BRADLEY SMOKER | "Taste the Great Outdoors"

Bradley Smokers => The Black Bradley Smoker (BTIS1) => Topic started by: Hackk on June 08, 2011, 11:37:15 pm

Title: Help me before I change my mind again!
Post by: Hackk on June 08, 2011, 11:37:15 pm
So about a 2 years ago I wanted a smoker, I said I can wait. A year ago, I wanted one again, so I did the research, something financial came up... So here I am again, Im getting one damn it!

I was hoping you guys can point me in the right direction so I can get this right the first time, and not have to rebuy parts. I decided on an OBS with PID controller. So if you can first help me with that. I'm assuming Auber is the best choice? I know there is the plug and play, or the build your own. Im handy, so either will work for me. But I want to make sure I make the right initial purchase. 1 probe or 2? and why? And are there any differences between the plug n play compared to the DIY kit? Is there anything else I should know? For years I've been using a smoke box on one side of my BBQ, and albeit inconsistent, some of the meat has turned out great... So I know it can only get better with the right equipment.

Also, can you guys recommend any books or reading about smoking with a PID? I understand the concept, but I would really like to "master" this, without having to relearn after years of doing it wrong. Im from Southern California, Im a snowboarder/surfer that loves to cook, so I dont have access to smokeouts or smoke masters to learn from like some of you Midwest people, Im doing this all on my own, and I want to do it right! I spearfish a lot, so I know some yellowtail, seabass, or halibut are getting smoked. Other than that, I love steak!

I really appreciate any help you guys can give me. Thank you
Title: Re: Help me before I change my mind again!
Post by: SiFumar on June 09, 2011, 12:56:33 am
Welcome! You'd be surprised how many smokers there are in So Cal!  I'm sure you'll be hearing from them.  I'm in NV and haven't come across a Bradley smoker yet!  They are a real helpful bunch here and I'm sure you'll get answers to your questions.  I'm fairly new at this myself so can't help ya there.  I have a OBS and PID.  I'm still having a few issues with the PID but it is my fault for just not comprehending it.  Enjoy the addiction!
Title: Re: Help me before I change my mind again!
Post by: La Quinta on June 09, 2011, 01:23:00 am
Just get an OBS or Digital...hell I just use an instand read thermo pen...the beauty of smoking is you get to experience something...fish is lovely smoked...but just a hint (for me) or you lose the taste of the fish. Depending on where you live in So Cal...just go naked with the smoke and the fish to start...you'll get the hang of it...it's not rocket science...IMHO don't overthink it at first...

New smoking is a work in progress....you try...it's ok...do it again it's a masterpiece!  :)
Title: Re: Help me before I change my mind again!
Post by: Hackk on June 09, 2011, 02:12:11 am
Thanks for the warm welcome guys!

I've done my reading, and I know I want an OBS with PID. I plan on cold smoking a lot of fish, and I really dont want that temp swing that the digital alone causes. I'm a trained chef (well used to be, but got out of the restaurant industry), so cooking is natural for me. Unfortunately my experience never really dealt with smoking meat, so I feel that may be the last discipline I need to attack. Plus a man needs a smoker, so I feel I need this or a lifted truck to make up for my inadequate manhood, haha.

So anyway, back to the point. I know if I dont get the PID, it will leave an empty pit in my stomach, because I will always feel I can do better. I want to do this right! So back to my original question, if any of you experienced smokers out there can set me straight, I would love it. I may be a beginner now, but I know I will eventually grow, and I dont want my equipment to limit my ability.
Title: Re: Help me before I change my mind again!
Post by: devo on June 09, 2011, 03:36:11 am
If I was to do it all over again I would have bought the OBS instead of the digital. You already settled on the PID so if it was me I would get the duel probe plug & play as the DIY one is kinda over my head. If you get the plug & play don't get the wall  mount as its not needed and only gets in the way. That way you can put the probe where its needed the most.
If your going to be doing alot of cold smoking than by all means get the cold smoke adaptor. In hot weather you will never keep the cabinet temp below 120*F without it.
Hope this helps and welcome to the forum.
Title: Re: Help me before I change my mind again!
Post by: TedEbear on June 09, 2011, 03:40:17 am
And are there any differences between the plug n play compared to the DIY kit? Is

I installed the DIY on my OBS and it really works well for what I bought it for.  No more tinkering back and forth to find the right position for the slider temp control, which is a different position if the wind is blowing, if the outdoor temp is warm or cold, etc.  The PID maintains the chamber temp to within 4 degrees on mine.

As far as the differences, I believe the DIY is still limited to a single probe for monitoring just the chamber temp.  The plug n play has more features but it also costs about 4x more.  You can buy the DIY PID for less than $45.  Even after adding the additional parts and things to make it all work the cost is still less than 1/2 of the plug n play unit.

I installed mine in the smoke generator box.  Externally everything is neat and there aren't a bunch of wires and cables running all over the place.  It works perfect for what I bought it for. I also added a second 500W heating element when I installed the PID for a little more 'horsepower'.  I think two elements is something the OBS should have come with all along.

(http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b355/roadijeff/Miscellaneous/P1160272.jpg)


Title: Re: Help me before I change my mind again!
Post by: ghost9mm on June 09, 2011, 07:05:29 am
While I have the DBS and the plug and play PID  and I am content with that.. I think more here will recommend the OBS with plug and play PID and if you are going to be smoking sausage you might want to look at the six rack because of the height to hang your sausage...just my thoughts...good luck with your choice and welcome to the forum...
Title: Re: Help me before I change my mind again!
Post by: muebe on June 09, 2011, 07:42:12 am
Welcome to the forum. I also am in Southern California ;D

I have the OBS and Auberins Dual Probe PID. IMHO The plug and play is the way to go. Being able to control cabinet temps by time or IT is a plus. And it is the easiest installation ever! And as Devo stated do not get the mounted temp probe...get the hanging. That way you can place it just below your lowest rack of meat ;)
Title: Re: Help me before I change my mind again!
Post by: Hackk on June 09, 2011, 12:55:17 pm
If you guys dont mind, I'd like a little more clarification on the PID differences.

I can understand hanging the probe in the chamber to monitor temps, but what would the second probe be used for? The Protein temps?
Are there any performance differences between the DIY and plug n play? Like I said before, Im sure I can put together the DIY just fine, but if the Plug n Play offers something other than just a pretty box, I'd like to know.

And finally, TedEbear, I know Im jumping away from my original question, but do you have any reading material on adding a second heating core? That's an area of learning that I havent touched yet. And that's also a very clean setup. I wondered if that was possible, but I havent had an opened smoke generator in front of me, so I had no idea if it would work...
Title: Re: Help me before I change my mind again!
Post by: Habanero Smoker on June 09, 2011, 01:12:11 pm
This review may be helpful.

Auber Plug & Play (http://www.susanminor.org/forums/showthread.php?672-Auber-Plug-amp-Play-PIDs-Single-Dual-Probes&p=1045#post1045)
Title: Re: Help me before I change my mind again!
Post by: HitLines on June 09, 2011, 01:31:19 pm
In the same boat except my OBS is in route from Amazon. I plan to mod it with a second heating element before the first smoke. Maybe the feet mod after a quick run to HD as well.

So no DIY dual probe PIDs exist? Is the only option the plug-in-play?

TedEbear has been most helpful and he has the DIY single probe PID so perhaps I could get away with that for now.
Title: Re: Help me before I change my mind again!
Post by: Hackk on June 09, 2011, 01:43:33 pm
Can someone explain what "The dual probe can automate the smoking more by adding temperature versus time only into the ramping control feature."?
Title: Re: Help me before I change my mind again!
Post by: beefmann on June 09, 2011, 01:46:07 pm
hackk,

welcome to the forum and enjoy, for the  most  part the OBS with an auber the  the way to go, my set up has a Timer and Pid to switch between the smoking process and cooking, along with a 900 watt finned heater  with a blower that aides in the  cooking and recovery process.  both the timer and pid can be installed in the smoke generator for easy programming and adjustments.

also you  will want to get the maverick et 732 dual probe thermometer to aid in the cooking  process, it comes  with a food probe and a bbq / smoker probe which is good.

as for  getting a pid with dual probes i do not  have one only  for the reason that i do not  want to babysit my smoker... i want to enjoy the company of family and  friends during the bbq  
Title: Re: Help me before I change my mind again!
Post by: muebe on June 09, 2011, 01:50:14 pm
Dual Probe PID allows you to adjust cabinet temps according to meat IT (second probe) or time and a single probe does not(just time).

The single/dual probe Auberins Bradley only requires the ability of the user to be able to plug in an electrical plug to install. The DIY PID requires some complicated installation procedures.

The DIY costs over half as much and can be installed into the smoke generator housing.

So there are pros and cons to each ;D
Title: Re: Help me before I change my mind again!
Post by: Hopefull Romantic on June 09, 2011, 01:54:34 pm
Hi Hackk and welcome to the forum.

I have the DBS and the single probe plug & play PID and I love it, but the again I am not so technically inclide to even begin to think about the DIY. I could not help but notice that you mentioned you want to do do  alot of cold smoke fish. I just wanted to mention that in this particular case, the PID would not be a part of the game. The PID would ramp up the temperature ONLY and I do recommend that you contemplate getting a cold smoke box. They are avalable from Bradley or you could build your own.

HR
Title: Re: Help me before I change my mind again!
Post by: Hackk on June 09, 2011, 03:04:14 pm
I'm sure I have a lot more questions to ask about the equipment, but real quick, Im ordering wood right now. I almost want to buy the variety pack to test out smoke flavors, but I know I'll probably have to buy additional flavors shortly after. So far in my limited experience, I've used Maple (which I loved), cherry (which I also enjoyed), and mesquite (which I didnt really like, very harsh smoke). Again, I know I was only using a smoke box in my BBQ, but I got a general idea.

For a beginner learning the bradley smoker, what do you guys recommend? The variety pack, or individual types? I just dont know how fast I will go through everything...
Title: Re: Help me before I change my mind again!
Post by: Hackk on June 09, 2011, 03:14:12 pm
and can someone PLEASE tell me what Im not catching here with these two apple woods other than price? Are there fake flavors?

http://www.amazon.com/Bradley-Apple-Bisquettes-48-pack/dp/B000FK2DOG/ref=sr_1_5?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1307657091&sr=1-5

http://www.amazon.com/Bradley-Smoker-BTAP12-Bisquettes-12-Pack/dp/B002FYUO6Y/ref=sr_1_16?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1307657091&sr=1-16


EDIT- Im assuming the 120 pack is the wrong picture?
Title: Re: Help me before I change my mind again!
Post by: EDinNB on June 09, 2011, 08:03:12 pm
First link is accurate, second link they used the 120 pack box for the sale of the 12 pack, however both prices loom about right.


EDinNB
Title: Re: Help me before I change my mind again!
Post by: seemore on June 09, 2011, 08:15:34 pm
Hackk... look here good info also I buy my pucks at yard and pool great comany
http://www.susanminor.org/forums/forumdisplay.php?180-Our-Time-Tested-and-Proven-Recipes
seemore
Title: Re: Help me before I change my mind again!
Post by: Habanero Smoker on June 10, 2011, 01:27:50 am
You may want to send Auber an email. Though they don't advertise it, he may sell you a dual PID.

If you are going to build your own, you may want to give some thought into making it a stand alone rather then build it into the generator. A stand alone PID will give you more options to control other heating devices such as crock pots, hot plates etc. Also if you build it into the generator and the generator goes bad you will have to redo the work to install it in a new generator.
Title: Re: Help me before I change my mind again!
Post by: Hackk on June 10, 2011, 03:32:39 am
So even though saving money would be a great thing, I decided to go down the "rich", and lazy road, and I just bought the dual plug n play. I know I could wire the diy just fine, but I'm rebuilding a motorcycle every spare minute that I have, so I just said f it, and dropped the cash.

I also picked up some 48 packs of maple, alder, apple, cherry, pecan, and jack daniels (which I believe is oak?)... I know it will take me a while to go through all of them, but at least ill have a nice reserve at hand to play around with. Mesquite, hickory, and oak kind of scare me. I know they're a stronger smoke, and usually used with beef, but I feel until I get the hang of it, the other woods I got will do just fine if I want to play with a bone-in ribeye or something.

I think my biggest problem to come, will be giving away the meat I smoke. Its just my girlfriend and I, but I know its impractical to smoke unless I fill that chamber full.

Guys, I want to thank you for all of your help. Everything I asked has been asnwered. Compared to other forums, you all welcomed me with open arms, and never made me feel like an idiot. Again, thank you. From this point on, I believe I can get the rest of my answers from trial and error... and reading
Title: Re: Help me before I change my mind again!
Post by: beefmann on June 10, 2011, 06:43:14 am
your welcome and enjoy
Title: Re: Help me before I change my mind again!
Post by: TedEbear on June 10, 2011, 07:43:40 am
And finally, TedEbear, I know Im jumping away from my original question, but do you have any reading material on adding a second heating core? That's an area of learning that I havent touched yet. And that's also a very clean setup. I wondered if that was possible, but I havent had an opened smoke generator in front of me, so I had no idea if it would work...

There are several how-to articles on adding a second element.  Some have switches for going back and forth between single or dual element mode, although I don't know why anyone would want to do this once they have both elements up and running.  I think I mainly followed the link below. 

The only thing I did differently was instead of running wires from both elements all the way out the back of the cooking chamber I just made a short 3-4" high temp wire loop from the second element to the first and then only one wire going out the back on each end from the first element.

Everyone cautions that when you add a second element to also have a PID controller because the stock temp controller might not be able to handle the higher current.

Additional Heating Element Modification (http://www.susanminor.org/forums/showthread.php?572-Additional-Heating-Element-Modification)

On the PID controller it looks like you already made up your mind on what to get.  That plug n play is the easier to install and has more options.  I just went with the DIY because it cost way less and controlling the chamber temp is the only reason I wanted one.  Installing it in the smoke generator box was an idea I saw someone else do on here and it looked nice and clean.  If I ever had to replace the SG I would probably keep my modded box and just unscrew the 'guts' of the smoke generator motor, etc., and repace it.  Probably would take all of 10 minutes.

I also went with the Auber K-type thermocouple with the alligator clip on my PID . The reason being is that I can clip it upside-down to one of the racks instead of letting it just dangle through the vent.  By creating a drip loop I avoid any moisture getting on the wire and running down into the sensor.

(http://www.auberins.com/images/TC-K6Aa.gif)

Title: Re: Help me before I change my mind again!
Post by: Hopefull Romantic on June 10, 2011, 08:15:29 am
Hackk you should also consider purchasing Bubba Pucks.

as you may know that each wood bisquette burns in 20 minutes. So for a one hour smoke you would need three and that last one needs to be pushed up to the plate. You could use other bisquettes to achieve that but it is a waste of money and goodBradley bisquettes. The traditional Bubba pucks you could purchase at Yard and pool and I see that some one gave you the link to them. Auber Instruments also sell similar "Rings" that I heard to be good as well. YOu will find them at

http://www.auberins.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=14&products_id=111

HR
Title: Re: Help me before I change my mind again!
Post by: muebe on June 10, 2011, 08:21:20 am
Hackk....When I was looking to do the dual-element mod I saw what Beefman had done with the 900w finned element and fan & was very impressed. So I first had just did the 900w finned element mod only and it worked great. I tested it for over twenty five hours and no problems. I then bought a used Fridgidaire Oven Convection Fan from e-bay and installed it into the upper left hand corner of the Bradley cabinet. The convection fan is controlled by my PID(smoker output). I did re-install the shelf brackets so it is a 4-tray smoker again ;) I am very happy with this setup ;D

(http://i752.photobucket.com/albums/xx169/muebe/IMAG0798.jpg) (http://i752.photobucket.com/albums/xx169/muebe/IMAG0799.jpg) (http://i752.photobucket.com/albums/xx169/muebe/IMAG0801.jpg) (http://i752.photobucket.com/albums/xx169/muebe/IMAG0800.jpg) (http://i752.photobucket.com/albums/xx169/muebe/IMAG0594.jpg) (http://i752.photobucket.com/albums/xx169/muebe/IMAG0697.jpg)
Title: Re: Help me before I change my mind again!
Post by: La Quinta on June 11, 2011, 02:22:33 am
Dang you guys over complicate the crap outta cooking...the fun of smoking is checking the temp...and making sure it is where it should be...it's not like its a lot of work...but that's just me...I enjoy the simplicity of the experience...I don't use any of the "toys"...don't think they are necessary...I like the OBS just the way it is...

Again...just the way I am...it is what it is....ya gotta learn to smoke...you can't do it with gadgets...geez I sound very old school don't I...UGH... ???
Title: Re: Help me before I change my mind again!
Post by: Hackk on June 16, 2011, 08:34:24 pm
Thanks Muebe, and everyone else, this is all great material! After spending a little more time on the sites you all linked, I found an answer to any question I can think of..... except this next one, which I will ask in hopes that it gets answered quickly, because it seems to be an emergency!

I am running the unit for the first time right now, Im in the process of "curing" the chamber...

The pucks wont light! I have the PID setup to run the smoke on the steps I am on, plus I know its working because the lights are all on, and I burnt the ^$% out of my finger touching the inside of the unit to feel heat. It even feeds when I push the button.... but no smoke is being produced! HELP!
Title: Re: Help me before I change my mind again!
Post by: Habanero Smoker on June 17, 2011, 01:49:39 am

The bisquettes will not light, they will smolder. When you stated you burnt your fingers, was in on the bisquette burner, or another part of the smoker?

This could be a matter of not allowing the bisquette burner to preheat prior to the first bisquette advancing to the burner. If that is not the case; since this is your first run I would unhook the PID and set up the Bradley per instructions of the manual, and try it again. If the bisquette burner works fine then the problem may be the setting on the PID or the way you hooked it up.