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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 12-11-2011, 01:43 PM   #1
Steelers252006
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Default Went with the MasterForge Water Smoker

and a charcoal chimney from Lowe's for my brother's "starter" smoker for Xmas. I think he'll like it, and it got very good reviews. If he uses it and appreciates the art of barbeque grilling, then I'll upgrade him next year to the WSM and will let him know so. However, for now I do have a a few questions. What are some mods that can be done on this unit in order to control the air intake in order to get better temp control? And can lump be used efficiently on this type of unit, or is it better to go with the briquettes (I have a Primo Oval XL).

Also, I'm very, very interested in a second smoker, the UDS type. If I want to go the route of buying one and not making my own, what is the best way to go for the money? I was looking at the Big Drum Smokers, but a pretty drastic recent price increase has swayed me. What are some other good companies to look at who make a pretty good UDS? Thanks, fellows.
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Unread 12-11-2011, 01:56 PM   #2
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Pics! Pics! Pics!
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Unread 12-11-2011, 03:20 PM   #3
Steelers252006
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Pics! Pics! Pics!
Pics of what??
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Unread 12-11-2011, 03:21 PM   #4
Steelers252006
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Also, I'm sure there are quite a few plans I can find by searching on-line. Will a place like Lowe's have everything I'd need to build my own UDS including the drums??
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Unread 12-11-2011, 03:30 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steelers252006 View Post
Also, I'm sure there are quite a few plans I can find by searching on-line. Will a place like Lowe's have everything I'd need to build my own UDS including the drums??
Lowes will have pretty much everything you'll need except for the drum, and maybe a dome lid.
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Unread 12-11-2011, 03:31 PM   #6
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Pics of what??
The masterforge. I want to see!
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Unread 12-11-2011, 03:56 PM   #7
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Is this the one you got for him?

http://www.lowes.com/pd_332738-42600...7C1&facetInfo=

If so, it appears from the reviews that a charcoal pan mod is in order. It looks like some people put a Weber charcoal grate in the pan and put feet on the pan to raise it up. If he uses Kingsford briquettes with the stock, unmodified pan, it will likely clog with ash. The above mod will help that. If it was me, I would make an expanded metal charcoal basket for it rather than modding the pan.
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Unread 12-11-2011, 05:36 PM   #8
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It's a spitting image of a Brinkmann Gourmet. Search for ECB Gourmet mods, a fire basket mod (mini uds style) is a huge plus in a cooker like that.

A pic of my ECB Gourmet coal basket:



Modding the intake to be fully adjustable instead of always wide open is another huge step forward. Next is creating exhaust in the lid, something like this:

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Unread 12-11-2011, 08:10 PM   #9
Steelers252006
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How exactly do you mod the bottom intake on this? Also, what is that that you have on the lid to cover the top air holes you drilled?
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Unread 12-12-2011, 06:53 AM   #10
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That's just a chunk of pecan wood that I use to close off the exhaust when I'm done cooking. As for the intake regulation, I used a piece of 1/16" aluminum flat bar bolted to the bottom to make a moveable intake adjuster:



It slides back and forth to adjust intake from closed to wide open. There are marks on the side of bottom to let you know how open the intake is.
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Unread 12-12-2011, 09:00 AM   #11
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I bought one of these for our Son-in-Law. The only mod we did was a piece of flat metal that allowed us to regulate the intake from completely closed to completely open like the pic above^^^. It really works well for the price. Cheers!!!
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Unread 12-12-2011, 10:32 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by El Ropo View Post
It's a spitting image of a Brinkmann Gourmet. Search for ECB Gourmet mods, a fire basket mod (mini uds style) is a huge plus in a cooker like that.

A pic of my ECB Gourmet coal basket:



Modding the intake to be fully adjustable instead of always wide open is another huge step forward. Next is creating exhaust in the lid, something like this:

One more question. What exactly is the material and where did you purchase it for the charcoal cage that you have on the grate?
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Unread 12-12-2011, 10:43 AM   #13
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Expanded metal, I used the thinner ga stuff available at Lowes for that basket. The metal is wrapped around a 15" weber charcoal grate to form the "basket" The whole assembly rests on 3 stainless bolts ~2" above bottom of charcoal pan to allow for lots of ash buildup without choking the fire down.

I also drilled a **** load of holes in the charcoal pan for better air flow to the coals:



With all those mods done, that cooker will keep up with a WSM any day. The only disadvantage is the smaller diameter of ~15". It would be tough to fit a full sized brisket packer in there, but 2-4 pork butts at a time is easy. I've had it run for 14 hours on one basket of coals too.
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Unread 12-12-2011, 01:30 PM   #14
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Wow, El Roppo!

That makes me think it would be easier, and maybe cheaper, to hack a Brinkaman than to build an UDS..??

Do you use the watter pan in it when you smoke?

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Unread 12-12-2011, 01:37 PM   #15
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i always see a ton of UDS for sale on craigslist
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