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Author Topic: New Bradley  (Read 1442 times)

Offline ScoobaSteve2884

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New Bradley
« on: December 30, 2019, 09:10:07 PM »
Hi all -  I just received a new Bradley for Christmas and I’ve read quite a few mixed reviews about issues with the heating element, maintaining temp with meat on the rack, getting up to temp, and even fires.  Are these accurate reviews or just one off issues?

Before I fire this bad boy up I wanted to see if you folks have some suggestion or tips.

Offline Habanero Smoker

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Re: New Bradley
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2019, 03:17:34 AM »
Hi ScoobaSteve2884;

Welcome tot he forum.

The Bradley only has a 500 watt element, and if you leave the bisquette burner on that will give you another 125 watts to cook with. So it is fairly low powered, and the rate of getting you cabinet temperature up to your set or desired temperature is very dependent on the ambient temperature, wind, and size and type of load you place in the smoker. So you need to remember this product is for smoking, and low and slow cooking. So a certain amount of planning ahead is required.

As for the fires, there have been several reported on this board, and they all appear to be consumer error. For example, cooking fatty meats like butts and/or brisket and not changing the water in the water bowl. Or loading the racks in a way that the meat is touching the back wall, allowing fat to run down the wall onto the element.

My best tip is to search this forum for advice, and/or ask specific questions. Make your first smoke a successful one. Fish, chicken parts or pork loin/ pork tenderloin are the easiest to prepare and have the shortest cook times. A pork butt is the least forgiving cut of meat, but you are looking at around a 18 hour smoke/cook time. Don't over smoke your foods. I generally use about 2 - 3 hour of smoke for chicken, ribs, and pork loins - a little less for fish. Pork butts and brisket I use 4 hours, some use up to 6 hours. The rest of the time should be cooking without smoke. Get yourself a remote thermometer so you can monitor the internal temperature of the meat - cook by temperature, and use time as a guideline.


     I
         don't
                   inhale.
  ::)

Offline ScoobaSteve2884

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Re: New Bradley
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2019, 05:15:07 AM »
Thank you! I’m not new to smoking.  I’ve learned a bunch over years just smoking on my kettle.  I did a ton of research on the heating element and I may just need to modify that.  It doesn’t look that complicated.

Typically I smile bigger cuts of meat spare ribs, pork brits, brisket, etc.  I was most excited about being able to do multiple butts or ribs on this unit.

Offline Habanero Smoker

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Re: New Bradley
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2019, 01:10:52 PM »
I moved from charcoal burners to the Bradley, then moved back to charcoal. I now generally use the Bradley for cold and hot smoking, but I will still fully smoke/cook my butts in the Bradley. Although not complicated, moving from a charcoal burner, especially from a charcoal grill; there is a small learning curve. Especially when you cook the larger cuts.


     I
         don't
                   inhale.
  ::)

Offline Mitchell N

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Re: New Bradley
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2020, 11:31:37 AM »
Add another element and the Auber PID and you'll be surprised how great the thing is. 

Offline Habanero Smoker

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Re: New Bradley
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2020, 01:36:56 PM »
Add another element and the Auber PID and you'll be surprised how great the thing is.

It is good  cold & hot smoker; especially with the additional modifications of dual elements and a third party temperature controller (Stoker Wireless); that I have added many years ago. I just have and always had a preference for charcoal; especially with the type of charcoal cookers and controllers now on the market.


     I
         don't
                   inhale.
  ::)

Offline Edward176

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Re: New Bradley
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2020, 02:29:49 PM »
Hey Hab, been following the comments and was wondering what type of charcoal smoker you prefer? I'm looking for something that's simple to operate and maintain. I love my 6 rack Bradley digital since I added the second 500 watt element and use an Auber PID controller, world of a difference. Now that I have the smoking bug I'm interested in a charcoal smoker and been looking around, so any hints and advice would be greatly appreciated.   

Offline Habanero Smoker

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Re: New Bradley
« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2020, 04:17:19 AM »

That is a hard question to answer. It depends on how you are going to use it, how much area you have etc. The most functional and flexible charcoal burner for the backyard are the ceramic style; such as Big Green Egg, Kamodo Joe, Weber Charcoal Summit (not ceramic, but immolates them). With these type of charcoal cookers you can grill at high heat, or barbecue at low and slow. These are large enough for the average family. The 22-inch Weber Smokey Mountain (WSM), is a reliable vertical cooker. They also come in 18-inch or 14-inch size. You may find the way the racks stack above each other, and setup a little cumbersome. The 22-inch may be a little too large for average family, or general use. The 14-inch is too small. No third party controllers are needed for any of these cookers, but you can add one; such as one of the BBQ Guru controllers.

If you are looking for something larger, the vertical insulated cookers, are the best way to go. Some brand names are the Backwoods, Humphrey, BBQ Guru Onyx; Myron Mixon Gravity, etc. Each manufacture makes at least a couple of sizes. These are more expensive, and require a third party temperature controller. Except for the gravity feed cooker, they generally have fire pans, so when you need to add more fuel, it generally requires removing a hot fire pan to refuel. Though most advertise that you can convert them to grill at high temperatures, it's not practical to use it for grilling. These are very air tight, and require a small amount of wood to add smoke flavor. Though I am mentioning more familiar brand name there are many companies making vertical charcoal burners – same goes for the ceramic types. The most important thing to look for is the thickness of sheet metal, thickness of insulation, and reviews (if any; about maintaining temperatures, and evenness of heat).

I'm at a stage of life where I have extra money, and not accountable to anyone on how I spend my money.     Right now I have too much equipment. But I give about two events each year that have 35 - 45 guests; so the extra equipment comes in handy. The below is a list of equipment I'm most familiar with.

I already had a Weber Kettle, but when I started going back to charcoal it was around 2007, I purchased a 22-inch Weber Smokey Mountain (WSM). It's a good charcoal smoker without a temperature controller, but with a temperature controller like the BBQ Guru, it makes it even better. Then around 2009, I purchased a BBQ Guru Onyx (I may be selling the Onyx). It's like the Backwoods' Party, but the sheet metal, is thinner. The year Weber launched the Charcoal Summit, I purchased that, and that has become my favorite for general use, and use it more than the Kettle. It functions like the Big Green Egg, but it is made of metal - doubled walled air insulated to help maintain consistent temperatures. You can hookup a temperature controller to it, but I haven't done that as of yet. The past three Christmas, the weather has cooperated, and I've been able to smoke/roast some of the best prime rib I've ever had. In 2017, I purchased a Myron Mixon Gravity Smoker G-9 (they are manufactured in a small town in Connecticut, so I was able to go to the factory and pick it up). I love it, but it is just too large for general use. You can cook up a lot of ribs, chicken and/or brisket at one time. It's built like a tank, maintains even temperatures, and easy to add additional fuel. I have a Stoker Wi-Fi that can control the WSM, Summit, and G-9 at the same time. The Stoker is no longer being manufactured.

Though not charcoal, I also have a Weber propane grill, and a Green Mountain Jim Bowie. I need to mention that I still will only smoke/roast my butts in the Bradley. If you are looking for smoke flavor, I would not recommend a pellet grill. Though they are just as convenient as propane, I have not been able to get a good (if any) smoke flavor from the pellet grills. I also have had some experience with Yoders, and Traegers.


     I
         don't
                   inhale.
  ::)

Offline Edward176

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Re: New Bradley
« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2020, 10:24:03 PM »
Thanks for all the info Hab, its a lot to consider. I wasn't considering a pellet smoker as my neighbour has one and isn't happy with it at all. He loves the taste and smoke flavour better from my Bradley, so a pellet smoker is out. As for a charcoal or offset wood smoker I'm starting to lean in the direction of charcoal smokers. Charcoal and wood chunks seems the way to go, just haven't figured how to hang 15 lbs of sausage in a green egg just yet. Once again thank you.

Offline Habanero Smoker

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Re: New Bradley
« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2020, 01:34:47 AM »
Your welcome. The wood offsets are a good option, and probably will produce the best flavor, but being a BBQ judge, I've spoken with a lot of pitmasters and most say third party temperature controllers don't work well on them. So that is the main reason I never seriously looked into them.

As for the sausage; keep and use the Bradley for that. ;D There are many things the Bradley does well!!!!!

PS
I forgot to mention, if you are looking at the Green Egg or other ceramic grills, take a look at the Weber Charcoal Summit. They work the same way, much lighter, you don't have to worry about the ceramic cracking, and it comes with almost all the accessories you would need. The Amazing Rib site has a good article on it. It is worth the $300 or so, to get the model that has the cart.

Weber Charcoal Summit
« Last Edit: January 14, 2020, 01:51:36 AM by Habanero Smoker »


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Offline Edward176

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Re: New Bradley
« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2020, 11:48:18 AM »
Thanks again Hab! I was looking at keeping my Bradley now that I have an idea on what I'm doing:). It makes a lot of great tasting foods, sausage, kabanosy, hams, back bacon, smoked salmon, bacon, turkey, chicken, etc etc. I can't believe how well it works and how easy it is. I was looking at the Weber Smokey Mountain, but the Weber Charcoal Summit is definitely the Cadillac of smokers. I'll start dropping hints for my wife and kids, maybeeeeeeeeee??? 

Offline ssieler

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Re: New Bradley
« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2020, 11:33:49 PM »
Hi ScoobaSteve2884,

Although I'm new to posting on this forum, I've been a lurker for some years.
This reply is about thermometers, because Hab mentioned getting one, and because some of the thermometer posts are rather old.

My old thermometer died on New Years Day, so I went searching for new one. 

My two primary criteria: wireless, so I could see the temperature(s) from the comfort of the house;
and multiple probes.

There are three basic kinds of wireless: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi ("wifi"), and "other".   I've had far too many problems with Bluetooth over the years, so I would never get one with that ... and the range is far too short.  The very few Wi-Fi thermometers tend to be expensive ($100 or more), and generally require that you use a phone as the receiver, and you may encounter difficulties with setting them up to connect to your house router/mesh.  The "other" (like the Enzoo, below, uses)  generally is very easy to use, and has excellent range.

Some Bluetooth and "other" transmitter/receiver pairs (ok, almost all the ones I've seen) require you to "synchronize" the transmitter and receiver.  Usually, that's as easy as powering on the xmtr first, and rcvr second (within 30 seconds or so).  (The Wi-Fi ones "pair" differently, of course, by having to access your home network, and then be findable by your phone.)

I bought two "other" wireless thermometers this month: a single probe Maverick, and a four-probe Enzoo.  (I needed something fast, and only the Maverick was available locally ... I then ordered the Enzoo from Amazon.com)

I found the Maverick dropped signal several times during a 5 hour period.  Not recommended.

The Enzoo,
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07Y385YR3
has 4 probes, and has worked flawlessly.  The range is easily from the smoker to the far back of my house.
The xmtr/rcvr come "pre-synchronized" at the factory (but with easy instructions on how to do it yourself, should that be needed).   
I use one probe for the smoker temperature, and up to three more for meat temperatures.
The Enzoo transmitter has a magnet, which lets me simply stick it against the side of the Bradley, which is quite convenient for me.
It comes in a carrying case :)

The Enzoo, Maverick, and a number of others, have the ability for you to set high/low temperature alarms (e.g., if you want to be alerted if the smoker temperature drops below 150, or (for cold smoking) if it rises above 75 F).
The "low temp" warning was very useful last year, when my heating element burned out while smoking a pork butt!  (Alerted, I pulled the butt and finished it in an oven.)

There appear to be a fair number of Enzoo clones, all Chinese made, on Amazon ... I have no knowledge as to how they compare with the Enzoo (indeed, perhaps the Enzoo should be included as a "clone" of something?)
Note: a couple of shady vendors advertise "Bluetooth Wifi" wireless ... there is no such thing (in each case, it's a Bluetooth wireless device).

Hope that's of interest/use!

Stan

Offline Habanero Smoker

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Re: New Bradley
« Reply #12 on: February 01, 2020, 04:21:12 AM »
Thanks for the review. It will come in handy to many members.

There are at least one Bluetooth/Wi-Fi remote thermometer/controller; and that is the ThermoWorks 4-Channel Signal. Though it is pricey at $229; it is easy to setup using either Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. For charcoal burners you can add the Billows that will control your pit temperature. Though I still don't recommend Bluetooth, their technology has improved over the years. My Thermowork's Signal while set to Bluetooth I can receive the signal almost anywhere in my house. Less expensive devices that I have; whether they are thermometers, speakers, etc. won't travel through more than two walls; if that.


     I
         don't
                   inhale.
  ::)