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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 11-09-2011, 09:47 PM   #8866
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Bo View Post
There is some mention of a jiggler rod (or something similar) in multiple posts in this thread. Makes sense and works cuz the ash build up will decrease the fire temps.
^^^Thats a good idea it does make sense and a easy fix if it works, I use a fire place poker and hit the bottom lip of the drum maybe ever hour or so
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Unread 11-09-2011, 10:18 PM   #8867
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Quote:
Originally Posted by agr347 View Post
I got my UDS built and did a seasoning burn and noticed that the fire only lasted about 4 hours (I had about 6-7 lbs of charcoal) and with my vents all wide open, it never really got above 225, which is perfect for my smoking. I am trying to use the ash pan out of an old brinkmann smoker. I drilled holes around the sides to get it to draft.

I did my second cook tonight and used 2.5 in bolts to raise the pan off of the bottom of the barrel and added a few more vent holes in it to help it out. I was able to cook at around 210 for 5.5-6 hours tonight before the temps started to drop. I took my chicken off to finish it in the oven and then shook the pan and the coals all started right back burning. Does anyone have experience with this type of fire pan? It looks like the ash may be snuffing out the fire. It may be best for me to switch to a fire pan with a grill grate for the bottom and the expanded metal for sides???? I like the smoker not getting over 220 or so, but I need it to be able to go for longer. Thanks for the help.
been there, done that. What I did was used a dremel to cut off the very bottom and attached the pan to a smokey joe grate. Problem is you have sloping sides correct? The ash is collecting around the sides at the bottom more than likely. Get a basket that has straight sides so your ash will have somewhere to go besides collecting where you don't want it to collect.
I currently use the strainer basket out of a turkey fryer with the bottom cut off and attached to a grate. So far no issues going 6 hours or so.
If I can ever find a Home Depot with someone who actually knows what expanded metal is I would make a 'real' basket, but until then...........
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Unread 11-10-2011, 06:51 AM   #8868
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I give my drum a gentle rattle every hour or so to clear the ash from the coals. Works great and keeps even temp for hours. :)
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Unread 11-10-2011, 09:09 AM   #8869
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spareheat View Post
From: coewar

NOW FOR SOMETHING CHALLENGING.

So the question.. how would you smoke with the hardwood lump coals? The 2 problems I saw was the nasty smell of it smoldering, and very difficult heat control and length. It was considerably hotter in the beginning, and it all burnt out by the next morning. I frequently do smokes overnight with plain charcoal briquettes without any issues.


And finally, say there is a technique to doing this with hardwood lump coals. Is there a reason to bother with it? I merely HAD them so wanted to use them, but wouldn't buy them for smoking. Definitely for grilling though!



Quote:
I built my first drum a few weeks ago as well I have just started using lump. I have been fighting bad smoke and temp swings everytime I use the drum. I read this yesturday, I today I did a test burn with only bricketts. WOW. FINNALLY thin blue smoke and stable temps I was about to give my drum away, but I think I'll keep it a little longer now. No more lump in my drum. Thanks
Glad I could help there, even though I haven't read an answer yet. To summarize in bold letters for people scanning by..

TASTE LIKE ASHTRAY? DON'T USE HARDWOOD LUMP COALS FOR SMOKING.
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Unread 11-10-2011, 09:22 AM   #8870
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What color is your smoke?

Blue/white/etc... this depends on what types of wood you are using. Each wood has its own color, smell and flavor of smoke it produces. It also depends on the amount of wood, and it depends on the air flow. Plus, it also depends on the temperature you're at. :) Is that enough variables?

If you have a lot of airflow, you'll be burning more fuel and typically having a whiter smoke. If you are running it kind of hot, you certainly would have some white smoke. These are not bad things; depends what you are trying to do. My smokers do both white and blue smoke depending on how I configure them and what I'm burning.
But not all white smoke is good. :) The smoke from hardwood lump coals smoldering is nasty. I haven't heard feedback on how to use them for smoking, but I suspect that you have to burn them to the point of getting white before putting them into the smoker. However that makes things difficult in a UDS.

Personally I prefer to have mine just barely ooze out the smoke, while having enough air flow to maintain that for a whole day. I have done it many times where I leave it overnight and wake up in the morning to my temp gauge reading: 225 :) The amount of air flow is not just based on size of holes but positioning and configuration of the intakes and exhaust. The typical 2inch bung hole produces a great draft, but you'll burn a bit more fuel and have a whiter smoke. If you have eight 2inch holes drilled in the lid, that is still the same circular area as a single 2inch hole, but the air flow is not shooting straight out. This causes for less fuel burn, not as white of a smoke, less smoke coming out, and possibly more moisture inside the cooker. I also have configurations where I have pipes coming out the sides of the barrel near the top. This works out well too. Always trying to keep in range of the circular area equal to the 2inch hole.

All this is from my experience in using the smokers I have for the past year and a half. I'm sure someone will come back with "mine is not doing that".
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Unread 11-10-2011, 09:41 AM   #8871
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^^^^ Valid points. I have also seen, and tasted more than once, extremely bitter taste because folks use wayyyyy to much smoke.
Like rubs, sometimes too much is just that, too much. You can't remove the spices or smoke once it's in the meat.
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Unread 11-10-2011, 12:04 PM   #8872
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I use a guru - works great, super lazy. Really like it for starting the burn, does not take the extra time to stabalize that the basic UDS does. I have managed a 1am start up in under 5 minutes. Hell, one time I did it in probably 2 (but that was not intended)

A single blower on the side will cause a very uneven burn in your coals. It will probably cook fine - but looks terrible... Likewise, a single vent on top will cause uneven temps (at least if you are cooking on the hot side). When I cook hot, I either rotate my food, or the lid. I like having the elivated smoke stack as my lid holds water. If you use a Weber lid, ymmv.

If you search my posts - I ultimately rebuilt mine and put a false bottom in the drum with a bottom blower. It diffuses the blow 360 around the edge of the drum. Like the Guru, it is overkill - but works quite well.
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Unread 11-11-2011, 02:29 AM   #8873
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Quote:
Originally Posted by agr347 View Post
I got my UDS built and did a seasoning burn and noticed that the fire only lasted about 4 hours (I had about 6-7 lbs of charcoal) and with my vents all wide open, it never really got above 225, which is perfect for my smoking. I am trying to use the ash pan out of an old brinkmann smoker. I drilled holes around the sides to get it to draft.

I did my second cook tonight and used 2.5 in bolts to raise the pan off of the bottom of the barrel and added a few more vent holes in it to help it out. I was able to cook at around 210 for 5.5-6 hours tonight before the temps started to drop. I took my chicken off to finish it in the oven and then shook the pan and the coals all started right back burning. Does anyone have experience with this type of fire pan? It looks like the ash may be snuffing out the fire. It may be best for me to switch to a fire pan with a grill grate for the bottom and the expanded metal for sides???? I like the smoker not getting over 220 or so, but I need it to be able to go for longer. Thanks for the help.

Did you get the temp up and stable before you put chicken on? What type of temp gauge? Calibrated?
I have never had to cook chicken for 5-6 hours. Go back and read about basic builds, proven and work. A few mentioned "Jiggler rods" The original is a Thirdeye invention used to put through air intakes and jiggle fire basket or poke through fire grate on Eggs. I usually kick my drum a few taps after 4 hours and before temp adjustments. Do it with lid on or ash will swirl and give your grub unwanted seasoning. Especially if you use Rancher.
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Unread 11-13-2011, 08:45 AM   #8874
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Well I'm now 300 pages and 4500 posts in on this "Mother Of All Threads" I'm not stopping till i'm through! LMAO
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Unread 11-13-2011, 08:14 PM   #8875
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Default Thank you gentlemen!

I was just about to go out and lay down $400 for wsm 22.5 when i ran across this forum. Started on page 1 and read maybe the 1st hundred or so pages. Found a drum at a local drum mfg friday...brand new! Did have the dreaded red liner. But it was a special run 60 gallon drum...38" tall. And my webber kettle lid fit snuggly when i set on. (took it with me thanks to ya'lls advice) The salesmen did advize me it only had a 22 ga bottom. More on that in a min.

So took it home and and drilled the 4 1 inch intake holes, filled it with seasoned oak and fired it off. Took the leaf blower and directed the air stream in one of the intake holes. HOLY COW BATMAN!!! It burned all the paint and liner off in maybe half an hour. But the oak burned on for a couple hours.

Go out next morning to get started removing rest of liner and discover 2 things. 1st almost all the liner is gone....rubbed a patch of what was left with my finger and it came off!! so got the water hose and a rag and washed the rest out!! COOL! 2nd thing i discovered was the ultra hi temps i got with the leaf blower melted the bottom of my drum in couple places. Several nice holes!

Undaunted...off to home depot for required parts and hardware. Following Norcos KISS diagram and pics, me and buddly put it together in an hour or so...no welding. Fire basket is (was) a painted wire basket from home depot. burned it off by completely filling with self start charcoal and letting it burn out. the wire survived the fire and if there was anything harmful about it its gone now!!

SO time to season and test run!!! Half a bag of unlit king blue and about 2 thirds a chimney ashed over. cruised up to 450 with kettle lid on and all four holes open. Closed off 2 holes and other 2 other shut down about 2/3rds. using sheet magnets.
When it cooled down some, threw on some leg quarters and uncle johns mild. Turned out great!!! crispy skin. One friend said it was like eating fried chicken!!!
Today....2 sides of spares!! Again...following the KISS theory, rubbed them down with cavenders and when the drum was stable at about 275 i threw them on and played with the air holes a bit and went inside for a couple beers. checked 1 hour later and steady @250. didnt open lid.
@2 hours i turned them over. Beautiful!! Gave the drum a shake (lid on) to settle ashes and back inside for a couple more beers!!
@4hrs gave them the bend test and called them done.

Results = 2 sides of the best spare ribs i have ever eat!! Great bark on the outside....but even the parts that r usually chewy under the bark were moist and tender!! Smeared cattlemens carolina tangy sauce on a slice of white bread...put a rib in it and jimminy!!! Heaven.
So once again....thanks Norco, bigmista and every body else who posted their ideas and designs.
i Do solemly swear to read the remaining 400+ pages. To many great ideas not to!
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Unread 11-13-2011, 09:18 PM   #8876
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Default Where to place the thermo

Putting the finishing touches on my UDS, and was wondering where is a good place to locate the thermometer.
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Unread 11-13-2011, 09:31 PM   #8877
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barbqrken View Post
Putting the finishing touches on my UDS, and was wondering where is a good place to locate the thermometer.
What kind of thermometer? If using the turkey thermo option I would have a port just under each rack so you can monitor temps at the different levels. If just doing one side mounted thermo then it depends. Because it is more permanent, you also need to describe the rest of your setup. I would say to mount it just under the lowest rack as a safe place.
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Unread 11-14-2011, 04:33 AM   #8878
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I have 2 digital probes on mine, 1 for each grate level or 1 in the center and 1 at the edge when i only use 1 grate. The probe wires both run through the same small hole located between the 2 grate levels. I drilled a hole through a small block of wood which the probe goes through and then it just rests on the grate.
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Unread 11-15-2011, 04:44 PM   #8879
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spareheat View Post
From: coewar

NOW FOR SOMETHING CHALLENGING.

I did a smoke last week for a shelter in town, as mostly the whole state was out of power due to the big snow storm we got. I usually use plain charcoal briquettes but this time I had some bags of hardwood lump coals. I love using it for grilling, but wasn't sure about smoking. So I tried it. After 1 hour, I really didn't like the smell coming out of the smoker.. ashtray-like. To avoid the food getting its own ashtray taste, I wrapped the 4 pork butts I was doing (2 smokers) in foil and left it over night. Early the next morning, all the coals had just about gone out, and the temperature was dropping. So I purchased some regular briquettes and saved the rest of the cook until ready. The meat was very tender (all wrapped up) and tasted fine with some brown sugar added, though it had a slight ashtray smell.

So the question.. how would you smoke with the hardwood lump coals? The 2 problems I saw was the nasty smell of it smoldering, and very difficult heat control and length. It was considerably hotter in the beginning, and it all burnt out by the next morning. I frequently do smokes overnight with plain charcoal briquettes without any issues.


And finally, say there is a technique to doing this with hardwood lump coals. Is there a reason to bother with it? I merely HAD them so wanted to use them, but wouldn't buy them for smoking. Definitely for grilling though!

I built my first drum a few weeks ago as well I have just started using lump. I have been fighting bad smoke and temp swings everytime I use the drum. I read this yesturday, I today I did a test burn with only bricketts. WOW. FINNALLY thin blue smoke and stable temps I was about to give my drum away, but I think I'll keep it a little longer now. No more lump in my drum. Thanks[/QUOTE]


Not sure why that happened? I exclusively use Royal Oak lump in my drums and grills for the last 5 years and never have any issue with temps of over-smudging. I've run it for 16 hours and still had quite a bit of charcoal left. Not much ash since there's no filler or coal in it either.
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Unread 11-16-2011, 08:06 AM   #8880
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bubblehead View Post
Not sure why that happened? I exclusively use Royal Oak lump in my drums and grills for the last 5 years and never have any issue with temps of over-smudging. I've run it for 16 hours and still had quite a bit of charcoal left. Not much ash since there's no filler or coal in it either.
So please explain your process. When do you light it? How long do you let it burn before putting into the smoker? How much of it? Do you have un-lit coals in the drum? Do you add other wood for flavoring? Do other people like the taste of the food you cook in there?

Have you ever tried using just plain charcoal briquettes?
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