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Unread 06-05-2012, 07:41 AM   #9559
Knows what a fatty is.
Join Date: 11-26-10
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Originally Posted by TurboDog View Post
1. My UDS has extreme hot and cold spots , varying as much as 50 degrees over different points on my grates , my charcoal basket is wide and low and I tend to spread my lit coals around on top of my unlit coals. So my question is , will a diffuser of some sort help with this , and will it create any "new" issues od it's own if I did use one.
Something to diffuse will help dramatically, but you should think about it a little. For quick fix you can put a rack down low and put foil on it and punch holes in it; you still want that meaty goodness to drip down into the fire. But I got some angle iron (or angle aluminum) that were about 1.5 inches on either edge, so that it essentially makes a larger "A" when laying it down on the grate. Have to cut them, but lay them down on that low grate, leaving some space in between. This let's the meaty goodness drip down, but also captures most of that heat and requires it to come out the sides or through the metal itself. Iron works great because it'll stabilize and radiate a lot of heat, but the aluminum will work also and is much lighter.

Originally Posted by TurboDog View Post
2. I sprayed down the inside of my drum with PAM before my first cook , and have cooked several fatties , so for the most part the inside of the drum is pretty greasy , but it's still starting to rust on certain spots , is there a need to "re-season" every once in a while , or is this normal?
Are you leaving it out in the rain? I have never seen rust on the inside unless water got in there. But after you smoke with it a few times the inside will be so nasty with smokey goodness, no bare part of the smoker will be visible. Technically to remove rust and prevent it from spreading you have to scrape it off. But even if you don't it ought to last 2-4 years I'd think. I don't see a reason why either of mine won't still be in use 6 years from now. One of them is almost 2 years old. Actually, CLEANING the UDS is in order occasionally. I had to clean out my older one because it was really starting to get nasty.. and the smell wasn't quite so good.. a bit too much creosote.

Originally Posted by TurboDog View Post
3. I need suggestions for a thermometer , I started out with one of those turkey fry thermometers , it lasted about 3 cooks. Lately I have been using my digital probe through a block of wood sitting on one of the grates but would prefer a side mounted solution. What would be a good thermometer to use? I don't mind paying a little more for a good one , or two.
Like many others, I got a turkey fryer one, but I got mine from Home Depot and it cost $15 I think. I've had it for some 18 months and it's totally fine. Got wet, got cold, still works. I also use Maverick remote for more accurate readings and to measure food temp. Not that a place like Home Depot is without problems, but I definitely don't care for buying someone else's garbage at WMart just to buy it again 6 months later so they can prevent local businesses from surviving.

Originally Posted by TurboDog View Post
4. Where should I be reading temps at? between my two grates? Or should I have one just below each grate? I find that if I get my digital too close to the meat it messes with the reading , so I'd appreciate some suggestions here.
It should be like 2 inches away from the meat, because indeed the temp of the meat will radiate and get picked up by the thermometer. It should be under the meat, but next to it is OK too. Don't put your meat too close to the top because the very top of the smoker will lose a lot of heat. You should have the top of the food sit like maybe 3 inches under the lid.
Remember about the diffusing; if you use something like the angle iron to push the heat along the sides of the barrel, the sides will have more heat than without so the heat will not escape as easily through the metal walls exposed to the outside.
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