The 'Set-it-and-forget-it' Smoker!
A great smoker for both veterans and people new to smoking. The large area with either 4 or 6 racks provides enough room to smoke lots of meat or other food.
If you have been following my website for much time at all then you know that I love my smokers. I am a huge fan of BBQ and any time that I have a nice cut of meat or filet of fish, I try to find a way to smoke it. I have a number of standard things that I smoke, like ribs, whole chicken, beans and pork butt. But, I also love to try new things and smoke unique cuts of meat, vegetables and other foods.
I can’t believe that I have had the Bradley Smoker for a number of years, but never reviewed the actual smoker. I know that I have mentioned my love for this smoker in different recipes, but it never has received the full out review. Well, here goes!
The Bradley Digital Smoker is, in many ways, an ideal smoker for someone new to smoking. Remember those infomercials of the countertop rotteserie and the person kept saying ‘Set it and Forget it’? Well, that is how simple the Bradley Digital Smoker is to operate. Many smokers require regular maintenance to keep the temperature steady and the smoke flowing. The Bradley Digital Smoker is great because the smoke flows evenly and you are able to set the temperature and it holds that throughout the smoking process.
The Bradley Smoker looks like a small bar fridge. The door has nice seals to keep both the heat and smoke inside. Opening the door reveals the interior with the heating element in the lower back portion of the smoker and the smoking element as the bottom of the smoker. The Digital Smoker comes in both 4 rack or 6 rack options. They are pretty much the same machine, with the 6 rack simply being a taller unit, giving enough space in the smoking chamber to hold 2 more racks of food.
To generate smoke, the Bradley Smoker uses wood bisquettes. These are in the shape of a puck and they automatically fed onto a heating element that slowly burns the wood to create an even and steady smoke. Each puck smokes for 20 minutes and then the feeder moves a new bisquette in place while knocking the charred one into a bowl of water. There is a hopper on the side of the smoker that can hold lots of wood bisquettes, allowing the smoker to operate automatically for hours. Bradley sells many different types of wood bisquettes, including hickory, mesquite, maple, alder, apple, oak, cherry and more. There are lots of options for any type of meat or other food you plan to smoke.
The control panel is on the side of the smoker, along with bisquette hopper and motor to advance the wood onto the burning element. The control panel allows you to set the temperature of the smoker and the length of time to run the heat. There is also a separate control for how long to smoke. Therefore, it is possible to have the smoker running smoke and heat for a certain length of time and then have just heat later on. Some people prefer this for long smoking sessions like brisket or pork butt, while I usually smoke the entire time.
There is a vent at the top of the smoker that can be opened or closed to adjust the amount of smoke in the smoker. The vent does not adjust the heat, as that is done through the digital controls.
Both the 4 rack and 6 rack smokers can hold a lot of meat for smoking. Each rack can hold two whole chickens, 2 racks of pork ribs, and plenty of sausages, drumsticks, fish and more. If you are like me, when you smoke, you like to fill up as many racks as possible with all sorts of food. Just look at the pic below: chickens, Italian sausages and a whole bunch of veggies. Now, that is going to be one tasty meal!!
The Bradley Digital Electric Smoker is a slick unit. It’s ability to keep a set temperature and automatically feed the wood onto the burner makes this smoker one of the most hands free smokers on the market. Personally, I love that. Some BBQ enthusiasts love the more traditional smokers that require you to tend to and stoke the fire. I love that this machine does it for me and the results are excellent!
There are a couple issues with the machine that can be a little bothersome. First, while the wood bisquettes make smoking easier, these are required and it is not possible to use wood chips or chunks. Therefore, you need to keep a stock of Bradley wood bisquettes on hand so that, when you want to smoke, you are able to. I have never found difficulty in purchasing them as many local stores keep plenty of types of wood bisquettes in stock. The second issue, since I live in Canada and winter can be cold, there are times that the Bradley Smoker can struggle to hold a steady temperature during a deep cold day when the smoker is full of food. Usually this happens just when the food is added to the smoker. The temperature sometimes drops a bunch and it takes a bit for the smoker to bring the temperature back up. This does not happen often, but has happened during those cold January and February days.
These issues do not take away from all the positive features of this machine. The Bradley Digital Electric Smoker is an excellent choice for people brand new to smoking as it simplifies the whole smoking process. I know many people who had never smoked anything before, went out and purchased the Bradley Smoker, and their first meal was dynamite. The Bradley Digital Electric Smoker is not just for newbies though. I love the ability to set it and walk away. I can do other things, knowing that the smoker is managing the temperature and keeping the smoke going.
Disclaimer: Bradley Smokers provided me with the smoker. They did not pay me for this review and the views expressed above are my honest reactions after trying the product.