I have to be honest with all of you... I have not read the thread entirely. Yet. I am stuck on page 240 or something. But that has not stopped me from building my own UDS. With my own personal twist, naturally. ;-)
I was looking at the parts list and then ran into a 2" ball valve. It came with three pieces of stainless pipe. One straight piece with thread on both ends, a 90 degree bend with thread on both ends and one with a flat edge that was probably used to clamp it to something. So I got them pulled apart and cleaned them up. As luck had it, the bend fit the bung exactly. So the start for the drum was there one dark evening.
I scored a charcoal basket based on a washing machine drum through a guy on the Dutch BBQ forum. And a cheap 21.5" grill gave up its charcoal grate and grilling grate for the UDS.
Yep, those bolts are still a bit long, but they make sure the grate cannot slide in. I will be cutting some 'fingers' to bolt to those bolts that stick up into the grate and grab it. That way it can never fall in and I can cut back the bolts a bit for some more room.
I also scored an iGrill from someone who got one as a present and didn't know what to do with it. I paid less for it than most of you do for the cheap outside thermometers, so I decided not to fit one and just go with the iGrill instead.
Obviously the probes need to go in without much trouble and without creating air leaks. Luckily I had a piece of aluminium that used to be the base of a lamp we had. So I knocked it into shape and fitted it to the drum. It took a bit of thinking to get the air seals sorted, but in the end I settled on a piece of a silicon oven liner. I couldn't find the right color, but this is close enough. ;-)
I tried to get the top of the 12.5" grill to fit. It took a lot of bashing, but it sits on there nicely. Not sure if I am going to use it at all as I hope to find another 22.5" bbq sometime soon to supply a second grate and a nicer lid. But if I need to use it, I have it. And it was a good hour spent bashing something. ;-)
Then I still needed a chimney. So, in the spirit of things I did not go out and buy one, but I knocked (literally) one together from two kitchen aid holders with a piece of threaded steal. Cost me next to nothing, but looks nice enough.
So, lit the thing yesterday and the chimney works.
Oh, and the UDS does as well. As I was struggling with the iGrill, I was not able to catch the temp on the way up. And I have learnt that the temp rises quickly with the full 2" open. After that it took me a while to get it back to around 225F. But it worked and it was stable. I just used some charcoal for the initial burn and it did not even cover the full bottom of the basket. Oh well, next is 20 pounds of coconut based briquettes and some apple wood. I have a pork butt in the fridge and I hope to be putting that on on Monday. Would do earlier, but it is just a very busy weekend... ;-)
The only thing I need to think about is the moisture that is left in the UDS after switching it off. I don't think it is there much when the UDS is burning, but after I switched it off it was about 30F outside and then rained for a bit. When I opened it this morning it had water standing on the bottom of the drum. Oh well... Any thoughts?