Advice from one New owner to other new or prospective owners.

Started by nssauls, November 29, 2008, 12:48:52 PM

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As a new Bradley 6 rack digital unit owner I have some quick advice for you. Multiply the time you normally need to slow cook by 2, grill cook by 5. My first  attempt in the smoker may have been a little aggressive as I did a 12 pound turkey and about 20 pounds of ribs at the same time. Smoked the turkey the night before Thanksgiving, then put it back in the smoker to cook at 6 the next morning. Boiled my ribs for about 10 minutes that morning and then in to the smoker about 8 AM. By 11 AM My turkey was only up to 140F and I was scheduled to eat at 1:00PM, sooooooo I had to finish up on the Grill on low heat. I short, the Bradley does not generate enough heat to cook a turkey in 6 hours. I had the temperature turned up to the max(320F) but the box temperature never got above 240F with the vent damper fully closed. I have read some other posts here that indicate the heating element is short on power and I fully agree. In retrospect I should have let that Turkey in the Bradley all night if I wanted to fully cook in there, and it would not have happened in 6 hours, that I can tell you, not with ribs in at the same time anyway. Taste of the turkey was great, however so I can recommend using the smoke section and then finishing on a grill of even if you need to cook quickly. If I had it to do again, I wold buy the smoke generator from Bradley and build my on box, including a circulation fan, remote hose to the box to allow for low temperature smoking, and at least a 1000 watt heating element for the box itself. The size of the 6 tray box is plenty large enough for anything I will do. Will probably smoke 4 Boston butts in it soon, but cooking will be an all night affair.


One problem I see with the way you described how you set up the bradley. You should never run it with the damper fully closed. It can cause problems with the smoke generator. Also with a product like poultry the vent should be 3/4 to full open to allow the moisture out. Others have stated that excess moisture will cause lower temps inside the tower. I do agree the heater can/should be larger. There are many on here that did as you state, buy the smoke generator and make your own smoker. Also when I do large pieces of meat, I only smoke in the box then move to my oven to finish. I'm glad the taste of your turkey came out good. You should check out the recipe section for more ideas and tips.


Welcome to the forum!  At first glance, never try to do poultry with the vent closed.  Poultry holds way too much moisture.  It will build up in the box and hold the temp down as well as run out of the smoker or on to your food.  It will also cause smoke and moisture to back up into the smoke generator and destroy it.  Next, really large load in the smoker like you did will also really cause the BDS to come up to the temp you set it to very slowly.  First recommendation to you is invest in a Maverick ET-73 dual probe thermometer so you can measure the temp of the food and the temp of the box as the BDS is famous for not being accurate on temp reading.  The outside air temp and wind will also have a big bearing on what temp your BDS is capable of producing consistenly.

4 butts in the DBS?  Guarantee you are looking at more than an all night affair.  Most likely 24+ hours if you're going to go low and slow(200-210 degrees).

Enjoy your BDS.  It takes a while to get the hang of it but we are all here to answer all of your questions and lend you support.


Habanero Smoker

Hi nssauls,
Welcome to the forum.

I agree with Pens.

Also you have quite a large load going with both the turkey and the ribs at one time. The larger the load will increase the cook time. The second time you put the turkey in the smoker, if you moved it directly from the refrigerator to the smoker, will definately drop the temperature in the smoker, and the recovery time will be slow.

On average, it you are just smoking a 12 pound turkey it should take 8 - 10 hours.



Thanks to all for your response to my post. yes I knew that was a large load, but I thought that was why I had 6 racks!! Lol, You were right on target KyNola with your comment on moisture in the box, I actually had some run out on the floor where it collected on the walls of the box and bypassed the drip pan completely. Have done another project since then, Sirloin tip steaks smoked for an hour and 20 mins with Hickory then finished up on the grill. Man they were good!! Not the most tender cut, but the taste was fantastic. I do already have one of the dual probe Maverick thermometers and it is a great help. Only problem with those is routing the thermocouple through the vent, and the range is limited to 100 feet on the remote model I bought. Something keeps interfering with the communications on it if I am in the house,but it works great otherwise. This is a great form for new folks especially with a lot of good information. Really interesting to hear the different things people do in the different regions of the world. Thanks again!


Welcome to Bradley country nssauls.

Wow, you dove in head first on that first smoke!  Glad you were able to make things turn out OK. 
I'd recommend taking what you learned so far, and make smaller smokes for a while to perfect your technique.  Then you should be able to have a great Christmas smoke.  And try setting the meat on the counter for a while so you're not loading up Bradley w/ a bunch of 40 deg meat.  I'll put a 4 lb butt out for about 1 hour, but maybe I could go longer. 

For ribs, I use ~ 3.5 lb spare ribs.  ~ 6 hours at 220 deg, which gets the meat to 180 deg.  Then FTC for a while.  Man, are they good.  This is ONE rack of ribs.  More will require more smoking time--don't know how much, because I've only done one rack at a time. 

Again, welcome, and enjoy smokin.



Welcome to the forum nssauls

Like the other members have said, never pull your vent fully closed, doing so will make liquids run from the door and make damp smoke backup into the smoke generator causing the circut board to fry.

As for meat i let whatever i smoke come to room temp before i put t in the smoker. I also pre heat my BS.

Lots of different tricks you will learn here from good folks.




Welcome nssauls,

You learn by doing and I am sure that you have learned much. I think that the Bradley is an excellent piece of equipment. There is much knowledge on this forum and people are willing to share it.

Some people drop there probe cables through the vent and others(myself) just close the door on them. This way causes a little smoke leakage but it will not affect anything.