horizontal smoke with no outboard fire box!!

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Original poster
Oct 18, 2006
How does one succesfully smoke a turkey in a horizontal smoker that has no separate fire box. This thing looks like an oil drum turned on its side with a smoke stack.
many thanks, Heidi
First off I would start out a little bit simpler than a turkey. Say something small like a chicken or small roast.

I would build a small charcoal fire on the end of the barrel away from the chimney and then put my meat on the end by the chimney. That way the fire would not be directly under the meat but the smoke will pass over the meat as it drafts out of the smoker. Hopefully you have a thermometer to check for smoker temperature. Always try to keep you temps around 225 - 250, make all temp corrections by opening and closing the air intake not the chimney and keep check on your internal temp of your meat. Without any more info, that would be my best suggestions.
thanks for the prompt reply! That makes alot of sense. Should I put in a pan of water or juice? I have a thermometer on the rig but are you saying I should have one to stick in the bird too?
225-250 in the smoker, 180 or so for the bird?
A pan of water sure won't hurt anything. Yes you need some type of meat thermometer to know when it is done. It can just be one of the old $5.00 dial type oven meat thermometers but you need something. 180 should be a good temp at the joint of the thigh and breast. Some folks say that makes the breast too dry for them, but you have to get the thigh meat done also.
Now, about the combustables, You said charcoal. Do you mean like briquettes? I was planning to try wood but in either case, I am concerned about the lenght of time the coals will stay, will I have to replenish them? I have read up a bit on this forum and I could start some coals in another vessel and transfer them. What is your experience?
oh, and thanks alot for helping me out
Welcome to SMF, Heidi. Without a off-set firebox, you'll have to use the indirect method for smoking.

Build you fire under the food rack on the side furthest away from the smoke stack. Place your turkey on the food rack closest to the smoke stack.
I hope that your smoker has a door on the side to add fuel when you need too or has two seperate halves for the food rack-leave the side above the fire off for ease of fire-tending.

Hopefully someone with a unit like yours will be along to add their comments.
i would stick to lump charcoal or briquets instead of wood. In the same space with your food I think the wood will flame up way too much and cause your food to be sooty.

There is a method to burn long burns of charcoal created by one of the members of this forum named the Minion method. It basically consists of making a large pile of unlit charcoal and then adding a small amount of lit charcoal on the top so it lights more coals as it burns down. Google it on your browser or do a forum search for the Minion method. If your lucky the man himself may come in and explain it personally. 8)

Good luck
Thanks everyone for your kind and helpful replys. I am going to go home and have a good look at this beast. I'll get the brand (its not too old) and see if it has a side opening for the combustables. I also saw a place on line that sells the outboard fire boxes. Maybe I'll get lucky and be able to order one for it, sounds alot more foolproof to use that.
so, wish me luck, I have to brave the trip to "the guys" fire pit. My husband is in to segregation when it comes to his pit, He made a nice one for me and my gals tho ;-)
xoxo Have a great night
Hey Heidi, You got some good advice there.. I'm happy to see someone else besides myself from MA.

Hey Joe,
I notice you have the bullet type water smoker. My friend has made some awesome meats in one. I'd love to get one of those eventually but for now I'm determined to tame this (inherited) BEAST!!!!
Thanks for the kind welcome from Massachusetts,
too bad summers ovah
With the fire at one end and the bird at the other, it will be necessary to rotate the bird while it cooks to promote even cooking and coloration. Otherwise the side towards the fire will burn and be overdone.

When cooking poultry you want to remove it from the heat at least 5° before it reaches the desired temperature. The temperature will continue to rise after it is removed from the fire at least another 5° to 7° so letting it cook al the way to the desired temperature will result in over cooking it.

Recently the Food and Drug Administration lowered its recommended cooking temperatures for poultry from 170° in the breast and 180° in the thigh, to 165° throughout the entire bird.

165° will ensure safe eating so it can be removed from the heat at 160°, however, temperature affect the moisture content of the meat as well as its texture, so cook it to your family's liking.

I remove it when the breast meat is 160° to 165°.
Hey Heidi, I haven'y used the bullet in some time, I've been using the offset smoker alot more .. Yep, summa is almost ovah and winta is on the way so button up your button down shirt and keep warm..

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