UDS Temp Issues
Long time lurker, first time poster. A few weeks ago, I was able to get an empty (unlined!) drum from a co worker and start my UDS build. Was able to complete within a day or so, and got to smoking the next day.
When I fired up the charcoal (I have a home-made chimney) and put it in the pan, I was having trouble getting the heat up to where I was aiming for 2 chickens. I created a windbreak and got the temp to settle in around 210 degrees, and went about my work. I let it chug along until the chickens reached 185 internal (just to be sure) and then sealed off the ports and let it choke out.
Given my successful run, I decided to try to smoke the thanksgiving turkey as well. The night before, I soaked some cherry wood chips, and started my chimney like I had previous times. All the coals were glowing orange when I put them in the center of my fire pit, and I went off to get the turkey prepped. When I got back, the drum had heated up to about 100. Getting worried, I set up a wind break, and let it ride for another 30 minutes, all 3 air vents open on the bottom. After this, the temp had gone up to about 125-150, and wasnt moving. I lit another chimney full of coals, stalled the rest of the family on the stuffing, etc and put more hot coals in a while later. Long story short, got it up to about 200 before I put the turkey in. I went to go get some whole chickens while the turkey was getting started (might as well, right?). When I got back from the store with the chickens, I was broken hearted to see that my smoker temp had plunged to ~90 degrees! I took the lid off pulled the fire pit, took it into the wind and it oranged up really quickly so I dropped it back in.
I figured that this would help, but after I let it ride on that for another 30 mins or so, I had to raise the white flag, and go to plan b and put the turkey in the oven. The chickens were still in the pit smoking away, and the temp didnt seem to change at all. After a while, I went out and cracked the lid (had been operating with my ~2" hole fully open) and within 15 min, the temp shot up to 325.
I obviously have an airflow issue of some kind, I'm just not sure where. My dad suggested that I put an exhaust pipe on the lid (right now it's just flat and covered with a piece of metal that slides), though I'm not sure that will work.
For reference, I've got 3 3/4" holes drilled about 2" off the bottom of the barrel for air intakes.
I thought that I was smart enough to do this on my own, but I'm not so I'd love some help!