Thanks to some help from some members here we got some great advice to help make our first smoke a success. We smoked a turkey yesterday, and it turned out fantastic! It was moist and full of flavor.
We got a brined turkey and used a WSM. We also picked up a Maverick ET732. I was a little nervous about that as it seems a lot of people have some problems with the thermometers. Reading the directions I learned these things are delicate. You don't toss 'em around, pinch the chords, or get them wet. So, I bet a few people haven't noticed the details. They worked out great for us.
On their own my parents modified the WSM with some wheels. They dragged it around on the brick to mark a drilling point. Then installed the wheels - works great. At one point we needed more water so we went scrambling around trying to figure out the best way to fill the bowl from the door. Ended up using a pot to fill a measuring cup to pour in. I don't know charcoal as I'm a newbie. But, I saw the Royal Oak was highly recommended here, and it worked out great.
Putting in the thermometers we were wondering what to do with the transmitter. We decided to hang it on a step latter. The idea was to keep it as far from the heat source as possible. Oh, the next thing was how do we get charcoal in the door. We ended up pouring some in with the aluminum pans you see above.
It was about a 6 hour smoke. We were shooting to keep the temperature between 25 and 40 degrees as recommended by Jeff's book. Sunset magazine did a smoking turkey article and recommended between 200 and 250. Most of the time the temperature started to get a little high. It even got up to 275 and my dad started pulling charcoal out in a panic. All in all we were kind of chasing the temperature.... It would get high so we would close the vents a bit....Then it got too low too quickly and we opened them up. Then we added some more charcoal and soaked apple wood. We used 2 chunks of apple wood every hour for three hours. But, apple junks weren't really doing much after an hour at one point. So, I stirred up the charcoal, and then the temperature started blasting up. I can really see there's a lot to learn about keeping the temperature consistent. It was really convenient to have the digital thermometer.
Ooops, how did that get there.
So, there she is. We pulled the turkey at 167 degrees. I was just festering to cut it open and start eating. But, we covered her up in foil and a towel and let her sit for a 30 to 45 minutes.
An electric knife never sounded so good! Grabbing a chunk of meat and chewing away I knew we did something right. The temperature chasing was pretty forgiving. As you can see the juice just poured out. The breast meat was moist and absolutely delicious. My parents are picky eaters...especially my mom. When my mom started talking about what we should smoke for Christmas dinner and that maybe we should practice on some different meats, I knew she was sold on smoking.
Thanks for the help and advice. Please feel free to critique the bird or give any more advice on technique.