Bradley Technologies BS611B Designer Series 4 Rack Original Smoker Stove review
Smoker cabinets are very popular with people who make their own sausages and smoke their own meats. The fact that they can usually double as barbecue smokers give them year-round functionality. Of course, there are a lot of other little design features that can make the difference between a cabinet smoker that you need to tend to like a toddler, and one that lets you “Set it and Forget it!”
Bradley Technologies is a company that specializes in smoker cabinets their BS611B is a little smaller than some of its bigger brothers. Still, it can handle a high volume of meat.
These days wood pellet grills are very popular for their ease of use. However, they produce a continuous smoke that can release a fair amount of tar and resins during the course of a long smoking session. This can add an unnatural acrid flavor to the meat being smoked.
Where Bradley differs is their use of wood fiber biscuits instead of pellets. They are fed into a special burner which is separate from the main burner element. They burn for roughly 20-minutes, releasing smoke into the very well-sealed primary chamber. Then the burner element in the main chamber works in tandem with the thermostat controls to maintain a very consistent temperature.
The end result is meat that is perfectly done while accenting its natural flavors with smoke. You don’t have that competition between the strong bitter smoke resin and natural meat juices like you get with some other devices that rely on smoke to heat the meat.
Construction & Ease of Assembly
Bradley Technologies BS611B certainly got the seal on the primary smoke chamber right. Which of course, is absolutely essential for a unit like this. The materials they use throughout are quality, especially for the friendly price point.
Unfortunately, there are a few misses in the design that are worth noting. The first is the wood biscuit delivery system. While it does a good job of feeding biscuits into the burner element with consistency, there is nothing protecting the sleeve that holds them from the elements. All it takes is a little drizzle and you will be dealing with wet wood biscuits which don’t burn as well.
The electric burner element is also a little bit of an issue. By their nature, electric elements have a limited lifespan. They resist current to produce heat. As time goes on this eventually leads to faults or even potential short circuits. The average lifespan of Bradley’s electric elements seems to be around two to three years. A replacement element costs around $60, and you will shred a knuckle or two in the process of replacing it.
One other tiny complaint is the analog controls and knobs, as opposed to digital controls like you find with other smoker cabinets in their line. This isn’t a big deal, as they work just fine, and it’s likely a reflection of the friendly price point.
There’s very little to assemble with the Bradley Technologies BS611B. There are online retailers who offer an expert assembly service, but unless you are mechanically inept, you’d just be throwing your money out the window.
As a smoker, I think you’ll be impressed with the clean smoky flavor the Bradley Technologies BS611B delivers. You really do notice a difference compared to the tar and reason you get from other heavy-handed smokers. You can smoke for up to 8 hours without adding any new bisquettes. That’s pretty impressive in itself.
Bradley sells a cold smoke conversion kit which I don’t think you will really need. The top range of this smoker is around 250 to 300 degrees, and you can dial it down to the 125 to 150-degree range. About the only cold smoke application, it can’t handle is shellfish. If you want to smoke your own sausage, bacon or hams, the BS611B will get the job done.
It can even do a very impressive job with wild-caught, skin-on, salmon fillets. Just don’t expect cold smoked shrimp, which will overcook before they take on any strong smoke
Bradley also offers some uniquely seasoned wood biscuits. Asian and chili cumin is indeed tempting and they can have their place with certain things. Still, if you are a barbecue purist, these things are anathema to things like applewood, hickory, and mesquite.
The Bradley Technologies BS611B comes with four racks which measure in at 572 total square inches. This isn’t a lot of room compared to some of the larger cabinet smokers. Still, you should be able to make two pork shoulders or a bunch of portion cut ribs.
The wood biscuit feeder system is special in that it adds a twist to how the wood is introduced to the burner element. The burner then runs independently from the cooking chamber’s burner to give you a pleasant level of smoke, without the tar and resin.
It’s just a pity that there’s no weather protection for it, so you have to spoil the otherwise sleek look by putting a bread bag over the biscuit sleeve when it rains!
Ease to Clean
The Bradley Technologies BS611B is pretty easy to clean. The biscuit burner is very efficient, which leaves very little ash behind. After that, you just need to pour away the drippings.
The one problem area is that the racks it comes with can be a little sticky, and a little tricky to clean. If you’ve got a little extra money laying around, Bradley does sell non-stick replacement racks for a reasonable price.
The Bradley Technologies BS611B comes with a one-year warranty. This is what you would expect for a smoker cabinet in this price range. Unfortunately, the burner element is prone to dying at around two to three years, leaving you on the hook to pay for the replacement.
The Bradley Technologies BS611B is one of the better entry level smoker cabinets. It’s especially nice for smoking your own fish and sausages, while also being able to handle some classic barbecue. Just be prepared to pony up for a new burner element every couple of years and pay attention to the weather forecast.
- Great price point
- Innovative biscuit delivery and burner set up
- Consistent temperature control
- No tar or wood resin on food
- Cold smoke accessory available
- Smoke up to 8 hours per bisquette
- Doesn’t come with a cover
- Controls aren’t digital
- The element needs to be replaced every 2-3 years
- Rain can affect wood biscuits