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Bradley smoker taking FOREVER to heat up???

linguafood Nov 16, 2013 10:35 AM

Ok, turned my smoker on high about an hour ago and it's *just* under 150. Should I be worried something's wrong?

I was hoping to start my ribs at 1 PM but that's obviously not happening.

It's brand-new, so I'd be surprised if it were screwed up already.

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  1. linguafood RE: linguafood Nov 16, 2013 10:53 AM

    Nevermind. My man hadn't plugged it in right.

    Gah.

    1. linguafood RE: linguafood Nov 16, 2013 01:07 PM

      Hmm. Perhaps I spoke too soon. After everything was plugged in nicely, and the smoker had *finally* gotten to 240, I put in the ribs -- 4 racks total cut in half, so each tray is holding a rack, basically.

      I'd say the smoker stayed just below 150 for a good 1.5 hours, and is just now creeping up towards the 200 mark....

      I'm all for low and slow, but is this perhaps a bit too low? The ribs will stay in another hour to smoke, and theoretically, I'd start squirting them with apple juice every hour after that, but given how shaky the temps have been today, I'm loathe to open the smoker unnecessarily.

      At this point, I'm more than tempted to just finish the last 3 hours in the oven. At least there I can be sure they will be at 240 or such for the remainder of the cooking.

      I understand that the amount of meat will have an influence on the temp, but shouldn't the smoker be able to handle meat on all four trays and STILL come up to the desired temp???

      I just hope they come out well.... >sigh>

      6 Replies
      1. re: linguafood
        JMF RE: linguafood Nov 16, 2013 02:36 PM

        You might want to post about this on the Bradley forum. Also you should consider some of the modifications like adding the second heating element.

        1. re: JMF
          linguafood RE: JMF Nov 16, 2013 02:39 PM

          Yeah, that might well be necessary. The goddamn thing never went over 200 anymore.

          The ribs are cooked, but look a bit dry and are still too chewy. Thankfully, they'll spend another 2.5 hours or so in the oven wrapped in foil.

          But this is ridiculous.

        2. re: linguafood
          c oliver RE: linguafood Nov 16, 2013 02:43 PM

          We had that experience when we did a whole smoker worth of ribs. The heat dropped WAY down and crept back up. The ribs turned out fine but it was aggravating. We're doing a 9# pork shoulder tonight. Last time a somewhat smaller one took 16 hours! so we're doing this one all night and into the morning. Still love the results but there's definitely a learning curve. I hope you'll report back.

          1. re: c oliver
            linguafood RE: c oliver Nov 16, 2013 02:47 PM

            I will. This time, I also left the membrane on the ribs as per adamant rec by someone on this board. Jeff Philipps says to remove them, but these were such a massive fucking PITA, I was not going to lose my mind.

            And I didn't even know then how aggravating the rest of the afternoon would be.

            I love the first batch o'ribs we did (just 2 racks, and no temp issues), where I had removed the membrane.

            Guess we'll see. And boy did I make that rub spicy.... ruh-roh :-D

            1. re: linguafood
              c oliver RE: linguafood Nov 16, 2013 03:23 PM

              I really love it that you get as nuts as I do when things aren't going well. I was alone when dealing with the temp dropping SO much and then not coming back up. I think I was terrifying the dogs with my swearing :)

              1. re: linguafood
                JayL RE: linguafood Nov 16, 2013 06:36 PM

                I don't always remove the membrane either...but when I don't, I'm sure to score it with the tip of a knife. You can do that by either slicing diagonally across the bones in both directions or by making a series of horizontal slices across.

                Can't help you with the Bradley issues. Sorry...

          2. linguafood RE: linguafood Nov 16, 2013 02:48 PM

            The irony of the whole ordeal is that I could've cooked the salmon along in the smoker, given the low temp. But there was no room anyway....

            1. Uncle Bob RE: linguafood Nov 17, 2013 06:39 AM

              Remove the membrane. It takes less time than typing about it on a food forum.

              If you are sold on a Watt burner, the answer to your Bradley problem is here.

              http://www.cookshack.com/store/Smokers_2

              HTH

              5 Replies
              1. re: Uncle Bob
                c oliver RE: Uncle Bob Nov 17, 2013 07:41 AM

                I've never found it necessary for any method of cooking to remove the membrane.

                I think perhaps you gave an incorrect link. It's a page of smokers. I figured it was going to be some kind of accessory.

                1. re: Uncle Bob
                  linguafood RE: Uncle Bob Nov 17, 2013 10:29 AM

                  Yes, I will absolutely remove the membrane again next time. It's a total pain in the ass (at least it seemed like it would be on the racks I had yesterday; with the first batch a couple weeks ago it came off much easier), but I liked them better without.

                  Not sure why people leave it on. Flavorless, chewy, stupid food.

                  And Uncle Bob, you have no idea how fast I type '-P

                  1. re: linguafood
                    Uncle Bob RE: linguafood Nov 17, 2013 03:17 PM

                    Ok....make that my typing! :))

                    There are many 'how to ideas' for removing the membrane. All seem to work ok, ... and it's what one gets comfortable with. Over the years I've gotten comfortable with these.

                    http://www.herzogfishing.com/product/...

                    and they skin catfish too!!!!

                    1. re: Uncle Bob
                      linguafood RE: Uncle Bob Nov 17, 2013 03:21 PM

                      Cool gadget. Would regular wide pliers work as well? Looking at my toolbox right now...

                      1. re: linguafood
                        Uncle Bob RE: linguafood Nov 17, 2013 03:27 PM

                        Yes. But the membrane will stick in the serrated(?) tips.

                2. c oliver RE: linguafood Nov 17, 2013 09:48 AM

                  We turned ours on to high and let it heat (in probably 30 minutes) to 260 before putting the pork shoulder in. It dropped to about 190 and has gotten up to about 215 in about 45 minutes. Somebody on another thread commented that outside temp isn't much of a factor but that wind can be. It's calm here today; what about where you are?

                  How did the meat turn out?

                  1. linguafood RE: linguafood Nov 17, 2013 10:26 AM

                    Well, unfortunately, my fears were substantiated.

                    While the ribs were very flavorful, they were tough like chops. Not *at all* like the first racks I made, which came apart easily. These needed knives (!), though most of us just used our hands and mouths to rip the meat off the bone.

                    FMFL.

                    It was a massive disappointment to me, and I know it showed. The smaller end parts of the racks -- or perhaps these were the racks closer to the heat source -- were actually quite tender and more like I wanted them to be.

                    Our guests, of course, said they loved them (and what else would they say, anyway?), but I could barely hide how upset I was. There's also only half a rack leftover (from 8), as people kept sneaking into the kitchen grabbing another rib, so clearly they weren't *awful*. Just NOT how I expected them to be.

                    I guess the lesson learned is that, until I get a second heating element or that magical Maverick thermometer (neither's happening until we win the lottery) I will have to severely limit the amount of meat I can smoke at one. Stupid.

                    Wondering now if splurging on a higher end Bradley, instead of having to buy all these extra accoutrements, would've been a better choice. Oh well.

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