Bradley Digital Temperature Fluctuations??

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by vids, Jan 12, 2014.

  1. vids

    vids Newbie

    Hi all, I did my first smoke tonight on my brand new Bradley digital.  I did beef and elk ribs for about 4 hours at 220 deg.  I noticed that my Bradley runs about 30 degrees hotter than the digital thermometer, but that's no big deal I can just monitor it with a probe thermometer dropped in the top. 

    One thing I didn't like though, the temperature on my probes (I used two to make sure I wasn't going crazy) kept fluctuating from 190 degrees to 240 degrees.  Is this a common problem?  It was pretty windy today in Denver, but my deck is somewhat sheltered.  Could it have been just the wind?  Have others noticed this problem with Bradleys?

    And then a general question on doing ribs.  Like I said I smoked for 4 hours, but I don't think it was long enough as they were a bit chewy.  Please give me some recommendations for rib smoking, clearly I need to go longer but I'm unsure at what point to stop the smoke and just keep the oven on.  I don't want too much smoke flavor.  What do you think, smoke about 4 hours and then shut off the smoke for another 2-3 hours?  How long can I cook before they start to dry out?
  2. ctonello

    ctonello Smoke Blower

    Have you looked in to the 3-2-1 method for ribs?
  3. vids

    vids Newbie

    Nope, I'd never heard of it but just looked it up.  Thanks, I'll give that a try! 

    Sounds similar to what I'd done on my old smoker, I would smoke for about 4 hours and then put them in the crock pot for a few hours on low.  They were a little on the moist side that way but awful good.  I like the idea of taking the foil off for the last hour to get the hard crust back on them.
  4. Wind is a problem on my Bradley. I made a 2 sided wind break I place around the top vent with the corner of it facing into the wind. I also slide a 30" piece of 3 1/2" PVC over the puck feeder. Seems to help a lot on temperature fluctuations. I will try to post a photo tomorrow.
  5. vids

    vids Newbie

    Chuckles - Thanks for posting those pics, I will make some of those for myself.
  6. BTW, Vids, I'm kind of a fair weather smoker. Usually don't smoke if afternoon temps aren't going to be at least in the mid to upper 30s, but if not windy, even in the 30s with no wind screens, my Bradley maintains a relatively stable temp.  I usually try to have meat on at least 3 of the 4 racks. If not, sometimes I will throw in a couple of foil wrapped 1/2 thickness fire bricks as heat sinks. I always keep the top vent open about 3/4 way. If the suggestions don't seem to help, I suggest calling Bradley. I've called them and they seem very friendly and helpful.  Maybe you have a thermostat or controller problem or something else they can identify.  If you find anything else helpful perhaps you can post it to help other Bradley folks.

    Happy smoking.

  7. Have only had my Bradley for about 3 weeks now, and really like it. When I saw these mods/additions, I knew I had to have the wind screen. Made one this afternoon and plan on putting it to use this weekend.

    Thanks for the info.

  8. Hope it works well for you, Jake. I have a pork loin curing for Canadian Bacon that I’m going to smoke sometime next week, along with a couple of racks of chx breasts and leg quarters. Will have some for dinner that eve then shred & freeze the rest for pulled chx, tacos, chx salad, etc. Prob also throw a meatloaf on as well. Almost always throw some meatloaf on. Sliced and frozen makes for a quick dinner when I forget to plan ahead. Ummm, getting hungry thinking about that chx. Lol. Have fun with your smoke this weekend.
  9. Mine goes up and down it will drop 10 or 15 degrees today though I was smoking at 250 a higher temp then usally I smoke around 225 and dropped to 233 but it goes back up to about 5 over what I have it set on. I love my smoker though I am thinking of adding another heating unit and then have 2 That way I think it can climb faster when heat is lost. But I love and its always done a great job on ribs I smoke around 8  9 hrs at 225. And they just fall apart. I like baby back what kind of rib was you smoking
  10. Yes it was a little winding here today I will try that good Idea chuckles
  11. Mine will fluctuate like that during the first hour or two but then once the meat starts warming up it holds pretty steady as long as I don't open the door. I try to only open the door about every 3 hours to discard the spent bisquettes and refill the water. Sometimes in the winter I throw in a couple of foil wrapped fire bricks in and preheat them for about an hour before I put the meat on. BTW, I keep those bricks in the house in the winter so I'm not heating them from freezing cold temps. In FL you shouldn't have that problem. Also, before you spend time and money on another heat source I suggest calling Bradley. Maybe the stat is not working properly if it continues to fluctuate that much through your entire smoke. They seem very willing to try to answer questions and help if they can.

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