Like many backyard chefs, Wade Bradley’s father started out with a homemade smoker, fueled by burning sawdust in a cast iron skillet over a hot plate. The results were good, but controlling the smoke meant hours of tediously monitoring the process, discarding and replenishing the sawdust before it burned to ashes. There had to be a better way, and with the help of Wade’s uncle they found one. They developed a “bisquette” of compressed sawdust that burned at a steady, controllable rate, and a mechanism to automatically feed the sawdust briquets onto a heating element. With the addition of a thermostatic control to manage the cooking temperature, the first Bradley smoker was born. Local gourmet cooks were soon asking for their own smokers, and the Bradley Smoker Company was in business. The first smokers were large, expensive units suitable for the restaurant and hotel markets. Later, with the assistance of a small business grant from the Canadian government (Bradley is located in Delta, British Columbia,) they automated their manufacturing process and expanded the product line to include more economical smokers for the home barbeque enthusiast. Bradley Smokers are now considered to be among the best smokers on the market.
There are several different models available. The Bradley Original Smoker has a stainless steel interior, with 4 racks for meat. The smoke generator is mounted on the side of the smoker, with a removable panel for easy cleaning. This smoker retails for $399. The easily portable Propane Smoker is the perfect choice for tailgate parties, camping trips and other outings. Using a propane heating element and a battery-powered feed mechanism, this handy unit can be used anywhere and retails for only $99. Bradley also offers several models of their smokers with digital controls that allow precise management of smoking time, overall cooking time and temperature. These come in 4 and 6 rack models, including one designed with a Jim Beam motif. The largest 6 rack digital smoker is priced at $599.
Because of their accurate controls and external smoke generator, Bradley Smokers can be used for both hot and cold smoking, as well as slow roasting of meat. Cold smoking is done at temperatures below 100 degrees Fahrenheit, often with meat that has been brine cured. On very hot days it can be difficult to maintain such a low temperature even with a Bradley Smoker, so the company offers a Cold Smoke Adapter that attaches between the smoke generator and the smoke tower. Smoke is routed through an aluminum tube that allows it to cool down before reaching the smoking chamber. For hot smoking, Bradley Smokers can reach temperatures of up to 280 degrees Fahrenheit, and so can easily maintain the optimal range of 225 to 250 degrees recommended by most smoking recipes. Final charring of ribs or crisping the skin of smoked chicken is usually done on a separate grill or in the oven.
Bradley Smoker Bisquettes are made with a wide variety of different woods and wood blends. Each bisquette burns for approximately 20 minutes. They are available in packages from 12 to 120 bisquettes each, including a variety pack of 60 in five different flavors. Bradley also offers a full line of cures for brining or dry curing, as well as many different rubs, seasonings and grilling sauces to enhance the flavor of the meat. In short, Bradley offers everything the backyard chef needs to produce an unforgettable barbeque experience.