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-   -   Used UDS 2 times. Can't figure it out. (https://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/showthread.php?t=152704)

SmokeGut 01-30-2013 07:44 AM

Used UDS 2 times. Can't figure it out.
 
I used it once to make a brisket and once to make ribs. They came out pretty good. The issue is I put the coals in a chimineer and get them hot then put them on top of unhot coals, put the basket it. I can't for the life of me get the temp to be steady. I open the vents, close the vents open one close one. It gets to where I want them slowly goes too hot, then i close one and it goes too low the temp. How the heck do I get this thing to be more steady? I had to sit out there for 4 hours making ribs non-stop opening and closing vents! :crazy:

Garrett 01-30-2013 07:55 AM

It takes several cooks and practice if you are trying to reach a certain temp, best thing to do is to find its sweet spot/where it likes to run and hang out. Be patient and catch the temp you trying reach on the way up. Once you make an adjustment wait until you see it settling out then make a other adjustment if you need to. Me and a friend built 2 UDS's side by side same design same everything. They will run for about 14 hrs at different temps. Just don't give up. It also could be the amount of hot coals you start with, try starting with 12 to 15 hot coals first. Everybody has a different amount they start out with. Keep trying you will figure it out.

Ron_L 01-30-2013 07:57 AM

It's possible that you were chasing the temperature by changing the vents too often, too. Make small changes and give them time to take effect before making another change.

Pole D 01-30-2013 08:08 AM

This may sound like a simple thing and I in no way mean to offend you but do you have a ball valve on your uds?

You only say that you spent time opening and closing vents. That leads me to think you are going either wide open or completely capped off. If that's the case then you need to install a balve valve so you can make small adjustments or heck just use magnets over the vents to partially close them.

Swamp Donkeyz BBQ 01-30-2013 08:08 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ron_L (Post 2347477)
It's possible that you were chasing the temperature by changing the vents too often, too. Make small changes and give them time to take effect before making another change.

+1. Make small changes in the intakes. Wait for the temp to settle in and then adjust again if necessary. Sometimes mine will settle out then drop a few degrees and then go right back to the temp I wanted. Not sure why, but that's what it wants to do. Once it drops and comes back up it will usually hang right there for hours on end with only 3-5 degree variances. Can't ask for much better than that.

SmokeGut 01-30-2013 08:14 AM

I have 4 ball valves on the bottom, one on each side. And a vent on top with a magnet on it.

Maybe im not starting the coals right? I guess I gotta just keep playing with it.

Pole D 01-30-2013 08:18 AM

OK, so I was way off with what I read! lol

Only start 7-8 pieces in the chimney and start off with 1 valve all the way open and the other 3 closed.

Pappy 01-30-2013 08:29 AM

Vent on top should be open all the way. Either weber lid or bung hole. Then only use 1 ball valve to adjust the air coming in. The othere 3 valves are mostly for bring the UDS up to temp. Then close them and only use the one valve.

I added a clay pot diffusser to my UDS. That seemed to help me with the see-saw temp changes.

jrn 01-30-2013 08:29 AM

You might wanna load it with fuel and do a dry run without food. Might find it a little less stressful.

Also briquettes will burn at a slightly more steady temp than lump. 10-15 lit is plenty. Personally I use only lump. I like the taste it imparts in the food better.

It sounds like your chasing temps, as others have stated. I like to allow at least 20 mins between intake adjustments. This gives your uds time to settle in to its latest adjustment. :)

jrn 01-30-2013 08:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Pole D (Post 2347510)
OK, so I was way off with what I read! lol

Only start 7-8 pieces in the chimney and start off with 1 valve all the way open and the other 3 closed.

I like to open all intake vents initially. Then start closing them down as you approach your target temp.

Pole D 01-30-2013 08:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jrn (Post 2347531)
I like to open all intake vents initially. Then start closing them down as you approach your target temp.

No doubt that's an option. Just with what he described I thought he may be doing that already and shooting past his target temp and then having to adjust. That might be when he gets into the loop of closing and opening.

Just thought for a practice run he can work his way up to target temp slowly with one valve.

jrn 01-30-2013 08:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Pole D (Post 2347542)
No doubt that's an option. Just with what he described I thought he may be doing that already and shooting past his target temp and then having to adjust. That might be when he gets into the loop of closing and opening.

Just thought for a practice run he can work his way up to target temp slowly with one valve.

Ah! Gotcha! Good advice. :)

Royalslover 01-30-2013 08:44 AM

I'm still a newbie with the uds but I've built two. Every smoke I've done has been fairly standard. I open one ball valve, the exhaust, and put 12 grey briquettes on top of the charcoal. Within hour or so I'm good to go at 225-300. Mine holds really good until I get a lot of drippings on the fire and I have to adjust down a little. Sometimes you have to give it a kick to loosen the ash. One thing to watch out for is air leakage around the top, I had to tie a wood stove rope around the top of mine where the lid meets the barrel.

BB-Kuhn 01-30-2013 09:00 AM

I'd also try to work with one variable at a time - a lot of UDS smokers have only one ball valve - if you're "spinning plates" with four, you have four variables. You'll never know what did what.

I'd close 3 of the 4. Leave the other one wide open. Start with a set number of lit coals (12-20 i'd guess). Watch it come up to temp and if it does, then start adjusting the one valve to catch it. If it doesn't come to temp in 45 min (or it looks like it's hanging way to low), open ONE more of the valves and try to let it climb.

Rinse, repeat. If you catch it with 2, you don't need three, and so on... I'd doubt you'll need all 4 if you give it time to slowly climb. It is a lot easier to gradually bring up temp than to get a too-hot fire to cool down.

Also, i'd wager that you may not want to cook something during this trial run I am describing. Maybe some sausages or something not too expensive like brisket or ribs.

HankB 01-30-2013 09:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jrn (Post 2347524)
You might wanna load it with fuel and do a dry run without food. Might find it a little less stressful. ...

Harder to control an empty cooker and IMO a waste of charcoal and time. For the things we cook, holding an exact temperature is rarely critical.

Others have made good suggestions and I will only add that you should also keep the lid on. Each time you open that up, you admit fresh air that will affect the fire. Likewise if the cooker is in a breezy location, that could make temperature control more difficult.

As others have said, be patient with your changes and don't worry, better temperature control will come with practice.


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