I just got a new Bradley Smoker so here is a bit of a writeup and commentary based on my first impressions. Overall I am impressed with the Bradley Smoker.
I am a big fan of products that are well engineered. Stuff that is well thought out and that just works. My first impression of the Bradley smoker was that the engineers did a great job. The Bradley Smoker is a beer fridge engineered to be a smoker. This is basically man’s best friend, re-engineered into, well, Man’s Best Friend! I couldn’t find anything wrong with the design or functionality, it all seems to work well, opens and closes, slides easily, no wasted spaces, etc.
It was easy to assemble everything and no tools are required. There are pins that support all the trays. The smoke generator box also hangs on pins. The power cords plug in easily. I actually did not expect to have to plug in cords! It was more like setting up a home theater system with a few different components, than assembling a device intended to smoke salmon!
The other heat component is the oven itself. There is a heat element in the back of the smoker and this is what heats the interior of the oven to the desired temperatures. The heat element does not take up excessive space inside the unit.
The electronic controls of the digital model allow me to program the precise temperature of the oven, and, set the length of time that the oven, and the smoke generator, run for. With this combination of controls, you can set it to run for 2h, reset for another 2hr at a different temp, then another 2h, you can set it to run 6hrs straight, you can set the oven for 6hrs and only run smoke for 3, etc. You can also be assured that it will shut off after the cycle is over. All these features are worth the extra money in my opinion.
I had marinated up my first batch of salmon and I’ll tell you that it is a lengthy process. By the time I got home from work and had the fish rinsed, air dried, and then ready to go into the smoker, it was unfortunately for me about midnight. The Bradley Smoker gives some good instructions on how to smoke the salmon in their owners manual. Since I was tight for time and didn’t want to keep the fish sitting for another 18hrs, I opted to put the fish in the smoker but with a few precautions to ensure that it didn’t go to waste. I set the heat a bit lower, used fewer smoke chip bisquettes so they wouldn’t overflow the water bowl (I used only 5 chips), and let the oven run continuously for 6hrs. I don’t think Bradley recommends this approach, but I wanted to get some results. I grabbed the fish out first thing in the morning before work and it was looking amazing. I took it in to the office and it was a big hit!
Also, I see that Bradley makes a 6 rack model and one comment I’ll make is that if you figure on smoking up 5 or 6 fish at once then the 6 rack smoker might be a good investment. I did up 3 relatively small coho, each fillet cut into 3 pieces so I had 18 chunks. This pretty much filled up the four smoker racks, with some spaces around for airflow. Since it definately takes a long time to do the smoked salmon brine, the drying, and then the actual smoking (each step is a lot of waiting), that is why having the 6-rack would be worthwhile.
If you find this information and the photos of the Bradley Smoker useful give me a shoutout in the comments box below. Or if you have any questions about it put a comment I’ll get back to you with an answer.
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Writing about sportfishing for salmon, halibut, lingcod, rockfish, snapper, prawns, and crab, with tips and techniques to catch more fish by fine-tuning specific details.
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