Normal temps...

Started by smokinjoe73, April 05, 2013, 09:07:14 AM

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if this has already been posted, sorry point me in the right direction....
but i am wondering what high temps are supposed to be achieved....i know there are many variables...but i can not get the temps above 206 F....with only a couple things in the this normal...temps outside are 48 this why people do the extra heater mod? soon i will have all my rookie questions to everyone for all the help

happy smokin


an out side temp of 48 f and wind chill will affect the box temp, what also helps is to  put the smoker inside of a cabinet to cut  down on the wind chill and make the surrounding smoker temp a bit warmer aiding im higher temps inside the smoker,,, also additional heaters inside the box helps


smokingjoe, the key factors affecting your smoker temperature are wind, vent opening/product being smoked, and the temperature of the area where you have your smoker set up. 

The Bradley smoker is designed as a cold/low temperature smoker.  As a result, it comes with a modest, 500 watt heating element.  The puck burner adds another 125 watts to the heat generation capability.  So, your sub 50 degree temperature is a challenge when using your smoker as a cooker.  (Hey, most of us use our smokers as cookers, too.  Nothing wrong with that.  We just have some temperature challenges when it gets cold.)

The biggest thing that causes your Bradley not to get up to the temperature you set is wind.  It just seems to suck the heat right out of the smoker cabinet.  Sheltering the smoker from the wind helps.  Some folks have made insulating covers for their smokers out of water heater insulating kits.  Other folks have installed their smoker in some kind of a smoker house to shelter it from the wind.  Either a custom built wood structure or one of those plastic snap together sheds or storage bins.  Still other folks have built smoking stations in their garage.  I think one guy even did a smoking station in his basement.  Check out the accessories forum for pictures of some of these set ups.

How wide open your vent is can also have a big impact on how easy it is for your smoker to get up to the temperature you want.  Some products, such as poultry, contain a lot of moisuture.  If the vent isn't wide open while you're smoking a turkey, the moisture that the bird is releasing gets trapped in the smoker.  Water can absorb a tremendous amount of heat, so the trapped moisture prevents the smoker from getting up to temp.  Trapped moisture can also cause "black rain".  The moisture condenses on the top of the smoker and drips down on the food you are smoking.  I understand "black rain" isn't at all tasty, so you want to avoid it.  Many forum members keep their vent wide open all the time.  Some, including me, have gone as far as removing the vent.  The smoker works really well with a wide open vent, and removing it  prevents inadvertently leaving the vent closed when you start a smoke.  Don't ask me how I know this.

As you pointed out, several forum members have done heating element mods on their smokers.  At the same time, many, many forum members are using their smokers in stock condition, and have been using them that way for many years.  It's kind of a preference thing.

Most often, heating element mods are done to help speed up heat recovery when you have put a large amount of cold meat into the smoker, or when you have opened the door to check the progress of your smoke.  But there are less elaborate ways to get some of the same benefits.  If you peruse the forums you may see pictures of smokers with a silvery lump in the bottom right side of the smoker.  This is a foil wrapped brick that acts as a heat sink.  The brick warms up as you preheat your smoker and releases that heat back to the smoker when cold meat or an opened door causes the cabinet temperature to drop below the temperature of the brick.  When I smoked a turkey breast on a cold (35 degree), windy day, I heated some of my smoking bricks in the oven and transferred them to the smoker when I put the breast into the smoker.  Helped bring the smoker back up to temp faster and helped stabilize temperature fluctuations during the period where the turkey was absorbing a lot of heat.  In conditions where it is difficult to use the smoker as a cooker, many folks will do their smoking, them transfer the product they are smoking into the oven to complete the cooking part of the process.  I did do a dual heating element mod to my smoker.  I wanted the tight temperature control provided by a PID (a necessary component of a heating upgrade) for smoking sausage and fish, so adding a second heating element wasn't a lot more money than I was already spending, and I wanted to be able to use the smoker as a cooker outside in all kinds of weather, including a snow storm.  A dual element mod was just the ticket.     


Takeeter. Thanks for all that info. Could you point me in the right direction to research the dual heating element mods and pid. Thank you very much. That was some great info.

Habanero Smoker

The below link will take you to an area where the additional element write up are located.

Bradley Mods

If you search the forum, you will slightly different mods, such as addition sensors and in-line fuse for the second element if you want the added safety.



Joe, the link Habs provided goes to a web site that also contains information on the Auber PIDs.  Look around that web site a bit.  It has tons of information provided by the experts who participate in this forum.  And check out the time tested and proven recipies.  This site is also the home of the recipe for the renowned Jan's Dry Rub as well as a spicy version of the same rub for the heat monsters.



Well researched, well written, well covered.

Thanks for taking the time.