I’ve been using Bradley Smokers for many years. In fact my history with them goes back sixteen years to when they were first imported into Europe. I have always been amazed at how truly good the smoke flavour is. The way the smoking wood is never burned all the way to an ash really seems to make all the difference. Recently, Bradley have added to the repertoire of bisquettes available for their smokers. These are the round discs of compressed sawdust that are fed individually and automatically into the smokers and burn for precisely twenty minutes each. To an already impressive list of thirteen woods, that includes all the common favourites such as oak, maple, hickory and alder, six new blended combinations of smoking wood plus flavour ingredients have been added: sage, beer, hunters blend, chilli cummin, ginger sesame, and Caribbean blend. Infinite scope for creativity awaits the gourmet smoker! The bisquettes are of course rendered from the natural fruit woods and hardwoods, and in this respect they qualify as organic. The repeatability and reliability of the Bradley smoking process is well known to restaurant owners, small producers and to those that venture into the great outdoors to shoot, hunt and to fish.
Making life easy then, for the user, has always been high on the list of good reasons to own a Bradley Smoker. So when Bradley launched their new Smart Smoker, I was keen to find out just how much smarter it was than the current models, all of which have been around for at least fifteen years. As well as the Original Smoker, (without digital controls) the current digital models allow programming of smoke time, oven time and temperature, for hot smoking. For cold smoking, their is an adaptor, available as an accessory, that serves to remove all unwanted heat from the cabinet. What more could I want?
As soon as I unpacked my new smart smoker, I could see that this was a step up from all that had gone before. The smoker stands about a metre tall, with individually extendable feet which are actually more useful than they sound. The brushed stainless steel door with strong hinges and latches gives this all the appearance of a piece of professional catering equipment – although widely used by professionals Bradley Smokers are principally intended for home use. The new door seal is bomb proof, and orange! All the surfaces are easily accessible and beautiful in their finish. On the inside, the cabinet has internal walls of stainless steel, although in my experience seldom do we attempt to clean these completely of smoke residue; but no doubt, somebody does somewhere. I was intrigued to see that the V shaped baffle, that on all previous models sits above the bisquette burner, was no more. Good idea, I say, one less item to clean! Anything that drips from the contents now simply collects in the removable tray at the bottom. Within the cabinet there are rails for up to ten horizontal racks. Six racks are supplied so you can shift these around or buy more as an accessory.
Now to the exciting part, or perhaps not if you immune to the pleasures of pressing buttons and programming settings. But fear not, the new touch screen panel is totally straightforward and I assure you, you will have no need of the manual every time you want to use it. There is also an app, that connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth, but once again technophobes remain calm, the touch screen works independently of the app. Beneath the touch screen are connectors for two temperature probes, which are supplied. From either the touchscreen, or the app, we can program, smoke time, oven time and oven temperature. We can also set timers and temperature triggered alarms on the probes, and from the app only we can study a graph of probe temperature against time.
You may say that I am biased, but I am totally impressed. I can’t wait to start to smoking in the new Bradley Smart Smoker. If you are new to gourmet food smoking or you an old hand looking for fresh inspiration there is an impressive collection of recipes for Bradley Smokers both at the Bradley Smoker websites and here on The Hungry Ones.
Will the Smart Smoker make you a better chef? Well that’s not hard in my case but it certainly goes even further in making the experience of smoking food an enjoyable one, free from uncertainties, if not totally free from the need to press buttons!
The first import of the new Bradley Smart Smoker will be available in Europe in December 2017. See the Bradley Smoker website for details of stockists.