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temptedfate 08-12-2013 03:00 PM

1st UDS.. temp troubles
Hi guys, I need your advice here. I built my first UDS last week and finally tested her out on the weekend and was somewhat less than enthusiastic bout the results.

My problem is that I can not get temp to stabalize. Filled basket full with lump and lit 1/2 small Weber chimney for 10 minutes until ashed and then dumped. Put lid on with big bung open and with all 3 valves open waited until temp hit 245 before capping of 2 and left ball valve open full. The temp kept climbing up and up until 295 so I shut ball valve down by 1/2 and within 5 -10 it seemed to have settled at 285. Went away for 1/2 hr and now at 250 then kept dropping, another 1/2 hr and now its at 220. Stopped there and tettered a few degrees then once again declined. When it hit 210 I opened ball just a little and within 10 minutes the climb started again. Once again hit 275 so I closed again and the fall happens. What did I do wrong can anyone help
I built it with 3-1.25" hole intakes( 2 have 1" pipe and cap screwed right in drum and the other has 1" ball valve) 2" from bottom. My exhaust is the standard 2 standard bung holes. My charcoal basket is 12" square 6" high and sits just over 2.5" from bottom.

Please help

DownHomeQue 08-12-2013 03:02 PM

Sounds like you closed down the intake to much... to soon.. each adjustment you make takes about an hour to see the effects.. sounds like you prematurely killed your fire..

jrn 08-12-2013 03:44 PM

You wanna starting pulling the intakes back some before you get to the target temp. Always allow at least 20-30 minutes between intake adjustments.

SmittyJonz 08-12-2013 03:45 PM

Yup and lump burns hotter they say........if I let temp get too high it's hard to get it back down without choking the fire off - try regular Kingsford and bring up temp slow and try to level it off without getting to high - My UDS takes me 30-45 minutes to get to a steady even temp then
Meat goes on and Temp drops a lil but if I leave it alone it usually recovers within 20-30 minutes then cruises pretty staedy unless wind/ weather changes

sincitydisciple01 08-12-2013 03:56 PM

Ditto what Smitty sez - try briquets on your next cook and move slowly. As others have said, it's easier to prop up the heat, than it is to back it down. DON'T GIVE UP! All drums are different and as a result, they react differently to tweaks to the vents. It may take a few cooks to figure it out, but once you do, you'll be an ace!

temptedfate 08-12-2013 04:01 PM

thanks for all answers,

So, I been reading the forums and my larger intakes and the fact that my intakes are @ 2" instead of 2.5, and my basket sits @ 2.5" instead of the 3.5-4" had nothing to do with it I just put the lid on too soon and closed the valve too much killed my fire. Then I should try a smaller fire to start and when temp its around 200( for a 225 steady) close valve about 1/4

SmokinJohn 08-12-2013 04:02 PM

Find n8man's thread on starting the basket.

Follow this to the letter at least 2-3 times, until you get the hang of it.

Sounds like you had too many things to tweak at one time. That will almost always spell disaster.

N8man 08-12-2013 04:12 PM

Iff'n I may, click on the link, down there below the signature....

ChuckS1 08-12-2013 05:32 PM

Just built mine a couple of weeks ago and have four cooks under my belt. I have a similar issue with chasing temps the first couple of hours. This is the first time I've heard of putting my Weber lid on too soon. Is there certain amount of time the lid should be off after first lighting it?

jrn 08-12-2013 05:47 PM

I go ahead and put my lid on. Then I wait 30-45 min for the smoke to settle down and start putting out that thin blue. You can use that time to dial in your temp to right where you want it.

SmittyJonz 08-12-2013 06:28 PM

also let the smoker settle in where it wants to (within reason)........mine likes 250ish so I smoke at if levels out close to ur target temp go with it
I'm not sure I've ever BBQ'd at 225.....

SmittyJonz 08-12-2013 07:06 PM


Originally Posted by temptedfate (Post 2586392)
thanks for all answers,

So, I been reading the forums and my larger intakes and the fact that my intakes are @ 2" instead of 2.5, and my basket sits @ 2.5" instead of the 3.5-4" had nothing to do with it...........

This could affect you on backside of longer cooks if ash builds up to bottom of basket but you can adjust that pretty easy later if it does.....

Nygfan2283 08-12-2013 07:41 PM

I had an issue with air leaks around my intakes when I built mine a few months ago. I went and welded every hole and bolt to mkae it as airtight as possible and since then it runs like a champ. I have also learned to have patience with adjusting and give it time to get its temp

pbj 08-12-2013 07:46 PM

My drum likes to settle in at around 275. I don't fight it.

wladrules 08-12-2013 08:00 PM

I like to let my drum warm up for 30 minutes after I dump 6 coals on my basket of unlit coals. I use briquettes, lump is tough to control to me. My basket sits 3.5 inches from bottom of the drum. My uds settles in at about 230-240. I cooked a brisket the other night for 17 hours and still have half a basket of briquettes left! I was shocked. I use magnets to cover intake holes.

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