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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 11-04-2011, 12:01 AM   #1
tortaboy
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Default Is there a difference in drum smokers?

Drum A
The basic UDS....Basically a steel drum with holes for intakes, a charcoal basket, grates, and holes for exhaust. Benefit is long unattended cooks...low and slow.

Drum B
Lately, I've been seeing other drum smokers advertised such as the D-Meat Barrel. A steel drum with a door at the bottom and meat hooks to hang your meat. Recommended to cook at around 300 degrees (Not that hot), and uses hooks to hang your meat. Benefit claim is that your meats cook in about an hour.

Since 300 degree temps are at the top end of normal low and slow, how is Drum B able to cook meats tender and juicy in such a short time period? Are there any benefits to hanging meat on meat hooks? Will a basic UDS cook great looking tri tip in an hour if cooked at 300 degrees or so like the D-Meat Barrel?

Conceptually, these two drums seem identical, with the difference being marketing on the Drum B type cookers for people that want their food done relatively quickly.
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Unread 11-04-2011, 12:44 AM   #2
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Is there a difference in Wife’s? Yes. But I think you are putting a UDS in the same category as a cooker/grill made from 55G barrels.

The most successful UDS’s are simple, with no doors. Air control is key! (for low and slow burns)


Are you looking to build a unit?


Does this help? If not, some body else can chip in, or I shall try again.

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Unread 11-04-2011, 08:06 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammy_Shuford View Post
Is there a difference in Wife’s? Yes. But I think you are putting a UDS in the same category as a cooker/grill made from 55G barrels.

The most successful UDS’s are simple, with no doors. Air control is key! (for low and slow burns)


Are you looking to build a unit?


Does this help? If not, some body else can chip in, or I shall try again.

Welcome, oh by the way!

Thanks Sammy.

I'm still a little confused. You could add a door to a UDS, and it would still be a UDS just with a minor mod, wouldn't it? I'm guessing the hanging meat barrels would still be considered UDS's? I don't see any reason they couldn't be used for low and slow or hot and fast (Unless they leak too much air for low and slow).

I have two unresolved questions between the two:

1. Does hanging meat with meat hooks make any difference whatsoever to the output?

2. They advertise cooking at 300 produces tri tips, ribs, chicken, cooked in an hour? But 300 is still at the range for what we consider "Hot and Fast" but over several hours, and a little below what we normally consider grilling.

Are my questions clear as mud?
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Unread 11-04-2011, 09:02 AM   #4
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With a "door" installed on a UDS, one has to be concerning with air leaks and too much air goin in... is my guess. Also hanging meat in a classic UDS (55gal) would be difficult do to the distance between the meat and the charcoal would be much closer than using a rack. Hope this helps not hurts the thread.
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Unread 11-04-2011, 10:06 AM   #5
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I think that hanging the meat just gives more space for cooking, which would be fine for smaller cuts that don't hang down very far. I know people that cook commercially that use a stainless steel cable inside their large cookers with hooks for ribs and they can hang many more slabs of ribs than will fit on the grate. But, I would think in a drum, a side of ribs would be hanging down almost to the fire. Just sayin'.
I'm sure these guys have all this figured out, and the build quality looks nice, but $400 plus shipping for something I can make for less than $100?
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Unread 11-04-2011, 10:37 AM   #6
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Correct me if I am wrong here, but the Mother of all Ugly Drum Smoker threads sort of evolved from handy folks on this site that either grew up around people cooking on drums in one form or another and noticed that the guy at Big Drum Smokers was producing excellent Q in all forms, documenting his cooks, and through trial and error came up with very simple designed drum smokers. And I think people in their quest to find the next big thing in drum smoker technology fail to recognize this fact and overlook the simplicity of the Big Drum Smoker.

http://www.bigdrumsmokers.com/index.htm

OK- so the price and shipping is what drives most to want to build their own, I know it was for me, so at the beginning I dabbled with a couple different designs gleaned from the early days of the thread, but there were a few Brethren and folks from other sites that had BDS's listed in their signatures and I figured they must be onto something so I immersed myself in the Big Drum Smoker site- at the time they had an open Forum, cooking instructions, firing techniques and a chitload of pics of every meat cooked on the BDS lineup. This was a no-brainer! Luckily I copied as much info as I could from the site before it was locked down to lurkers, and there was also a stunning review by Danny Gaulden that basically was a blueprint for the early BDS, this and a little help from BDS owners helped my learning curve on the fast track.

Take a look at this thread: Top 10 Smokers for under $400 for 2011

http://bbq.about.com/od/smokers/tp/aatp081004a.htm

I admire the ingenuity of all the different Ugly Drum Smokers out there and admit that I have a few ball valves just in case I ever get the urge to stick them on a drum, but so far have resisted the temptation to do so, and that goes for doors, bigass charcoal baskets and such. I've got Weber lids that fit all my drums, but I prefer the stock drum lid overall.



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Unread 11-04-2011, 12:25 PM   #7
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I think if you are cooking ribs at 300F, you will find that they can get done a lot quicker, not sure an hour, but, a lot quicker. Done for things like ribs is a relative term as well.

I think there are differences in the texture of meat done at different temperatures, even in terms of large cuts like brisket and butts, but, I can't quantify that to be true, just my feeling. Certainly, I prefer ribs that I have cooked at a temperature of 225F to ribs where I couldn't get the temperature down where I would have liked. I think hanging may increaser convection, which would also play a role in cooking time.
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Unread 11-04-2011, 09:34 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by landarc View Post
I think hanging may increase convection, which would also play a role in cooking time.
Hi Landarc,

I'm not versed at all on convection cooking. Please expand on your thought. I've done searches on cooking on hooks vs grates, and have basically come up empty handed. There are a few threads on this that really didn't answer the question.

I love low and slow and the traditional UDS is great for that., but a one hour cook that produces good food sounds great for days when I come home from work in the evening with only a little daylight left.

This may sound stupid, but I'm trying to separate marketing hype from reality. If I just let in more intake than normal to cook around 300, wouldn't the regular UDS do the same thing?
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Unread 11-05-2011, 04:34 PM   #9
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If you play around with a probe at grate level, in the center of your drum you may notice the same thing that I did...... That is, under certain circumstances and loads of meat, the short stem thermometer mounted on the side reads about 40° lower than the readings in the center of the drum. So, you may be cooking hotter than you think if you are only monitoring the temp at the side of the drum.

For different cooks I either use a long stem under-grate therm, or a cable therm.





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Unread 11-05-2011, 04:58 PM   #10
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thirdeye

does the aluminum foil protect the cable on your therm from the heat or is it to help keep it clean?
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Unread 11-05-2011, 05:08 PM   #11
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Quote:
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thirdeye

does the aluminum foil protect the cable on your therm from the heat or is it to help keep it clean?

To keep it clean. I still have the braided kind and they are tough to clean.
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