Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day the Bradley Smokers Original Smoker. I first learned about this smoker from Kevin Kegan one of my partners at PermaEthos. He recommended the digital version, but after a lot of research I decided the original version was good enough for my needs. So I could not justify the extra expense and I always cook with a two probe thermometer anyway.
The four rack system give a lot more cooking area then you would think. I recently removed one of the racks and with a bit of creativity in how I slid in the other three was able to do six pork shoulders in a single smoke.
If there is a downside to Bradley it is you have to use their “bisquettes” which are compressed little pucks of wood shavings. To me though it isn’t a big issue, if you smoke with a tool like this you are not making a single meal, rather you are making a significant amount of food. When you pro rate the cost across the per pound of yield it is insignificant.
The fact that you can keep many different woods on hand in a small space is nice too. Alder for salmon, hickory for that home cured bacon and cheese (using the cold smoke adapter of course), oak for pork, pecan for brisket. (crap giving away more of my secrets here)
Frankly I never let any extra space go to waste. Lets say I am doing a single pork shoulder for a small family get together. Okay great, so I will toss in a few rib racks and say a chuck roast, smoke it all. I then let the extra stuff cool, vacuum seal and freeze it. All you do is take it out and re heat it and rock on. This means you can have low and slow smoked wonderful meats ready to go.
When you do a brisket you have to cut it in half, it just won’t fit whole, but two fit cut in half. Half a brisket is still a lot of meat, so one smoke, 4 half briskets, for a family thing two halves go in the freezer, but if it is just for Dorothy and I, one half gets used and three go in the freezer.
How does that effect quality? It doesn’t, at all, I could put fresh and frozen and re heated in front of you, you’d never know.
I am a guy that loves my grills and smokers. I love that I can smoke on a kettle grill, I have a huge side box old school smoker, but once I got this it is just too easy to not use most of the time. The results are dead simple consistent.
There is one caution, one time I ran 2 briskets and got distracted and ended up with a grease fire. It was easy to put out and didn’t get out of hand but it could have. This is because you have so much fat dripping into one area.
What I suggest is the smoker comes with a small pan which you fill with water, replace it with a aluminum throw away oven pan, so it has more capacity. Empty and refill it say every two hours. This pan isn’t just for moisture the finished pucks are pushed into it and extinguished.
Next is if you are only using one to three of the racks, put one of the aluminum pans on the lowest rack and let it catch your fat drippings. This helps keep your smoker a lot cleaner anyway. With three racks I can still do two shoulders, 3 rib racks and couple rings of sausage.
If you love smoked meat but don’t relish the constant tweaking for old school smoking check this thing out. And as always don’t be a purist. Smoke up to about 160 for your meat. Then wrap in foil and finish in the oven at about 225. This is called the Texas Cheat, and as a good friend of mine says, if you are not cheating you are not trying. The oven finish is the way to go, and let me tell you a secret, a real secret.
This is exactly how I pull off freezing roasts and heating them up and them tasting so great. I don’t finish them! I smoke up to 160 (it is called “the stall”) and I wrap in foil, then vac seal and freeze what we are not going to use right away. When we want to use it, we defrost it, pop it in the oven and finish it the day we eat it. Now guys, that is a real Spirko hack and until I published this review, it was a closely guarded secret.
Oh and hey, want to blow it up for Thanksgiving? Get one of these, quarter your bird, smoke it, then wrap and oven finish. Don’t try to cook it heavy in the smoker, go lite, about 2.5 hours, just to season it with smoke, then cook in wrapped foil until it is perfectly tender.
Do this and you will never have a dry turkey again! Sure it won’t be a big giant browned bird on the table but how long do they stay that way anyway, in the end it is what is on the plate that matter. So for all these reasons and more check out the Bradley Smokers Original Smoker today.
Remember you can always find all of our reviews at TspAz.com
P.S. – Of course I hate one trick pony type things, like a smoker that only smokes. So check this out, when I have big gatherings one of my favorite thing to provide is brats and sausages. It is finger food, help yourself type stuff. So I cook them on my grill and then put them in the smoker, I put in no wood pucks and simply set the Bradley to about 120 degrees.
It is then a hot box to keep them warm, I can now have a beer and socialize and people just help themselves. Just make sure after about an hour to clean it out or you may find something very unappetizing next week when you go to cook again!