Lot To Learn

Started by AD, February 02, 2005, 12:42:47 AM

Previous topic - Next topic

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.


Recently got our first smoker and initial trials have come to mixed review.  Have a couple of questions to get us back on the right track.  Done mostly recipes from the cookbook that came with unit.

1.  Did the cross rib roast recipe with mesquite biscuits this past weekend and the smoke flavour was reeeeeealy strong.  Smoked the full 8 hours.  Part of problem was we let the water pot dry out and suspect we may have gotten some "bad" smoke added in.  Never thought to look and manual gave no direction to watch.  Learned the hard way:)  The scent and taste was very, very strong almost to the extent of unpleasantness.  Anyways read other parts of forum and noticed not smoking the entire time.  Question.  If you smoke for 2-4 of the 8 hours for this recipe do you do the first or last 2-4 hours?

2.  What is the real function of the damper on the top?  Is this a temperature, ventilation, or smoke control setting?  Should it be closed, partially open, or open completely?  I had it set open slightly, about 1/4" on outside edge, this past weekend and had good temperature control.  Was this part of excessive smokey flavour?  What is general guideline on how to use.

Sure we will have more questions as we move forward so thought I'd go to the experts.  Very, very pleased with the rib/sauce recipe in the cookbook.  Did straight up smoking of some pork chops and kind of dried them out.  I understand smoking is an art and need to trial and error.  Will keep at 'er.  Thnx in advance

Chez Bubba


Get <i>Smoke & Spice</i> by Bill & Cheryl Jamison. It's cognac compared to the Mogen David manual.

Yes, if you smoke for over 4 hours you need to empty & refresh the water bowl. No, you don't need to smoke the entire cook. You do want to smoke the first part rather than the last, as the meat is more accepting of it when it's raw. The same factors that seal IN the juices will also seal OUT the smoke. It's a law of diminishing returns and because the Bradley unit doesn't rely on the wood to provide the heat, you just saved a bunch of money.

Mesquite was probably a bad choice for a virgin smoke. Unlike a certain fellow poster, I do not believe it to be the spawn of Satan[;)], but certainly agree that you have to be careful in it's application. For your learning curve, stick to the basics and use a more middle wood such as hickory, maple, pecan or oak.

The top vent is all that you describe, but primarily a heat/moisture regulator. I generally have mine at least 1/4 open, probably 1/2, and sometimes full. Depends on the ambient & what I'm smokin'.

Remember, keep it low & slow,


ps. Welcome to the forum & please feel free to ask away. We hope you keep participating & one day, you'll be giving answers instead of asking questions.[:)]

Ya think next time I check into a hotel & they ask "Smoking or Non?" they would mind?
Ya think if next time I check into a hotel & they ask "Smoking or Non", they would mind?


Welcome to the forum AD,

You will find a ton of good recipes here and good advice.

Definitley pick up the book Chez mentioned. He is also the best supplier for any supplies or accessories that you need for your Bradley. You should be able to get any flavor pucks from him. (He even has aluminum pucks!!!)  [;)]

Hope to hear from you soon!!!



welcome to the forum!!!!!!!!!

MAKE SURE TO SIGN UP FOR THE FREE GIVEAWAY!! GO HERE.http://www.bradleysmoker.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=991


Welcome, AD!  As you can see, we're a really friendly group, so Chez' advice to ask away is spot-on, as is the rest of his advice. [:)]  I am not as wary of mesquite as the Duck-man, but I wqould use it for about half the time I use other woods.  For example, I usually use 4-5 hours of smoke on pulled pork, brisket, or turkey.  If I wanted to use mesquite on those meats, I would use only 2 - 2.5 hours of smoke. Once most meats get to about 140F, the smoke is only coating the outside of the meat, not penetrating it, which is why you want to use smoke in the beginning, not the end.

BTW, if you hail from the Northeast US, let me know--I'm trying to put together a group of NE BSers that might get together once a year or so very informally for some fun and feasting!

Newton MA
Newton MA

Habanero Smoker

Just to add what Kirk stated, I use mesquite, but generally not by itself and only on beef. For example if doing a brisket, I will apply smoke the first four hours with a ratio/combination of 1 mesquite for every 3 hickory (or Maple).



Don't lose faith, I smoked all the way the first time too.  I ruined some ribs - too much rub - too spicy.  

It will all come together.  Smoke no more than 4 hrs...maybe just two hours with chicken.  Generally, beyond 140° F. the meat won't absorb more smoke (I've been told).  The key is not rushing the cook.  

Most of us feel that after the first 4 hrs of smoke, the water needs to be changed.  Remember the water is there to extinguish the pucks, but also provides moisture.  You need to open the top vent about 1/4 to 1/3.  If you don't, all the moisture will be running out the bottom of the smoker.  The old water would seem to add a terrible flavor too... You need to change it quickly so you don't lose too much heat.  It is a good time to rotate the shelves then too.

Get a remote thermometer of some type.  I started with a Maverick ET73, and moved up to BBQ Guru.  Some, like olds smell the smoke, and feel the heat coming out of the top....works for them, and you have to find out what works for you.

When you are taking a maiden voyage with something read up on it first on the website.  Lots of good ideas here.

Welcome to the forum.

There is room on earth for all God's creatures....right on my plate next to the mashed potatoes.


Greetings AD and welcome to the group~~!

I personally never cared for mesquite unless I mixed it with orange or grapefruit woods. (Direct grilling.)

bsolomon and JJC put together information concerning the wood types we use. It is well worth the read and there is a chart at the bottom. The ones highlighted in Green are the types that Bradley offers.

<b>You can review it here;</b>

Next, a team of us have been gleening the boards for tried, tested and proven recipes. You can view this at:
The link is on the left.

Again welcome to the boards!


Click On The Portal To Be Transported To Our Time Tested And Proven Recipes~~!!! 



Chez put it best, can't go wrong with ANYTHING he says.  ALSO, keep that Mesquite(the devils wood[}:)]) for something else.  Kirk, steered me in the  right direction, try Pecan or Maple, you can't go wrong with those two for general smoking.  Apple is also great, Cherry goes great with beef, a little stronger though.  Don't worry you will get the hang of your smoker fairly quick.


Perryville, Arkansas

If a man says he knows anything at all, he knows nothing what he aught to know.  But...


Perryville, Arkansas

It's not how much you smoke but how many friends you make while doing it...