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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 04-02-2013, 09:08 PM   #16
jmoney7269
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Just BS View Post
I think we all have the same frustrations when we stepped into the world of BBQ'ing on the UDS. Shoot. I used to walk around with the thermo reciever and stare at it every 30 seconds... now I leave it on the counter and check on it every now and again, but the difference between 250 and 262 ain't worth stressing over. Besides it'll be 247 in a bit anyways.

But I digress. Have you cooked with a cap off and your ball valve closed yet? I'm running 3/4" intakes, so we're a bit different, but once I figured out what my UDS's temp was with a constant intake, it help me better understand how to control the ball valve. NOTE: Once you add an exhaust your temps will increase.

Anyways, your food looks good. Enjoy it! BBQ, like life, is more about the journey than it is the destination.
Good stuff +1
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Unread 04-02-2013, 09:12 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Qbert60 View Post
When I fire up my UDS, I get the temp up to about 300*, then start closing the inlets until I get to 250* - 275*. It's easier to get temp back down then it is to get it up.
I have never ever heard anyone on this forum make that statement. Catching the temp on the way up on a UDS is recommended and works.
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Unread 04-02-2013, 10:32 PM   #18
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Thanks for all the awesome comments and advice.

To answer the questions posed:
I'm cooking on Kingsford Blue. I have used lump before in my offset and like it, but think that while learning how my new baby runs, I'll be sticking with it for consistency's sake.

The temperature variations I was getting were between 250-315 in the span of 15 mins, and 325-385 in 20 mins or so. I wasn't happy with that. I think I know why now though...

Long term I'm primarily going to be trying to cruise around 225. I built this UDS mostly with dreams of delicious shoulders dancing through my head. They were just a royal pain to do on my silver smoker, though I've done it for years. Usually do whole hogs on rebar over makeshift cinder block pits with roofing metal as a lid... So don't get me wrong, this is a major improvement I think I'm going to keep cooking the chickens on my offset in the long run, but I digress.


So I went to the local hardware store tonight and picked up some 2 inch pipe and devised an experiment.
First I added a smokestack: 12" of 2" pipe. I know this is probably too long, but my plan was to start long and just shorten as necessary.
Then I lit 12 briquettes of Kingsford blue, put in about 8 pounds more into my basket, a few lumps of hickory and then added the lit coals to the center of the basket. I got out a pen and paper and began to systematically record the temp and valve settings at 10 minute intervals. Into the drum the basket then went with one intake uncapped and the ball valve open. I capped at 200, then throttled it back to 1/2 on the ball valve at 200. It climbed to 225 and dropped to 213, where it stayed rock solid for 30 mins. What I learned was that with some very fine adjustments between 75% open on the ball valve and 90% will vary my temp from 215-240, but it seems to be leveling out, and is certainly much easier to control. I've been holding between 220-230 for two hours now though, with only extremely small adjustments to the valve. I'm going to just let it go all night at this point and see where I am first thing in the AM.

What I've learned:
1. Patience is key- I think I was overreacting to changes
2. The chimney seems to help a lot. I mean it was dramatic. I may shorten it from 12 inches, many people recommend shorter, but I may just roll with this, it seems to work
3. There's a sweet spot between 75% and 90% on the ball valve, the temp will vary between 210 at 75% and 250 at 90%. Extremely small adjustments in there let me dial the temp in.
4. The brethren are AWESOME. Thanks for all your input. And to think I've been doing this alone for all these years...
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Unread 04-02-2013, 10:39 PM   #19
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Also after reading back over some of the other earlier comments, I found that adding the stack pretty much eliminated any of the remaining wisps of smoke that came from around the rim of the lid. Better draft I suppose.

JustBS:
I will definitely try out the "1 cap off- see where it lands" experiment. I think it would be good to know "terminal velocity" with one open cap. I agree that it would be good to know a "baseline" of sorts.
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Unread 04-02-2013, 10:44 PM   #20
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You are right that a little tweak of the ball valve can make a huge difference. I don't go to bed until I have it dialed in. If you don't pop the lid every 20 minutes these drums have a temp that they want to run at. Mine is about 250 but I have made others that seem to prefer 220 or 275. Glad you worked that out about the chimney.
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Unread 04-03-2013, 07:23 AM   #21
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Update on progress:

Got it leveled out to around 225 before going to bed last night, and this morning, woke up to find it chugging along at 180- not bad! A shake of the drum to settle some ash and a tiny bump of the valve had it back up to 225 in a few mins. Best of all, barely any of the coal has been burned! I'm going to let it go all day while I'm at work and see how it is this evening. Thanks again everyone.

One more thing- there was about 1/4 inch of water in the bottom of the drum after running all night, I'm assuming it's condensation from the intake of our very humid coastal air?
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Unread 04-03-2013, 08:34 AM   #22
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I put an Auber on mine, but playing with it au naturale I came to the conclusion that a "plain" opening, just the pipe nipple with a magnet covering part of it is a LOT easier to tune with than the ball valve for some reason. That could just have been wind from one direction the days I fiddled with it too.

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Unread 04-03-2013, 11:37 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Meat Burner View Post
I have never ever heard anyone on this forum make that statement. Catching the temp on the way up on a UDS is recommended and works.
If you "Try" to catch the temp coming up, I believe you have better chance of dropping it to fast. I do the same thing with my offset. Let the temp get to 350* then close the inlets/exhaust to dial it in. Seems logical to me.
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Unread 04-08-2013, 12:17 AM   #24
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So the addition of the smokestack made a big difference for me with the wind doing a shoulder today. I got a 12 inch piece of pipe and left it 12 inches, figured I could shorten it as needed to tune it in. But it got me thinking, is there any reason I should even shorten it? What would the rationale be for me to take it down to, say, 8 inches?
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Unread 04-08-2013, 10:53 AM   #25
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The only thing I would add is to try to keep the open intake out of the wind. I position my valve, down wind. The wind can cause your temps to go up and down.
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Unread 05-27-2013, 06:01 PM   #26
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Interesting thread with some really good information - thanks everyone. I did my first ever cook yesterday and had the roller-coaster of temperatures as I played with the various inlets (2 x 3/4" with nipples and 1 x 1.5" ball valve) and also the outlets (1 x 2" standard 'hole', 3 x 3/4" with caps). I am not using an accurate thermometer I don't think, but could see that small changes take a while to kick-in. That said, I found that having 1 of the 3/4" inlets open, one capped and the ball valve about 75% open down below, and everything except the 2" hole capped up top, gave me a steady temp of around 230F once I made a chimney change:

I placed one of these over the 2" hole and swiveled it around to see how it liked to face. With this facing into the breeze, the temperatures rose (I think I was forcing more air in?) and down if I had the breeze blowing over it (sucking more of the hotel air out?) but it certainly helped when facing directly away from the direction of the breeze. The nice thing about this quick and dirty fix is that it can be quickly adjusted as and when the breeze changes - I just need to build a wind-sock for my BBQ area now!

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Unread 05-27-2013, 06:12 PM   #27
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Make a smaller diameter fire basket if you want lower temps.
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