Bradley opinions?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by radio, Jun 17, 2015.

  1. radio

    radio Smoking Fanatic

    I see a very lightly used one on craigs list with a bunch of wood patties and new cover for $275.  I do a lot of summer sausage/Bear's beef logs and the stick burner is nearly impossible to regulate well enough for those. 

    What experience have you had with a Bradley?> 
  2. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Never used one, but have read of others in the past who are not able to get them up to temp in colder weather (heating element is not up to the task). Newer units, if they have an upgraded, higher power heater, would do better.

    Also, beware, those smoke-wood pucks, are a proprietary necessity for the operation of the Bradley...and can be a bit on the spendy side, when you can find them.

    IMHO, for my purposes at the time I was interested in buying a Bradley, they seemed like something way too complicated...too many things to go wrong. And a $100+ replacement price for the smoke generator alone kinda cinched it for me...I walked away.

    Back in '08 there were little to no members here who had least I hadn't seen much activity on the forums about them at the time.

    If it's a lightly used unit, there may a reason for that...user is not satisfied with it's performance would be my first thought, especially if you are seeing quite a few being offered that have light use...just saying, watch for the warning signs.

    It depends on how you word or phrase your searches as to how the hits will come up, as you'll see below. I thought this would help you make a better informed decision, instead of just reading my ramblings...[​IMG]

    Here's a general search on "Bradley":

    Bradley issues:

    Bradley problems:

    Good luck, and great smokes to you!!!

    Last edited: Jun 17, 2015
  3. radio

    radio Smoking Fanatic


    I did a search, but due to time constraints, I couldn't read as much as I would have liked.  He says the element in this one has been replaced.  If the puck feeder were to die, I would likely just buy an Amaz-N pellet tray for it

    I think I will steer clear of it though
  4. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Could be that the seller ended up with a defective unit, has done the repairs, but simply doesn't trust it to be reliable now...or found he doesn't like that particular smoker design after actually using it. It's a judgement call, no matter how you slice it...go with your gut and you'll decide what's best for you. I think I would have backed away, as well.

    I have the maze and the tube from Todd...they do work well as long as you provide what they need to function properly...sometimes this means making some minor mods or additions, but generally it's nothing serious.

    I resided myself to using propane smokers (I do smoke on my Weber kettles, as well), being a good compromise for temp ranges and an acceptable ability to control temps. My SV-24 will run all the way down to a barely visible flame for warm smoke (lower the cast iron smoke tray closer to burner), all the way up to nearly 400* over ambient temp. It pretty much can do everything but a true cold smoke, unless I toss in a pellet smoke generator, and then it's game on. I prefer propane over charcoal for long, hot smokes simply because I have not mastered a variant of the Minion Method (yet) for my current charcoal rigs, and I detect that coal smoke taste in the food at times when using the minion with briquettes...not what I want out of my smoked food (lump may be more pleasant, though I find it more challenging to control heat). Propane will have some temp swings, being there is no thermostat (there's a learning curve to set the temp and get it close), but it takes pretty severe changes in ambient conditions to really throw them off of your target temp by any significant amount. Best part for me is that propane is portable just like charcoal, so I can take it with me anywhere I want to go (some areas have bans on solid fuel-fired cookers, especially during drought conditions)...and I do travel with my cookers, across town and out of state. A small and quite inverter generator can easily power an electric cooker when off the grid (they sip fuel when operating under light loads), but they come at a price, and have to be maintained (I have one of them, as well). Overall, propane is my go to for smokers...but I do prefer charcoal for grilling and for shorter smokes (very even heat and excellent temp/grease-fire control with the kettles). Just some food for thought.

    Good luck in your quest!!!

  5. radio

    radio Smoking Fanatic

    I have a Brinkman square, vertical smoker I've thought about converting to gas.  only problem with it is the metal is so thin the temps fluctuate with wind or rain.

    wish I had time to do a build[​IMG]
  6. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Sounds like you need thermal mass in the water pan instead of water...washed pea-gravel or sand, about 1/2 - 2/3 full, then line with foil over the media for drippings-catch. If you leave it dry it will reduce smoke reaction with the meat, but you can still a little water for higher would in essence put you on the road to using a wet-to-dry smoke chamber (my favorite smoking method). Fire-bricks around the bottom, if you can fit them, may help a lot, too. The square vertical isn't air-tight for heat control, so some minor mods can help to seal it up and get rid of the draft control problems..might be worthwhile to look into that (windy conditions are challenging at best).

  7. In that price range I have been pleased with the SV-24 that forluvofsmoke mentioned in their post.  They can be had new for $250 and have a march larger capacity than any Bradley I've seen. 
  8. radio

    radio Smoking Fanatic

    thanks.  after getting it some time ago, I did searches on here and did all the mods except for the mailbox.  It will do a decent smoke in warm weather, but in the winter it's just too thin and looses heat easily.

    I tried water in the pan one time and then did the gravel trick
  9. delbbq

    delbbq Fire Starter

      I live on Vancouver Island and there are alot of these here.Most people here only smoke salmon..Sad.. so these work fine because we usually

    smoke fish at about 130 deg.It doesn't really get that cold here but anywhere that you want to use it when it's going to be around freezing I would

    go for a propane/charcoal combo.Everything with Bradley written on it is Pricey..$$$

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