While summer barbecues often bring to mind images of burgers, hot dogs, and kebabs, they might also bring to mind the tender, fall-off-the-bone meats like brisket and pork shoulder.
Getting these tender, flavorful barbecues is much more difficult: they require smoking the meat at low temperatures for very long periods of time.
Worse yet, smoked barbecues are even more difficult to have while living in apartment complexes or condos that have strict fire restrictions that prevent you from having your own fire-based smoker.
However, electric smokers like the Bradley Smokers Original Smoker are available, and they can help you to get that delicious barbecue in spite of any fire restrictions that might stand in your way.
This mid-range, electric smoker has very few “extra” features, but what it does have is very enticing.
The Original Smoker works for you with an automated compartment that feeds briquettes automatically to the body of the smoker in order to maintain the ideal 250°F.
Better yet, because it is electric, the Bradley Smokers Original Smoker can double as a cold smoker to preserve fish and meats with the appropriate attachment.
Key Features of the Bradley Smokers Original Smoker
Electric Smoker: The biggest draw for this smoker is that it is electric, and therefore, it requires absolutely no flame.
Instead of a flame, the smoker uses an electric plaque to heat the briquettes to their smoldering point and then transfers the briquette to the water bowl inside the smoker to create the smoke effect in the body. This feature is especially useful for people who cannot have flame-fueled smokers and grills due to fire restrictions on their balconies in apartment complexes and condos.
Essentially Completely Automated: With this smoker, your only job to maintain the desired low temperature during your barbecue is to add water to the water bowl every two to three hours.
The smoker has a briquette dispenser that will control the temperature of the body by adding smoldering briquettes to the body of the smoker as needed. This is different from a traditional smoker that requires you to add fuel to the flame yourself in order to maintain the optimal temperature conditions.
Additionally, this system will limit the number of times that you will need to open the smoking chamber, and so you won’t lose as much heat to the environment. This may be able to cut down on some of the time that is necessary to smoke your barbecue.
Large Amount of Cook Space Despite Being a Small Smoker: The stacked design of this smoker means that you have a maximum amount of cooking space.
The four grates combined give you approximately 571 square inches, which is more than other smokers in this price range. This size gives you flexibility, as it can be used for smaller family gatherings as well as the occasional larger party.
The only drawback is that the stacked design can be tricky because you have to be sure that smoke is reaching each level evenly. Additionally, the more you fill any smoker, the more time it will take to reach the desired 250°F, and so your barbecue may take longer to be ready.
Cold Smoke Technology: Because this smoker is electric, it is adapted to cold smoking as well as hot smoking. The cold smoking option means that you will be able to use this smoker to preserve meats and fish and retroactively add a smokey flavor to already-cooked meats while keeping the meat or fish moist.
It is important to note, however, that cold smoking is done between 68 and 86°F, which means that your ambient temperature will need to also be within this range. You will also need to invest in the adapter sold by Bradley Smokers to have the cold-smoke generator.
- Almost the entire smoking process is automated
- Can do both hot and cold smoking
- More cook space than most peers in price range, can cook for up to 12
- Stacked racks means slightly different temps on each level
- Only compatible with Bradley Smokers briquettes which can be pricey and hard to find
- Takes more time to heat up than fire-based smokers
Check out 99voltsdotcom’s overview of the Bradley Smokers Original Smoker below:
Bradley Smokers Original Smoker Detailed Review
Design and Build Quality
The Bradley Smokers Original Smoker has a very straightforward design with two key features: the automated briquette feeder on one side, and the stacked body on the other side.
These two areas of the smoker are heated by separate burners, which ultimately helps maintain heat within the body of the smoker.
In addition, it is lined with stainless steel and very well-insulated, which prevents the exterior of the body from being too hot to touch while cooking. The smoker weights about fifty-six pounds, which is slightly more than other smokers in this price-range. It is not meant to be portable.
Overall, the design and quality of this smoker are mid-range. The quality of the steel is not top-of-the-line, but the smoker is not poorly made.
The electrical aspects of the smoker tend to work well on a long term scale. However, the stainless steel interior has a tendency to rust with long-term use, and because it is electric, extra care should be taken to keep the smoker from being exposed to rain.
Ease of Assembly
This smoker is much easier to assemble than most other smokers.
Because of its very straightforward, no-fuss design, assembly tends to take half an hour or less. There are only fifteen parts to put together, and the instructions are very clear.
These instructions also include very specific pointers for how to properly season the smoker before your first barbecue.
Ease of Use
This Bradley Smokers brand smoker is among the easiest smokers to use. Because it features the automated temperature control for up to nine hours, most users will have little difficulty maintaining their desired temperature.
The only aspect of the smoking process that you will need to monitor is the level of water in the water bowl. This aspect of the smoker makes it an excellent choice for beginners or people who simply want to have access to the smokey flavor of this kind of cooking without too much of the hassle that is typically involved.
The drawback of the automation, however, is that more experienced barbecuers may dislike that this smoker does not allow for extremely precise control of the smoking process. For those who enjoy being completely involved in the art of smoking, this smoker may be disappointing because it does so much of the work for you.
Quality of the Cook
Above all, this smoker offers a very high-quality cook because it is impossible for it to go beyond 250°F. This means that you will very easily be able to get the delicious bark on the exterior of your meat that is associated with a good smoked barbecue.
Better yet, Bradley Smokers offers a huge variety of briquettes that can subtly change the flavor of your barbecue. This smoker is also great for cold smoking fish, cheese, and meats. With the cold smoking adaptor, you’ll be able to have the smokey flavor for more than just your summer barbecues.
It is important to know that this smoker cannot necessarily reach 250°F, however. If you put too much food in the body at one time, you will likely only reach a maximum of 175 to 200°F.
This is because the electrical heating of this smoker is not designed to give off too much heat. Additionally, for people who are hoping to have a smoker that can do both the indirect convection cooking of smoking and direct cooking over a flame (typically the one that is associated with the fuel box of a smoker), this smoker is not a good option.
Ease of Cleanup
The Bradley Smokers Original Smoker does not include any specific cleanup features because of its very simple design.
By opening the door to the body of the smoker, you will have easy access to the entire interior, which means that cleanup should be very simple.
You are also able to remove the racks and water bowl, so these can be cleaned outside of the smoker between uses.
For a no-fuss barbecuer, the Bradley Smokers Original Smoker is likely an ideal option.
Because of its automated briquette dispenser and temperature regulator, you will have to do very minimal work during your barbecue to get results that are just as good as the more laborious smoker options.
Additionally, for those who are interested in cold smoking, the dual feature of this electric smoker to do hot and cold smoking (with the appropriate adaptor) can make it a good two-for-one option.
The automated aspect of this smoker, however, does make it more expensive than other smokers in this price-range.
Not only does the smoker cost a little bit more money upfront, the smoker is only compatible with the expensive Bradley Smokers brand briquettes. These briquettes can be difficult to locate at in-person retailers, and they tend to sell-out online.
How Does it Compare?
Let’s take a look at some of the Bradley Smokers Original Smoker’s competition:
Weber Smokey Mountain Charcoal Smoker
A simple design that cranks out awesome barbecue, the Smokey Mountain has the quality and warranty you expect from Weber in an affordable package.
Check out our review here.
Char-Broil American Gourmet Offset Smoker
For those on a smaller budget looking for a very simple smoker, the Char-Broil American Gourmet Offset Smoker may be right for you.
Check out our review here.
Char-Broil Deluxe Digital Electric Smoker
An alternative to the Masterbuilt 40 Digital Electric Smoker, the Char-Broil Deluxe Digital Electric Smoker also offers a ton of cooking space along with a remote control for simple hands-off smoking.
Check out our review here.
Char-Broil Vertical Electric Smoker
For those looking for a simple electric smoker on a budget, the Char-Broil Vertical Electric Smoker may be right for you.
Check out our review here.