Boy, do I have a story! One I certainly wouldn't be able to tell without having found this forum, that's for sure.
So I've never run a smoker before, the closest I've come is a kettle grill with the vents set to get it going as low as possible and some wood chips. This past week I built a UDS, and thought "Why not smoke a turkey for thanksgiving?" I started looking for recipes and methods, and eventually decided to do the "Apple Brine" method found on TWVB website and cherry wood. If you're keeping track, that makes this not only my first time running a "real" smoker, but also my first time using a UDS, *and*(thought I didn't mention it) my first time cooking a turkey.
How did it turn out? I'll let you see the pictures and decide for yourself, but at the table I got several "Best Turkey Ever"'s, and I even had a couple people standing on their chairs demanding "More turkey!" at the top of their lungs. Hey, 3-year-old lungs can be pretty loud when they want to be!
I just want to say thank you to everyone here, more than anything else. Thank you for the huge UDS thread with just about every question you could ever ask already answered. Thank you for taking the time to organize the roadmap thread which gathers together everyone's best methods for cooking this and that. Thank you for being willing to share and post every experience on this forum so that someone like me could come here and, with absolutely no experience, turn a 55 gallon drum and some parts from home depot(in one week, at that) into a great smoker that produced the best turkey I(and several other people at the table) ever had. Without you, all of you, it wouldn't have been possible(not in this time frame, and not on my first try), so once again:
The Turkey at 1hr or so:
The Turkey, just before carving:
You're still here? Great! I have a question for you; Have you used RO briquettes before? Was there a fair amount of ash? I found myself banging on the drum/charcoal basket a fair amount at about the 2hr mark, and I was thinking that this would be no good for a really long low/slow cook on a pork shoulder or something. On the other hand, my charcoal basket was only about 1/3rd to 1/2 full, so maybe that would make the ash problem worse as the charcoal burns down? Canadian Tire had RO briquettes on sale for a good price, so that's why I bought them.