If you’re looking for the best BBQ smoker for a beginner I highly suggest reading my two part series on choosing the best first smoker for a beginner. Once you’re done there you’ll be able to return here and read all about the Bradley original smoker, in my opinion simply the finest, most forgiving beginner smoker available today. While purists will argue that true BBQ can only be done with a charcoal, or even wood fired bbq pit the fact is that with a Bradley original smoker you can achieve great BBQ, even if you’re a beginner. If you’re goal is to make real BBQ meat, such as ribs and brisket, without all the hassle associated with charcoal, wood or even propane BBQ pits then the Bradley original smoker is just right for you.
To make real BBQ you must achieve 3 goals; tenderize, moisturize and flavorize the meat. Let’s look at all three of these goals and analyze how the three main types of BBQ pits fare. Oh, by the way, there are some people who’ll say just throw a foil packet with some wood chips into your grill, I won’t even consider this since it’s just a horrible way to try to BBQ meat.
First off there’s tenderize. To truly tenderize meat you have to cook it low and slow, this means at about 225 degrees.
- With a charcoal BBQ pit you must constantly tend the coals to keep the fire at the proper temps. This includes adjusting the draft and flue, as well as adding more coals (especially important for a long cook time), and this isn’t instantaneous, it takes about 10-15 minutes for the fire to react to your adjustments, you can easily be there for up to an hour adjusting to get the proper temperature. Another consideration is that every time you add coals the fire will spike due to more air getting in, forcing another round of adjustment.
- A propane or gas BBQ pit is a bit better since you don’t have to worry about tending the fire too much, but adjusting for the proper temps can be difficult.
- The Bradley original smoker uses an electric heating element on the bottom. You just dial up the temperature you want and that’s it, your done. It’ll stay that temperature for 10 minutes, or 10 hours.
Next up is moisturize. This is a function of time and temperature. You see, once the internal temperature of the meat reaches about 160 degrees the connective tissue and fat break down. If you cook at too high a temperature the inside will be done, but the outside will be dry. If you don’t cook long enough the tissue won’t break down and, although technically done, the meat will be tough. I’m sure we’ve all had tough ribs, this is why that happens.
- In a charcoal BBQ pit not maintaining proper temps can result in underdone (tough) or meat that is cooked too quickly (dry). Maintaining the proper temps for the right amount of time is critical. An experienced pit master can get the temperature where it belongs quickly and hold it there. A beginner cannot, resulting in wasted meat.
- A gas BBQ pit is better at this. Get to the right temperature and it should stay there as long as there isn’t any flare ups…
- The Bradly original smoker, once again, excels at this. Set the temperature and forget it. Another reason why the Bradley original smoker is the best BBQ smoker for beginners.
And finally, and perhaps the most important is flavorize. What does this mean? Well ultimately the goal is to add smoke flavor to the meat, otherwise why put it in a smoker, just put it in your oven and be done with it.
This is where the Bradley original smoker truly shines. There is an electric hopper that feeds wood ‘discs’ into a heating element, one every 20 minutes. So, by mixing and matching different discs you can perfectly control the amount and type of wood flavoring you want to add to the meat. For example, when I make ribs I use a total of 2 hours of smoke (6 discs) I use 3 apple wood and 3 maple wood. For pork butt however I go with 3 hours of smoke (9 discs) 2 oak, 5 maple and two apple wood. I can get whatever smoke flavor I desire. Take a look at the picture to the right to see the hopper system.
- WIth a gas or charcoal barbecue pit you generally just throw the wood chips or chunks directly on the fire, not really much control at all over how fast they burn, or which flavor is the most prevalent.
So, in conclusion, if your a beginner to BBQ and just want the BBQ experience without all the hassle the Bradley original smoker is the most forgiving BBQ pit out there. And, even better, it’s designed to be a ‘set it and forget it’ BBQ pit.
Here’s a great place to get the Bradley Original Smoker at a great price, even better you’ll be able to read the reviews of real beginners just like yourself and see just how great this smoker is.
Filed Under: Barbeque