Author Topic: I’m thinking about buying a Bradley Smoker is it worth the money investing in one.  (Read 364 times)

Offline Army_flea

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Hi my name Josh.  I live in Kentucky home of the corvette and Whiskey.  I’m thinking about buying a Bradley smoker But with with all the problems I’m reading about I don’t know if they are worth the 400 too 500 dollars to shell out for it.


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Offline Roget

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I own a total of four smokers.
Two pellets, one propane, and a Bradley.
The Bradley is the first smoker I purchased. That was over ten years ago.
Over the last two to three years I have added to my arsenal. For the first eight to ten years I smoked exclusively using the Bradley.
I still use the Bradley as much as any cooker I own. I love it for cooking many things, especially ribs and port butts.
It is my default cold smoker, (think cheese) and jerky cooker.
I love all my smokers and grills, but if I could only have one I would have a hard time giving up my Bradley.
It served me (and still does) well for many years when it was the only smoker I had.
Is it the best smoker available for the money? IDK, but it certainly does a lot of things well and for the money I'm not sure you can get a better one.
YCDBSOYA

Offline Army_flea

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I’m worried about purchasing one because of the temperature not reading correctly.  I have a regular wood smoker that I’ve been using for about a year and it’s really difficult to keep the temperature up on it. I see the post about the analog one doing better than the digital ones. Does anyone know if they will bring out a new digital one that works better.


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Offline Roget

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To me that is one of the few drawbacks with the Bradley.
Without a PID it is susceptible to significant temperature swings.
YCDBSOYA

Offline zueth

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If you are going to get a Bradley get a PID and heating element upgrade at same time.

They are great and will using mine for smoked salmon, cheese, and pork butts.

But if I had to buy only one thing I would get a pellet grill.


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Offline Army_flea

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Why should I buy an extra heating element and I’m new so what’s the PID? Thanks for everybody’s help.


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Offline Roget

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I'm probably the odd man out when it comes to the need for a heating element upgrade. ;D
I have never added a bigger element to mine & never felt the need to.
For me, when using the Bradley, "low & slow is the way to go". If you want to maintain higher temps, (or want to get it cooked & over with) you possibly should look at a pellet smoker.
As to the PID, I agree it is pretty much a necessity.
YCDBSOYA

Offline Roget

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PID = temperature controller.
YCDBSOYA

Offline Army_flea

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Yeah usually when I smoke ribs I smoke them slow around 250.  So I guess I wouldn’t need an extra PID. 


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Offline zueth

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Yeah usually when I smoke ribs I smoke them slow around 250.  So I guess I wouldn’t need an extra PID. 


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Probably will be more like 225 with Bradley, yes you can get by without extra/new heating element  but definitely need the PID.


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Offline Army_flea

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Well with all the answers I’ve gotten I’ll probably buy a pellet smoker grill now.


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Offline Habanero Smoker

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First I want to mention I'm not recommending what to buy. You may want to taste some food cooked in a pellet grill first before you decide to make the purchase; and make sure you taste it without sauce. Since a lot of the sauces have smoke flavor added. If you are looking for smoke flavor, you are not going to get it; or get much from a pellet grill. I've tried all the tricks, such as starting the cook at 140°F, or using an A-Maze-N pellet smoker tube and others - none worked. If you are looking for something that can cook low & slow or grill, or any temperature in between, keeps fairly close temperatures, and require less hands on time during the cook - a pellet grill would be a good choice.


     I
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                   inhale.
  ::)

Offline TwistedSanity

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Re: I’m thinking about buying a Bradley Smoker is it worth the money ...
« Reply #12 on: January 15, 2019, 01:29:43 pm »
Hello Army,

I am hoping I can provide a little more insight that can shed some light on three areas of discussion so far.

A PID is a temperature control devices. The Bradley runs like an electric stove. It turns the element on and when it detects that the temperature is at what you set it too then it turns the element off. the heat will continue to climb until the insulation value allows the cabinet to start to cool.  Then once the temp gets below the setting you have set it will turn the element back on.  Again the cabinet will continue to cool until the elements heat over comes this effect and the temperature starts to climb again.
The PID pulses the heating element on and off rapidly.  The allows you to maintain a more consistent temperature  (+- 2 Degrees) than the standard programing. (on a side note I run a wireless heating prob next to the meat and adjust the Bradley's temp setting until the meat probs setting is where I want it.)

The second heating element mod. The Bradley is designed for low and slow, and it does it. It is commonly felt that the heating element is under powered for a lot of uses. It will not heat up quickly. it will drop when the doors is open,  it will take time to regain temps and it will struggle with large meat loads.  All this being said these are things many smokers show issues with.  I would suggest you look at what you want to do with the smoker. if you want to cook 12 racks of ribs, or 6 pork butts or 2 briskets, to 10lbs of snack sticks then you are probably going to struggle with the stock heating element. If you are more of a hobbyist then this may be a good fit.  As always let the meat speak for itself as to when its cooked and always leave lots of time to get the job done.  Another thing is that once the smoke has been applied you can switch it to a over to a oven (at this point they are basically the same thing) to finish at higher temps.

Breaking Down. Like all mechanical devices the Bradley sometimes breaks down. This will ring true with almost anything you decided to use. One of the reason you may read a lot of negative emails is because people seldom go online to craft a strongly worded email about how everything worked perfectly. I will say two things about break downs. Although I have never used them I often hear about how great the customer support for Bradley's is, and two,  this site right here will provide a lot of help when it comes to mechanically issues. I would venture to say they can provide a solution for 80% of issues.

My first smoker was a Bradley and it was a great unit for my first ribs, pork butt, and snack sticks.  I have a PID (this was done because of my addiction to creating snack sticks where precise temperature control is important). I have ungraded to a second heating element because I was running 2 runs of 10lbs of snack sticks every 3rd weekend and the single element kind of topped out at 8 lbs. I also own a Webber Smokey Mountain because I spend 4 months a year camping off grid and needed something to do while out there and away from electricity.

My suggestion is to figure out what you want to do with it.  If any of your must have features go beyond a Bradley's stock functionality than you may want to search for something else.  If you decided a Bradley will work than and understand that 0 sometimes happens in the best of times than a Bradley will serve you well.

Good luck and happy smoking.

Offline Army_flea

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Thanks!


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Offline mybad

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I like my Bradley, it is 12 years old now. Used it 100's of times. All original, never have had to replace anything.

They are very hard to get up to a smoking temp, mine had the slider, for temp control. Horrible. I finally invested in a Auberins dual temp controller.

Like a magic wand was waved. What a difference. I am going to upgrade the the heating element this year, if it's cold outside, it is almost impossible to get the temp up to 225, in my experience. I have a large foil wrapped brick in mine to help stabilize the temp when I open the door.

Over the years it seemed like the heating element was going bad on new Bradley's quite often. Although mine is 12 years old and working well. I love it very much compact, easy to store, easy to use.

Here is a brisket I did a year ago, was the very best brisket I have ever had. Just my opinion though...lol   http://forum.bradleysmoker.com/index.php?topic=37956.msg426798#msg426798

In the end the choice is yours, good luck and have fun.