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Bradley smoker opinions & input needed?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I am planning on buy a verticle smoker in the near future, and was hoping to get some input from more experienced users on here.
I know The Bradleys are more pricey then the MES, but are they any better than the MES?
My main needs are space, upkeep, perferrably fewest mods needed, and user friendly.

Thanks. icon_smile.gif
post #2 of 12
Thread Starter 
No bradley owners on here today?icon_question.gif
post #3 of 12
I'll probably get crap for this, but I'd spend the extra $ and get a cookshack. I found a used one (20 years old) and it still cranks out better Q than anything I've bought at a restaurant. Easy to use, no mods, reliable and INSULATED so no matter what the temp or winds are I can smoke and not have to adjust the temps. (and I'm in MN and smoke all winter long, it sits on my front porch)

Just my .02
post #4 of 12
My advice is stay away from the Bradley... I bought a new digital 6 rack last august and have only used it twice and now it is for sale... I bought a New 1200 watt MES at Sam's a couple weeks ago and it is so much better. The MES is cheaper, cheaper to operate and gets up to temp. The problem I had with the Bradley is I couldn't get it over 200º.

MES PDT_Armataz_01_34.gif
BRADLEY PDT_Armataz_01_33.gif

Edited to ad the following:

I bought my Bradley last August because of all the hype on them. When I got it I was super excited as I bought their biggest and best Model the 6 rack digital. I have used it twice. The first time we took the pork butts out of it after about 10 hours because we couldn't get the cabinet temp up over 198º and finished them in the oven.

The second smoke we decided to see how long it would take to complete in the smoker and after 23 hours we got the pork butts to 189º or there about. I have never been able to get cabinet temp above 200º.

I contacted Bradley and their great customer service said it must be the Temp sensor and they mailed me a new one that I could install myself. So much for a Warranty. Then I decided to start reading every post on their forum and began to notice that everyone was either adding a second element or a PID or some other fix so that the thing would get to proper temps. Also having to by Bubba Pucks in order to use the last three pucks in the feeder.

I also noticed that the majority of those liking them smoked Cheese, Fish, Sausage and things not needing long smokes or higher temps.

I also noticed a lot of complaints about not getting up to temps leading to the threads on how to over come that problem by adding the items to the smoker listed above.

here are some of the major differences I find.

I bought a new Bradley Digital 6 rack last fall and have used it 2 times. It is worthless in my opinion. I plan on selling it on Craig's list and taking my loss.

Bradley 6 Rack Digital

* Dimensions: Inside 15”W x 11.5”D x 33”HT Must Cut a Slab of Ribs in Half to Fit on Rack
* Dimensions: Outside: 17”W x 14”D x 39”HT - 24"W with Generator on side
* Internal Heater: 500 watt cooking element / 125 watt smoking element
* Bradley Price: $599.00
* 1 yr Factory Warranty (They Send You The Parts You Install Them, Some Warranty!!!)
* Must use Proprietary Pucks
Bradley Smoker Bisquettes 48 Pack - HICKORY $16,99 From Yard and Pool
* Bubba Pucks Needed to Feed Last Three Wood Pucks
* Bubba Pucks - Bradley Smoker Woodsaver - Set of Three $25.95 From Yard and Pool

MES 40"

* Sam's Item # 173462
* Dimensions: 41" x 20" x 24-7/8 Will hold full slab of ribs without cutting in half
* MES Price at Sam's: $299.00
* 3Yr Extended Warranty: $39.00

* MES has 1200 Watt Heating Element
* Uses Common Wood Chips or Chunks Which Can Be Found Anyplace Cheap. Can Even Make Your Own.

Which would you buy after comparing side by side? The cost of operating the Bradley skyrockets once you get past their original hype. The original cost alone is a $160.00 more than the cost of the MES + the 3yr Warranty from Sam's. If It Breaks Just Take It Back and Get Another One!!! And the MES is BIGGER!

They don't have the problems Bradleys do with recovery times, wood chips can be added without opening the door, many advantages.

I would highly recommenced getting one if you are looking for a good electric smoker.
post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
Well sounds like the bradley is out of the question, I was kind of concerned about those pucks. The Cookshack is way out of my price range. When I get that kind of money I plan on getting a good (probably used) pull behind. Thanks for the input.

Is there anything else bigger and or better than a MES?
post #6 of 12
I have a Bradley original, which I did build a PID for and I do like it. Like Beer-B-Q said it isn't real fast to get to temp, especially when loaded up. But it is pretty much get it going and leave it alone until things are done. I really like it for making jerky and salami/sticks. I haven't done any cheese but I know they work well for cold smoking. Then the pucks, well that is a added cost for sure! I think it is good for some things, and other things there are better routes. That is why I have the UDS and SnP too.

post #7 of 12
I have a Masterbuilt, but it's a gas unit, not electric, and I love it! I had a Royal Oak electric and it did real well at smoking and would get well into the 300s temp wise, but it was still a bit tough to get it to recover and we missed the smoke ring you get from charcoal or a gasser.

I did consider a MES at one point and did the same as you, due diligence and noted so many issues with the control unit, wiring, etc. and decided to just go with the gas units. It costs more to operate than the electrics, but I like the way it cooks so much better than the electric units. There are plenty of folks here who stand by the MES and have had no issues and I'm sure they'll chime in.
post #8 of 12

30" MES works awesome for me!

I just bought the 30" MES unit with the window (so I can admire my meat without losing temp/smoke) and I love it! The insulation keeps the temp really well, regardless of wind/weather. I LOVE the fact that I don't have to buy those pucks. Real BBQ'ing isn't that popular up here (in Vancouver) but my friends and I all love it, so now the two of us that have real smokers have the MES.
I'm normally big on supporting local businesses (the Bradely's are made in Vancouver) but because of the HUGE price difference, features, and mostly current owners reviews, I'm glad I went with the MES. I heard higher temps was an issues with the Bradley and I have no problem getting to or staying at 275 degrees.
post #9 of 12
Love my MES I own others and will buy others in the future but right now I am all about the MES. Very easy good design and keeps temps solid. You will not find a smoker that is cheaper to operate and when used properly produces awesome food. Now I am thinking of building a UDS and would take a WSM in a heartbeat but you can never have too many toys.
post #10 of 12
Throwing in a monkey wrench...
check out smokin-it.com for an insulated stainless smoker with thermostat. I love mine. No relationship with the company other than very happy customer.
post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 
Looks a bit on the smallish size.
post #12 of 12
The #1 is small but I can do two pork shoulders at once or a 16 pound turkey.
It will smoke for 6 or more hours on one load of wood.
The #2 is larger.
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