Decision on Bradley vs the others

Started by Bytes, August 06, 2008, 05:39:08 AM

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Welcome here.

Im still saving up for my Bradley. Been smoking for almost a year, and researching hard, the Bradley has way to may pro's and no con's from all I have reviewed. Including the overall cost effecancy of the wood pucks over chunks and sawdust, and cold smoking features you cant even think of with most other smokers.

Not to mention, if you read through the older posts, you will be pretty amazed on how hard core most here are about smoking. Yet it would be easier to take away a 6-shooter from an old western outlaw then it would be to take away their Bradley.

That says alot there too.

I like my current bullet style smoker because it at least allows me to smoke. But the idea of haveing a vault style smoker to hang bacons hams and rope sausages, with an auto feed for wood, with the smoke generator on the side so I can rig it up like some members here to do ultimate cold smoking, not have the mess like wood chunks or sawdust; I honestly can't wait until I purchase mine.

Also, no other company that makes smokers has a forum with such interactive knowledge base to my knowledge. If there is I haven't seen it. That's just one more piece of class and quality IMHO

Welcome and enjoy Bytes
Go here for all your smoke and grilling needs:

La Quinta

Nicely put Stargazer! And very accurate! We are a family of smoking/cooking people here!!


What can be said on this thread that hasn't been stated already ?

Nothing that I can think of, but here's my $0.02 anyway:

I had a Brinkman charcoal smoker a long time ago. It was a pain to use. I used to look at the Cabelas catalog at the Bradley's and think, I wish I had one of those! Last year I stopped wishing and bought one.

We have produced some simply amazing food in that smoker. And it's easy. And consistent.
Click on the Ribs for Our Time tested and Proven Recipes!

Original Bradley Smoker with Dual probe PID
2 x Bradley Propane Smokers
MAK 2 Star General
BBQ Evangelist!


You guys have been so great. I will inflict this whole thing on my husband this weekend upon his return, and also hear in detail about his field trip to Gander Mountain (I couldn't persuade him to visit a second one in Madison).

I'm still unclear on a couple points. What does a spent bisquette look like? Has it collapsed? The reason I ask is because I wonder if they pile up in the water bowl, or in a bigger roaster pan substituted for the bottom drip pan, and then do they hit the electric element and THEN what?

The second thing is procedural, I suppose. The CS lady said you do not need to smoke food in a Bradley for the entire time it is IN the Bradley. This is because the smoke is better/purer/denser/whatever than in other smokers. So you smoke for half the time and then stop the bisquette conveyor belt. Then you leave it in, or move it somewhere else.  I've read a lot of recipes here, but I don't think I saw anything about stopping the smoke function. Comments?  Again, ribs are our thing.

I know I want a Bradley. My issue is that it's still a bit pig-in-a-poke, for me, having never seen one. I could probably drive to any of my local Gander Mountains, each about 90-100 miles away, and maybe I just should. There are 3 about the same distance, Middletown, NY, and Scranton and Harrisburg PA. (They say that deer season is starting, so no big sales are predicted :) Sigh.) I keep thinking that I would have loved the Masterbuilt, if I hadn't seen one.  If there's anybody in the Delaware Valley who would be willing to spend 15 minutes with a couple of real newbies, showing off their Bradley, I would sure appreciate it.

Digression: By the way, if you think I'm  anaaalytical  (I am purposely misspelling that word because I used it in my first post, and the Forum Police, probably an automated subroutine, removed the DIRTY PART OF THE WORD!!! :) :) :)  )  my husband is doubly so, by training and inclination.  There is a picture of him at age 8 months, looking skeptical. Seriously. Anyway, if I use the formal English word for hi (starts with h, then has an e, then has a double L, ends with O), will it police that? Let's try it. HELLO EVERYBODY!!! 

Ok, again, much thanks, for now.


Welcome to the forum Bytes!

I think everyone else has got ya covered!  A spent bisquette (mesquite of course) is basically just charred not completely burnt to ash and yes they can pile up in your water bowl.  I've used both the water bowl that comes with smoker and the foil pan both work fine, but you'll want to check it after 2 hours and dump and refill.  The smoke is much purer with the BS, each bisquette burns for 20 minutes and then a new one is pushed in place, most everyone agrees 4 hours of smoke is all you need, so at 3 an hour total of 12 bisquettes at this point your smoker becomes an oven to finish the cooking process.  I've had many a smoker through the years and never thought about an electric one till a gal I work with mentioned her father had one, not a BS though, and I started poking around for one.  The OBS had the most bang for the buck, and then added a pid and quite honestly this group of fine folks like the commercial says 'Priceless'.....Keep us posted!

Its amazing what one can accomplish when one doesn't know what one can't do!


I don't know anyone who removes the smoke generator after the smoking time.  Some leave the smoke generator heating element on even after the smoking period has lapsed as an additional heat source, particularly in the winter.  As for the pucks building up in the water pan, I have had as many as 12 in the pan at one time after a 4 hour smoke and have never had them to stack up to the extent you are talking about.  Not saying it can't happen, just never happened to me.  After the pucks have been in the water pan for a while, they have a tendency to begin to fall apart.



Sorry - I meant move the food, or leave the food in, after turning the smoke generator off. Not removing the smoke generator itself.

I just found that I own the oldest smoke cooking book in the Library of Congress, 1967 (the authors say there was no other registered before they wrote this one), and it bears absolutely almost no resemblance to current thinking!  Not just about smoking. Example, this book predates the popularity and prevalence of raw fish, and of hi-volume factory type poultry production, and smoking meat at temperatures less than 325. On the other hand, there are tons of recipes, including 10 different ones for a NEW DELICIOUS FOOD, called Chinese Roast Pork.


Just a matter of choice, some finish in the BS others like myself finish in the house oven!

Its amazing what one can accomplish when one doesn't know what one can't do!


You can leave it in the Bradley, or you can take it out. I've done it both ways. It will still come out great. Sometimes you have something else you want to smoke. If you take it out of the Bradley to finish in the house oven, there will be less mess in the Bradley to clean up, particularly with pork butts(shoulder).

As the Wife says, "don't over-think it, just do it!"
Click on the Ribs for Our Time tested and Proven Recipes!

Original Bradley Smoker with Dual probe PID
2 x Bradley Propane Smokers
MAK 2 Star General
BBQ Evangelist!


I bought my OBS just based on online review without ever seeing it before and I'm glad that I did. It makes smoking food real easy. I just bought a PID and it will be even easier. No more guess work in setting the temperature.

Now my friends keep asking me to smoke some baby back ribs. Thanks to the OBS, they said they had the best baby back ribs ever :) Seriously, you can't go wrong with Bradley Smoker. It can fit more meat than you may think, it is easy to use, and the food comes out great.

As for the smoking time, 3-4 hours is plenty enough. Anything longer than that could make the food too bitter. When I make baby back ribs, I smoke them for 3 hours and then move them to my house oven for another 5 hours. The meat has plenty of smoke flavor. In fact, when I make some chicken the other day, I only smoked it for 1.5 hours and I got plenty of smoke flavor from the chicken.

As for the used bisquette piling up in the water bowl, it could happen after 3-4 hours of smoking. But then again, you're usually done smoking after that anyway. You'll need to empty the water bowl and refill with water if you going to continue cooking in the OBS. If you're moving the meat to your house oven then you'll be cleaning up your OBS. So personally I don't think there's a big problem of used bisquette piling up in the water bowl.

La Quinta

So Bytes...did you decide?

Very kool about your smoking book! WOW! How facinating it must be to read about smoking today versus 1967!! :) I have a Good HouseKeeping cookbook of my Mom's from's a trip. But the staple recipes...I use them all of the time!! :) Mac and Cheese, meatloaf, meatballs! Sometimes I just sit down on a Sunday afternoon and read it! Amazing!!  :)


First a couple followups.  Quinta, who I presume is related to the hotel chain :), I have the Settlement cookbook, 5th printing from 1965 and the New Settlement Cookbook, 4th printing from earlier, which makes no sense, so I assume the copyright date is not what I should look at. They still are useful and interesting. I think there was nothing but well-done then, though. :)

Second, sorry to not keep this thread up in realtime. I had root canal done, LOOK!!! THE FORUM POLICE ARE AT IT AGAIN. I LOOKED AT THIS IN PREVIEW, AND HALF OF THE WORD HAS BEEN EXPUNGED!! and a local New Hope luminary died, and the Olympics started and they are actually showing the SPORTS, 10plus hours a day, unlike every year since NBC took over that I can remember since 1993, so this has been a real couch potato week. Example, I fell asleep during the live women's beach volleyball last night and awoke at 1am to find live men's gymnastics still being broadcast!

Third, Bradley confirmed that the bisquettes are made from the tree they say the flavor is. The flavor thing was really disturbing me. I had a nice couple emails with Moses Dalton, who sells kiln-dried barkless woods for smoking on ebay, and he cleared up some confusions I was laboring under, like, just in principle, if you cold smoke at 85 degrees, that must mean the wood is smoking at 85 degrees, and if so, how come wood in a pile in the backyard in the sun doesn't spontaneously start to smolder.

Ok, here goes.  Perry came home. (The plane was only 2 hours late on a 2 hour flight!)   He had noticed things I hadn't. Handles. The Bradley has no handles we could find. He really thought we should have handles, since we probably would have to move the smoker around quite a bit, even when warm.  And he was concerned about the leg thing too. And the reviews, here and there, complaining about quality issues in the bodywork.  (Not pertaining to the digital model, with its +- 40 degree swings. ) He also thought there was a chance this little project might become more a fling than a lifelong addiction, so to speak, and not to mix metaphors too badly.  So why not test it out as cheaply as possible.

SO and I am scared to admit it, we bought the teeny little Kenmore electric at KMart, for under $100, hereby named Kenny. Amazingly, Brinkmann has a special phone number for its Kenmore customers, and they actually answer it.   Assembly was easy, and there was nothing missing or broken out of the carton.

First attempt was spareribs, the on sale ones from Shoprite, two racks, (well, big pieces) each with a different rub, which I kept pretty good track of, but not perfect. Thank goodness one had mace in it; we could taste the difference. (In fact, strangely, neither rub had much taste at all, after cooking. I had copied 30 or so recipes off the web. I can email the document to anyone who wants. )  I was having so much fun, and the temperature control was working really well, I thought, that after about 3 hours of smoking, we ran out to buy more ribs on sale, and got home an hour later to find 260 temp, and definitely done ribs. Maybe a tad overdone. :) There was no apple juice left in the water pan, and the mesquite chips were charcoal. (I'm assuming they should have been replaced.)  We tried my own special bbq sauce on them, as well as Big Ed's too, the defunct NJ restaurant which started this whole thing. (Actually only our local one closed; the original in Matawan is still doing a business, and I don't know why; fatty ribs, not capable of cooking them well-done, and prices 3-6$ higher than ours. We did think of purchasing them to go and finishing them at home, but they're over an hour away, and THAT's why we decided to get a smoker. )

Day 2, I spent an hour preparing the ribs, and that's why they had only had an hour of smoking before the rain hit. Removed the controller, put a real big tile on top of the smoker so no water could get thru the door seam, and when it got down to about 110, removed the meat and put it in the fridge. For the rest of the day it rained off and on. Ah, yes, the handles. We were able to move Kenny to the side (though nothing is fully covered on the deck) easily.  The next day, we finished the ribs on the Meco (NOT AUSSIE!) bbq, and while they tasted good, the smoke we thought we smelled in the refrigerator had gone away. 

So the next attempt will be actual baby backs.  Also, I found my (huge) 25 year old metal rib rack, and Perry sawed it down to two usable pieces in Kenny, so that should help with either kind of rib. Though I trimmed the spareribs, after that day 2 first hour, there was melted fat sitting on them (ick). I would have turned them, I guess.

Wondering if the 'air hole' in Kenny would be big enough for 1, or 2, of the wires in a Maverick (a local NJ company!) thermometer. Their web site description of the et-73 is terrible!  Nowhere do they actually say (as they do for the et-7) that both probes are used at once. They barely say that there ARE two probes. The manual shows a picture of two receptacles in the back. But they still don't say explicitly that you can used them simultaneously, like they do on the et-7. And of course, then what is the difference?  The only thing I can figure is that the et-7 is two FOOD probes, and the ET-73 is one food, one cabin.   And, scarily, they seem to sell a replacement higher quality probe. Kenny loses some smoke thru the top door hinge too, so there's plenty of draft. This is the one with no damper.

Ok, well, if anyone has had the fortitude to read this far, please accept my thanks. I gotta go watch more Olympics. You see, there's a chance I'm related to Mark Spitz. Seriously.

Habanero Smoker

Hi Bytes;

I usually don't give advise on what smoker one should buy, but some of the information you were given (not by anyone on this forum) was incorrect, and you still seem confused about the Bradley.

It is very easy to cold smoke with the Bradley Smoker by detaching the generator from the cabinet. Even with the generator attached it may be possible to cold smoke by placing ice in the cabinet. The person you consulted was not familiar with the Bradley smoker.

The smoker is so light you really don't need handles to pick it up, and it is so well insulated that the outside never gets too hot to touch.

Good luck with your new smoker.



Just a quick comment on handles.

We have had so much friggin' rain this summer that I can't tell you how many times I've had to urgently unplug the smoker, run the food into the oven or onto the gas BBQ, and then pick up the smoker and practically sprint it into my shed before ruining the electonics.  It's the electronics that are the biggest disadvantage.  Of course they are also the biggest advantage and those advantages far outweigh the manual labour disadvantages of stoking a charcoal fire or trying desparately to get the foil pouch of wood chips smouldering.

The smoker is so light, and so well insulated, that the handle thing is a non-issue.  It's a glorified beer fridge rather than a big metal Q.

On another note, I just finished some leftover Bradley Smoked Apple City Baby Backs for lunch.  Mmm Mmm Mmm!!!  3 hours in the Bradley with Apple.  2 hours in the Oven.  Half an hour FTC.  10 minutes on the Grill with Sauce.  I can't stop smelling my fingers. ;D

We'll gladly welcome you back Bytes once you realize the error in your ways.



I can't read (to myself, not out loud, I promise) til then?  :'(