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Unread 06-24-2011, 09:59 PM   #8131
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Originally Posted by sandiegobbq View Post
I noticed that too bad.

What do you think of these?
http://www.harborfreight.com/2-piece...cks-98406.html
3) of these work great

http://www.harborfreight.com/1-inch-...lve-66234.html
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Unread 06-24-2011, 10:25 PM   #8132
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I am going to go with the magnets.

I honestly don't mind doing it all manually.
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Unread 06-24-2011, 11:52 PM   #8133
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Got my first smoke out of the way.

Started yesterday at about 2:25 pm.

Just did a seasoning smoke and tossed a fatty on....I think I did it wrong because it tasted like an ash tray.

I had a ton of white cloudy smoke for a long time. I did about 10 lbs of lump charcoal and 6 chunks of hickory.

I think my problem with the white smoke was when I kept taking the lid off to check to see if my grate thermo and my turkey thermo were accurate. When I finally got to blue smoke (around 4:00), I opened it up and put in the fatty. It took a minute while I fumbled with getting the probe thermo in through its hole and when I finally put the lid back on, I had lots of white smoke for a long time. After I took off the fatty at about 6, I opened the pipes to get it hotter. It ran at about 400-450 for a few hours, but there was cloudy white smoke for a long time. Did I just change the temp too fast? Do you really need to up the heat slowly on these?

When I came inside around 8:30, I went back to one intake hole being open, and it dialed down to 220. When I came back out at 11, it was down just under 200. I opened the valve all the way and uncapped another pipe and when I checked at midnight it was at 250. I pulled all the pipes out and had three open 1-inch holes at midnight, and when I checked it this morning at 8 it was at 220.

One thing, after I turned the heat down from 450 to 220, there was no more visible smoke. Even when I went back up from 220 to 250, I couldn't see any smoke at all. Would food still get "smoked" on that?

Probably a stupid question, but I really have no clue what I'm doing save for the information in this thread. This was the first time I've ever smoked anything.

One more question...because the drum is round, it seems like hard metal disc magnets wouldn't really give a good seal when trying to plug up a hole. Would Amazon.com: TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS OFFICIAL LOGO CAR FRIDGE MAGNET SET (3): Sports & Outdoors@@AMEPARAM@@http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51cCgbvm7dL.@@AMEPARAM@@51cCgbvm7dL work?
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Unread 06-25-2011, 02:19 AM   #8134
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CenTech View Post
Got my first smoke out of the way.

Started yesterday at about 2:25 pm.

Just did a seasoning smoke and tossed a fatty on....I think I did it wrong because it tasted like an ash tray.

I had a ton of white cloudy smoke for a long time. I did about 10 lbs of lump charcoal and 6 chunks of hickory.

I think my problem with the white smoke was when I kept taking the lid off to check to see if my grate thermo and my turkey thermo were accurate. When I finally got to blue smoke (around 4:00), I opened it up and put in the fatty. It took a minute while I fumbled with getting the probe thermo in through its hole and when I finally put the lid back on, I had lots of white smoke for a long time. After I took off the fatty at about 6, I opened the pipes to get it hotter. It ran at about 400-450 for a few hours, but there was cloudy white smoke for a long time. Did I just change the temp too fast? Do you really need to up the heat slowly on these?

When I came inside around 8:30, I went back to one intake hole being open, and it dialed down to 220. When I came back out at 11, it was down just under 200. I opened the valve all the way and uncapped another pipe and when I checked at midnight it was at 250. I pulled all the pipes out and had three open 1-inch holes at midnight, and when I checked it this morning at 8 it was at 220.

One thing, after I turned the heat down from 450 to 220, there was no more visible smoke. Even when I went back up from 220 to 250, I couldn't see any smoke at all. Would food still get "smoked" on that?

Probably a stupid question, but I really have no clue what I'm doing save for the information in this thread. This was the first time I've ever smoked anything.

One more question...because the drum is round, it seems like hard metal disc magnets wouldn't really give a good seal when trying to plug up a hole. Would Amazon.com: TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS OFFICIAL LOGO CAR FRIDGE MAGNET SET (3): Sports & Outdoors work?

I use 1 3/4 ball valve with the other 3 3/4 nipples all open on the bottom, bring it up to about 225 and cap off the nipples and leave the valve open, purrs at 245 for about 10 hours on on load of kingsford and about 8 chunks of pecan wood. I never tried using magnets just didnt think i could have the control......... maybe I'm a control freak. Give it another go with some chicken thigh's, They are cheap and only takes a couple of hours.
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Unread 06-25-2011, 05:34 AM   #8135
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That would probably be a good idea. ......But I've got the chimney starter going right now and I'm going to try my hand at a brisket today. I may be
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Unread 06-25-2011, 07:42 AM   #8136
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Adding a Weber lid to my drum to allow for more headroom - I really like doing beer can chicken, and I just don't have the room in my drum right now.

But my drum may be slightly larger than most - the Weber kettle lids are about 1/2" too small in diameter and won't fit over my drum.

I know there are ways to mod the top of the drum to make it smaller in situations like this. Help?

(I admit that I haven't searched this thread for input . . . the last time I read through this entire thread it was a LOT shorter and I don't have the time or the patience to do it again this weekend - thanks for any tips! )
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Unread 06-25-2011, 08:31 AM   #8137
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Well boo. Got to where I had no visible smoke for 20 minutes and had the temp to 250. Opened the lid, put the brisket on, and closed the lid (off for maybe 6 seconds). Watched for a minute, no visible smoke, temp at 250. Came up, took a shower and started reading. Just went out to check it again after an hour on the smoker and there's white smoke and the temp was up to about 300. Not billowing or anything, but it's visible. I really don't understand why. Using lump charcoal and a few chunks of hickory. Thing's been burning in he drum since I added a 3/4 full chimney at roughly 6 o'clock. 2 1/2 hours ago. Only time I opened the lid was to put the brisket on.
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Unread 06-25-2011, 02:32 PM   #8138
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The problem with the cheap magnets is they degrade from heat over time. I have only done a few cooks with my new magnets but they may degrade as well.
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Unread 06-25-2011, 02:33 PM   #8139
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If you are going to use chunks, put a few large ones at the top of your chimney. THat way they get to temp a lot quicker and less white smoke.
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Unread 06-25-2011, 03:19 PM   #8140
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jgh1204 View Post
The problem with the cheap magnets is they degrade from heat over time. I have only done a few cooks with my new magnets but they may degrade as well.
Which magnets are higher quality to buy?

Going really cheap would be to use aluminum foil!

No need to get fancy if you don't want to.
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Unread 06-25-2011, 09:45 PM   #8141
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Default Holes and magnets and valves oh my!

Hi guys.. thought to check in every now and then. I started on this thread in December and built a UDS and have been using it on average once a week since. Find my other posts to see pictures of my variations of the same smoker. Great thing about UDS is you can just change one and fix it without having to start over.

REGARDING AIR CONTROL - I have been using the pipes and ball valve. But I'm undoing that design because I want the intake to be evenly coming in so the coals burn all around, not just in the 1 area. Initially I drilled three 1 inch holes at bottom for intake (using a simple 1 inch hole saw with a pilot bit, no need for the step bit.) This fits exactly a 3/4 inch black iron nipple. On 2 of them I just put caps and undo when needed, and 1 of them I have a ball valve.

BUT I'M CHANGING THE DESIGN. I've been operating with those as intakes long enough now. Instead what I'm going to do (with same smoker) is plug up those 1 inch holes and instead drill smaller holes and use magnets. The reason for this is to be able to control the intake, but also allow the air intake to come in from all sides of the bottom. If only from 1 or 2 holes, then the charcoal tends to just burn in that area, and over long burns requires me to close one and open another port. The pipes that I have there get rusty. I usually leave smoker in garage, but sometimes I smoke in the rain (under covered deck) but the moisture in the air is enough to rust the pipes. Plus, it makes the smoker lighter.. as I move it around a lot.

LET'S DO SOME MATH. At the end of this message and also attached is an XLS spreadsheet with circle area calculations. It's showing how many and how big holes you'd need to do the same job as the 3/4 inch holes that are most common. Area of a circle is Radius times Radius times PI. (I'd write it differently if I had a piece of paper to show you.) Radius of course, if half the diameter. PI is ~3.14.

CenTech: Regarding your smoke taste issues.. DON'T GIVE UP! Simple things can make it REALLY YUMMY! FIRST THING YOU NEED TO DO.. is Season your smoker! (not sure I caught you indicating you did.) Rub it down with some cooking oil all over the inside, or much easier to spray PAM. Then light a full chimney of coals, and when they are lit, dump it in the smoker's fire basket. (YOU MUST USE A FIRE BASKET to cook in a barrel.) Let it burn for a bit, close it up and let the smoker sit at 350 degrees for at least 30 mins. Then you can extinguish by closing all intakes and exhaust.

AFTER YOU DID THAT.... Get a bag of plain charcoal briquettes, not the lump charcoal. (They are easier to learn with.) Dump maybe 1/3 of a large bag into the fire basket, UN-LIT!!! Then use newspapers and a charcoal chimney starter, and fill up the chimney JUST HALF WAY, no more! Light the chimney. WAIT WAIT WAIT for the coals in the chimney to finish burning flames so they are nice and white. THEN pour them on top of the un-lit coals in the smoker, place 1 or 2 CHUNKS of wood for your flavoring, QUICKLY CLOSE THE LID. By the way, put one wood piece on coals already let, and put the other piece on coals not quite lit yet; it will make for hours of hassle-free smoking. At this point maybe 75% of your intakes should be open, and 100% of your exhaust. When you are mentally ready :) open the lid and put your food in, your food rack, etc, and close the lid. You probably want to cut your intake to 50%, but always just leave your exhaust at 100%. This configuration should easily allow you to smoke for 10+ hours without adding a single thing to the fire basket. Just controlling the air flow. I've done smokes with 1/3 to 1/2 a bag (depending on size of bag) for 14 hours. And I've also done them overnight several times. Learned from some mistakes, but have no worry about doing it. But I won't do that with a brisket.. that requires some attention during the day to make sure it doesn't get anywhere close to 250 degrees even.

And by the way, start with a pork shoulder, not a brisket. Briskets (as Texans know) takes some practice. Pork shoulder can be totally messed up during cooking but can still be fixed and turn out super!

Now, Regarding exhaust, only the one 2inch hole at the top is needed. You can drill holes and other things in the lid or on the sides (like I did) but do the math to make sure you're at least providing enough circular area as a 2inch hole. I happen to have created a 3 inch hole on the side and have a little chimney pipe to create a nice draft which allows for more moisture (air inside smoker does not sit too long to dry out) and does a good job of never suffocating and able to run at high temps if I need it. (smoking chicken).

And here are the Circle Area calculations mentioned earlier:

Diameter - Radius - Pi - Area Inches squared - Number of holes - Total Area Inches squared - Notes

WITH THE 1 INCH HOLES AND THE 3/4 INCH PIPES AND VALVES, YOU END UP WITH THE 0.75 INCH DIAMETER
0.75 0.375 3.14 0.44 3 1.33 Old Intakes using 3/4 inch pipes
0.75 0.375 3.14 0.44 2 0.88 This represents closing 1 hole, leaving the other 2 fully open.
0.75 0.375 3.14 0.44 1.5 0.66 one open and ball valve half way - ideal intake for 225 cooking - Results in about 0.66 inches sq.
0.75 0.375 3.14 0.44 1.25 0.55 This represents 1 hole open and the ball valve at like 25%.

LET'S SAY WE DRILL 1/2 INCH HOLES AND USE MAGNETS INSTEAD OF THE EXPENSIVE PIPES AND VALVES
0.5 0.25 3.14 0.20 7 1.37 With 1/2 inch holes (no pipes), it would take 7 to at least get as much as 3 of the 3/4 inch holes.
0.5 0.25 3.14 0.20 8 1.57 7 holes is goofy to leave, so let's make it 8 holes. 2 holes on 4 sides of the bottom. 2 inches off the ground
0.5 0.25 3.14 0.20 4 0.79 With magnets, 4 completely covered holes is a tad more intake than the 1 and half of the 3/4 inch holes
0.5 0.25 3.14 0.20 3 0.59 Covering 1 more hole completely is just a tad more than the 1 and 25%.
0.5 0.25 3.14 0.20 3.5 0.69 So maybe you'll have a reason to cover a hole 50%. That should be easy with a magnet.

OR MAYBE YOU PREFER FINER CONTROL. SAY 3/8 INCH, THAT'S 0.375 INCHES
0.375 0.1875 3.14 0.11 12 1.33 You need EXACTLY 4 times as many holes. So maybe you do 4 sets of 3 holes, or 3 sets of 4 holes.
0.375 0.1875 3.14 0.11 6 0.66 Covering half of these holes gives you the same intake as the one 3/4 open and ball valve half way. But you still maintain intake coming in evenly through the bottom.

JUST FOR COMPARISON, HERE IT IS FOR 1/4 INCH HOLES
0.25 0.125 3.14 0.05 27 1.33 WAY TOO MANY HOLES. :)
0.25 0.125 3.14 0.05 13 0.64


Why so many smaller holes in general, you may ask? Because you're absolutely right about it being hard to find just the right partial coverage of a hole with a magnet. But if you have small holes, it's easy to cover a hole completely. If you have a large square or rectangular magnet, you can just place it over neighboring holes to cover more than one. And I'm talking about one of those flexible magnets, like you might put on your refrigerator. Maybe some business send them to you for advertisement. They are usually not rigid magnets.
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Last edited by coewar; 06-25-2011 at 10:07 PM..
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Unread 06-25-2011, 10:07 PM   #8142
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I've only done a couple of cooks but I can't say I have noticed the charcoal only burning on the side with the air intake open. By the end of my cooks the majority of the basket is white and evenly lit.
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Unread 06-25-2011, 10:09 PM   #8143
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LoveBBQ View Post
I've only done a couple of cooks but I can't say I have noticed the charcoal only burning on the side with the air intake open. By the end of my cooks the majority of the basket is white and evenly lit.
Oh.. maybe it has to do with dimensions of the fire basket. I wanted mine to be fairly wide so that I can spread the heat around. I've seen many pictures of the baskets that are tall and narrow. Tall and narrow ones likely would burn evenly no matter what, but then you may have to diffuse the heat some how if you have a full rack of food on top.

Last edited by coewar; 06-25-2011 at 10:44 PM..
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Unread 06-25-2011, 11:39 PM   #8144
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Wanted to post a few pics of my UDS. Completed it in April after reading this thread. Now I just have to find the time to use it more and learn to perfect my skills.

For an ash pan I ended up using an outside exhaust fan cover made from aluminum. My brother works for a sheet metal company and got me one for free. Its four inches deep and will hold a A LOT of ash with out clogging the vents. A cheap Wal-Mart kettle lid from a dead BBQ was also used along with the hinges. have almost $100.00 into it so far.
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Unread 06-26-2011, 03:08 AM   #8145
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sandiegobbq View Post
Which magnets are higher quality to buy?

Going really cheap would be to use aluminum foil!

No need to get fancy if you don't want to.
Anytype of sheet magnet is not going to last. Like the freebies you get to put on the refrigerator.
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