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Old 11-23-2012, 08:15 AM   #1
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Join Date: 11-24-11
Location: Middletown, PA
Default Thanksgiving experience

This was the first Thanksgiving I decided to smoke a Turkey. We did one in the oven also, but, I figured I would try doing one in my UDS.

I brined my turkey with Wampus's method and got the UDS up to temp. The turkey was a small one 9.5lbs or so. I used a lot of herb compound butter under the skin and on top. I put the turkey on the top shelf and I put a roater under neath of it to catch the drippings.
I tried to keep my temps around 230 or so, but it kept dropping. I ended up opening all the lower air intakes the last 45 minutes or so. The temps soared to around 350 and...it worked out. My skin was nice and crisp and the turkey was juicy.
The gravy I made with the drippings was AWESOME! As a matter of fact, there is very little smoked turkey left, but a lot of the regular turkey left. (They were both very moist).

Back to the UDS temp issues. Does anyone else have issues like this? This is the second time this has happened to me, with temps not stabilizing and maintaining 230-250.

I made my UDS using the plans on this site. It is a standard 55 gal drum, 3- 3/4" air intakes 2" from bottom two plugged, one with a ball valve, & 2" raised expanded steel charcoal basket.
I used Kingsford Blue with a couple of cherry logs on top.
I used the minion method.It stayed at temp for the first 45 minutes after I put the bird in, after that it was all over the place.
I have a craptastic weekend warrior thermometer a Taylor probe thermometer and I hooked up my Fluke multimeter thermometer, they were all within 6 degrees of each other.
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Old 11-23-2012, 09:37 AM   #2
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how was the weather? did the wind pick up after the first 45 mins? I had some issues keeping temp on my WSM on Tuesday because of the wind
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Old 11-23-2012, 12:35 PM   #3
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The two cherry logs you put on top catch my eye. How long did your fire burn before you put your bird on? Please elaborate.
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Old 11-23-2012, 08:16 PM   #4
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To answer the questions:
It was around 55 degrees when I started the fire. It was a little windy, but nothing outrageous (I am in Pennsylvania and it is November!...LOL)
The cherry logs were actually 2 quarters of a 5" log about 12" long, and very dry. I put them on to burn down a little so I would get "blue smoke" and not heavy smoke- I put them on while it was getting up to heat.

A similar issue happened in August, and it was in the 90's. The temp stays up when I leave more than just the ball valve open. Maybe I have the air vents too high off the bottom? IDK...
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Old 11-23-2012, 10:29 PM   #5
El Ropo
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In my UDS experience, KF Blue loves to cruise at 225-240 no matter what the vents are set to. It simply doesn't do high temps very well. Lump will maintain higher temps a lot easier.

I gotta ask, why would you want to cook poultry at such a low temp anyways? Ignoring the rubber skin result, poultry always turns out juicier and more moist cooking at temps of 325-375 for me.

When you put a huge mass of cold meat in the cooker, the temp will drop a bit anyways. Most folks will get their cooker stable at a slightly higher than desired temp before dropping the meat in to allow for that mass of cold meat.
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Old 11-23-2012, 11:49 PM   #6
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Location: Culver City, CA

Can't speak to your temp issues, but I will say I prefer to cook poultry well above 300. Seems to get a better result for me.
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Old 11-24-2012, 05:37 AM   #7
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As for cooking poultry low, in the past it worked o.k. for me. I wanted to get it above 300, it wouldn't do it in my UDS until I opened all the vents.
I had a pleasant surprise when I did get it hot though. crispy skin and meat that was not all dried out. Maybe I used the wrong tool for the job?
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Old 11-24-2012, 08:43 AM   #8
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Join Date: 02-19-12
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I have a similar prob with my UDS. Cooked our turkey on it at 300-325 and held temp great. If I try to cook 225-250 it's all over the place. One "tool" I use that seems to help is a WD40 cap with a 1/8 inch hole drilled in it, I put this on one vent and open the valve. Works some times. Wish there was a better answer than going to a temp controller.
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