I'm trying my first turkey today. I've done a whole chicken as a preparatory experience and we're also frying a second turkey, so if the smoked one takes longer than expected or completely bombs, we'll still be OK. The smoker was covered in light snow when I went out to start it up:
I fired it up a little before 10 am. As I mentioned in my roll call post, I've used the smoker a half dozen or so times and haven't had any problems getting it will above 300 degrees any time I've tried. I made a test runs yesterday with the new Maverick ET-733 to get comfortable with it and got to ~340 in just a little while with the water pan in place so I wasn't too worried. The outdoor temperature yesterday was in the mid-40's and no wind. Today, barely 32 with a steady light breeze and occasional gusts.... It hadn't made it over 300 by just after 11 am. I pulled the water pan. I was unsure whither to use it and the gravy drippings pan (see below). The gravy fixins may get dry or scorched, but I'll risk that to get the temp up a bit. I've added a old canvas drop cloth over the top and down the sides of the smoker. It's up to 306 30 minutes later.
Brined overnight in Slaughterhouse brince with molasses substituted for half the brown sugar. Rubbed under and over the skin with room temp. butter mixed with poultry seasoning.
I'm also trying @BBQ Engineer's gravy fixin's recipe (http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/83062/turkey-tune-up)
As mentioned above, the gravy pan is now serving as the water pan, on the lowest cooking rack with no water pan between it and the wood pan. I don't know what this will do to the veggies and broth, but the temp is up, so I'll risk it.
The bird is up to 97 degrees after ~ 1 hour. Seems to be coming along nicely. Time to check the wood (apple chunks) and the broth pan.