Now you've gone and done it. Gonna make me put away my new toy I got for my birthday. I received a Char Griller Duo this spring to replace an old old gas grill that I could no longer get parts for. It had a SFB, so we tried using it since it was there anyway. WOW!! Had never given it a thought until then. My first couple smokes hooked me HARD!! It's a whole new taste sensation for our family. BBQ with the flavor in the meat istead of having to drown stuff in sauce. I'm having trouble holding temps in the CG, and I'm tired of babysitting it, I started researching solutions. I kept running across references on different sites to these UDS things...
You've got me convinced that this is the way to go for "set it and forget it" smoking. At least in comparison to the messing about I'm having to do with the CG. The CG will stay for direct cooks and maybe more playing with it trying to get it to hold a temp properly. The build quality on it is horrendous. Chineze standards all the way through.
I've been trying to find a near-freebie barrel the last few weeks, to no avail. I know I've seen them in the past out behind automotive shops and in the industrial sections of town. I've been up and down alleys all over town trying to find one. Steel drums don't seem to be a dime-a-dozen like they used to be (too many places switching to plastic drums). I did some calling around today and found a couple used drums for 15 bucks--the UN-rated heavy metal units. Supposed to be good and sound, just not pretty.
I was wanting to do this as cheap as possible, but it looks like I'm going to have to buy the grates. I figure magnets to cover the intakes--there's a gazillion on the fridge. I can probably scrounge some expanded metal at the in-laws next weekend for the firebox. Or I can use the one I made for the CG. Is 12 X 12 X6 big enough to do me any good in a UDS? I can add bolts to the bottom to raise it up.
One thing I have not seen come up on this thread (and yes, I've read it all) is directing the air flow through the firebox. On the SFB, I concocted a baffle that blocked air from going around the charcoal basket. This would seem like a good idea on a UDS, but nobody has mentioned it. I'm thinking fold-down flaps on the charcaol box that would conform to the inside contour of the drum. After you put the firebox in place, you would just knock the flaps down, creating a barrier, forcing all air to go through the fire. It should allow you to create a hotter fire with less fuel. meaning that the charcoal should last even longer at the lower temps we smoke at. Or is the air flowing around the firebox needed to create that "convection" effect you guys mention frequently? It might also make it easier to clean the bottom out. You would be bringing the bottom up with you everytime you took the charcoal box out. Any thoughts? Seems logical to me, but what do I know? I'm new at this.
Thanks to all who have contributed to this thread. The info here is terrific. Even the info that isn't always in agreement. Most folks here seem to be pretty laid-back and not overly dogmatic that something has to be done "THIS way, and ONLY this way"
I'll post pics as I get into the build.