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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 01-11-2012, 05:53 PM   #9121
NHRA1877
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I am almost done with my first UDS and ran into an issue. My drum is 33" tall, my basket it 17 inch around and 12 inches tall. The bottom is a half inch off the ground aprox, then have a pizza pan as an ash catcher and the bottom of the basket is 1" off the ash pan. My problem is that I started the drum off directions from another site and made my grate 8" from the top of the drum. I have 22 inches from the. Bottom of the pan to the grate, is this going to be an issue or will it be ok?
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Unread 01-11-2012, 06:49 PM   #9122
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Default First time UDS, need help!

I just finished my first build of an UDS thanks the the help I got from this thread. It was fun to build and I'm excited to get it up and running. I did my first initial burn and and seasoned it without any incident. When I started my first cook it seemed to be going well, but the results were horrbile. I ended up smoking a pork butt, got it up to temp, took it in the house to pull it and I wanted to cry. It was a big rubber band with a very wet and soggy bark. I used the same rub and temps and process as when I smoke on my gas grill. When I do it on my gas grill it comes out with a perfect crunchy bark, with the amazingy tender and moist interior. I figured the UDS would be a heck of a lot easier to control temps and produce a perfect butt. I tried again the next day with slightly different results. I ended up smoking it on the UDS until it hit 150 and then I wrapped it in foil and finished it in my oven. When it got up to temp I pulled it and it was so tender your grandma could have taken her dentures out to eat it. When I had it on the UDS temps were all over. At one time they dropped down to 175 and others went as high as 380. That was from me adjusting 1 of the 2 ball valves very slightly. People seem to have good luck and great results, but I'm floundering. Any advice or tips to help a noobie?
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Unread 01-11-2012, 07:13 PM   #9123
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1877 I'd use it that way. So smoke something.
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Unread 01-11-2012, 07:22 PM   #9124
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Whitelightnin in the 1st 30 min did u adjust the temp to your preference and try to lock it in? How about a picture of your UDS? The pict might give us more info to help .
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Unread 01-11-2012, 07:33 PM   #9125
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In the process of uploading picture. I have three holes in the bottom of the drum for air. I have two 3/4 holes, one with a nipple and one with a ball valve. The third is 2 inch with a 18 inch riser and a ball valve. I'm currently using a kingsford kettle lid and the ventilation I have on top is the circle vent that comes standard with the lid. I tried in vain to set the temps. I had it at a steady 235 when I threw the butt on, but it spiked and fell so much that I never really got it to stabilize again.
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Unread 01-11-2012, 07:51 PM   #9126
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I have a line on any kind of barrel i want. Stainless, Steel, unlined, unpainted, New or refurbished, tighthead or openhead. Ive read about 5500 of the post on this thread, and have my idea pretty much mapped out.

I just want to clarify.

1.) If i want to use a webber lid, i need to get a tighhead/sealed barrel and cut on the inside of the lip on the top. Then the 22.5 will sit on the rim by flattening the lids lip then reshaping it to fit the diameter of the rim.

2.) If i use the openhead, i remove the sealing ring, throw it away, remove the little gasket. Then the orignal lid will fit on it fine without modification, or i can flip the openhead cut the bottom lip off and the webber 22.5 lid will fit without modification.

This said... it would be best for me to get a barrel with a removable lid? I can also get the lid that is completely flat so i can put holes in any configuration i want.

Am i leaving anything out on my first 2 paragraphs?
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Unread 01-11-2012, 08:23 PM   #9127
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NHRA1877 View Post
I am almost done with my first UDS and ran into an issue. My drum is 33" tall, my basket it 17 inch around and 12 inches tall. The bottom is a half inch off the ground aprox, then have a pizza pan as an ash catcher and the bottom of the basket is 1" off the ash pan. My problem is that I started the drum off directions from another site and made my grate 8" from the top of the drum. I have 22 inches from the. Bottom of the pan to the grate, is this going to be an issue or will it be ok?
It will cook just fine.
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Unread 01-11-2012, 09:10 PM   #9128
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffboyette View Post
I have a line on any kind of barrel i want. Stainless, Steel, unlined, unpainted, New or refurbished, tighthead or openhead. Ive read about 5500 of the post on this thread, and have my idea pretty much mapped out.

I just want to clarify.

1.) If i want to use a webber lid, i need to get a tighhead/sealed barrel and cut on the inside of the lip on the top. Then the 22.5 will sit on the rim by flattening the lids lip then reshaping it to fit the diameter of the rim.

2.) If i use the openhead, i remove the sealing ring, throw it away, remove the little gasket. Then the orignal lid will fit on it fine without modification, or i can flip the openhead cut the bottom lip off and the webber 22.5 lid will fit without modification.

This said... it would be best for me to get a barrel with a removable lid? I can also get the lid that is completely flat so i can put holes in any configuration i want.

Am i leaving anything out on my first 2 paragraphs?
The only thing I would say is to take the Weber lid with you so you can choose the perfect barrel for the lid you have. It is just so much easier to do it that way.These barrels vary SO much. When I did my Bears build I took the lid and still had to goto a few different barrel companies to find a suitable drum.And even then we tried many because some were so tight once the lid went on you couldn't get it off. Then we also had to try each drum top and bottom as well. Ended up with a closed head that I did like your #1. Great thing is the lid fit without ANY mods or clamps needed at all. Fits just like it did on the Weber it came off. So take the lid with you.

I wouldn't worry so much about sealed or unsealed with a Weber lid. Takes about 1-2 minutes to get it cut open with a jigsaw. Good fit and unlined is what I would shoot for.

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Unread 01-11-2012, 10:33 PM   #9129
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NHRA that is not too different from mine. Hey, the average drum is only so tall!

My UDS works great.

now go get it dirty!!
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Unread 01-12-2012, 02:12 AM   #9130
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Dont know if this has been posted but here you are.

When you do the mod with 12 inch fire basket, 3 inches from the bottom of expanded metal put the charcoal grate. That way you can flip the basket and hang it on u bolts on the top of your drum to use it as a grill.

You then buy this 22.5 inch cast iron grate to get the good sear marks. Pricey for what it is, but a good solution.

Amazon.com: Cast Iron Grate, Pre Seasoned, Non Stick Cooking Surface, Modular Fits 22.5" Grills: Patio, Lawn & Garden@@AMEPARAM@@http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51IhNzBkTML.@@AMEPARAM@@51IhNzBkTML
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Unread 01-12-2012, 05:22 AM   #9131
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Just wanted to say "HELLO" from across the pond...

Recently got the Q bug and have just scrounged my first drum - UDS here we go!!!

Just wished to thank you all, for the wealth of infomation posted.

Seared Cheers !!!

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Unread 01-12-2012, 07:42 AM   #9132
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whitelightnin92 View Post
I just finished my first build of an UDS thanks the the help I got from this thread. It was fun to build and I'm excited to get it up and running. I did my first initial burn and and seasoned it without any incident. When I started my first cook it seemed to be going well, but the results were horrbile. I ended up smoking a pork butt, got it up to temp, took it in the house to pull it and I wanted to cry. It was a big rubber band with a very wet and soggy bark. I used the same rub and temps and process as when I smoke on my gas grill. When I do it on my gas grill it comes out with a perfect crunchy bark, with the amazingy tender and moist interior. I figured the UDS would be a heck of a lot easier to control temps and produce a perfect butt. I tried again the next day with slightly different results. I ended up smoking it on the UDS until it hit 150 and then I wrapped it in foil and finished it in my oven. When it got up to temp I pulled it and it was so tender your grandma could have taken her dentures out to eat it. When I had it on the UDS temps were all over. At one time they dropped down to 175 and others went as high as 380. That was from me adjusting 1 of the 2 ball valves very slightly. People seem to have good luck and great results, but I'm floundering. Any advice or tips to help a noobie?
I know the feeling of a cook going bad. Don't let that stop you from trying, once you get the hang of it the reward will be priceless.

Since you're having issues, start with smoking uncooked bratwurst. About 2 hours and use a meat probe to verify it's cooked enough but these are easy to do.

For the pork butt, first of all you have to make sure your smoker (without any food in it) can hold ~225 for 8+ hours with minimal attention. You must start with your firebasket filled with like 1/3 of 1/2 a bag of unlit coals. Then you pour a 1/3 chimney full of fully lit coals (no more flames, just white) on top in the middle. From my similar temperature experience, chances are your airflow is not correct. You need to have about 3.14 square inches of exhaust. Search for "CircleAreaCalculator" which is an XLS I posted on here, or just find and use the formula. This area comes most easily by the typical 2 inch hole in the lids. Leave it fully opened. If using Weber lid, leave that fully opened.
Your intakes, if you have three 3/4 inch holes for the air to pass through, would typically be half way open all around, or like 1 fully open, 1 closed, and 1 half way opened.

FIREBASKET: Make sure it's got some breathing room. Someone mentioned on this page they have 1/2 inch clearance from the ground. That's likely not enough. You should have at least 2 inches or the ash will snuff it out.

The pork itself needs to smoke inside there without any wrapping until the meat hits 190-200 degrees. And it's OK to have the smoker hit 250, pork is very forgiving. So chances are it did not cook well enough.

At first my UDS did not hold temps well, and once I increased the exhaust magically it did. :) For about a year now I can leave my smokers over night and have a fairly confident feeling that in the morning the temp will be where I need it. A few times I woke up to the gauge reading: 225 :)
I've made several UDS's and reconfigured them multiple times with all kinds of intake and exhaust methods. As long as I maintain the correct ratio of intake and exhaust circular area it's usually good enough to cook in. But I have learned that different configurations of that effect things like amount of fuel used, amount of smoke produced, amount of moisture inside.
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Unread 01-12-2012, 07:49 AM   #9133
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If you go the closed head drum and Weber lid route, keep in mind that you can grind almost 1/8" off the outside of the top bead without compromising the structural integrity of the drum. That way, you may not need to flatten the lip of the lid and re-shape it.

If you go the open head route, keep the locking ring to ensure a tight seal and to keep Lookie Loo out. Get the kind with the 2" hole and just put a 6" pipe nipple in the hole. In any case, stainless is definitely preferred.

I have found the Sears and KMart kettle lids to be almost identical in diameter to the Weber. The WalMart and Lowe's lids are too small and the vents are awful. Haven't checked the Home Depot version yet.

I got one of the cast iron grates for Christmas. Awesome product! Keeps me from having to "steal" the grate from my Stok Tower grill when I want to sear something.
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Unread 01-12-2012, 08:44 AM   #9134
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whitelightnin92 View Post
In the process of uploading picture. I have three holes in the bottom of the drum for air. I have two 3/4 holes, one with a nipple and one with a ball valve. The third is 2 inch with a 18 inch riser and a ball valve. I'm currently using a kingsford kettle lid and the ventilation I have on top is the circle vent that comes standard with the lid. I tried in vain to set the temps. I had it at a steady 235 when I threw the butt on, but it spiked and fell so much that I never really got it to stabilize again.
Am I reading this correctly? You have a one 2" intake with ball valve control and two 3/4" intakes, one capped and the other with ball valve control? If this is correct, the only possible problem I see is if you are trying to control the temps with the 2" ball valve, there is a lot of room for error. I would close the 2" ball valve completely and try to control temps with the 3/4" ball valve. Keep the vents on your lid wide open. If you want to cook hot and fast, open that 2" up and see what happens.

I have four 3/4" holes in the bottom of my smoker, 3 capped and one with a ball valve. My exhaust is a 2" x 8" nipple, no damper. I can hold temps as low as 215 and as high as 410 or better as my digital thermometer only goes to 410. I hope this helps.
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Unread 01-12-2012, 09:07 AM   #9135
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whitelightnin92 View Post
In the process of uploading picture. I have three holes in the bottom of the drum for air. I have two 3/4 holes, one with a nipple and one with a ball valve. The third is 2 inch with a 18 inch riser and a ball valve. I'm currently using a kingsford kettle lid and the ventilation I have on top is the circle vent that comes standard with the lid. I tried in vain to set the temps. I had it at a steady 235 when I threw the butt on, but it spiked and fell so much that I never really got it to stabilize again.
Any particular reason for the 2" ball valve ? Seems like it would be harder to control air inlet with a valve that big. Try shutting it off and use the 3/4" for air inlet control. I have the KISS UDS with 3 ea 3/4" nipples and a ball valve on 1 and have no problems maintaing temp. Don't give up on the UDS.
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