Advice for First Time Smoker Purchase

Started by begolf25, February 01, 2006, 05:44:39 PM

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Hello Everyone,
New to the board and have been reading through it a few days.  I am looking to purchase my first smoker.  I was in Cabelas over the weekend and saw the Bradley Smoker. I am not looking to feed an army and I do not have a huge amount of space for a large wood smoker so the Bradley really looks like a perfect fit for me.  I have also been looking at the Weber Smokey Mountain.  I would like to make my decision soon and couldn't think of a better place for advice then from people that already own a Bradley.  I was also looking at a couple of propane smokers.  

Seems that most people here enjoy the quality of food they get from the Bradley. I have seen some people on other boards talk about puck feeding problems.  Is this an issue?  Also, exactly what are the metal pucks I have seen for?  Please let me know how you feel about this smoker whether it is good or bad.  Thanks in advance for any feedback.



Welcome Begolf!

I purchased my BS about 6 weeks ago. I have been smokin' meat and fish for about 20 yrs using homemade wood/charcoal smokers. I thought I would try the BS after reading this forum, much like you have. It has been very easy to use and everything I have tried has been excellent. I have had no problem at all with the pucks being fed. The metal pucks are simply spacers. They can be used during or at the end of your smoke to either control amount of smoke or avoid wasting any.

If you do decide to go ahead, be sure and check out the Chez Bubba link in this forum first. Good luck with whichever you do decide to do. Don't be a stranger. Lots of great people and great advice aound here!



I don't know much about the smokey mountain from Weber.  At first glance it looks like a Charcol smoker, where possibly you can add wood chips to it to smolder.  Again, I am guessing.  I have a use two different Webers for Grilling.  I like Weber a lot.  I have had propane smokers in the past and liked what I could do with them.  

The Bradley is an Electric smoker that smolders wood pucks, into a clean smoke.  Very different smoke as compared to Charcol  and Propane smokers.  

Several differences

1) You can control the temperature real easily with an electric device, as compared to the others.
2) No flame flare-up.  Smoldered smoke, no flame or embers.  The pucks smolder for a pre-defined time then are extinguished in a pan of water.
3) You can cold smoke very easity, the smoke generator is the device that does the smoke generation, the cabinet is the "Cooler" or "Hot Box" that the smoke is applied to.  The Hot box can run un-poweed and generate no additional heat.  Allowing the "smoke" only mode.
4) Variety of wood "flavores"
5) Multi-level shelves that you can malipulate to what you want to smoke.
6) Cabinet and smoke generator are not hot on the surface, so moving it around is real easity.
7) They are very light and mobile.  

And above all of this, the ability to experiment and be flexible is amazing.

As to problems.  Yes, its delecate.  And one of the was the original (don't know about the new models coming out) operates, the puck advance mecanism is running from the time you turn the smoke generator on.  And depending on what you are making, having the extra heat from the smoke generator is very useful to essential.  Some mods are possible to turn on and off the puck advance mecanism.  Thus expanding the live of the motor.  Also what helps a lot of proper cleaning of the puck advance tray, shoot, padel and staging area, all to prevent binding of the advance device.

I have had mine since November and no problems.  My father-in law has had his for over a year and no problems either.

Good luck and welcome.
Coming to you from the DelMarVa (US East Coast that is)

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<blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote">I have seen some people on other boards talk about puck feeding problems<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

A moderate number of people do have problems with the generator, particularly the advance motor, and presumably the new models will have the same mechanism. It would be nice to think they have modified it to take note of this issue which does appear on the forum quite regularly.

As someone else mentioned earlier, keeping the generator free of wood chips helps.

Most problems occur during the warranty period and Bradley are good to provide replacements quickly. The older the BS the less problems there appear to be, if you get through the first few months oddly the failure rate drops!

I ended up with three generators (I had 2 faulty get to keep the old ones for spares) and the last one I received works faultlessly.

I think the new BS models are coming out in February from what Chez posted, one of those is a propane model.

On balance, would I change my decision to buy a Bradley..... NO WAY! Someone would have to prise it from my arms to take it away from me now![;)] I suspect most forum members would be the same.

The quality of the food is produces is AWESOME!



Welcome to the Bradley forum Begolf. Glad to hear that your interested in the Bradley. Definately check Chez's site out and e-mail him. He can get you set up for sure if you decide to go this route. As far as the Bradley goes it's the closest thing your going to find to the ease of smoking food shy of going to the market and buying it. Once you get a taste of what you can do right at home you'll wonder why the heck you waited so long.[:p] Anyhow the folks here are great at answering any questions and remember there are no dumb questions so ask away. Which ever way you go keep us posted on the new hobby.[8D]


I just wanted to thank everyone for their advice and feedback.  You all have convinced me that the BS will be the best smoker for my situation.  

I have had some terrible customer service issues lately, Nextel has been my latest disaster.  I think Nextel might be the worst run company in the counrty but that is a rant for another forum.  Besides many of the features you have all made me aware of the superior customer service and support Bradley offers that I have read about on this forum was one of my major deciding factors.  

I requested some information from Bradley a few days ago and am going to read over that before I place my order. I am sure I will be posting more questions once it arrives. I'll be sure to get some pics of the first smoke good or bad [:D]

Thanks again,


Welcome Bryan!

You won't regret purchasing the Bradley.



Ask away Bryan. You just joined one of the best groups in the country. If you get stumped on something just ask the forum and you'll get a bunch of us working to help out. I am still amazed at the caliber of this group. Don't get frustrated on the start up. All of us make mistakes once in awhile but that's the way this kind of thing is. Most of all (this is important) HAVE FUN!!!!![:D]


Sounds like you are making a good choice begolf. I have owned one of the smokey mountain smokers and ended up giving it away.... I guess some people like em but to me it was such a pain to keep steady temps.

I did just order my first BS from Chez Bubba by phone and can tell you he is a top notch guy. No pressure or sales talk mumbo jumbo...just answered my questions and helped me save some money =)

Said he'd email me monday with tracking info so I couldn't be happier with the whole process.

Good luck to ya,
Scott (TexasBBQ)

Ya Gotta love good BBQ