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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 04-02-2012, 11:27 PM   #1
Outnumbered
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Default Smoke Ring Missing on UDS???

I just built my first UDS. Love it for the flavor and ease of cooking after using the same stick burner I started on 15 years ago. But, I'm noticing that I'm not getting that good deep, pink smoke ring I'm used to from the stick burner.

I use either Kingsford Blue or The Good One lump charcoal with wood chunks...usually either oak or hickory.

The absence of a ring doesn't bother me personally since I can still taste lots of smoke, but I'm concerned if it might get me marked down in comps.

TIA for any advice.
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Unread 04-03-2012, 12:34 AM   #2
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Try different charcoals, placing cold meat on the smoker and rubbing your meat (with a rub that contains salt) a few hours before cooking.
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Unread 04-03-2012, 01:02 AM   #3
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What is your process, perhaps on the UDS you are cooking a little faster and losing the time it takes for the ring to form
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Unread 04-03-2012, 07:22 AM   #4
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You also do not use as much wood in the UDS to achieve the same amount of smoke. In my stick burner I was using a whole bag of Kinsford plus about 10 sticks of wood to cook for 8 hrs. The UDS is !/2 a pound of kingsford and 4 chunks and it goes for 18 hours... the amount and type of heat are just different,,, I have noticed you need to slow it down alot to get the same results. Also make sure you are getting the sweet blue smoke before you put the meat on.

I just got an Auber controller this last week and it really made a differnce. The fire got hot and clean really fast and I got the meat on in about half the time it was taking with just natural draft.

A Hot, clean fire will give you less of a smokey flavor but a nicer smoke ring flavor combo...

Good luck, experiment with getting that fire clean and sweet blue....
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Unread 04-03-2012, 08:31 AM   #5
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Thanks everyone.

Landarc, I'm definitely cooking faster. I call my UDS a Hillbilly Microwave. I cook a 12# brisket in about 6 hours now. Ribs easily go in 4.

Razrbak, you've had the same experiences I've had with the stick burner vs. UDS. I've tried to slow it down, but my barrel wants to settle in that 275 degree area. Getting it much cooler than that and I seem to cut off all the air and it drops below 200. I've got two air intakes with nipple caps and the ball valve. Maybe I need to try a call valve on all three nipple intakes and experiment with different levels of air on all those?
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Unread 04-03-2012, 11:47 AM   #6
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Try starting off with less lit coals. I only light 10-12 briqs and dump them on top of the unlit. I'm up to 250 within 15 minutes, and completely stable thin blue smoke within 30.

Also try starting your cook off at a lower temp, like 240-250 for first hour to help develop a smoke ring, then open er up to 275-300+ to power through the rest of the cook. Works great for lots of folks.
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Unread 04-03-2012, 11:53 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by El Ropo View Post
Try starting off with less lit coals. I only light 10-12 briqs and dump them on top of the unlit. I'm up to 250 within 15 minutes, and completely stable thin blue smoke within 30.

Also try starting your cook off at a lower temp, like 240-250 for first hour to help develop a smoke ring, then open er up to 275-300+ to power through the rest of the cook. Works great for lots of folks.
That's what I do with my pellet cooker. When you set it above 200 the fire is too clean and not enough smoke. Whenever I cook a brisket or shoulder I cook at 180 for 2 hrs to start, then go to 225 the rest of the way. Results in a good smoky flavor!
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Unread 04-03-2012, 12:23 PM   #8
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How new is your UDS? I built mine last November and i have been cooking on it minimum of twice a week since thanksgiving. After all that time I'm just starting to get a smoke ring. I thought I might have been doing something wrong, but i haven't changed anything and the smoke ring now shows up. Maybe an UDS needs a nice thick season before you start getting a good ring.
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Unread 04-03-2012, 02:48 PM   #9
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Hmm, that's puzzling, I've never failed to get a good smoke ring with the UDS, even the first cook. Which I think was this picnic roast:

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Unread 04-04-2012, 12:49 PM   #10
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Same here. I always get a nice smoke ring, even on my first couple cooks.

I think it has to do with the fire they're building. If you build it too hot, the wood will just burn right up, and will not smolder.

With two caps closed, and the ball valve half open, and a 10-12 briq. start-up, you should get in the 225-250 range easily, with average 60-80F ambient temp outside. If it is getting way hotter than that, you must have a draft leak or an exhaust/intake problem.

I know some people have played with intake setups and exhaust openings, and don't understand how it affects the operation. I did the "standard" 3 - 3/4 pipe nipples with one 3/4" full port valve. And I have a weber lid, with the exhaust baffle fully open. I usually maintain 240-250. I also use a homemade Auber controller now, and with that I can hold anywhere from 200 to 250, within a degree or two, whenever I want. KISS is the way to go. Getting fancy will only cause you headaches.

Lately, I have been cooking my butts at 200F for the first 6-8 hours, and then bumping up to 240 or so for the remainder. I get an intense bark, and a nice smoke ring. Left one on a while back for 16 hours.......talk about tender.



Quote:
Originally Posted by El Ropo View Post
Hmm, that's puzzling, I've never failed to get a good smoke ring with the UDS, even the first cook. Which I think was this picnic roast:

Last edited by smokindave74; 04-04-2012 at 12:52 PM.. Reason: spelling
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Unread 04-04-2012, 01:02 PM   #11
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Some good info in this thread:
http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/sh...rmation&page=2
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Unread 04-04-2012, 01:04 PM   #12
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Start off smoking at 225° for 2 hours then ramp up the temp(I like 350°) to get it done in a record time, also season your meat and put it back in the fridge tell your fire is ready then drop the cold meat on.

http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/sh...d.php?t=129016
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Unread 04-04-2012, 01:09 PM   #13
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One thing I do that some folks don't with their drums or WSMs, is I bury the wood chunks within the unlit coals, then dump lit coals on top. That way the chunks gradually burn up during the length of the cook.

I've read that some folks toss the chunks on top of the lit coals. IMO the chunks would be all burnt up right at the beginning of the cook, not giving much of a chance for ring development. I also never let meat sit at room temp for long before tossing on cooker. The colder the meat, the better chance for the ring to develop.
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Unread 04-04-2012, 02:08 PM   #14
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I've only done one fattie in mine and in 2 hrs turned up 1/4 inch ring. I did what El Ropo mentioned bury 2 chunks and ahd just one on top. Also I found in my seasoning burns that if I lit up a bunch of bricks to start it is hard to back the heat down but by llighting up 3 or 4 then letting the fire breath its way up I got it to hold @225 for about 6 hours on 4lbs of KB.
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Unread 04-04-2012, 04:57 PM   #15
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It sounds to me like the obvious thing I'm doing that several have pointed out is letting it sit at room temp too long. It's not uncommon for me to leave it sit for 1 hour before I put it on the smoker.

Maybe the straight from the fridge to the smoker method is what I need to do.

I do have a 1-1/2" pipe for the exhaust on there. Maybe I need to close that a little more.

I really don't believe there are any leaks in it.
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