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Thread: Masterbuilt or Bradley smoker?

  1. #1
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    Default Masterbuilt or Bradley smoker?

    My trusted old tall totem has finally gone to smoker heaven. 16 years of service will not be forgotten.

    A moment of silence please....... Ok that is enough.

    Now is the time to look at a new smoker. Been wanting to get one with temperature control for sausages and the like and it looks like the main players are the Masterbuilt and the Bradley smokers.

    What one do you guys use? The Masterbuilt is cheaper in the long run, but the Bradley has the luxury of not having to baby sit it and add chips every couple of hours.

    Any owners of these units care to chime in? I am leaning toward the Bradley due to the ease of use, but am still hesitating due to the added cost.
    Just a bitter Alaskan clinging to his guns and religion.....

  2. #2
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    I have a Bradely original stainless model and love it. I am pretty new and only used in 4 times, mostly doing baby back ribs. For more info, tons of info, go to the Bradely website and read in the forum. It is quite active and tons of info/recipes/etc.. there. I bought a PID but have not used it yet. It maintains a +1/-1 degree temp and is very programable. A good thing for smoking sausages, salmon, etc.. from what I heard on the forum. Feel free to shoot me a PM if you have any questions on the Bradely. Happy to share what little I have learned. I love mine and it is so simple a child could use it. Especially with the Maverick remote thermometer.


    Bradley Smoker Controller, Programmable Sensor type: Smoker, Free Hanging (original)
    Item# WS-1200CPH $149.50 USD

    From...

    http://www.auberins.com/

    http://forum.bradleysmoker.com/


    Me hard at work





    -Dan
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

  3. #3

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    I have an older model Masterbuilt. It has no vent and I have to leave the door open to let some of the moisture out for some things I smoke. The newer models have a vent and may perform better, hopefully someone on here can can chime in. The chip tray is somewhat of a hassle, but I get by. The digital temperature control works well.

    I called the factory to see if they have a retrofit for the vent, and they told me to buy a new model. I told them I would vent it myself, or throw it in the lake first, but haven't done either yet.

  4. #4
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    FYI, based on what I learned about the Bradleys before buying mine, the digital models are shet. Poor temp controls with some 20 deg swing is the the norm. Most guys suggested getting an original (non-digital) model and adding a PID if precise temp control was desired. I went that route and am glad I did. The cost savings of the original versus the digital paid for a good bit of the PID and the PID is far superior at it's intended task. Read on the Bradley forums for more info.
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

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    Thanks for the info.

    Looks like the lack of parts shuts down the Masterbuilt idea for good. Bradley has all kinds of parts and add ons available.

    Guess what I am buying with my dividend this year? Original Bradley with a PID module.
    Just a bitter Alaskan clinging to his guns and religion.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by bilder View Post
    Thanks for the info.

    Looks like the lack of parts shuts down the Masterbuilt idea for good. Bradley has all kinds of parts and add ons available.

    Guess what I am buying with my dividend this year? Original Bradley with a PID module.
    Whoa now! I own the digital stainless Masterbuilt and love it! It has a vent and works flawlessly! It doesn't need any "add ons" as it works perfectly the way it is! If you have a Sam's town, buy it there. It's a whole lot cheaper than anywhere else and make sure you buy the 1200 watt model, not the 800 watt. Besides the awesome digital temp and timer, you won't have to buy any expensive hockey pucks! You can make your own wood chips out of Alder or what ever wood you choose or buy chips from the store.

    Best of luck to you whichever unit you decide to purchase and the best part is the trial and error of experimenting! Have fun and enjoy!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnSWA View Post
    Whoa now! I own the digital stainless Masterbuilt and love it! It has a vent and works flawlessly! It doesn't need any "add ons" as it works perfectly the way it is! If you have a Sam's town, buy it there. It's a whole lot cheaper than anywhere else and make sure you buy the 1200 watt model, not the 800 watt. Besides the awesome digital temp and timer, you won't have to buy any expensive hockey pucks! You can make your own wood chips out of Alder or what ever wood you choose or buy chips from the store.

    Best of luck to you whichever unit you decide to purchase and the best part is the trial and error of experimenting! Have fun and enjoy!!
    Has Masterbuilt fixed the issue with replacement parts? I have been reading a lot of stuff online about folks who have had the element burn out and have to buy an entire cabinet rather than just a new element. Seems Masterbuilt only sells the cabinet for some models and not the simple parts attached to it. Guess the cost for the cabinet is nearly 200 bucks. A replacement element would only run 15 to 20 dollars tops if it were offered.

    My main concern is being able to buy a replacement part easily without having to get what is basically a whole new smoker.
    Just a bitter Alaskan clinging to his guns and religion.....

  8. #8
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Keep in mind the PID is a specialized device. The Bradley or Masterbuilt will both do basically the same thing. They have elements that put out heat, good enough temp control for most folks out of the box. The PID does way more for electric smokers than just keep the temp more precisely regulated. Below is a brief bit from the link I supplied earlier...


    "This model has a 6-step programmable temperatures function. It can set each step of smoking to different temperatures and duration. The duration of each step can be set from 0.1 hour to 99.9 hour. This function is useful for recipes that need to start at low temperatures and finish at higher temperatures. For example: You can program the temperature to start at 120 F for 1.5 hour of smoking, rise to 132 F for 2.5 hours and finish at 175 F for 1 hour for smoked salmon (see pictures of my results below). It will save you time waiting by the smoker to change the settings manually when each step is finished."
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

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    The element problem is with the 800 watt models. Just buy the 1200 watt version and you will be golden! My MES has been flawless so far.

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    Quote Originally Posted by danattherock View Post
    Keep in mind the PID is a specialized device. The Bradley or Masterbuilt will both do basically the same thing. They have elements that put out heat, good enough temp control for most folks out of the box. The PID does way more for electric smokers than just keep the temp more precisely regulated. Below is a brief bit from the link I supplied earlier...


    "This model has a 6-step programmable temperatures function. It can set each step of smoking to different temperatures and duration. The duration of each step can be set from 0.1 hour to 99.9 hour. This function is useful for recipes that need to start at low temperatures and finish at higher temperatures. For example: You can program the temperature to start at 120 F for 1.5 hour of smoking, rise to 132 F for 2.5 hours and finish at 175 F for 1 hour for smoked salmon (see pictures of my results below). It will save you time waiting by the smoker to change the settings manually when each step is finished."
    Awe, heck! I love sitting by the smoker, drinking a cold one and monitoring the progress! Plus I usually put in a few different appetizers that I have to remove before the main course is finished smoking.

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    Here's a great site for smoking recipes and also a good site for info on smokers ie. Bradleys/MES's or any 'ol smoker as well.
    http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/forum/

    I'm doing up some ABT's right now. I'll give you a before and after pic if I remember to take after pics as they get gobbled up really quick!

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    Atomic Buffalo Turds: Jalapenos filled with sharp cheddar cheese and topped with bacon smoked at 250 deg for about an hour give or take with hickory chips.

    Before:



    After:



    Great appetizer with just a little bite! Give it a try sometime!

    Oh yeah... this was on the MES! LOL!

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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnSWA View Post
    The element problem is with the 800 watt models. Just buy the 1200 watt version and you will be golden! My MES has been flawless so far.
    Thanks for the info.
    Just a bitter Alaskan clinging to his guns and religion.....

  14. #14
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    The turds look good
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

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    I have a Bradley and use a temperature controller from the BBQGURU, it's a pretty good set up for most smoking. What I don't like is the heating element is across the back wall so when doing sausage, hams and the such I have to pull the racks and rotate them for even cooking. I have read that some people have installed a small fan that cures this issue. I would recomend it.
    For a different ABT try frying some jimmy dean sausage, mix with cream cheese, stuff both pepper half's and put back together,wrap with bacon and smoke.

    RD

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    Ran across something that will turn the masterbuilt into an all night smoker without having to fill the chip drawer all the time. It is a little smoke generator that uses sawdust and can burn 8-10 hours if needed. Pretty cheap too.

    http://www.amazenproducts.com/
    Just a bitter Alaskan clinging to his guns and religion.....

  17. #17

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    best somker made
    America's finest smokehouse for home use, designed by a professional sausage maker!
    Our 20 Lb. Capacity Smoker has undergone only minimal changes over the past 30 years because its design works! This model is made specifically for the home user. Smoke meat, fish or jerky on the 4 removable chrome-plated shelves or hang sausage for smoking on the 3 hickory dowels. The experience and expertise back every smokehouse we make. The Stainless Steel model features a 304 Series Stainless Steel interior and exterior - Food Grade and Won't Rust!.
    Comes Complete With:
    4 chrome-plated shelves for jerky
    3 hickory hardwood dowels to hang sausage
    Stainless steel sawdust pan
    Heating element: 6" diameter, 110V, 1000W
    Outside dimensions: 18 3/4" L x 17 1/4" W x 23 3/4" H
    Inside dimensions: 15" L x 16 1/2" W x 19 1/2" H
    3 1/2" between shelves
    Stainless Steel shelves with 3/8" holes and Non-Stick shelves with 3/8" holes also available

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    Default steel vs. cast iron, and elec. vs. gas

    Quote Originally Posted by eagleclaw View Post
    best somker made
    ...
    Stainless steel sawdust pan
    Heating element: 6" diameter, 110V, 1000W
    I don't know how a stainless steel wood pan beats a cast iron wood pan.
    And I'll take propane power over electricity any day of the week. Maybe its just the electric ones I've seen but in my experience electric is a wimpier power source than gas.

    My Smoke Vault has a 6 or 8 inch burner on the bottom heating a cast iron wood pan, with the same racks, size, and hangers as you describe. I'm pretty happy with my Smoke Vault.

  19. #19

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    these smokers are for professonal sausage makers, but to each his own, i know mine is the best i have ever used, i have had them all now own the best, go take a look at the sausagemaker.com

  20. #20
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    I've got the same smoker as Familyman (Smoke Vault) and I had to convert it to electric for use in the summer time. Using the stock propane burner, I couldn't keep get the temp to stay below 200 degrees. I use a sugar brine on my fish and if the temp gets above 180 or so for more than 30 minutes, the sugar carmelizes and the fish will taste scorched. I contacted the company a couple times looking for a smaller burner, but they were no help, so I fixed it myself. Now I use electric in the summer and as it cools of in the fall, I just hook up the propane. I haven't used it in the dead of winter.

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