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Old 03-23-2013, 11:03 AM   #1
Full Fledged Farker

Join Date: 06-09-10
Location: Oak Forest, IL
Default Sealing the Lid on a UDS

Fellow Drumheads,
I see a lot of guys sealing the lids to their UDS's to make an airtight seal. I'm not sure why this is important. Why does it matter if the air leaks through small gaps rather than the large holes that you've drilled in the lid? This applies to those of us using Weber lids as well. The gaps are above (although slightly) above the cooking grate and far away from the combustion area. So what's the difference if the exhaust comes out the side or through the exhaust?

The only benefit I see is that the air-tight seal helps distinguish the fire after the cook is through.
Co-Pitmaster of Hatfield and McCoy Barbecue
Pitmaster of South Side Pit Men

UDS's, Multiple Weber Grills
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Old 03-23-2013, 11:09 AM   #2
is One Chatty Farker
Join Date: 08-24-08
Location: Los Angeles

My lid is not air tight and my coals snuff out completely when I close the vents. As you say otherwise, I don't think it makes a difference.
....UDS....Mini-WSM....Midi-WSM....Mod-ECB....22.5-OTG....34"wood fired pizza oven....
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Old 03-23-2013, 11:18 AM   #3
somebody shut me the fark up.
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Join Date: 04-02-07
Location: Warren, Vermont

If it is not excessive leakage it won't make much difference to the cooking; however, it may make a big difference to dripping on the outside of the drum.
Jim - Another transplanted Texan

Large and Medium Big Green Eggs , Black 18.5" WSM, Blue Weber Performer - Stainless, Green Weber OTG Kettle , Brinkmann SnP Pro, and a Stainless UDS. One retired Portable Kitchen grill.

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Old 03-23-2013, 12:33 PM   #4
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Join Date: 02-16-12
Location: Memphis Tenn.

Mine doesn't seal great, works fine.
2 UDS's /Backwoods Fatboy/ Orion cooker/ 18.5 WSM/ Weber kettle / Cowboy grill
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Old 03-23-2013, 02:02 PM   #5
retired trucker
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Join Date: 09-28-11
Location: Dallas, Georgia

The only problem I can see is the ability to keep your temps constant or at a desired temperature.
Webber 22 1/2 OTG Gold, UDS, rusted out chimney, Red Lavatools Thermowand, Maverick ET 732, 1950 model wife. Walking cane to help me get around.
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Old 03-23-2013, 06:30 PM   #6
is one Smokin' Farker
Join Date: 10-09-07
Location: carthage,mo.

I make sure all my lids seal for two reasons, one to keep moisture from dripping on the powdwer coating and two, Snail a man that's has used these for awhile used to run his lid being propped open for temp regulation. He had no other intake. If you think it won't add air to the fire, try it. Steve.
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Old 03-23-2013, 07:26 PM   #7
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Join Date: 02-27-13
Location: Chesapeake, VA

I haven't cooked on mine yet, but from what I have read is it does help with temp control. I did mine mainly for aesthetics. I think it looks better cooking when all the smoke is coming out of the exhaust and not the lid. JMHO though.

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Old 03-23-2013, 11:29 PM   #8
is One Chatty Farker

Join Date: 08-23-10
Location: Austin Texas
Default Re: Sealing the Lid on a UDS

Fire management helps temp control and snuffin it out, after a lot of cooks you wont have any leaks.

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Old 03-23-2013, 11:57 PM   #9
Murray in N.Z.
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Join Date: 04-13-11
Location: Auckland New Zealand

I aint got any seal on mine apart from a good ol layer of creosote/tar/smoke/liquid rundown whatever it is buildup. Works real good and dies off as soon as shut the air vent. Mind you mine is a real ugly UDS with no paint or nothing so the rundown actually stops it rusting a bit But the Weber lid fits perfect coz I took out a wedge from the drumtop and welded it up real good. I reckon thats the secret, Well actually welded it pretty darned rough and spent some time with a grinder re doing it and making it look good to tell the truth. 1st welding attempt!

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Old 03-24-2013, 10:38 AM   #10
Full Fledged Farker

Join Date: 06-09-10
Location: Oak Forest, IL

Assuming the leaks are much smaller than an exhaust hole, how does it affect temperature management?

For a drum lid, the gap is at the same height as the exhaust hole. I don't think the exhaust cares if it comes out of a hole you drilled or a small gap between the lid and the drum.

For either, I can't see a small gap doing much of anything because the pressure is greater inside the drum pushing the hot air out - not letting cold air. If the gap was located lower than the cooking grate height, it might be different.
Co-Pitmaster of Hatfield and McCoy Barbecue
Pitmaster of South Side Pit Men

UDS's, Multiple Weber Grills
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Old 03-24-2013, 10:42 AM   #11
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Join Date: 04-25-11
Location: Valdese, NC

Mine leaks a bit around the edges with the Weber lid and I don't worry about it. The fire is far enough below that point that those air leaks don't play much of a role in snuffing out the fire. When I close the air intake vents the fire snuffs out rather quickly.
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