If you’ve been looking for the best electric smoker on the market, then you could be forgiven for thinking that most manufacturers offer models that are only slightly differentiated from the competition. While there is a lot of choice on the market, it is easy to look at dozens of smokers and end up with only five to ten models that are worth your consideration.
This is not necessarily a bad thing, because similar designs make it easier to choose what you need based on size and price. Because all the top manufacturers make competitive and highly capable smokers, you can usually look at brands like Char-Broil and Masterbuilt and find a smoker that would suit your needs.
However, if you’re someone who appreciates innovation, and you want a smoker that really tries to do something different, then the Bradley Smart Smoker will interest you. Doing things different doesn’t necessarily mean doing things better, which is why this complete review will be so important. Bradley is attempting to make its mark on the smoker market, and in the following sections we will determine whether it’s worth the investment as your next electric smoker.
Key Features of the Bradley Smart Smoker
The Bradley Smoker BTDS76P Digital Smoker immediately stands out with some features that are not found on every smoker.
- Powder epoxy steel construction with a stainless-steel interior.
- Unique offset smoking system with automatic bisquette loader.
- Full digital control for temperature, timer, and smoke level.
- Six cooking racks with 780 square inches of cooking surface.
- Up to 280°F cooking temperature in optimal conditions.
First Impressions and Build Quality
From the moment you look at this smoker you are going to realize that it is unique. Most electric smokers use a wood chip tray inside of the smoker. This is a tried and true method and it works well on many models. On the Bradley, the smoker bisquettes come from a side loader, so that the whole process is automated. This means that the smoker takes up a little more surface area, but it also makes it appear more premium and technologically advanced.
The overall quality of the materials is impressive, and the coated steel exterior will resist scratches, light impacts, and general wear and tear. The whole exterior is coated with a special type of epoxy, similar to what is used on commercial flooring. If epoxy can live up to years of use on a sealed floor, then just imagine how effective it can be on a smoker!
On the inside of the smoker, highly polished stainless steel is used. This makes for a brilliant sheen and things do look impressive when you open the smoker up. The unit is fully insulated, so it can keep smoke and heat inside with a high level of efficiency. The unit comes mostly assembled, so, unlike some smokers and grills, you won’t be spending an hour or two to get this set up.
The first impressions are very positive and left us excited about checking out the cooking abilities. Overall the design is unique yet somewhat understated. If you want something that looks professional but not too flashy, then you will like the aesthetic of this smoker.
Size and Cooking Capabilities
The first thing to note is that the Bradley Smart Smoker is an impressive size with plenty of volume inside. There’s 780 square inches of surface space, which is within the average range of 700 – 800 square inches that can be found in similarly priced electric smokers. For most people the capacity will be an advantage. If you’re someone who likes to smoke large cuts of meat then this would be a great smoker for you.
You’ll fit two whole medium turkeys or chickens with no difficulty, and this smoker could also be used for duck if you’re somebody who likes to smoke game meat. Racks may need to be be removed for poultry and large cuts, so you’ll lose some of the overall cooking area. Even if you do that, you’ll still have space for smaller items on the remaining racks, or, you could run the smoker with just two or three racks to cook a mixture of poultry and other large cuts of meat.
Again, capacity will be more than enough for most families, and this can easily provide the same amount of space as some of the best smokers on the market.
In terms of cooking this smoker really shines. There are separate elements for smoke and heating. This means that you can cold smoke food like cheese, butter etc. for unique results. This is a niche addition to the smoker and not everybody would need this kind of functionality, but it’s impressive that the option exists, and it makes it a more versatile smoker overall.
The maximum temperature is 280°F, which is in the perfect range of 275°F – 300°F that melts fat and ensures perfectly cooked and moist meat. In most conditions the cooking abilities are as good as the best smokers on the market, making the Bradley Smart Smoker a good choice for you to consider.
There is only one negative to mention about this smoker and it relates to outdoor smoking environments where temperatures are below the national average. During the winter, or in cold areas and elevated areas, the heating element might not be enough to reach optimal temperatures. Many owners have reported the unit struggling in the winter due to the element simply not being powerful enough to maintain the maximum temperature of 280°F. For all normal situations, and especially cooking during the grilling season, this model will have no trouble maintaining the ideal cooking temperature.
Unique Loading Feature of the Bradley Smart Smoker
We have mentioned that this smoker uses an offset design with a separate element for creating smoke. This side loading mechanism is unique in the market and it’s where all the digital controls are found. You can control temperature, the timer, and smoke levels.
The Bradley Smart Smoker doesn’t use traditional wood chips. Instead, it uses proprietary bisquettes made by Bradley. They are in a puck form and have been engineered to be the most efficient for the smoker. This is something to consider as you will not be able to use generic wood chips with this model. The good news is that Bradley bisquettes are affordable, even for a large pack that would last for over 16 hours spread across different smoking sessions.
Top Accessories to Consider When purchasing This Smoker
Because this smoker uses a proprietary bisquette loading system you will not be able to use ordinary smoker chips or pellets.
- This pack of 120 Bradley Smart Smoker bisquettes offers the most value and has five different smoke flavors, including Alder, Applewood, Hickory, Maple, and Mesquite.
- If you only want a single flavor of smoke then you can purchase individual boxes like this 48 box of Bradley Smart Smoker bisquettes.
- There are also accessories to reduce smoke levels and make bisquette burning more efficient. These aluminum bisquette saver pucks are highly recommended by Bradley Smart Smoker
Top Pros and Cons of the Bradley Smart Smoker
This is by no means the perfect smoker on the market, but it does offer compelling features that could make it the right option for your needs.
- Attractive and clean design that make the smoker look like a professional / commercial model.
- Impressive finishing on the outer surfaces with a quality stainless steel interior.
- Fully insulated design prevents smoke and heat loss.
- Full control of all temperature, timer, and smoke settings from a digital interface.
- Separate element for smoke and cooking allows for cold or low temp smoking.
- Overall quality design that inspires confidence in its longevity.
- Heating element will struggle in low temperatures below 45°F.
- Can only be used with proprietary bisquettes (limits your choice).
- No remote control.
- No glass viewing door that is found on some other smokers at this price point.
- No included meat probes.
Final Thoughts and recommendation
The Bradley Smart Smoker model BTDS76P excels in some areas but falls short in others. It is by no means the perfect smoker, but it could be the best smoker for you, depending on your situation.
If you live in an area where you would want to use a smoker in temperatures below 45°F, then this is not the smoker for you. The element simply won’t cope in those conditions.
The fact you need to use proprietary wood bisquettes is not the worst thing in the world, but it will mean that you can’t take advantage of sales and packages of standard wood chips. However, Bradley bisquettes are affordable, so for most people this won’t be a problem.
This is still a great smoker despite some obvious shortcomings. If you live in a temperate climate where winters are not extreme, then you will find that this smoker can maintain the perfect cooking temperature. It can cold smoke, which is something that most smokers in this price range are incapable of, and the loading mechanism is much easier than competing models and means that you won’t have to open the door during a smoking session.
If you fall into the category where low ambient temperatures aren’t a problem, then this is one of the most unique and capable smokers in this price range. For most consumers, the Bradley Smart Smoker is a great buy at a reasonable price.