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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, Equipment and just outdoor cookin' in general, hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures... but stay on topic. And watch for that hijacking.


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Unread 06-30-2010, 07:41 PM   #6271
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Originally Posted by AJP View Post
The ho was $3 at Wal-Mart. Can't think of what else I would use a shop-vac for.
Forget the ho, it blows. The Shop-vac sucks.
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Unread 06-30-2010, 10:26 PM   #6272
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*rubs eyes after reading 418 pages*

Greetings from Down Under ...

Such a wealth of information in this thread, that I am going to have to make a new smoker with quite a few ideas from this thread.

So set your clocks back to November last year, just after a heatwave of 110*F days in October ...

Initially I was going to make a horizontal grill, got me a food grade drum ($15AU) (had OJ concentrate in it), burnt the sucker. Outside paint came off ... inside ? Nope ... It's what you call a red-liner. So took a cup brush on an angle grinder, and set to work. About 6 hours later (of not really hard work, just awkward), got a nice clean drum. Cut it in half, get everything ready to weld, and the arc welder eats away at the drum. Don't have access to a tig or mig welder, so that idea became a bust.

Did some research quickly on drum smokers, and decided to go with it. Got me another drum (red liner), and said stuff it, not going to burn it. Just took the cup brush on the angle grinder again, and again, 6 hours later, I got a nice clean drum. Cleaned out the drum, made up my basket, which was made of expanded steel, about 12" wide, about 9", sits about 2-3" off the bottom, cut out my grills which was also expanded mesh, put in my bolts to hold the grills, threw in some coals and let it season (used olive oil). Painted the outside with high temp paint after it had cooled, and away I went.

It's been quite good being able to throw some meat on, and come back a few hours later to it being cooked. Wish I had seen this thread before I made the smoker though, I wouldn't have a few of the problems I had. My exhaust is a square cut in the lid about 4" x 4", which I quickly worked out was way too large, so its generally covered so its about 1" x 4". My intakes are 4 x ¾" holes that I cover with magnets (although I am going to have to get some new ones, these ones are starting to melt and get sticky). I find that with my exhaust as 1" x 4", and 1½ intakes open, i'm sitting on 300*F all the time when cooking. I put it down to possibly an air leak on the lid rim, but very rarely fluctuates. Rock solid.

Unfortunately here in Australia, buying a Weber grill isn't an option for me, not at $50AU just for the grill (a simple Weber Kettle is $200AU!! ). Alot of places I've looked also don't sell cheap kettle barbies either, but I still have a few places to look to try and find that domed lid and grill that I want.

I am thinking I'll have to make a new smoker with all the extra knowledge i've gained reading this thread. Until I put some plans in to action, here's a few images of some feed ...

Leg of Lamb ...









And some RIBS!











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Unread 07-01-2010, 03:43 AM   #6273
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Looks like you got it dialed in Moe. Bet your friends want one now.
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Unread 07-01-2010, 07:37 AM   #6274
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kwas68 View Post
My plan is to use open both sides of the drum. I will use a lid on the bottom and a Weber lid on the top. From reading through the thread, it seems like having both ends open will help with cleaning.
I have an ash pan attached to the bottom of my basket and that works great.

I also installed a standard 3/4" gate valve in the bottom of my drum. If I need to clean the inside, I just hit it with the hose and open up the valve to drain it. Easy peasy!



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Unread 07-01-2010, 07:43 AM   #6275
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Heh, not really, they just come round my place, for good food, and good booze.

I do have some questions though for the experts. More out of interest than anything ...

Kept reading that the grate should be 24" from the bottom of the basket ... why so ?

Also, kept reading that people's exhaust are too big here and there, and also found out the hard way aswell. Why should the exhaust be approximately the same size as intake ?
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Unread 07-01-2010, 12:28 PM   #6276
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Just a little less U........
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Unread 07-01-2010, 01:49 PM   #6277
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I have a question for those people that have UDS with flat lids and the 8 holes. When you are done with a cook, are you able to kill the fire by just shutting off the intake valve(s)? My concern here is a waste of fuel that is unburned durning the actual cook. Or, do you have another method to salvage any fuel that is left.
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Unread 07-01-2010, 02:13 PM   #6278
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colonel00 View Post
I have a question for those people that have UDS with flat lids and the 8 holes. When you are done with a cook, are you able to kill the fire by just shutting off the intake valve(s)? My concern here is a waste of fuel that is unburned durning the actual cook. Or, do you have another method to salvage any fuel that is left.
If you close the holes in the lid with balls of foil or magnets you should able to kill the fire. (along with closing the intakes) It works for me anyway.
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Unread 07-01-2010, 02:37 PM   #6279
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Question Hot UDS

I've had my UDS for a few weeks now and have done a couple cooks, I've also just run the UDS dry (sans meat) a number of times just so I can try to get a hang of controlling the heat...which I'm still doing a pretty poor job of (too hot). So, I thought I'd ask some questions to try to solve some of the problems that I'm having. (Note: I have read this entire thread, but it's been a while and in trying to go back and find specific answers, I'm getting lost in the hundreds of pages)

First, the specs of my drum:
Standard 55 gal drum w/ weber lid. 2 grates at 1.5" and 8" below lip.
4-3/4" intakes. 1 of those has ball valve the rest are just capped.
13" diameter round fire box (weber charcoal grate at bottom and expanded steel)
Generally using RO Lump

Here is my general procedure and problem. I light about a 1/3 of a chimney of lump and let it sit for a half hour or so in the chimney until it's ashed over. Add that to my 5 pounds or so of lump in the firebox (plus a half dozen or so chunks of hardwood) and I add the lit stuff to the top middle of unlit stuff. I open my ball valve to 90% open and leave the other 3 capped. The next hour and a half I wait for my UDS to get up to temp and level out around 220. Then I put the meat on. The temp soon starts to rise (I assume from the air getting in with the lid off). So I close my ball valve some and I close the exhaust in the weber lid a bit, but generally the temp keeps rising. Usually I can get it to settle down around 275 and I wrestle it the rest of the day to get below and stay below 250.

Finally, my questions:
1. How much charcoal should I be putting in my fire box? I feel like I might be using too much.
2. How much should I be lighting in my chimney to add to the fire box? And how should it be placed in the fire box? Also, how long should I be letting my lump sit in the chimney?
3. It seems insane to me that my UDS gets as hot as it does with only my ball valve open...so does this mean that air is probably leaking in from elsewhere?
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Unread 07-01-2010, 04:18 PM   #6280
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Default First Cook pics

After hours of reading this forum, and hours working on my own drum. I'm in business. Enjoy the pron.

Also, quick question on salvaged charcoal (ie unburned after a cook). Will it re light the same way? Do I need to mix it with new briquettes? I have about half and half salvaged and new Kingsford briquettes. I want to get one more burn at least out of what I have. I light with a chimney. Suggestions?

Nothing better than a hand built smoker, pork butt, home made rub, home made sauce. And 8 hours at a steady 220* to 245*, love this smoker. If I can make Q anybody can.

Sorry had to pull the pic of butt after rub...
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Last edited by 42BBQ; 07-16-2010 at 02:08 PM..
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Unread 07-01-2010, 04:27 PM   #6281
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kcchiefdav View Post
I've had my UDS for a few weeks now and have done a couple cooks, I've also just run the UDS dry (sans meat) a number of times just so I can try to get a hang of controlling the heat...which I'm still doing a pretty poor job of (too hot). So, I thought I'd ask some questions to try to solve some of the problems that I'm having. (Note: I have read this entire thread, but it's been a while and in trying to go back and find specific answers, I'm getting lost in the hundreds of pages)

First, the specs of my drum:
Standard 55 gal drum w/ weber lid. 2 grates at 1.5" and 8" below lip.
4-3/4" intakes. 1 of those has ball valve the rest are just capped.
13" diameter round fire box (weber charcoal grate at bottom and expanded steel)
Generally using RO Lump

Here is my general procedure and problem. I light about a 1/3 of a chimney of lump and let it sit for a half hour or so in the chimney until it's ashed over. Add that to my 5 pounds or so of lump in the firebox (plus a half dozen or so chunks of hardwood) and I add the lit stuff to the top middle of unlit stuff. I open my ball valve to 90% open and leave the other 3 capped. The next hour and a half I wait for my UDS to get up to temp and level out around 220. Then I put the meat on. The temp soon starts to rise (I assume from the air getting in with the lid off). So I close my ball valve some and I close the exhaust in the weber lid a bit, but generally the temp keeps rising. Usually I can get it to settle down around 275 and I wrestle it the rest of the day to get below and stay below 250.

Finally, my questions:
1. How much charcoal should I be putting in my fire box? I feel like I might be using too much.
2. How much should I be lighting in my chimney to add to the fire box? And how should it be placed in the fire box? Also, how long should I be letting my lump sit in the chimney?
3. It seems insane to me that my UDS gets as hot as it does with only my ball valve open...so does this mean that air is probably leaking in from elsewhere?
You have air leaking in from somewhere. I use a whole bag of briquettes when lighting my drum and usually light a full chimney and spread it around the top and have no problems keeping it at 250 where I like to cook.
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Unread 07-01-2010, 04:41 PM   #6282
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kcchiefdav,I don't think that you can put too much charcoal in, what is left, just gets recycled. I light a full chimney on a side burner , dump on top when ready and voila. I use 3 steel 5 gal pails with lids to store my charcoal, one for my recycled coals , one each for lump and briquettes. When I start a new cooking session, I mix recycled coal with some new lump for no particular reason other than it makes me feel better. I usually use briquettes in my chimney, but not always. I get good results this way so I'm sticking to it. I've been using a few sticks of crabapple for my smoke,I really like the flavor profile from the crabapple and it's about the only wood other than maple that I can find here. I do a lot of experimentation, break some "rules" and have a lot of fun with my UDI
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Unread 07-01-2010, 05:03 PM   #6283
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich Parker View Post
You have air leaking in from somewhere. I use a whole bag of briquettes when lighting my drum and usually light a full chimney and spread it around the top and have no problems keeping it at 250 where I like to cook.
If I do have air leaking then it's probably from around my thermometer or it's from my weber lid which does not fit snuggly enough. I can fix the thermometer easily enough, but I haven't been able to find a non-fiberglass heat-proof gasket to seal my weber lid to my UDS.
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Unread 07-01-2010, 05:45 PM   #6284
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I don't believe what little bit of air you may have leaking around your thermometer would make a difference, or your lid. IMO it could be outside air temp, humidity, charcoal, a lot of variables come into play.
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Unread 07-01-2010, 09:24 PM   #6285
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Quote:
Originally Posted by expatpig View Post
I don't believe what little bit of air you may have leaking around your thermometer would make a difference, or your lid. IMO it could be outside air temp, humidity, charcoal, a lot of variables come into play.
Well, it is both hot and humid as heck here(and my UDS is all black. D'OH!). I've tried 2 types of charcoal and had the same problem. Have any other ideas of what I should try?
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