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Little Chief Smoker Help .....!!!

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
icon_redface.gifconfused.gif I have a larger electric smoker, my problem is how do I cook a 20 pound turkey in it, I've had it for 10 + years and have only used it for smoking Venison jerky and Salmon; and of course chicken and turkey and cooking afterwards in the oven. But never for cooking fully. Can this be done? I would really love getting a better one, but can't afford one at this time, someday though.
Thank you.
post #2 of 8
You need a digital thermometer to monitor the smoking process. and no shame in an oven finish. Especially with a lower end smoker. Temps of 275° to 300° are maybe too high for that unit. But as I'm not familiar with it, I'll let others reply from here. And welcome to SMF..stop into Roll Call and give us a formal intro. it's kinda a tradition. :{)
post #3 of 8
Welcome to SMF Cat. Glad to have you hear. I don't know much about your smoker but I am sure someone will be along to help. In the mean time stop by RollCall and introduce yourself to everyone. Check out the 5 day ecourse. This is a great help. Again welcome.
post #4 of 8
I have used these smokers for years. Mostly for fish and shellfish, however. For albout four decades(40's, 50's, 60's and 70's) they were the smoker of choice, up in the pacific northwest. They were designed and developed for Salmon and Steelhead, in my neck of the woods. I grew up using the Little Chief for that. In later years, more versitle and flexible smokers were developed and the Chief's fell out of favor. That is when they came out with the Big Chief, but it was never competitive. I still have three. One of my Little Chief's is my preference for that long, slow, curing smoke, I like for Salmon. This summer I picked up two more. One I bought for $5.00 at a garage sale and got the third one free on a give away. I now use one Little Chief for Salmon/Steelhead and use one Little Chief to generate smoke and tube it to the Big Chief, for cold smoking.

The Little Chief has a heating element that is set for around 160F-165F. Has a hard time even getting there, if it is chilly or windy. That's OK with me because I like it for Salmon and run it at 140F-150F. The Big Chief has a burner that will go to 250F, or maybe more, depending on outside temps and wind etc. I don't know the model you have, but those are the temp ranges quoted by the factory.

A Turkey is a chore for even the larger unit. But it can be done. When I have done it, I smoked and continued to generate smoke until 140F to 150F internally(by a probe) then finished in the oven. You could finish in the smoker but would still need to crisp up the skin in the oven.

If that is what you have, that is what you have. You can make it work. Just have patience. Start early, a couple hours ahead of what you would think you would need to do. Have some kind of a wind break or insulated surrounding. Follow the basic rules and improvise for the finish. It might not be perfect but it will still be darn good. Well worth the effort that you put into it.

post #5 of 8
Skip got that exactly right! I too grew up in the Pacific Northwest and had 6 little chiefs over the years. As a kid it was the only game in town and did a pretty good job smoking salmon and making jerky. But that's all. It just won't get hot enough to actually "cook" anything. Use it to add smoke then cook in the oven. The scary thing is that in the several hours it will take to add the smoke flavor the little chief will hold the turkey in the danger range for all the pathogens. 140º-160º F. Its a tad spooky so be carefull.
post #6 of 8
I can't even get my little chief to fully cook a chicken, so turkey is out of the question if you ask me.

The Tgiving forcast for Kansas is low 40's, so I am not even sure if my Brinkmann electric is a good idea. I might end up borrowing a Bradley from someone. Hate to have everyone ralphing the turkey up!
post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thank you everyone
I kind of figured that would be the reply but had to ask anyway. So... I guess I'll be smoking and cooking as usual. icon_cry.gif
And I will go to roll call and introduce myself, but had trouble getting there not knowing the web site.
Thank you.
post #8 of 8
The way I always did turkey in my big chief was to brine it the night before. Then boil it in the brine for about 10 minutes to kill any bacteria, not really to cook anything. Then smoke it for a good long while in the smoker. Say 6 hours or so, until the temperature in the bird stops climbing (basically as hot as the smoker is going to get it), then finish it up in the oven until it's cooked through.
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