The Bradley Smoker Story

Bradley Smoker really got started when my Dad did a deal with a master food smoker back in the seventies. The story goes that this master smoker knew nothing about catching salmon and asked my Dad for some advice. Dad said if he wanted to learn how to catch fish, he was going to have to teach my Dad how to smoke salmon. It was a hell of a lot easier to catch salmon back then. If this agreement happened today, I doubt Bradley Smoker would have gotten very far.

Anyway this master smoker learned how to catch salmon. My Dad basically told him the cardinal rule of fishing…do not fish where there are no fish, period.

So the guy kept his promise, gave my Dad some smoker recipes, keeping it simple with very common ingredients and told my Dad the secret to food smoking. He said you must control the smoke, plain and simple. Back then that meant constantly attending to the sawdust, never letting the heat being generated by the burning sawdust get too high, and most important, never letting the wood burn down to an ash. Watch the wood being burned, when it starts to have glowing ambers, and there are flecks of white ash appearing, get rid of it. Replace it immediately with new sawdust and continue smoking as the recipe requires. That’s it, simple huh? I just gave it away….

Not quite yet I am afraid, there is a lot to food smoking that I am still learning about every day. I am reminded by all the food smokers out there that we still have many things to uncover, never been tried before. Soon to be the latest and greatest recipe you have got to try. We will try to keep you posted.

Want to know more about us, keep reading. I promise not to leave anything out.

With this simple principle about food smoking firmly entrenched in my Dad’s masters list of principles and rules. He set out to make a food smoker that did just what this guy said had to be done (control the smoke). Back then they used a bread riser for the smoke house, old cast iron frying pan to hold the sawdust, and a hot plate to generate the smoke. Great, the other most important requirement was a good deal of free time to do nothing but watch smoke smoke, this is like watching paint dry. This brings me to my uncle who happens to be a professional in both endeavors. He also happens to be a pretty good inventor.

They set out to make a smoker that produces clean, continuous smoke without the need for constant attention. They tried everything to control the burning of sawdust, even studied how different types of sawdust burn differently and scratched the concept of soaking sawdust in water before hand. That just made steam until the sawdust was dry enough to start smoking, yuck. Larger chunks of wood required more heat energy to start burning, this did not work because they could never control the heat, and inevitably the wood was burning down to ashes, eliminating any attempt at making the food taste good.

You would not believe the gismos and gadgets they created that accomplished exactly nothing until they finally went back to the beginning and decided on the best sawdust for making smoke was cube cut, not too fine, and not from a planning saw. But how do you control sawdust? Good luck with that one. The Bradley Smoking Bisquette was developed first. The size, shape, and density is critical, and it worked. It created the smoke cleanly, did not burn down to an ash, needed very little heat energy to smoke. Most importantly, could be easily extinguished. You could say that they invented the first food smoker that stops the smoking process. That would be half true.

This is kind of like the old record players. What came first the record, or the player? They now needed to develop the smoke house. Again they had to go back to the rules and principles of food smoking. The smoke house did not change very much, however, the hot plate was replaced with a very low heating element, the frying pan was replaced with a elaborate feed system to continuously feed the bisquettes to the heat element so it made smoke continuously. Instead of stopping the process to remove the spent sawdust, they included a water bath to extinguish the bisquettes, and a secondary heating element to control the temperature of the smokehouse; a few other required pieces to making it as good they could make it and what we have is a Bradley Smoker.

It worked great, made fantastic smoke, and the food that came out was nothing short of outstanding. Local gourmet chefs were the first to get their hands on the Bradley Smoker.

When you are ready, give us a call or visit one of our many talented dealers to find out more about Bradley Smokers, smoking bisquettes, meat cures and many other products we offer.

Sincerely, 
Wade Bradley