Turkey got finished last night about 11, cut it up and put away (after nibbling a bit, lol!) but had to get to bed... work in the morning! But, I will declare that this vacation has been a success!
The turkey was done in similar fashion to the chicken; juicy and well-colored; the dog was satiated with two backbones and wingtips from the two birds! The stockinette did it's job well in providing conformity to the finished product and holding the wings in tight to the body so they didn't get fried up (in the vertical they got almost petrified a/c an inch from the wall of the smoker, even when tying them). The skin was a golden brown color, no where's near as dark as before, and was no where's near as rubbery either. The internal temps on both, even though a big difference in size, ran almost indentically up to about the last hour of the smoke, the chicken edging out the turkey because of it's smaller mass only then. Here's a pictorial comparision:
Last night's turkey:
Previous turkey done on vertical:
Both were done to the same internal temp. but the smoke house bird had much more even and palatable color; compare it to:
from my dad's smokehouses, which were full - sized versions of mine. This result was definitely a more 'professional' appearing product!
Here it is in the stockinette and cut up:
Stockinette bags are well worth the small investment; I got a package of 100 plus 12 ham hooks from Butcher Packer for about $37. You put the product in the bag and hold it up so it stretches tight around it, then cut it off about 4" from the product. You can tie it two ways: either horizontally (pull the stockinette from each side to tie) or vertically (from the top to bottom). How you tie it depends on how it will hang in the smoker. Horizontally it will hang width-wise, the broad side facing you; vertically it will hang edge-wise, the side (or in this case, wing side) facing you, as shown by the turkey (width) and the chicken (edge):
We had to tie all the hams vertically so you could fit more hams into the smokehouse; 6 per stick, 2 rows of 3 sticks, total of 36 hams smoking at one time. Once you pull the stockinette you tie in a square knot then put a ham hook on. All our hams were pumped and put down into brine in 36 ham batches, two 55 gal barrels of 18 apiece, then pulled into a large rolling vat and sacked and tied, then hung in the smokehouse, smoked for 10 hours at 165°, held overnight at 135° then cooked 8 hours the next day at 155° until the internal temp reached a minimum of 145° in each ham, each one being thermed separately. You could pull a few hams after the smoke for 'uncooked' ham designation if 130° was achieved and sold as such clearly marked; some people liked to bake their hams themselves vs. buying the fully cooked version. Today I doubt if you could find any uncooked hams anywhere.
This will be my last post on the build as it is now a working smokehouse and the build and testing is done.
For my situation, this works as expected as I live in Texas. I had the burner pretty much full boar at a few points to see what my temp would get, highest I got it was about 275°, more than adequate for 50° external temp. Now, if you live in Minnesota you would need to modify your build for a much colder climate for winter smoking; smaller inside dimensions to reduce the amount of space necessary to heat, plus probably a bigger burner, insulated, more fire protection, etc. I designed this with my climate in mind (and in the summer won't need more than probably the center ring to bring up to temp when it's 110° outside!.. or maybe a bic lighter.. lol!). I do have a needle valve ordered that should be here any day and it would eliminate reaching in adjusting the cocks on the stove; you just open what you want and increase or decrease temps with the needle valve. I'd hoped it would have arrived for the maiden smoke, but kind of glad it didn't, showed what fiddling I'd have to do without it.
I ran the drip pans dry but no reason why you couldn't add some water or sand to them; will have to experiment in future smokes. I probably could have used just two, didn't want to chance getting grease into the frypan off the bat, start a grease fire and burn up the smoker! The bars as far as I can see held up well too.
Thank you all for looking in on my build and putting up with my meanderings; I'm clearly trying to duplicate my dad's methodologies as it was commercially successful for 40 years even on a small home-town grocer scale. But, as people moved away and would order hams and bacons, have friends over for dinner, we'd built up a mail-order business rivaling the in-store business that reached anywhere in the US. It could have grown easily but unfortunately the impetus to grow died with him; he never let us boys assume any control over growth. But, with all your help I'm now able to bring back that wonderful product to share with my family and hopefully for generations to come. Next stop.... full-fledged Fassett's Ham for Easter! And, of course, I'll take you painstakingly step by step on that journey also! lol! Thanks again for putting up with me! And thank you Pineywoods and everyone else for your compliments, so very much appreciated!