Originally Posted by va_connoisseur
I am looking to construct my first UDS and have a few novice builder questions...
1. What method do you all find to be the most accurate at taking at the grate temps? I have heard of the probe in the potato trick but are there others.
2. I have seen a couple of design for the UDS but none seem to have legs, does the bottom of the barrel not char the ground? (yeah, real novice questions but I am a Brinkmann Vertical Smoker guy, and that things has legs)
3. Due to the rigid/airtight confines, these rigs hold the temps real well and for hours, however I have noticed most people cook with standard charcoal and not lumps or wood chunks. Is it because the latter burns too hot and/or fast?
And I have read the several hundred posts on this forum and a couple of other and did not see the answers to these questions. Thanks in advance for your help. And once the barrel arrives, there will be "construction porn".
Hmmm, new term, maybe I should coin it. LOL
1. I use two things, a Maverick ET73 and I have a 12" Tru Tell thermometer that reaches the center of the drum and slides in just below my lower grate. No pics right now some camera issues this morning. The pics attached are older ones.
2. I built mine a bit differently. I cut the bottom out and set the drum on a stand. I did not want to reach into the drum for cleaning out the ashes so now I just lift the drum over the charcoal basket and the cleanup is easy to get to. The legs are 8" and I am thinking about changing them to 6", They just screw into the flanges welded to the bottom of the stand so will be easy to change out. So my design did involve some welding and I don't have a welder so I paid to get this done. But I like the design and how it works.
3. The only trouble I have is occasionally I have to much intake and I have trouble keeping the temps down. I adjust the amount of exhaust and that helps me out. I use strictly briquettes with 4 or 5 wood chunks or wine barrel pieces for the smoke and I get plenty. The thing I would worry about using only wood is keeping the temps down in such a small area. But I have never had a wood burner so I am not sure on this subject.
The drum on the right is my UDG (ugly drum grill) in case your wondering.
I don't think mine is as consistant tempwise as those with airtight bottoms but I like mine and will try another build this winter and I cannot say for sure knowing myself, but it will probably be a KISS UDS this time.