i smoke chicken for less than the time required to fully cook, then finish in a "chinese oven"; a homemade job made from a 55 gallon drum, stove pipe, and a smaller 8 gallon drum. Like the old Trader Vic oven (or pizza oven). This deal gets up to 600 or 700 degrees (or higher), all INDIRECT!! Fire burns in 8 gallon drum, vents to big drum, with big clay flower pot in bottom to diffuse; all with wood. The skin gets crisp in minutes, leaving the smoked interior moist and incredible. We do this at our duck club and its awesome. The combination of smoke and intense indirect heat is the best you can imagine
yeah, i'll try this weekend, last hunt day of duck season.
It's not pretty; looks like something the Beverly Hillbillys brought on the back of their truck, but it works. And its cheap; if you can find free barrells (just burn them out first), then its really cheap. You can order barrels online too.
Here is basics; get a 55 gallon drum (food grade)with detachable lid and 8 gallon grease drum or something similar. Have someone weld 4 legs on the big drum, or something like that, to get off the ground about a foot (if you weld pipe on it, with a smaller pipe going through legs, then you can adjust hight with a wing nut); drill (4) 1/2" holes in bottom; then you will want to drill some holes in sides to accomodate 4 rods you will slide through it; one to hold a grate about 1/3 the way from bottom (to catch anything that might fall; and two more that your chickens or ducks or whatever will hang from, a few inches from top of drum;
Then you will need about 3 feet of 5" stovepipe; cut a hole near bottom of big drum to accomodate one end; then a another hole in bottom (underneath) of 8 gallon drum (but it cut it next to edge of bottom so the heat is rising up the back of the 8 gallon drum and leads directly up to stovepipe leading to 55 gallon drum; put other end of stovepipe in that. You will want to weld two 8" legs on 8 gallon drum so they prop up the stovepipe end (picture the 8 gallon drum lying on its side with its bottom tilted up toward 55 gallon drum, with stovepipe connecting them together). Stovepipes are just fitted in, not welded or screwed, so you can take this baby down whenever you want and actually put all the pieces inside the big drum and store it in the corner of your lot or whatever.
You'll want to put this contraption on sand in a place where you can burn a fire in the 8 gallon drum, which feeds the intense heat into bigger drum.
Put large flower clay pot upside down in bottom of drum, put lower rods in, put a grate over that (that you had cut to fit inside drum); put two other rods in near top;
start a rippin' fire in 8 gallon drum and let it burn the new or old barrels out good; if a new 55 gallon drum, fill that up half way with wood or paper or whatever and burn that out too (be sure to put a screen on top);
after its "seasoned" and ready to cook; start a fire in 8 gallon drum and let coals develop, then continue to put one log on and let it burn as you cook. this is about high heat, not a lot of smoke (however, the chickens get the best of both wood fired taste and the most super crispy skin you are gonna love).
Cut chickens in half, season, marinate, inject, whatever (NO SUGAR RUBS, TOO HOT, IT WILL BURN); rig some S hooks from coat hangers and put through end of chicken with wish bone so they won't fall off; put in chinese oven and cook for 45 minutes, almost to the minute, just be sure to check after 40 so you don't burn. You cook with the barrel lid ON, but keep it cracked open with it venting toward back of barrel (away from stove pipe side) to get maximum draw. that's what this is about, draw and heat, just like a pizza oven.
Cook to 165 internal thigh temp (45 minutes usually always cuts it with half chicken). Wild or domestic ducks are incredible on this thing, since they get all the fat out of skin and leave it crispy like fried chicken, and NOT burned since there is no direct heat. However, cut time accordingly; just remember to cook to temperature, time is just a basic guide. Imagine being able to to bake a chicken at 650 or 700 degrees; crispy skin, cooks fast, moist meat.
I'll try to post some pictures too. Thanks for asking.
by the way, you can drill a hole in this thing and stick a thermometer in too if you want. Don't even think about putting in a Taylor probe or whatever though; it will probably melt it.
P.S. If you smoke your chickens first in CS, only smoke for a short time (not even close to being "cooked", then finish in this thing. You won't know what hit you.
By the way, some may think this is no different from an offset; wrong. rather than have the heat come in from one side and uneven heat, this rises from the bottom with everything hanging above. totally different results, and the draw is amazing. Best part is if one of the drums eventually burns out, just go get another. The key is that 3 feet of pipe and the smaller drum, with about the pipe angling at about 30 degrees into big drum. Just like a chimney.
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