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Old 04-06-2010, 11:00 PM   #1
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Join Date: 03-26-10
Location: Bloomington, MN
Default UDS Newb questions (Yes, I read the UDS thread!)

Couple of thoughts from my first UDS build:

First off, I am new to this site (love it!) and you'll have to cut me a little slack if these questions have been addressed. Believe me: I have waded through the UDS thread, the IDS photo gallery, and Norco's Redneck UDS build for hours. I have learned alot, but have yet to stumble across much having to do with a few things.

1) The Hole Saw controversy: I know that a Unibit can be the cat's meow and usually don't have a problem investing in tools, but at $40 for each bit it's a bit tough to swallow. I'm not talking the Harbor Freight cheapos, but an Irwin or equivalent. The Irwin's only offer (1) bit that gets to 1" (actually 1 1/8"), and it's close to $60, whereas the others only get to 7/8". I used a $7 1" Morse Hole saw (the red ones) for the 3 holes I needed, and all it took was tapping a dent at each location with a punch, pre-drilling the 1/4" hole with just the bit, and coming in after on all three locations with the hole saw. Take your time, keep the RPM's down, and give it a shot of WD40 or equivalent while you are drilling. It cut fine and clean and CHEAP. Score another one for a cheapskate.

2) Weber lid vent holes: I know that the standard Weber 22 1/2" lid comes with the 4-hole vent, and the holes are at least 3/4" diameter. The consensus here is to have either 8 1/2" holes on a flat lid, or use the 2" bung hole. I did some quick math and found that the 8 holes are close to 1.6 square inches of vent area. I was suprised to find that you get the same vent area from 4) 3/4" holes, 2) 1" holes, or 1) 1.5" hole. That means the standard 2" bung hole is more than adequate for what is deemed an acceptable amount of vent area in a flat lid, but limits on the dispersion of smoke to one location. With a Weber lid, all 4 holes are close together, but give plenty of ventilation. So is there any need to add anymore vent area to the Weber lid as I've seen in a few other builds?

3) UDS as a UDG, too?: Anyone use their UDS as a grill by raising their fire basket up to right below the top grate? I've seen one build that did that, but there weren't any results given. I'd think that a wider and flatter (18" diameter by 6" high maybe?) fire basket would allow for most all of a 22" grill rack to be used. It seems that a taller but narrower basket is the norm for a smoker, but a ring could be made and set inside for smoking if that is the desire (which it definitely is!). Also, could you get the heat temp up without adding more vent holes below? I'm starting with the 3) 3/4" nipples, but am anxious to see if that will allow enough airflow for getting a good grill temp. If not, I'd probably double it to 6) nipples and just have caps for them when not in use.

4) Barrel type: The barrels I obtained (free) had a citrus-based biodegradeable asphalt emuslifier (stops it from sticking to stuff you don't want it to stick to) in them, that seems to rinse off pretty well. The first one is opened and has been rinsed through. There isn't an epoxy liner, and a braided cup brush seems to take the residue and surface rust off pretty well. Do you think they should have a good ol' burn anyway? The reason I ask is that I am in a very residential area and a big time burn is going to be frowned upon big-time.

Final thought: I know I'm a newb and that a lot of people say to KISS KISS KISS when making their first smoker. I am staying very close to the tried and true design that is very popular here, and I just want to try to get it as close to right the first time. I appreciate any and all thoughts on these, and look forward to reading them.

Thanks in advance!
Bad decisions make for good stories!
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