This review is for the original digital 4-rack and 6-rack Bradley Smoker
When I was first introduced to the Bradley Smoker I was a bit skeptical about electric smokers in general. Mostly because my first experience was with a cheap Masterbuilt smoker that was mostly junk. This is not the case with the Bradley Smoker and I’ll cover what I like and don’t like in this review.
Here is a big warning/tip up front. If you use an extension cord, make sure it is very thick gauge and I don’t recommend using anything longer than 6 feet. The reason is that wattage is reduced with distance and even more so with a cheap orange extension cord. The lower wattage throws off all your cook times and I have read where it barely gets hot enough to make smoke with the wood pucks or biscuits as the folks at Bradley call them.
Fully Automatic Smoking – This is probably the greatest thing about this type of smoker. The Bradley Smoker uses a proprietary system that feeds wooden biscuits into an electric burner to generate heat and smoke. The electrical mechanism is programed to feed the wood into the burner at a set rate based on cook temperature. From my own experience, this is very accurate and does a very good job. For real long cooks like on a brisket you will have to reload the chute with more wooden biscuits.
Insulated Cook Chamber – The Bradley is fully insulated and does a very good job at holding in heat and smoke. This feature makes the Bradley very efficient which will help you save some time and money. Be cautions of electric smokers that are just thin metal without any insulation as they will not hold heat and you’ll find yourself going through a lot of wood.
Great Ecosystem – The Bradley line of automatic smokers have a large healthy following the company has been around for over 30 years. For this, you will find that they are greatly supported and have a great ecosystem that you also buy into when you become an owner of one. There are numerous cookbooks, recipes, and a lot of different wood types to suit any pallet and these can be found in a lot of different stores and Amazon carries their full line of smokers and accessories. The Bradley Smoker website has many videos and tips for cooking with their smokers.
Cooking Area – While for some this is actually a strong point because it does have 4 racks and you can cook quite a bit of stuff. For myself and those that smoke a full brisket often, then you might find the space inside a bit restricting and this is based on my opinion only. I had to separate the point and the flat and cook them on separate racks when doing a 15lb full brisket.
Full Open Door – This is a common short-coming with upright electric smokers. The problem with the doors is that ALL your hot air escapes if you have to open the door for any reason. This can add a lot of extra cook time. Additionally it wastes the smoking pucks and electricity.
Only Can Use Bisquettes – There is not much in the way of options when it comes to fuel for this smoker. You are restricted to using Bradley’s proprietary wooden pucks but there are some third party options available but I had a hard time finding anyone selling them as they seemed to be out of stock. But if you stick the Bradley brand you will have no trouble finding them at Amazon.
Placement – This is a common problem with all electric smokers but little people know or understand it. What happens is that wattage is lost across the distance of your cord. The gauge of your cord and the length plays a role in how hot the element actually gets. For best performance it’s recommended that you do not use an extension cord. If you do use an extension cord make sure it is a heavy gauge cord and not more than six feet. This will give you some freedom on placement and show very little reduction in performance.
As with any traditional wood smoker, you should consider a secondary thermometer in order to be sure you temps are correct. It’s hard to overcook something when smoking but it sure is very easy to under-cook it. Some like Maverick ET-733 Wireless thermometer really allows you to keep an eye on your temps without being a slave to the smoker all day.
This is the best upright electric smoker you will find. It’s completely automatic, made with great materials and it’s insulated. These are things you don’t find most upright smokers and things you should really consider. I think the best part is that it’s completely automatic and makes getting any cut of meat just right. They don’t sell the Bradley in too many stores, if you live near a Bass Pro or Cabela’s you’ll likely find one. Best availability and prices are usually at Amazon. Digital 6 Rack or Original Smoker are the best sellers.