A few weeks ago I just finished building a UDS after reading approximately 1 ba-zillion articles and posts (including the entire 'big' thread). I've done approximately 7 or so cooks and test burns on it to try to get a feel for it, but I still haven't achieved what I would like to think of as "UDS Zen." To me, my vision of UDS Zen would look something like this: I do anything other than stare at the thermometer for a period of approximately 30 mins and when I come back, the temperature is somewhat the same as when I left. OK, so maybe I'm exaggerating a little bit, but I've been cooking on a Silver Smoker with a few of the typical mods for a number of years, and have grown quite used to nearly constant fiddling and monitoring. I expect that. I expected to be able to control my UDS temps better than I have. I've still been able to turn out a few tasty things in the process:
Some More Ribs.
Oh yeah, and here's the UDS:
So I've gotten a few theories as to why my temps are so out of control and feel free to offer any feedback, or not, as I know these very questions have been addressed in the past. I guess I'm just looking for some clairvoyant UDS insight:
1. Wind- It's windy here in Charleston. Perhaps adding a chimney would help with the ups and downs?
2. Patience- Some people have suggested that it takes a while for the temps to "settle in." I'm not sure how long I'll need to keep messin' with it, but I don't seem to be recognizing any patterns yet. I have 3 1" pipe nipples for intakes, 2 with caps, 1 with a ball valve. I have been adjusting them in the typical fashion (capping and adjusting with valve), but it seems to only wnat to climb or fall no matter what I set it on. Maybe I'm just not being patient enough for the temps to stabilize, I've waited up to an hour between adjustments.
3. Leaks- I don't think this is a big issue, but it could be. I'm able to shut the thing completely down if I close off the air intakes and the damper, so I don't think it leaks too much. Only faint wisps of smoke come from around the rim (the lid fits pretty durn well).
4. Ashes- I built my basket out of expando and a weber charcoal grate from an 18 incher. Standard stuff. It's 3 inches off the bottom of the drum. I've been simply lighting about 1/4 of a chimney of kingsford blue and putting them in the center of the basket filled about 1/2 way... Not using the coffee can method, perhaps this may help?
So I wasn't planning on writing a novella for my first "real" post to the forums, but I guess y'all seem like a nice enough crowd, I'm frustrated and full of chicken, so why not?