Any day that a new smoker arrives on my doorstep is a great day! Recently, I got the brand new smoker made by Bradley and was very excited to give it a try. I love my Bradley Smokers and have been privileged enough to work with them developing recipes using their machine and even wrote a number of recipes for their cookbook – The Bradley Smoker Cookbook: Tips, Tricks, and Recipes from Bradley Smoker’s Pro Staff
The new Bradley Smart Smoker is their most high tech smoker yet. It uses Bluetooth and I love anything that has Bluetooth. Some kitchen and cooking appliances that use bluetooth are not the most practical, but for a smoker it makes lots of sense. The ability to monitor the temperature of the smoker and the actual internal temp of the meat wirelessly with your phone is an ideal use of bluetooth.
Here is the box the smoker comes in. The beast was fairly heavy.
The smoker is nicely packaged with all the components inside the smoker cabinet. Assembling the smoker is not difficult and should take about 30 minutes.
There are different options for the base. You can either attach four small legs or if you desire the smoker to have some mobility, you can attach two wheels along with two legs.
One of the new features of the Smart Smoker are the two clamps that keep the door shut nice and tight. this keeps the smoke and heat in the smoker cabinet.
The heating element is at the back just like the previous models of Bradley Smokers. It is the very same element as other models. This is one feature that I would have loved to see get an upgrade. I have sometimes found that this element struggles to keep the heat during the cold winter months, or if the smoker gets filled with lots of meat.
One other change that was made is the drip tray. In the other models there was a v-rack tray that covered the bisquette advance and smoking plate, as well as the back heating element and water bowl. The new shield just covers the bisquette smoking plate. This change baffles me as my first few smokes created a lot of drip and buildup across the back heating element. Unfortunately, this cannot be removed so cleanup is more difficult than it is with the other Bradley models.
The upgrade to the door includes a heavy duty silicone seal. Not only does it help to create a great seal when the door is closed, but cleaning it is done with a simple wipe down. I love this new feature.
The Smart Smoker can connect to your phone via bluetooth. Once the app is installed on the phone, tap the bluetooth image on the smoker display. A 5 number code is displayed which needs to be inputted on the app of the phone. Then they are synced and you can monitor and control the smoker from you phone.
While you can control the smoker from your phone, it is also easy to adjust smoking temperature and times on the smoker control panel itself by simply touching the display.
Before I starting smoking any actual food, I first seasoned the smoker. I ran the smoker for about 2 hours at 275F.
The Bradley Smoker uses wood bisquettes, which are pucks of pressed wood chips. There are many different types of wood to choose from. The bisquettes are advanced onto a heat plate which causes the wood to smoke. After 20 minutes, the wood advances causing the charred on to fall into a water bowl and a new bisquette to be placed on the heat plate. This works really well and allows you to set the temperature and time you want the machine to smoke for. After that, the Bradley Smoker does the rest with very little required from you. This truly is a ‘set it and forget it’ type of device.
The smoker has a vent at the top of the smoking cabinet that can be easily opened or closed.
After seasoning the smoker, it was time to smoke some meat. I stuffed some pork tenderloins with fresh Italian sausage and then wrapped them with bacon. Along with those I threw in the remaining fresh Italian sausages.
Another new feature of the Smart Smoker is the two temperature probes that can monitor the temperature of the meat with the door closed. I stuck one probe in the sausage and the stuffed tenderloin.
The smoker was set for 275F with lots of wood bisquettes in the hopper. The display on the smoker shows the set temperature of the smoker as well as the actual temperature. Along with that, the temperature of the two probes are also displayed allowing you to know exactly how the meat is doing.
On your phone, the app shows pretty much everything that the smoker displays as well. It is possible to change the temperature and time from the app, and it shows the temperature of the 2 meat probes as well.
There is also a handy graph that shows how the temperatures are changing over the time that the smoker is running. It charts the temperature of the two probes and the actual oven temp. As long as the phone is in range of the smoker, it will keep track of any changes in the temperature. If you take the phone out of range, the graph with show a dotted line during the time the phone is not connected to the smoker.
The probes did a great job monitoring the temperature of the meat. It was really sweet to be able to keep the door closed and track the temperature on either the smoker display or right on my phone.
My next smoke was some ribs and stuffed chicken breasts.
The smoker does a great job providing lots of smoke as there was a steady stream of smoke coming out the upper vent. I was also very pleased with the way it held the temperature.
The ribs were outstanding and the chicken was awesome as well.
The Smart Smoker is the same size as the Bradley Digital 6 Rack. One interesting new feature with this smoker is there are more ledges along the side walls to hold up to 10 racks in the smoker. If you were to put in 10 racks, they are fairly close together so this would be for food that is not too tall, like fish, sausages, jerky, etc.
One more test of the smoker and I made some mushroom caps stuffed with sausage meat and cheese. They were a nice bite size appetizer. I also smoked some skin on, bone in, chicken thighs that I used to make pulled chicken sliders.
The Bradley Smart Smoker has made a handful of changes from previous models, some of them I like, while some features I do not love.
- This smoker works as well as any of the other Bradley models in the actual performance of smoking food. Bradley smokers are convenient, simple to use and require little maintenance. The Smart Smoker did a great job smoking during all my tests. The meat came out great every time.
- The ability to put 10 racks in the smoker is excellent. I love to smoke fish, cheese, sausages and more that are not very tall and this smoker allows me to put in lots of food!
- The smoker cabinet received a nice upgrade. I like the stainless steel door with the clamps and the silicone seal is a really nice addition.
- The display screen allows you to change the language and there are many to choose from. Also the screen is touch sensitive, which I far prefer over buttons.
- The temperature probes are probably my favourite new feature as I love to be able to track the temperature of the meat without having to open the door.
- Being able to monitor the smoker on your phone using Bluetooth is sweet. It is a practical use of Bluetooth technology. It is awesome sitting in your house, knowing the exact temperature of the smoker and the meat.
- I do not like the change of drip shield from the big v-rack to a small one that just covers the bisquette advance and heat plate. This has already caused a mess of grease buildup all around the heat element that has been difficult for me to clean. I am not sure why this change was made.
- While I do love the use of Bluetooth with this smoker, there are some annoyances. Every time you unplug the smoker, it is necessary to add the new numerical code to sync the smoker with your phone. I usually keep my smoker unplugged when not in use so having to input the code each time is a bit frustrating. I have used bluetooth devices many times in the past, including digital thermometers, and they do not require this step to sync, so I am not sure why it is needed. Also, bluetooth does not have long of a range that I would like. Unfortunately, it does not reach my living room, so I can not sit and watch sports with my phone tracking the temperature. I still need to get up and move to the other side of the house for the phone to connect with the smoker. This is an issue for me, because of the layout of my house and location of the smoker. Other people may not find this to be an issue at all.
- Since this smoker is much more high tech than previous models, there are some new sensors added. If the bisquettes pile up in the water bowl and block/slow down the advancement of bisquettes the machine posts an alert on the display and the machine stops. This also happens if the smoker gets too hot or the door is open. After a few hours, an alert appears on the smoker to empty the water bowl. These may be added for liability reasons, but for someone who carefully manages the smoker, these things can seem irritating.
One the whole, the Smart Smoker is a well built smoker that works very well. Everything I smoked came out great. This is the most expensive model in the Bradley line of smokers. If you are already have a Bradley Smoker, I would not say that there is enough new here to warrant upgrading. But, if you are looking for a smoker, and wanting one with lots of bells and whistles, this is a really nice machine.
You can purchase the Smart Smoker at Amazon – BRADLEY SMART SMOKER
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.