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CErnst 09-24-2013 02:55 PM

Learning a UDS, can't get my temps up
I've inherited a UDS from a friend who's team member had to move across the country for a job. They used a bunch of these in competitions, and supposedly won a competition or two with this I'm assuming I'm not using it right! :-D

I have bear paws for hands and I put about two double-handed grabs of charcoal briquettes (Kingsford) in the basket. End pile is about 5-6" high and maybe 8" wide. I start it with fluid (I know, I know...but I can't taste it) and put it in the barrel to warm everything up. There are three 1" holes, two are threaded/capped and the third is a ball valve....I open all of them and let the coals get white. I'll throw my wood on the coals (mulberry and cherry), meat goes on top grill, and I put the lid on. The barrel had a threaded hole, maybe 3" or so that they fashioned a electrical box cover to regulate the exiting smoke. The gauge is on the lid a few inches from the hole in the lid.

Leaving it like that, it'll last about 2-3 hours and will only get up to 220-230. The last time I played with it, I got it up to 260 by cracking the lid a 1/2". Talking to my friend, he keeps giving me funny looks when I tell him my temp woes...saying they all have multiple barrels and never had this problem. My last attempt, I smoked a 2lb boston butt for 4 hours with temps fluctuating between 210 and 260...mostly around 220. I had to finish in the oven. :frusty:

So I'm left wondering if I'm not using enough charcoal. If I'm not using the right charcoal. Or if I need to add more intakes and another exit. I'm going to have another round of boston butt this weekend with my parents and would like to get closer to solving my problem.

HAndyman 09-24-2013 03:09 PM

I am not finished with my UDS yet, but I have read that huge 11 million post thread, and IMO you need to fill the charcoal basket and light 8-15 bricketts from the top and replace when fully lit. Also KBB creates a lot of ash and you need to "kick the can" once in a while to let the ash drop to the bottom. hope this helps.

boaz65 09-24-2013 03:12 PM

I have 3 intakes on my UDS also; 2 are elbowed with an 18 in vertical pipe and each have ball valves at the top. I usually keep the 3rd one uncapped and throttle my temps with the ball valves. I have seen mine go as high as 330F when testing it out. I usually fill my basket with lump and use briquettes from the chimney to start it up. I've maintained temps of 225-260 for maybe 16-20 hrs tops. I think I would try more fuel in your basket first...

SmittyJonz 09-24-2013 03:14 PM

More air and more charcoAl burning = more temp -- mine spiked to 400*'last Sunday mid cook when I had lid off to wrap meat and took an hour to bring back down to 300*

I'm kinda dumb so I'll need pics of ur setup -- charcoal basket loaded n all - to make any usefull suggestions.....

Get ur buddy over there to help ........?

Fwismoker 09-24-2013 03:14 PM

You'll hear a thousand different answers but it comes down to AIR....Top vent stays open all the way and the intakes need open all the way for the most heat. I'm a fan for more intakes than less because you can always close what you don't need.

I'd have a total of at least 4 "'s of intake for super high heat cooks of poultry.

pitbossJB 09-24-2013 03:21 PM

I think that you are lighting too much of not enough charcoal. Lose the fluid and get some lump and fill up your basket.

CErnst 09-24-2013 03:31 PM

I'll get better pics later. As of now, there are just a pic of the smoker and one of my first run with bulk sausage (fatties?). The sausage one, you can kinda see how much coals I have in there. More photos to come.

jimmyinsd 09-24-2013 03:55 PM

fill that basket 3/4 full of unlit charcoal, get yourself a chimney starter and get about 1/4 of that going and then dump it on top of the unlit stuff. give it about 1/2 hour to settle in where ever you need it to be by adjusting as the temp rises. i usually start with all 3 open and close them down depending on how fast the temp rises, but mine with 3-3/4 openings is usually about 1 to 1.5 open for 260.

Jayblefty 09-24-2013 04:26 PM

Sounds like you just need to fill the charcoal basket with UNLIT coals then dump 15-20 piping hot coals on top, throw the basket in the drum and let it run with all vents open and the lid on till you get close to your desired cooking temp. If you are just placing charcoal in the basket, hosing it down with fluid and getting it all burning at once thats going to be your problem.

SmittyJonz 09-24-2013 04:46 PM

Watch Nates video.......somebody post the link

SmittyJonz 09-24-2013 04:48 PM

Bludawg 09-24-2013 05:41 PM

Fill the basket with un lit coals and 4-5 man fist sized chunks of wood light up 10-12 For L&S or 25 -40 for H&F drop the Hot on the Not and let it sit for 15 min with the intakes open and the lid off. Put the lid on exhaust wide open and close 1 nipple drop the valve to 1/2 and let it settle out for 30 min that should get you close to 250 ish adj the valve to dial it in. remember a UDS with no diffuser will be 50 Deg hotter in the middle than it is on the outside edge where your thermo is located( I split the difference). you should be able to get at least 14 hrs min on a load of charcoal depending on the size of the basket

borzwazie 09-24-2013 06:31 PM

don't worry about filling the basket - when you shut all the vents, the fire will die and you can re-use the remaining charcoal, no problem. fill that sucker!

CErnst 09-24-2013 10:51 PM

all right guys, I think I get the point... more charcoal it is. I am a stingy, penny pinching SOB...but I'll work on filling that basket. I'll start at 3/4, smother when done, refill back to 3/4 next go around. I doubt I'll go lump any time soon, but one day. I've got a while to play.

Every time I mess with charcoal and anyone gives advice (for a weber type), they always say wait till all the charcoal is white. No one ever explained why, so I assumed there were some less than desirable flavors on un-whitened charcoal.

I really appreciate the help guys. I'm sure this has been a topic asked a few times a month since we crawled out of the caves.

nrm 09-24-2013 11:34 PM

Bludawg nailed it and N8s tutorial covers the basics. Thanks to both!

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