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Offset - Sticks or Charcoal for Turkey?

COandSlow

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I recently finished building my offset and was thinking of using it for my Thanksgiving Turkey. I have done a good number of Turkeys on my WSM successfully but was thinking of giving the offset a try. I see a lot of recipes for using charcoal but not a ton of using it as a true stick burner. What level of success have you guys had with the different methods?
 

sawhorseray

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I don't use any charcoal with my SQ36 for over a year now. I light up hickory splits with a weed torch and manage heat control with the vents, firebox door, and size of the fire. I do mostly butts, spares, and dino ribs, but I've done a few whole yardbirds on it too, cooks everything great. I haven't done a turkey, and most likely won't, because I don't care all that much for them except for turkey sandwiches, and we haven't had any company for eight months, and none coming anytime soon. Get a nice bed of coals using wood, feed small splits and control your heat, you should be fine, that's why they're called stick burners. RAY
 

tx smoker

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Exactly what Ray said. He's got you dialed in with some really good info. Heck, i'd never think of using charcoal in my smoker. A valid question on your part though.

Robert
 

COandSlow

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Thanks Ray and Robert,

I think you're right. I have a pile of perfectly seasoned oak splits ready for the job. I put a propane burner in the firebox, I'll get a steady coal bed going before I start smoking. Worst case scenario the wife and I force down some over smoked or dry turkey. No crowd this year for the same reason as you.
 

tx smoker

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Worst case scenario the wife and I force down some over smoked or dry turkey.
Just pay attention to the IT of the turkey and you can't lose. I seriously doubt you'll have dried out or over cooked bird. The reason: because you're aware of what you're getting into and will pay very close attention. That removes a lot of the possibility for mistakes.

Robert
 

COandSlow

Newbie
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Joined Nov 24, 2020
Hey Guys, thanks again for the help. The turkey turned out perfect, better than past years on the WSM which we liked a lot. I used 100% Colorado Oak, the smoke flavor was way more refined than using wood chunks on charcoal.

I do have a question about controlling temps with all wood. Is it typical on offsets for the temperatures to fluctuate a lot between splits? I know it's not set-it-and-forget-it and you can't expect the +-5 degrees like you can get on a WSM with a fan controller. I did a butt on Friday and tried to control air flow with just the door. That said, each time I put on a split or two the temp would increase 30-40 degrees or so and would start dropping gradually over the next 30 minutes to where I would need another split, maybe a total delta of 60-80 degrees some points in the smoke. I've read that some people hold pretty steady temps between splits and it only start dropping once they need a fresh piece of wood. I was preheating splits. It was also 30-40f out and a little breezy so that might have played a part. Butt turned out great, hard to mess those up.

I ask because I made the offset myself and don't have a reference point for a reasonable expectation. The CC is 24" around by 52" long with a semi-insulated FB (22"x 24") and a franklin-esque smoke collector at grate level, all 1/4" steel. All dimensions are within reason of Feldon's equation with the exception of the SS being 6" longer than calculated. I can get it to hold +-10f with with the fireboard and pit viper but I would like to learn to better control it manually.

Also, the grate level temp is 50 deg lower than about 4" above the grate but I think this is pretty normal. My left-right temp difference is about the same, I don't have my baffle plate cut yet.

20201126_095747.jpg
 

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