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My Bradley Smoker !

When I bought the Bradley Smoker at retail, I thought it was the cat's meow!  Having tried many, many others along the way, this one appeared to offer everything that I would dream of having.

It arrived and sad to say, the heating element was broken, but the vendor shipped me a new one immediately...   

Ok.. I'm a happy camper now.... ready to fire up this bad boy...

Seasoned it with a first cook and we're off!.... First cook was wonderful!.. Everything worked as advertised.  

Next cook, the bisquette feeder kept feeding all the bisquettes into the water pan... $20.00 bucks down the drain.  Bradley shipped me the new microswitch at no charge which I installed...  Two hours later I was off and running again...

A few more cooks and everything is wonderful!... This Bradley Smoker really does work!..

A few more cooks and the gasket is melting....but being inventive, I take a long wood clamp and clamp the door shut which does work, but watch your forehead as you walk by.

A few more cooks and I need a lot of bisquettes!... This thing burns 3 bisquettes an hour!....  I bought $400.00 worth plus shipping.....  several boxes arrive in chips....  I complain and Bradley ships me a couple boxes at no charge...  Very good customer service..

Now that I have the clamp in place and lots of bisquettes, I'm ready to rock and roll again...

A few more cooks and now the damn feeder on the Bradley Smoker isn't feeding the bisquettes.... After a call to Bradley, they tell me the feeder mechanism needs to be cleaned.... and you need to take apart the feeder to do this....  When I take apart the feeder, the entire section is filled with chips....

I cleaned the feeder and all worked fine again... off to the races!....   A few more cooks and I'm out of bisquettes again..... spend another $400.00 on bisquetttes......

Keep smoking!... 1/2 way thru this last batch of bisquettes (while keeping the door closed with a clamp)... the damn door broke off!....... Lousy Bradley Smoker !

Look at the HUGE hinge pin they use on the Bradley Smoker ..

I bought an FEC100 at retail.......  Cheaper than a Bradley Smoker  in the long run...

The bisquette price will kill you if you buy a Bradley Smoker....  and you better have the tools and knowledge to fix this piece of junk...

The initial price of what you pay is NOT the total cost.... buy a Cookshack and you'll never regret it.


PS... I intend to post pictures at some point, but I'm still damn irritated with the Bradley product.  I may drive over it with my Bobcat first. Ok.. added the pics..... Then I threw it out.

PPS... somewhere along the route the bisquette heater didn't work..  Bradley shipped me a new one at no charge...  but again, I had to install it myself.

A couple final pictures.... then make up your own mind as to how well built the Bradley Smoker isn't.

How helpful was this article to you?

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User Comments

Add Comment
Comment Jim Hedrick <animal1953h@aol.com>
4-28-2013 at 11:14am

My Bradley smoker is the sameway. door seal & plastic on doors are bad never buy one again. I tell all my friends
Comment JohnBush <johnbush@gmail.com>
6-23-2011 at 6:22am

Hello! Very good job(this site)! Thank you man.
Hello! Very good job(this site)! Thank you man.

4-6-2011 at 11:37am


Comment Carl S.
2-2-2011 at 2:21pm

Bradley Smoker
I had a stainless Bradley Smoker for 3 years and didn't have the electrical problems, but had jams and it is very cheaply built. I was constantly repairing something, broken plastic pieces, door hinges, gaskets, slider heat control. Every thing attached to the stainless box is plastic. When plastic is heated repeatedly it becomes brittle and breaks just moving the smoker. I paid about $500 for the bradley and over three years I spent another $300 in repair parts and about $400 in smoker briquettes.I finally threw it in the trash and bought a Cookshack.

Comment Jim
11-29-2010 at 12:34pm

I started with a charbroil H2O smoker. Never could get it to work properly. Graduated to a Big Chief. The manufacturer said it was not for cooking, but I would cook tri tip in it; took about 5 or 6 hours. If I filled it up I would have to wrap it in blankets to get it to finish. Forget cooking chicken in it. I still like it and limit it's use to smoking fish and bacon.

I bought the amerique last year from the Charcoal Store. It arrived as promised.

I have never been disappointed. A beautifully crafted machine, and one of my top 5 companies. Excellent web site. Everything that goes in comes out wonderful. I thought I was looking at "the big one" but now I catch myself looking at the FEC100

Comment bill
9-16-2010 at 4:13am

Took your advice and Ordered a cookshack. It should be here in a couple of days. I got the Amereque 066. I have a Masterbuilt digital smokehouse with the window in the front. the 40" model. had it for about 18 months. After the 1st 3 month, the ECM went out and Sams Club changed it out for me. Two months later it went out again, and Sams changed the whole smoker out for me, then we moved. The thing never had eneough power to get up to temp and would creep along with the power on constantly (sucked a lot of juice). The Module went out again (third time and had to get another one). Finally, the heating element went out. Oh, by the way, did i mention that I had to replace the door gasket. Also, it would hardly function in cold weather without a blanket wrapped around it. i'm sure the cookshack will be better, its about the same size. And the cold weather test you did, convinced me. My blasted mastebuilt would probally not even come on at 9 degrees. thx again!

Comment John L <Jsl79@msn.com>
9-8-2010 at 8:42am
Thx for the info. I just bought one cheap at a yard sale. My first smoke is today with a turkey. Hopefully my experience won't be like yours.

Comment Mark
9-2-2010 at 4:14pm

Go For the Cookshack but dont buy from Cabelas
After many hours of research I ordered a Cookshack 025 from Cabelas due to the price and my Cabelas point I use to purchase But the first shipment took 3 weeks and arrived damaged 3 weeks later it again arrived damaged, Cabelas tried to tell me that it had only been 3 weeks ( I guess they didd not count the first shipment 3 weeks earlier) now its been 6 weeks and their customer service rep did nothing to try to correct the situation, they told me I would have to wait another 3-6 weeks Ya right maybe by Christmas I would see it if I am lucky? Cookshack makes great smoker but dont buy from Cabelas buy from the Charcoal Store and you will see it in your lifetime!

Comment Irving <ibrave@acsalaska.net>
8-11-2010 at 7:41pm
Amazing. You got a lemon. My Bradley is seven years old and I fish alaska and hot smoke and cold smoke. Many many hours. I now have to change the door rubber and the feeder needs to be well cleaned between smoke. Great machine. My friends have one two. Good luck. Irving
Comment kyle <ka@chilei.net>
7-29-2010 at 2:47pm

6 years and counting
I have had mine for 6 years. The only issue I have had is the need to buy a new smoke generator but that is ONLY because my movers broke my old one. I will be replacing the broken item and move along.

The cookshack doesn't look bad either.
Comment Leo
6-6-2010 at 6:52am

Bradlely smoker
After reading your comments I will not consider the Bradley. I had already been turned off by the use of the bisquettes any way.

Comment Blair
5-9-2010 at 9:19pm

Looking into a new smoker
I am going Cookshack why, well after scouring Braleys web site I need to be an electrical engineer to add components so the Bradley will hold temperature or add a probe

Comment C D Lang
4-23-2010 at 11:32pm

Bradley woes
I'm shopping, and you just saved me a lot of hassle.....


Comment M. Maclean
4-15-2010 at 2:11pm

Amerique Smoker
Hi Dave,
Just a note to let you know that the Amerique I received from you a month and a half or so ago is the most amazing appliance I have ever encountered. As I may have told you, I have a large Traeger and a Weber. The Traeger is great, but is expensive to use--a long smoke can use upwards of 10 pounds of pellets and it does not impart a smoky enough flavor for me. I also have to be mopping the butt or brisket to keep them from drying out. I like it, and I have about a year's supply of pellets on hand. The Weber is great for grilling of course. BUT, OMG!! What this Amerique turns out is unbelieveable.My brisket has to be "tweaked" a bit as the edges come out a bit overdone and "crispy" Maybe I should wrap it tightly in foil after 3/4 of the cooking time, lower the temp and let it go for the rest of the time. My last effort was a 8 lb prime rib that took about 7 hours (no preheating). This was your run of the mill prime rib USDA Choice piece of meat from the local store on sale for $4.47 a pound. What came out beat, hands down, a dry aged prime rib roast that I cooked in the oven last Christmas that cost over $100.00!! I want to thank you for steering me to such a marvelous product. I will be sending you the bill from the weight loss clinic that I will have to join now!
All my best,

Michael MacLean
Comment Robert King <robertking1219@yahoo.com>
1-15-2010 at 8:35am

My Bradley Smoker
Wish I had read this before I bought my bradley. The first thing to go wrong was it dumped a whole load of bisquettes into the water pan. Then it stopped feeding them altogether. Customer service was nice initially. Telling me how to fix it by taking it apart and cleaning it. that didnt work. The motor that pushes the pucks was just not strong enough. We played email tag for a while. I asked them about possibly replacing the little motor, and the emails stopped. Had to feed each puck individually with a stick. Of course every time you opened the door to feed one, the temp would drop 40 degrees and you would lose your smoke. Then the heating element went out on me. I'm not going to put any more time or money into this piece of junk. cookshack here I come!

Comment Dennis Overmyer <dennisthemenaceovermyer@yahoo.com>
5-16-2009 at 4:43pm
Thanks for the info., trying to figure out what smoker to buy.
Comment Jeanne L. Warren <jeannew@deanbaldwinpainting.com>
5-11-2009 at 4:48pm

Bradley Smoker
I have had my Bradley Smoker (stainless) for four years and love it. Trouble free and does a great job. Yes, the chips are costly, but the time savings far outweighs that. Sorry you had so much trouble!!
Comment Jim
4-18-2009 at 12:41pm
Hmmm...surprised to read all this...I've been using my Bradley (the black, original model) for several years without

any problem whatsoever. Now I don't smoke every weekend, like many do, just once or twice a month. I am open to other

alternatives though, and want to research the CookShack more, as after about 4 or 5 years, I think it may be time for a newer device. I don't run out of bisquettes during the cooking,..my problem is that on friday night, when I think about smoking on Saturday, I find that I don't have enough bisquettes left from last time, argh!...and have to delay smoking for another week, until new bisquettes arrive.

Thanks for the info,


Comment Jeff <jeffro133@yahoo.com>
1-31-2009 at 11:00am

Bradley smoker
I just bought a digital Bradley smoker, i took it out of the box and got it set up and the damn thing won't power up.I have been trouble shooting it and can't find what is wrong with it. I am really pissed off and i am taking this piece of shit back!!
Comment Kent
9-29-2008 at 4:14pm
I guess I am in the minority here. I am not married to Bradley and for someone doing a lot of smoking the briquettes are expensive. I live on an island where wood for smoking is hard to come by so i have to import any wood. I have used a bradley stainless steel model for about a year with no problems at all. EVERY week I smoke, 10 pork butts, 5 briskets, 60 pounds of ribs, and 20 chickens. I load up the smoker and turn it loose. I will say I am building my own smoker now and going to import a pallet of wood. for this much smoking the chips are too expensive.

Comment Bernie Bradley <bernie249@comcast.net>
9-9-2008 at 9:14pm

Your great website w/reviews and actual breakdowns (LITERALLY!!) of the different smokers is the reason I bought a Cookshack smokette. Ok...the free shipping certainly pushed me over the edge, but I still would've bought it.

I confess that I did buy a "masterbuilt" at Sam's club even after I saw your reviews, but at about half the $$ I had to try. NO WAY! I did cook some ribs in it and they were good, but the thing was built CHEAP. I mean REALLY CHEAP. It also wasn't working as well as even they purported, so I took it back the next day and ordered my Smokette from you.

Thanks! we now have blown our friends and family away with LOTS of delicious Q. A word of warning though. If those friends and family know you're BBQ'ing you WILL have permanent company on those days.

Comment Mark <markholmes@alltel.net>
8-24-2008 at 6:48am

Bradley Smoker
I also received my smoker with problems to solve. The smokwe was as dead a s adoor nail when I took it out of the box. I was getting ready to cook for a family reunion. I called customer service and they said to dimantel the smoke generator an troubleshoot it. I did and found a bad conector. I repaired it and started cooking. I cooked all night long and was suprised to find that all of the bricks were pushed into the water bowl half burnt which mad a mess. You are right, the bricks should burn at the rate of no more than two an hour not three. I think it is a rip off not being able to set the rate the bricks get fed into the smoker. I guess it is how the make money.

P.S The bricks are way to expensive to be wasted.

Comment Steve <number1baddog@yahoo.com>
8-23-2008 at 1:59pm

plastic vs stainless
You want quality GO COOKSHACK! I've been into the processing of Wild Game since I was a young boy. I used an old freezer for smoking for years, Last year I bought a Cookshack and off to the races We went. My Son and I live in Montana and have access to large numbers of surplus Deer and Elk tags. We processed 800 lbs of meat thru that little wonder box and it all turned out Excellent! I shopped and compared a great deal before my purchase and just at a first glance at a Bradley I could tell it was a LEMON, all those bells and whistles on the Bradley are just problems waiting to happen. A smoker should never be walked away from to let it do it's own thing, Perfection takes supervision so does the Bradley. COOKSHACK FOR MORE CAREFREE SMOKING GAURANTEE'D

Comment Rich
8-18-2008 at 6:03pm
I wish I had read this BEFORE I bought a Bradley. I am in the process of returning it right now. I expected to be able to use it at least once before it broke down. I spent all day yesterday trying to make it work, but the heating element will not get hot-- top temp. after 6 hours was 180 degrees F. Did not get hot enough to raise the internal temp of a 2 lb. pork roast above 105 degrees F. And the directions? Obviously written by someone who does not speak English! The recipe book was not helpful either. I was looking for basic recipes, not Oyster Roll! Bradley has been a very disappointing experience.

Comment mike rose <spike_r28@yahoo.com>
6-22-2008 at 12:21pm

bradley smokers suck
Do not buy it they are shit I HAD ONE NOT WORTH A SHIT

Comment Don <smokemaster1@gmail.com>
6-4-2008 at 3:37am

president, smokemaster products
good article... every hurdle, like me... you overcame, over and over... yet, as soon as you fixed one, another arose...!!!

Cheaply made product, poorly engineered.

Sounds like customer service is on top of the game... but the NAFTA no speaky English employees, keep sending you the wrong parts and stuff.

Good job, keep on bitching about shitty made American products. It feels good to know I am not alone on this issue.

I bought a well-built smoker from Sam's club. It was 350.00 there, but 400.00 at Gander... I waited and waited,, then one day to my surprise..!! End of season sales and Sam's marked them down to 150.00!!!! So I bought one... wore the puppy out in three months. I would put 100 pounds of pork in it and smoke it 24 hours... three times a week I worked that thing... first the control head died... led's broke on the temp setting adjuster, then the heating element went...

can't find one of them...

glad I did not pay full price..!!!


SmokeMaster, Products, Inc.
Comment Dennis Reves <drevesrx@aol.com>
4-18-2008 at 10:05pm
thanks for your review. it was just what i needed to decide not to buy a bradley smoker

Comment Blalock <m.c.lock@comcast.net>
4-12-2008 at 11:45am
I am looking at smokers, having alway used my grill or one of those $30 smokers to do my smoking. I was interested in the Bradley untill I read your post. Wow. Sorry you had to go thru all that drama. But, and I hope you don't mind me saying this, better you thatn me! Thanks for taking the time to give us all the info.
Comment J. FORD
4-4-2008 at 10:03am

Comment Tom W
2-20-2008 at 12:06am

Bisquettes Too Expensive!
I can't believe Bradley expects people to pay $20 for 24 wood bisquettes that wont last long enough to smoke 1 pork butt. Absolutely ridiculous. Stay away from this product!

Comment derrick dalton
1-27-2008 at 3:56pm
you helped make up my mind! No bradley smoker for me!

Comment ttpawpaw
12-30-2007 at 3:46pm
Yes the customer service at bradley's seems great at first. But lets face it, if you buy any upscale unit (smoker, TV, Radio, whatever) you expect it to work,and if it doesn't you expect them, not you, to fix the problem. I had some of the same problems. After about the fourth fix they won't answer my Emails any more. Does anyone want a large (small refrigerator size) boat anchor?

Comment David R. Naas <dnaas@laserquipt.com>
12-16-2007 at 7:38pm

Too bad
You'll love the Cookshack.. It's a fine product.


Comment Holly <hjoseph@prodigy.net>
12-15-2007 at 1:44pm

Bradley Smoker
I have a friend who just purchased a Bradley smoker and loves it, but I did some research before buying one. So glad that I came across your article! I'm always hesitant purchasing anything whose use depends on buying future supplies only from the manufacturer. I've learned the hard way that they can suddenly discontinue the model, change the price and/or configuration or be bought out by another company.

Ordered a Cookshack instead as it was highly rated on Cabela's website. This will be my first smoker, so I'm a novice.

Comment Jim Mixon <james_mixon@bellsouth.net>
12-11-2007 at 7:15pm

Good information
I was pondering purchase of a Bradley and reading this I will definitely stay away. Sorry you had to go through the nightmare. Maybe Bradley should use your troubles to improve their product sounds as if they expect it though with all the free parts they sent you. But of course at $400 bucks for bisquets they had you coming and going.


Comment phil <bretta380@yahoo.com>
11-9-2007 at 9:11am

was going to buy one but....these comments sure helped.looks like Im going with the cookshack....Im after great ribs anybody with some tips ?? send em..phil

Comment Jay Lazzari <jaylazzari@yahoo.com>
10-18-2007 at 8:02am
Well, I guess I'm not the only one dissapointed with his bradley smoker. My gasket on the door is junk, the hindges are very week now and i had to replace both the heating element and the switch. My guess is i didnt use mine as much as yours. I have kept mine together and use it exclusively for cold smoking salmon. (after customizing it) see my pic. Thanks Jay


Comment Carl <SDog2112@aol.com>
9-24-2007 at 5:33pm

thanks for allthe info WAS looking at one but not anymore!

Comment Thomas M Niverth <tniverth@excite.com>
9-13-2007 at 10:58am
I was allready to purchase a Bradley smoker until I found your report.

Thank you for posting your experiance. I have changed my mind about Bradley and will now continue to research the differant brands avaiable.

Tommy Niverth.

8-19-2007 at 6:37pm
I am about to open a BBQ for lunch spot in Richmond, VA and am looking for a smoker. I don't mind paying more for the unit upfront to avoid problems down the line. I am not mechanical and want a unit that seldom requires service. Your article was very helpful.

Comment Michael
8-14-2007 at 9:08pm
This is good information. I am looking for my first smoker and appreciate knowing the total cost of ownership. The Bradley didn't sound to shabby but I'm not into buying their briquettes (continually). I'm glad I read your article.



Laguna Niguel CA
Comment Sumner <abumgardner@sbcglobal.net>
6-24-2007 at 9:31am

Bradley vs Cookshack
Excellent article. I have always wondered about the Bradley and maybe purchasing one someday. But now I know the real story. Thanks for the pictures and truth about the Bradley. It really sucks compared to the Cookshack.
Comment Dave Naas <dnaas@charcoalstore.com>
6-19-2007 at 6:27am

You're stuck using the bisquettes
Sadly, the unit is specifically designed to use the compressed biscuits. If you just want to use chips, then the Bradley smoker is not for you.

The Bisquettes are very expensive, as it uses 3 per hour which gives you a running cost of about $1.20/hour for just the bisquettes. Add to this your electrical cost and you'll begin to see how costly this unit is to run.


Comment Don <dondril@yahoo.com>
6-17-2007 at 10:13pm

smoker bisquets
Do you have to use the bisquets or can you not use

real wood chips?
Comment R. Bruce Smith
6-7-2007 at 8:10pm
I bought a Cookshack smoker this past January. I was considering a Bradley as well at that time. After reading your post my suspissions were confirmed. You get what you pay for. I never understood the attraction of having to use "special" wood. I like being able to go chop down an un-producing apple tree, or trade my neighbor for hickory and not have to worry about it being just the right shape, weight, and consistantcy.

I love my Cookshack Model 50. Just last week I was able to feed my son's entire high school marching band with ribs and briscket. Go Hawks!

Thank you for helping me feel evan better about my purchace.


Comment NOlan Wallenfang <cheese@dotnet.com>
5-29-2007 at 3:40pm

Simplicity at its finest hour
I have an sm008, and i have never had anything close to a failure. I have done chicken, lots of fish, briskets all turned out just fine, should say excellent.

I just love that thing. I could not ask for anything easier to use and so foolproof. If you would like to call, it is 920 294 3386 10 to 4 cdt.

Comment Phillip A. Hutchens
4-8-2007 at 4:33pm

need the honest input to market my Bride on the Cookshack

Comment J.J. Ballard <jj@jjsteam.com>
3-29-2007 at 2:49pm
Thanks for sharing your experience. I was on the edge of buying a Bradley and now will go cookshack.

Comment Chuck <lday@jbehr.com>
3-3-2007 at 12:59pm
Thank you very much for taking the time to document your experience. I recently purchased a Smoky Mountain gas smoker, but during the seasoning process I realize I cannot control the temp. I am currently putting it back in the box and taking it back. Once my return process is complete, I plan to purchase the Cookshack Smokette. I did, however, consider the Bradley... until I read your review. Thanks again!!

Comment gilligan
2-25-2007 at 8:15pm

choosing a smoker
i've been thinking of getting a smoker for the last few seasons and was leaning towards a bradley ... until i read this article. thinking of spending a bit more and trying to do it right ... thanks for the article.

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