs, iPads etc. use different key combinations. With that keyboard I hold the ALT key down, then using the keypad (not the numbers above the letters) type the numbers 0176; then release the ALT key:

ALT 0176


Awesome! thanks again for your help.

Offline Ahzz1816

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Re: 4 Rack smoker issues..
« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2017, 09:13:44 am »
Just wanted to poke my head in here.. I got my new replacement smoker and it's much much better, seasoned and made some food with it already :D I made 2 whole chickens at the same time trying to replicate the turkey to some extent. Combined weight f 12.7 pounds cooked both to 160 in 4 hours and 12 minutes, I ran maple smoke for 2.5 hours and my shed/garage was much much smokier than the last time ( definitely need to figure out an exhaust). When I seasoned it it was at 250 in a little over a hour. the temps are much closer to what I have them set to set at 250 with the chickens in it sat at 230 according to my thermopro so I bumped it up to 270 which made the oven sit at 237-264 with small dips in the temps but would come right back up within a reasonable amount of time, and in a decent range with the setting

This smoker seems much better than the last the pucks are burning better not fully ash but the whole thing is black and I didn't see any un burnt wood. The smoke flavor was strong and noticeable not barely there like the turkey. The heatup time is about a hour vs 2+ hours while empty, even with the chickens in it was up to temp in about a hour, I put the Thermopro on the bottom rack.

Glad i did get the replacement something was definitely wrong with the other one not sure what but it's night and day with the units.

I did crack and picked up a auber PID should be here today

Offline Johnny

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Re: 4 Rack smoker issues..
« Reply #13 on: February 21, 2017, 09:48:35 am »

I just rigged this up for venting, ran a smoke thru it on Saturday and seemed not too bad. I would say it took 80% out.
Johnny.

Offline Edward176

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Re: 4 Rack smoker issues..
« Reply #14 on: February 21, 2017, 09:50:06 am »
Well Ahzz1816, very glad everything worked out for you and you are now happy with your Bradley Smoker. Unfortunately electronics/electrical equipment can, on a rare occasion, be defective and cause a lot of heart ache. I, like thousands of other HAPPY Bradley owners, are just that, very satisfied with our Bradley Smoker. I've had mine now for 3 years and have had a great deal of success and enjoyment with it. Good Luck and Keep On Smoking :)