Originally Posted by rameter
so I'm confused. how do you build a good burning fire in a UDS? this post states that you build a "small, hot-burning fire" not a smoldering one. how do you build a small fire in UDS, or how do you control temp w/o restricting airflow (smolder)?
That's an undertandable, and good question. First off, you shouldn't be restricting your fire in a UDS or WSM. Restricting it means backing down from where it has been, choking it off. In a UDS or WSM the fire should start from a few lit coals and slowly build to the level you want it to run and stay there. Not get big and then be restricted back. If you let that happen you will get very think nasty smoke.
As for a small clean burning fire in the UDS, or any other cooker using the Minion method, you "basically" do have a small clean burning fire that is spreading out at a constant rate through the rest of the fuel until it is all burned up. It is a constant refueling instead of refueling every so often with an offset. Now, notice I said "basically", and consider that for UDS and WSM cookers, you will notice that you use far less wood, just a few chunks in the charcoal ring otherwise your food will taste too smokey. This is because it is constantly speading and igniting new fuel, basically taking the period of slightly heavier smoke after refueling an offset and extending it throughout the whole cook. This is why less wood is used. It is not as clean of a burn, but then most food items can't be cooked in the amount of time between refueling in an offset that does not use the Minion method, so the end result is really no different as both ways put some slightly dirtier ignition smoke out.
There are only two ways I can think of off the top of my head to completely avoid any slightly thicker refueling smoke, and that is to...
1) Refuel only with pre-lit wood coals.
2) Cook over a good old fashioned pit of coals that will burn for many hours.
Neither of those methods involve having to ingite new fuel and bring it up to the cleanest burning temps. However, considering how good of results can be had by allowing some refueling smoke on your foods as proven from all of the products off of the other types of cookers out there, it may not be worth the extra effort for that minor of a gain. However, this does not mean you should allow more dirty smoke in your cooks, because then your food will start tasting worse and you will be consuming more bad stuff than you probably want.