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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 06-03-2011, 10:45 PM   #1
LoveBBQ
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Default My UDS-K is born!!! (smoker-kettle)

So I joined this forum cause you guys make some fine looking que. I was happy using my brand new Weber E-310 gasser (and still am), but once I saw the UDS I Knew it was for me! So I set out collecting parts for my build. I had absolutely nothing for parts!

I scored the drum from my brother. He works for an automotive maintenance company and got me a drum that held anti-freeze. His supplier even popped the top for me!

Next up I scored the lid from a friend on my softball team. It was sitting under his deck along with the bottom of the kettle. It has some dings and a little rust, but it was free!!!

Almost all the rest of the parts I purchased locally at HD or Lowes. I did score the ball valve for free as well from another guy on the softball team!

After reading as much as I could (except all of the UDS thread) I found Norco's Redneck build. No need to really alter that plan! It worked perfectly for my needs. I slightly raised the inlets due to the height of my ash pan, but otherwise it is identical. So what does it look like? Fine! I'll show you!



I wasn't going to paint it, but after one rain the whole thing turned orange with rust. It got sanded and painted the next afternoon!

So as you can see nothing fancy here. I have 3 2" nylon casters to help move it around. The iron pipe makes a great pull handle!

But during the build I came up with a cool idea for turning this UDS into a UDS-K! Here's how!

When assembling the charcoal basket I bought a 24"x24" piece of expanded metal. It isn't too difficult to cut, but I only wanted to make one cut, to turn it into 2-12"x24" pieces. These two pieces were formed around the 13.5" charcoal grate from Weber. I used rebar tie wire to hold it all together and made this.



So as you can see rather than having bolts hold it up from the ash pan I used the expanded metal. There is 3" below the grate and 9" above it. When set in my ash pan there is still an inch of space between the grate and the top of the ash pan. But flip it over and you now have 3" of charcoal basket!!!



But how do you get that basket closer to the grate. Easy! Chain and hooks!!! here are the pieces you'll need.

10' of stainless steel chain (I used plumber's chain)
6-9 stainless steel S-hooks

I had trouble finding stainless steel chain that didn't cost a fortune or was so big you could hang a car with it. Someone told me about McMaster-Carr. They had everything I needed and then some with excellent prices! Had my stuff in 2 days after the holiday too! (I have no affiliation with them)



Cut the chain into 3 equal length pieces. Add an S-hook to each end. The chain I bought was rather small. It is very strong though! Problem is the s-hooks I bought didn't go through the chain well. I had to open up the link a little to get it in. This means that I would have a tough time moving the upper s-hook to a different position so I used 9 hooks (you will see later).





Next, drill a hole at 3 equal length locations around the ash pan. You may have to open the s-hook slightly to attach it to the pan depending on the lip of your pan. Here it is hanging.



One chain is a little longer than the other two. No worries as this only rests on one of the bolts so it is easy to remove the whole assembly when in the drum. As you can see here, the chain sits around the outside of the pan/basket when in "smoke" position:



Next we need to add hooks at the right height from the pan to suspend the pan/basket at the right height. I used this diagram to get a rough estimate on how high I wanted the basket.



As you can see the top grate of my UDS-K is used for the "Kettle" operation. I wanted the top of the charcoal basket to sit about 5" below the grate. So I set my last 3 s-hooks at the appropriate height, 5" above the basket.





With all 3 hooks in place:



And in the drum the hooks rest on the top bolts:



So how does she cook? She smokes great! Haven't tried the kettle part yet!. Need to dial in my thermos a little too. My first cook was a butt and here is the pron!

Bone out butt from Costco.


Rubbed down!


Ready to pull!


Time to eat!
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Unread 06-03-2011, 10:56 PM   #2
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Fantastic!!! I have been toying with ideas about how to raise and lower the charcoal for different applications. What is great about your's is that its very simple. Definitely let us know how it works out.

One thing I just though of that you might want to watch is the thin metal of the chain especially where you have tweaked it to insert the hooks. Add heat to the mixture and you might get a failure.
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Unread 06-04-2011, 12:00 AM   #3
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Looks good. But here is a simpler way( I did this in my UDS). A few inches above my fire basket I drilled 3 grate holes. This gives me 3 levels inside my drum. This 3rd level can be used for a diffuser and I can set my fire basket on it. That makes my upper levels now grill time.
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Unread 06-04-2011, 12:06 AM   #4
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Looks like it works well! Congrats on a great build, bro!
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Unread 06-04-2011, 01:24 AM   #5
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Great looking drum and grub!!! I really like the basket idea.

The kids bikes and helmets remind me of my garage...seems like I always have to move them around just so I can work on something out there.
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Unread 06-04-2011, 07:49 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colonel00 View Post
Fantastic!!! I have been toying with ideas about how to raise and lower the charcoal for different applications. What is great about your's is that its very simple. Definitely let us know how it works out.

One thing I just though of that you might want to watch is the thin metal of the chain especially where you have tweaked it to insert the hooks. Add heat to the mixture and you might get a failure.
I will keep the brethren updated!

When I first saw the chain I was a little worried about how it will hold up. But after working with it I am pretty confident it can withstand some abuse. It is tougher than it looks. That said though, I would use a different chain next time.
Quote:
Originally Posted by rondini View Post
Looks good. But here is a simpler way( I did this in my UDS). A few inches above my fire basket I drilled 3 grate holes. This gives me 3 levels inside my drum. This 3rd level can be used for a diffuser and I can set my fire basket on it. That makes my upper levels now grill time.
Only problem I see here is that you are limited to a working height. With the chain I have infinite flexibility. But I'm sure your idea works great too!
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Originally Posted by Boshizzle View Post
Looks like it works well! Congrats on a great build, bro!
Thanks!
Quote:
Originally Posted by HB-BBQ View Post
Great looking drum and grub!!! I really like the basket idea.

The kids bikes and helmets remind me of my garage...seems like I always have to move them around just so I can work on something out there.
Thanks!

Yeah the garage is a sore spot right now. I sold my first truck a few months ago to make room in the garage and organize. You see how well that worked!
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Unread 06-04-2011, 08:01 AM   #7
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Very clever design, I love the reversible charcoal basket!
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Unread 06-04-2011, 09:52 AM   #8
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Do you hang the basket, THEN dump some lit charcoal on top? I'm sure it works great - it's just the initial thought of hanging a basket of lit charcoal from three chains. How about some pics of how you do that on a Q day?
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Unread 06-04-2011, 10:35 AM   #9
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I have the same results with mine without all of the bling. I can raise my coal grate to grilling level in 2 min. I secured my ash pan with return springs.
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Unread 06-04-2011, 02:13 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rondini View Post
Looks good. But here is a simpler way( I did this in my UDS). A few inches above my fire basket I drilled 3 grate holes. This gives me 3 levels inside my drum. This 3rd level can be used for a diffuser and I can set my fire basket on it. That makes my upper levels now grill time.
I just ordered mine and am still waiting so I can NOT confirm how well it works but I was told that mine will also have 3 levels for grates with the lowest grate 3" above the top of the firebox for high temp grilling.

The only pain I see with that is you better have some long arse tongs otherwise your head is gonna be in the drum to flip a steak.

Rondini> how high is your 3rd level above ya coals and have you found it annoying to cook on that setting?
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Unread 06-04-2011, 05:20 PM   #11
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Or you can do this. Mine has 3 brackets which have a small stud sticking down to engage the U-bolts I use to hold the grates. I use mine more for grilling than I do for smoking, but it works well for either. The best thing is I can raise my basket up to do a reverse sear after smoking a prime rib. I do like the chain idea, though. I envision some system of gears and chains so you could turn a crank to raise and lower the basket. Igor- off to the laboratory!
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Unread 06-05-2011, 01:31 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mister Bob View Post
Very clever design, I love the reversible charcoal basket!
Thanks!
Quote:
Originally Posted by SmokeOCD View Post
Do you hang the basket, THEN dump some lit charcoal on top? I'm sure it works great - it's just the initial thought of hanging a basket of lit charcoal from three chains. How about some pics of how you do that on a Q day?
Did my first cook on it this afternoon. I set up the hooks for "kettle" position. I used the basket like a chimney. I laid a few pieces of crumpled newspaper in the 3" portion of the basket then poured some unlit charcoal on top. I lit the paper and let it light the coals. Worked perfect! Once the coals were going I threw the top grate on and the lid to settle the temps down. Couldn't get any pics today, but I will next time!
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Unread 07-04-2012, 10:13 AM   #13
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Default Height Adjustable Charcoal Basket System

Quote:
Originally Posted by MushCreek View Post
Or you can do this. Mine has 3 brackets which have a small stud sticking down to engage the U-bolts I use to hold the grates. I use mine more for grilling than I do for smoking, but it works well for either. The best thing is I can raise my basket up to do a reverse sear after smoking a prime rib. I do like the chain idea, though. I envision some system of gears and chains so you could turn a crank to raise and lower the basket. Igor- off to the laboratory!

Hi Guys,

I apologise for crashing this thread and realise it is an old conversation, but I may have some useful ideas on the crank concept MushCreek was suggesting. I recently introduced myself over on Cattle Call, I'm completely new to and absolutely without experience of the UDS concept but a convert already so gettig ready to build my own (actually have THREE drums standing by) so just been watching and learning as I work up to my own final (tweaked) concept(s) but staying true to proven UDS fundamentals. However, as a South African I'm used to open coal grill BBQ and am stongly inclined to being able to grill as well as smoke with my UDS. So, I've been thinking about this for some time and reading your thread reassured me that I wasn't a complete lunatic with the direction I was thinking. Obviously one could make this really really complicated with all sorts of gears and cogs etc as MushCreek envisaged (using old bicycle cranks, gears and chains is one obvious option), but although something like that might be a cool feature to show off, seems to me that actually it is over complicated, not cheap and will definitely need maintenance.

So I sat down to think about how one could stick with with the same notion of a turning crank on the drum but get away from cogs and chains to a more simple application of the same concept, and this is what I came up with. I love the idea of the reversible charcoal basket, but ultimately decided that for me, because I my probable grill / smoke ratio will be 50/50, actually I preferred to have a dedicated grilling charcoal basket which also reduces overall weight for the suspended hi/lo system.

The essential idea is the merging of climbing and winching techiques with offset anchor points to a lifting of a load (the charcoal basket) straight up a vertical chute (the drum). Instead of chain, I propose using a suitable weight steel cable winding onto a drum (like a scaled down winch and cable) and as the cable get's tighened the basket should rise up. The weight of the basket provides the force to lower it as tension is taken off the cable and that's it.

To get around the possibility of the basket tipping due to effectively being suspended from only two points, I propose fastening two channels (like shelf suspension rails) on either side inside the drum and having two vertical guide plates fixed to the basket frame (positioned such that if the cable runs from 12 o'clock through 6 o'clock then the guide plates are at 3 o'clock and 9 o'clock) which will slide up and down between the channel sides such that they will resist any lateral tipping force and hold the base steady.

I'd be delighted to have feedback on what y'all think, being a newbie it's quite possible I may well have missed something really obvious with this, but on the face of it, seems like a nice and reasonably lightweight, neat and tidy solution to the puzzle.

To make it easier to understand what I'm thinking of, I've down some drawings which I'm trying to attach below. If it doesn't work, I'll try to send them as a separate post.
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Unread 07-05-2012, 03:49 AM   #14
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Default Height Adjustable Charcoal Basket System Drawings

Sorry, but I'm not able to get the drawings onto a reply here so I'm going to have to post them on a new thread in Q-talk under " Height Adjustable Charcoal Basket System " . . . and after that I can spend some time trying to figure out how to get images / pics incorporated into future thread replies.
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Unread 07-05-2012, 03:56 AM   #15
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Nice cooker!
Welcome to the Phamily!
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