The key factors affecting your smoker temperature are wind, vent opening, the product you are smoking, and the temperature of the area where you have your smoker set up.
The Bradley smoker is designed to deliver the best results low and slow. Cooking low and slow locks in moisture. The smoke delivers bold, distinct flavor. As a result, it comes with a modest, 500 watt heating element. The puck burner adds another 125 watts to the heat generation capability. So, your sub 50 degree temperature is a challenge, when using your smoker as a cooker.
Our new P10 has a new design with 1000W heat power, so it can deliver low and slow but also higher temperatures if desired.
Pro Tip: Most of us use our smokers as cookers, too. Nothing wrong with that. But if you have temperature challenges when it gets too cold that is no harm in adding smoke flavor first and finish cooking on an oven or grill.
Be Aware of the Wind
The biggest factor that causes your Bradley not to increase temperature is wind. It just seems to suck the heat right out of the smoker cabinet. Sheltering the smoker from the wind helps. Some folks have made insulating covers for their smokers out of water heater insulating kits. Others have installed their smoker in some kind of a smoker house to shelter it from the wind. Either a custom-built wood structure or one of those plastic snap-together sheds or storage bins. It also works as a guard for weather and safely storage in general.
Keep the Vent Wide Open
How wide open your vent is can also have a big impact on how easy it is for your smoker to get up to the temperature you want. Some products, such as poultry, contain a lot of moisture. If the vent isn’t wide open while you’re smoking a turkey, the moisture that the bird is releasing gets trapped in the smoker.
Water can absorb a tremendous amount of heat, so the trapped moisture prevents the smoker from getting up to temp. Trapped moisture can also cause “black rain”. The moisture condenses on the top of the smoker and drips down on the food you are smoking. I understand “black rain” isn’t at all tasty, so you want to avoid it.
The tip is to keep your vent wide open all the time. Some, including me, have gone as far as removing the vent. The smoker works really well with a wide open vent. And removing it prevents inadvertently leaving the vent closed when you start a smoke.
Heating Elements May Help Heat Recovery
If you peruse the forums, you may see pictures of smokers with a silvery lump in the bottom right side of the smoker. This is a foil-wrapped brick that acts as a heat sink. The brick warms up as you preheat your smoker. Then, it releases that heat back to the smoker when you load cold meat or open the door. This causes the cabinet temperature to drop below the temperature of the brick.
Smoking on a Windy Day
When I smoked a turkey breast on a cold (35 degree) windy day, I heated some of my smoking bricks in the oven. Then, I transferred them to the smoker when I put the breast into the smoker. It helped bring the smoker back up to temp faster and helped stabilize temperature fluctuations during the period where the turkey was absorbing a lot of heat.
In conditions where it is difficult to use the smoker as a cooker, many folks will do their smoking, then transfer the product into the oven to complete the cooking part of the process. So this is How To Achieve High Temperatures On A Bradley Smoker.
Always Preheat Your Smoker
Pre-heating the smoker is key, we suggest one hour prior to starting the recipe. Give your smoker plenty of time to preheat. Do not expect constant temperatures above 250 degrees, as the normal operating temperature is 200 to 250 degrees. Allow additional time for your Bradley Smoker to regain peak heat after food is inserted. Some heat will escape throughout cooking, but keep the damper nearly closed and place the smoker out of the wind to retain consistent temperatures.
Check out your cable connections
Remember to push the cables all the way, and there is enough power getting to the heating element.
Also, make sure your power source is powerful enough for the smoker. For example, extension cords that are not powerful enough to use with the smokers can result in lower temperatures.
Never Forget To Talk To Our Team!
After trying the tips on the article and if the heat is still not going up, shoot a message to [email protected] and our team will help troubleshooting and checking if everything is good with the smoker components.
We hope you liked this short guide on possible heating solutions. Don’t forget to check out the Bradley Smoker Blog for more refreshing food smoking tips & tricks year-round for aspiring pit masters!