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Unread 07-29-2011, 11:36 PM   #1
enasnidx
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Default My UDS charcoal basket "breakthrough"

Since I've finally finished my UDS, I got the chance to test my theory for an "O" shaped fire basket (as mentioned in the mother thread: http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/sh...23436&page=534). I put a small roll of expanded steel in the middle of my basket. Did a top-down Minion Method burn. I know I'm not the first to try this. In fact, it may not even be the best method, but it seemed to pass the test (inspired by the "diffuser throwdown" http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/sh...ad.php?t=96581). I did biscuits today as I seasoned my drum to see how even the heat dispersed without using a diffuser. My goal was to have even heat without burning up fuel so fast like many do with a diffuser. The results:

Biscuits spread out to check for even heat

The bottoms show that the middle was a little hotter, but much more even than without the middle ring


This is after the biscuits had been in for about 30 min. as the temp climbed from 225 to 350. The roll of steel in the middle was really easy as I had a small piece of scrap that I just wire tied together and set in the basket.
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Unread 07-29-2011, 11:41 PM   #2
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I didn't know about that! I finished a UDS a few weeks ago and have noticed temp variations. That looks like a cool idea - I'm gonna try it! Thanks for posting. BTW I've done the biscuit test in my offset. One thing I learned is biscuits from a smoker taste like chit.
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Unread 07-30-2011, 12:01 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gtr View Post
BTW I've done the biscuit test in my offset. One thing I learned is biscuits from a smoker taste like chit.
Sooooo true. I let my 6 yr. old have one of the biscuits for a bedtime snack...
Let's just say they didn't pass his test. I wish I would have gotten a picture of the look on his face as he bit it and promptly threw it away.
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Unread 07-30-2011, 01:07 AM   #4
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Hmmmm...I'm building a UDS for one of my sons right now. I ran across this idea as I was reading thru the UDS thread B4 starting my build and I certainly thought the idea has merit. After seeing your biscuit test I just mite give this
charcoal basket doughnut a try myself. After seeing the crap that Lowes sells for expanded wire I went by the local steel supply today and picked up 2 pieces (12"x 96") of 3/4" 9-11 for 12 dollars apiece so I have plenty to work with. Thanks for the post!
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Unread 07-30-2011, 01:27 AM   #5
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There are many good ideas on the Fire Basket setup. One thing I have learned is the heat will take the path of least resistance. Meaning that the exhaust will effect the heat also.
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Unread 07-30-2011, 10:49 AM   #6
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Nice set up!!

I did similar experiments this week by placing an inverted SS bowl in the middle of the charcoal basket and pouring coals over that. My original intention was to use less charcoal for a small cook but that also seemed to tame all that direct heat at the center of the cooking grate.


Quote:
Originally Posted by {Midnight ☼ Smoke} View Post
One thing I have learned is the heat will take the path of least resistance. Meaning that the exhaust will effect the heat also.
That's true. If I can find another spare lid I'd like to experiment by drilling smaller exhaust vent holes around the perimeter of the lid and not use the daisy wheel. Perhaps the ventless loose fitting lids on ECB's are not a bad design after all....:)))
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Unread 07-30-2011, 01:44 PM   #7
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Not such a bad dispersion of heat if you ask me. I wonder if it would be even more evenly spread with a diffuser on top of all that?
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Unread 07-30-2011, 01:55 PM   #8
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How did you light it? On one side, multiple sides?
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Unread 07-30-2011, 05:17 PM   #9
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"Just what you need, something else to build or modify!!"...My wife after I told her about this mod!!

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Unread 07-30-2011, 07:22 PM   #10
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Interesting idea. However, how did you spread the lit coals? More importantly, if you spread out lit coals in the exact same way without the center spacer would it not function the same? Also, how long was the UDS running before you put on the biscuits? I can see the coals burning nice and spread out at first but usually in a long burn the fire tends to wander. Definitely keep us updated on how this works out for you.
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Unread 07-30-2011, 10:58 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colonel00 View Post
Interesting idea. However, how did you spread the lit coals?
I put about a dozen lit coals on top. There were essentially three groups of 4 coals spaced out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by colonel00 View Post
More importantly, if you spread out lit coals in the exact same way without the center spacer would it not function the same?
I think it would for a short period of time. However, once the unlit coals start to burn, the center will start to get even hotter.
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Also, how long was the UDS running before you put on the biscuits? I can see the coals burning nice and spread out at first but usually in a long burn the fire tends to wander. Definitely keep us updated on how this works out for you.
The barrel was slow to get up to temp (I suspect because the lit coals were so spread out). I had it burn for about an hour before it reached 225. Then I put the biscuits on for about 30 to 45 min. With three intakes open, the temp slowly climbed up to 275. During the last 10 min. the temp spiked to 350 (I'm guessing the fire had spread a bit more by then).

My next attempt will probably be with about 15-18 lit coals. I think this will help get the barrel up to temp faster and maybe avoid the sharp jump in temp. I'm doing two butts tomorrow morning so I will let you know!
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Unread 07-30-2011, 11:02 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigabyte View Post
Not such a bad dispersion of heat if you ask me. I wonder if it would be even more evenly spread with a diffuser on top of all that?
It probably would, but again, my goal was to avoid a diffuser as I've heard the barrel burns through a lot more fuel.
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Unread 08-02-2011, 08:55 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by enasnidx View Post
It probably would, but again, my goal was to avoid a diffuser as I've heard the barrel burns through a lot more fuel.
It does burn more fuel, it's only logical that it does. I'm not sure I'd call it "a lot more fuel." Whether you're willing to sacrifice burning more fuel to even out the heat is a situational decision.

It's easy to comprehend that it would take less fuel to heat a 9" diameter circle to 250 deg than it would to heat an 18" or even a 22" diameter circle to 250 degrees. There is more area to heat up with the larger circles.

Do you want a hot, small circle to cook in or do you want a large circle to cook in? The answer depends on what you're cooking.

If you're only cooking a single butt or a couple of fatties or some item that would basically fit into the smaller area, having no diffuser would be the most efficient way to go.

If you're cooking a large assortment of items such as 50 chicken wings, or 4 racks of ribs it could be easier to spread out your heat and bite the more fuel bullet, unless you want to keep rotating your items.

Mutiple diffusers seem the best option for me. Right now I have a 10" diameter diffuser and a 16" diffuser. The amount of food I'm cooking will decide which diffuser I choose. The larger diffuser will create a larger area with the even temperature cooking area and will require more fuel to keep that larger area hot.

Having the grate down below that allows the option of a diffuser of choice or even no diffuser seems best to me. Personally I'd prefer to not have to rotate the food I'm cooking. I prefer to keep the lid on and prevent temp changes.
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Unread 08-02-2011, 09:10 AM   #14
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C'mon, it's barbecue... a UDS, it's the simplicity that makes it great. Do we really need to over analyze every aspect of it?
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Unread 08-02-2011, 09:21 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by expatpig View Post
C'mon, it's barbecue... a UDS, it's the simplicity that makes it great. Do we really need to over analyze every aspect of it?
I respect your opinion.


In my opinion what makes it great is knowing I built it with minimal resources, it's efficiency and most of all, the quality of the food.

One man's "over analyze" is another man's toy.
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