New Member and first smoke

Started by AlamanceNC, September 10, 2010, 10:22:50 AM

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Nice forum going on here. I finally broke down and bought me an orig. Bradley smoker from Cabelas this past week. Cabelas had them Reg. $399.00 on sale for $239.00 so I bit. Anyhow, I cured the smoker lastnight per instructions. Everything went well. Played around with the temp slider and got a "good feel" for what temps were where according to the adjustments. Long story short. Rack of Ribs prepared lastnight, small pork tendorloin wrapped in bacon as well. Preheat the smoker while I'm letting the meat rest this morning......Jumps up to 250* in a matter of 20 mins or so. Open door place all meat inside, slam door like the boogie man was going to jump out. Temps dropped to 140*......I do not have a thermometer inside....only working off the door temp gauge. It's been nearly an hour and I've only gained 15 degrees. Is this normal or am I possibly overcooking the meat due to not having the meat thermometer? At this rate, it'll be dinner time before I hit the desired 220-225 I was hoping to get. Not to mention, I really wanted to rotate the racks but not if it's not going to heat back up.


BTW, I've got the damper about 1/4 open (thinking this would raise the temps faster) is this correct?


Open the vent to 3/4 to full open.  Mine is always full open.  Closing it down keeps moisture in the cabinet and that holds down the temp.  Get a meat probe.

BTW, good price on the smoker  :D
-- Arnie

Where there's smoke, there's food.


W E L C O M E  to the Forum AlamanceNC!
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You lose a lot of heat when you open door to put meat in or check.   It's slow to recover because of the cold meat in there.   The warmer the meat gets, the more the heat will go up.  Meat thermometer is a must IMO.


10-4 on the vent...just stepped out back and opened it up. I'm at 190 now......we shall see what happens. Thanks!


You'll be fine..   And you'll get used to the temperature nuances of the Bradley.   Some of us pile bricks/cast iron pans in the bottom of the smoker to act as a heat sink.   That helps quite a bit with the temperature recovery times.

Adding boiling water to the puck catcher bowl helps as well. (or replacing that pan with a huge foil pan)

Welcome aboard!


Two MAJOR mistakes on my part from the start.
1st. Vent closed too much. Obviously retaining too much moisture.
2nd. I replaced the bowl with a large a foil pan. Full of guessed it.....COLD WATER.  :-\


sounds like you got things figured out.  I personally don't think a meat thermometer will helpyou with ribs, however.  Takes 6 hours (or so) to cook racks of ribs following the 3-2-1 guidline (3 smoke, 2 hours wrapped in foil, and 1 hour with sauce), baby backs can be shorter and spares can be longer.  But sounds like you got the general idea.  Good luck with your future smokes and welcome aboard!


Rotated the racks. Opened vent wide open. 220* in a matter of 10 mins or so. Going to let them cook for another hour then place in foil. Life is good today. (so far)  ;)


Sounds like you've got things figured out. Good luck, and welcome to the forum!
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As the saying goes.....reel him in boys we got another one  ;D

Enough ain't enough and too much is just about right.


Please forgive my earlier rudeness.  I for got to welcome you.  So, WELCOME TO THE FORUM!

You can always sauce the ribs, if you like sauce, and finish them off on the grill or in the oven.

You can check for "doneness" by sticking a toothpick in between the bones to get a feel for how tender they are.  Another method is to pull apart two adjacent ribs and see how easily they pull apart.  The traditional method is to see how far the meat is pulling back on the bone, though I don't particularly trust it.

Sounds like they'll be ready for dinner  :D
-- Arnie

Where there's smoke, there's food.