I got my UDS built and did a seasoning burn and noticed that the fire only lasted about 4 hours (I had about 6-7 lbs of charcoal) and with my vents all wide open, it never really got above 225, which is perfect for my smoking. I am trying to use the ash pan out of an old brinkmann smoker. I drilled holes around the sides to get it to draft.
I did my second cook tonight and used 2.5 in bolts to raise the pan off of the bottom of the barrel and added a few more vent holes in it to help it out. I was able to cook at around 210 for 5.5-6 hours tonight before the temps started to drop. I took my chicken off to finish it in the oven and then shook the pan and the coals all started right back burning. Does anyone have experience with this type of fire pan? It looks like the ash may be snuffing out the fire. It may be best for me to switch to a fire pan with a grill grate for the bottom and the expanded metal for sides???? I like the smoker not getting over 220 or so, but I need it to be able to go for longer. Thanks for the help.