Customer Reviews: Bradley 4-Rack Propane Smoker
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on April 21, 2008
The main advantage of this smoker is it's small size, which is just right for the two of us. It comes apart and all the smoker enclosure racks etc go in the dishwasher, so clean-up is very easy. It is designed to be transported in a hold-all, though we haven't done that - we just carry it from and to the garden shed for storage. The smoker "bag" that is the cover for the enclosure definitely has a finite life, and it would have been good if they included a few more than the one extra in the box. The only problem I have encountered is that here in Texas, where the outside air is usually pretty warm, it is hard to get the internal smoker temperature down low enough for a long cooking time. Even on the lowest setting the cooking flame heats the smoker to 250 to 300 degrees. The smoker flame isn't enough on its own, so you end up turning the oven flame on and off for those really low temperature foods like fish. I let it get up to its full (minimum) temperature and then turn it off and just let it smoke for the rest of the time. Seems to work very well. It is a nice smoker for those of us that are just occasional fans of smoked foods.
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on November 22, 2010
I am an avid home cook and have always been interested in smoking my own bacon, pastrami, pork butt, etc. I don't want to invest in a Big Green Egg and my apartment does not allow for a charcoal setup so the Weber is out of the question. When I saw the Bradley Propane Smoker, it felt like a perfect match. With Amazon's low price and free Prime shipping and Bradley's reputation on the BBQ circuit, I couldn't resist. While it (sort of) does what it says, it does so in a really cheap and often poor way.

1. The rails meant to hold the propane tank does not work well. It's too tight of a fit. If you use a lot of force, you can get a typically sized camping tank in there but you will end up scratching the tank or any stickers on it. If you have a tank that has a plastic sleeve at the bottom (to minimize impacts from drops or hard put downs), it will take quite a bit of wrangling to get in there. I resorted to connecting it up directly to a large LP tank.

2. There is a heat/flame unit and the biscuit burner. The flame unit has its own starter and adjustment knob. The problem is the knob does literally nothing. You can adjust it from zero-point to max and the flame doesn't change. This is the biggest problem with this design. With the heat at the "lowest" point and the biscuit burner on, the internal temp reaches in excess of 250F. It actually goes close to 300 which means you cannot cold smoke. It ends up basically roasting your meats. There's nothing you can do to stop this short of rigging a setup that removes the smoker out of the tent and piping the smoke over.

3. The metal grates, heck, the entire inside is very difficult to clean. You are going to get a lot of sizzling fat dripping down or "exploding" in the interior. After hours of smoking, everything gets baked on with a sheen that's very difficult to remove.

4. No customer support. For being such a large company, I was surprised when they never replied to my inquiry. Not even an acknowledgment.

5. The tents need to be replaced. Like I said, they get really worn down and dirty inside.

Before you buy this product, know exactly what you are getting. If you think you can control the temps, or need to get down below ~300F, look elsewhere.
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on April 19, 2009
Smoking meat is about finding a way to cook in smoke all day at about 200 degrees. You either tediously tend a fire or find an automatic smoker like the Bradley models. Bradley has been around for a long time and their smokers work great.

The "perfect" weekend smoker for home would be one of their digital smokers like Bradley Digital 4- Rack Smoker. It is reasonably compact and well made. It uses 120 volt electricity to turn the wood bisquettes into smoke.

But, it is hard to take your smoker with you. For camping weekends, the Propane Smoker is "perfect". Instead of using 120 volt electricity it uses a 1 pound can of propane and 4 AA batteries. The system of a rack and foil tent is very clever. The finished food is wonderful. You will make lots of friends because the all day aroma will bring visitors!

- stores in a compact bag
- well made components
- it iseasy to control the cooking temperature
- you can throw away the tent so it does not stink on the way home
- all the dirty parts can be transported home in a garbage bag for cleaning in the dishwasher.
- it is a lot of fun to use on a camping trip

- a challenge to use if it is windy
- you have to buy tents
- you have to buy propane cans
- you have to buy Bradley bisquettes like Bradley Smoker Bisquettes, 48 Pack (Choose Flavor)
- if you store it in an RV, you have to keep it clean or it smells

- focus on cheap ribs, brisket and pork shoulder
- dry rub the meat at home before the camping trip and double bag it in plastic
- poke a cooking thermometer throgh the tent for temperature control
- if you want to clean the parts "in the field" soak them overnight in a Rubbermaid tube with a strong dose of ammonia cleaner.

If you like to cook meat when you go camping this is a toy you will have a lot of fun with. Your friends and family will love you for it.
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on July 6, 2011
This smoker is perfect for anyone looking to occasionally smoke meat. It nicely packs away when not in use. You certainly could take it camping or to a picnic. It really only does hot smoking, Although if you look online you can find some hints/hacks to make it cold smoke. Very good for the price. Having to buy the wood chips from the manufacturer is a bit of a drawback.
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on January 19, 2011
We recently bought a new Toy Hauler and felt this might be a nice addition! We used it a couple of times last year after I got it! Worked better than our electric smoker. It is nice...set it up ... leave for a few hours and have smoked meat when you return. It is a little of a hassle to be out and clean the grates but as we did the last time..bag them and brought them home to clean. So far...I absolutely feel it was worth the money.
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on November 22, 2010
To be completely honest, I bought this because it was cheap. I've used log burning smokers for years, and I've been curious about the "set it and forget it" convenience smokers I've seen advertised... but not enough to shell out 300 bucks for one. When I saw the Bradley portable propane unit, the cost was low enough to convince the Mrs. that we need to make real barbecue when we go camping and this is the route.

Pros: Simple to set up and use. Very portable. Nice carrying case. Good quality hot or cool smoked foods. Requires far less attention than a live fire set up. Nice variety of wood flavors to chose from.

Cons: Propane fuel is expensive. Wood biscuits are expensive (and exclusive). Capacity is only moderate. Temperatures tend to fluctuate and depend on ambient temperature. You're not going to save money by smoking your own hams, but it will give you a ton of flavor options you just can't find at the grocery.

Experience: We've made ribs, brisket, salmon and beef jerky all with very good to excellent results, particularly with the salmon. As with any smoker or barbecue rig, you need to understand the process and learn to know your equipment and its idiosyncrasies.

Recommendation: For under $100.00 this is a must buy. If you're not sure about smokers or Bradley in particular, it's a small investment in a hobby that could bring a lifetime of joy.
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on June 13, 2011
I bought the BPS a couple years ago. I have not used it as much recently, since I recently bought a Big Green Egg. I used it a few times for tailgating, and it worked great, EXCEPT for the wind! The wind is a killer for it. I have seen some people that used foam sheathing (that you'd use on a house) to block the wind - if you do it works great. The foil covers will last for several uses (maybe 4-5), if cared for. Parchment paper sprayed with non-stick cooking spray placed in it before folding up will keep it going a little longer - it burns close to where the burners are, and wrapping a little foil might help extend the life even longer. Overall, for the price it's a great smoker. The pucks are a little pricey, but compared with charcoal and wood, you come out about the same. The racks will hold a LOT of food. I wouldn't recommend packing it full, but you can hold 3 racks of ribs (cut in half) pretty easily. A couple of boston butts - no problem. The fuel usage is pretty good too. I cooked on it for several hours and only used 1 bottle. I wouldn't use it for my main smoker, but works great for tailgating or camping.
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on July 18, 2011
I really liked the concept of this product, but found that there was several deficiencies. This is my first product review on Amazon, but I will try to remain objective. I am aware that my unit might have been a "lemon", but I want other buyers to be aware of possible issues with their purchases.

I have used this product a total of 5 times, unit came with 6 tents [special bundle].


- Not capable of reaching temperatures above 195F after several hours of operation (this is with meat on the 4 racks, with space in between to allow air circulation, tent not removed during that period). During "warm up" (when I run the smoker empty for a few minutes), the burner has no problems increasing temperature up to 250F and more. I experienced this every single time I used this product, even with perfect weather conditions ( good exterior temperature, no wind, ... ). On more than one occasion, I had to "rescue" my meat by switching it to the oven halfway true smoking.

- Uneven cooking: Meat right above the burner and on the top of the tent cook more rapidly, to circumvent this, you have to move trays around, loosing any temperature buildup in your tent.

- Does not generate a lot of smoke. More often than not, I have noticed that wood bisquettes would end up in the water-pan barely "browned".

- The vertical stack of bisquettes sometimes get jammed, causing the auto-advance mechanism to push nothing. You have to stay at your smoker's side to ensure it gets fed properly.


- Very portable, easy to assemble.

- Despite the small size, feels very sturdy, even loaded with meat on all 4 racks.

- Pretty good gas usage (about one pound of propane for 6 hours of operations, in my experience).

- Economic.
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on August 4, 2011
I purchased one of these to cook some Ribs on the 4th of July. The party location was up on an apartment rooftop so the regular electric Bradley Smoker I owned wouldn't cut it (no outlets).
This gas powered portable version almost set the roof on fire. Towards the end of the cook, the fats and grease that had collected in the water pan on the bottom of the unit ignited.

This must have been caused by the exposed gas flame used to heat the combustion plate for the briquettes. That or maybe an incompletely combusted briquet was ejected into the pan (in the Bradley smokers, the ash of burnt wood briquettes are designed to eject into the humidifying water pan)

Something like this never happened in my regular Bradley smoker, but I guess if it did, at worst there'd be some minor char on the bottom of my ribs. The aluminum exterior construction would contain things until the grease burned itself out or was smothered. The fact that there was a flare up in-and-of-itself wasn't the problem...

Here's the thing: that silver-ish "tent" you see in the pics for the portable smoker...the stuff that looks like it must be some kind of Foil?


Who make the casing of a device built to be used above a gas flame out of PAPER?!

The whole thing went up like the Hindenburg. Flames five feet high! Our guests were freaking out trying to get away as I had to reach the control knob through roaring, grease-soaked fire to turn the unit off, hoping the propane canister didn't blow in my face. Luckily we put it out. Needless to say, the ribs were ruined.

I'm not using this smoker again.
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on November 19, 2011
I have a traeger for home but bought this smoker for the portability. The Bradley portable smoker is everything they say it is! It takes a little while to get started but after its up and running the automatic feeder takes care of the rest. I use it on a concrete or dirt surface because the bottom can get very hot. Great for those all day tailgating party's. Can smoke with or without heat flame. Marinated pheasant strips for 24 hours in raspberry chipotle set flame on low apple flavored wood and three hours later with no problems...simply awesome!!!
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