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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, equipment and outdoor cookin' . ** Other cooking techniques are welcomed for when your cookin' in the kitchen. Post your hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures, but stay on topic and watch for that hijacking.


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Old 12-27-2011, 12:19 PM   #1
cameraman
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Default UDS -- WSM Compare and contrast

I suppose this is only answerable by the subset of brethren who have cooked on both. So, pros and cons, features and benefits, ins and outs... They appear fundamentally similar to my uneducated eye. What am I missing?
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Old 12-27-2011, 01:32 PM   #2
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Alright, i will be able to tell you a true side by side comparison in a few weeks, as i am building 4 uds right now, but if you want to look at it this way,,,, the 22.5 WSM is what? 400 + dollars and you can build a UDS for waaaaaaay under 100$ with just as much space. Thats all i had to figure out. =) Very similar cooking method (especially if your like me and dont use water in the water pan)
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Old 12-27-2011, 02:10 PM   #3
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When you take the water pan out of the loop, I don't think there is a lot of difference in the two. You will probably find that your UDS will seal up more air tight than the WSM does, but its not a really significant difference IMO. Once my WSM comes up to temp it doesn't appear to leak too much at all. With the WSM you have access to the charcoal basket during the cook. Are you planning to build an access door into your drum? If not, then that is one + in the column for the WSM. Other than that, I think they are both fairly equivalent. My WSM is the 18.5" model and I haven't cooked on it since I got my drum built. I'm gonna have to pull it out and cook on it sometime though :)
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Old 12-27-2011, 06:26 PM   #4
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Lifted from the Big Drum Smoker Forum FAQ's

http://bigdrumsmokers.com/Forum/showthread.php?t=2614

And that is a fairly honest response.

Take a look around the BDS site and glean all the info available. I suspect you frequent TVWBB, so you know about WSM's. The UDS threads are out of control, but thats another story!
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Old 12-27-2011, 06:31 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swamprb View Post
Lifted from the Big Drum Smoker Forum FAQ's

http://bigdrumsmokers.com/Forum/showthread.php?t=2614

And that is a fairly honest response.

Take a look around the BDS site and glean all the info available. I suspect you frequent TVWBB, so you know about WSM's. The UDS threads are out of control, but thats another story!
From the last item his list:

Quote:
2. You don't need to turn the meat as often.
You have to turn meat in the BDS?
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Old 12-27-2011, 06:37 PM   #6
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I have never used the door on my WSM during any cook, so that feature is a wash for me, I do have the Cajun Bandit stainless door though.

Personally I find myself using my WSM more than the UDS but its mostly because I don't like the way I built my firebasket. I am making a new one in the next couple of weeks and building a second UDS.

I don't regret buying the 22.5 WSM but I payed way under retail for it. Both my UDS 's will have been built for around 100 bucks. For how well they perform I always recommend them before a WSM.
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Old 12-27-2011, 06:50 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cameraman View Post
I suppose this is only answerable by the subset of brethren who have cooked on both. So, pros and cons, features and benefits, ins and outs... They appear fundamentally similar to my uneducated eye. What am I missing?
Why, Dave? You've already got your WSM. Are you thinking about going the way of the UDS???
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Old 12-27-2011, 07:11 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swamprb View Post
Lifted from the Big Drum Smoker Forum FAQ's

http://bigdrumsmokers.com/Forum/showthread.php?t=2614

And that is a fairly honest response.
Well, it is on a UDS-specific forum, so I'm not sure how fair it is...

My observations in dark red below.

Quote:
The WSM is a great water smoker, but has alot of limitations. I used to own 2 of them for a few years.

1. The BDS does not need any water pan or heat barrier. Meat smoked in the BDS is super moist without a water pan.

A WSM can be run without the pan, too.

2. The BDS has larger cooking rack(s). No need to cut or curl slabs of ribs. No problem fitting whole large briskets in the 14 to 16 pound range. 20+ pound whole pork shoulders or beef chuck rolls? No problem with the BDS. You never have to cut a piece of meat in half to fit in the BDS.

Not true since the 22.5" WSM was introduced.

3. Cook briskets and butts in only 8 hours in the BDS. With the WSM, briskets and butts will take at least 12 hours, and sometimes 14+ hours. You can fire up your BDS at 8 or 9am and eat your briskets and butts for dinner at 5pm. You don't have to cook all night or get up in the middle of the night with the BDS. Even huge whole pork shoulders and beef chuck rolls only take 11 hours.

Not sure what the basis for this is. WSMs can be run hot and can cook butts and briskets in 5-6 hours. This is based on cooking temp, not the cooker.

4. The BDS does not have legs for support. It sits flat on the ground and is almost impossible to tip over.

True. But, I've seen the burnt areas left behind by UDS on grass at comps. I wouldn't want one on a wooden deck or my grass. I'd use a dolly to get it up off of the ground.

5. The BDS does not have enamel coating that can chip. If you get any scratches or scrapes, you simply touch up with Krylon BBQ Stove paint.
If you get any dents in the BDS, you simply bang them out with a rubber mallet from inside the BDS.

True, but I've owned two WSMs for at least 6 years, and one has been in service since the early 90s and neither of them have any chips, so unless you abuse your equipment this really isn't a factor.

6. The BDS is easy to transport. There are no upper, middle and lower sections to worry about. Just the lid. Having a flat bottom, the BDS sets firmly in a trailer or bed of a truck without tipping over.

True. Trying to transport a WSM assembled is tough. I've used three heavy duty bungees to hold it together, but it is easier to transport in pieces, and the pieces are much easier to handle anyway.

7. With the BDS, you get that true direct over the coals flavor. The juices drip down onto the coals, giving the meat that "Open Pit" traditional flavor. You don't get that with the WSM. The water pan catches all the juices.

Again, you can use a WSM without the water pan.

8. Easy to clean. Other than tipping the BDS upside down, there is very little work or time needed to clean the BDS.

I guess the grates in a UDS don't get dirty? I think taking the top two sections off of a WSM and dumping ash out of the bottom bowl is a whole lot easier than turning a whole drum upside down. If you don't use the water pan (so it is comparable to a drum) then there is no water mess to clean up. A lot of WSM users don't use water anyway, opting for another form of heat sink (sand, clay saucer, etc.) or just an empty pan.

9. The BDS is available in 5 models that will work for everybody, from regular backyard barbecuers to caterers to competition cooks.

BDS specific. Not really an advantage.

So what advantages does the WSM have over the BDS?

1. Shipping price is less expensive.

2. You don't need to turn the meat as often.
they've also left off a lot of advantages of the WSM, which is to be expected since it is on a BDS forum. here are a couple that come to mind...

1. Proven design, works right out of the box - There are thousands of WSMs out there and they just work. Most UDS just work as well, but how many posts have we seen from someone trying to get control of their temperature because they didn't use the right size intakes or exhausts. Building something yourself always has risks that you screwed something up.

2. Excellent customer service. Weber backs their products and if there is a problem, they make it right. If you messed up something with your UDS, you're on your own to fix it. The Brethren are a great resource, of course :)

So, take stuff off of a cooker-specific forum for what it is. They are there to support and promote their product.

BTW, i have a UDS as well as the two WSM. Both are good cookers, and it would be hard to make a bad choice. Just realize that with a UDS your results can (and probably will) vary based on your specific design and components.
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Old 12-27-2011, 07:30 PM   #9
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excellent observations Ronelle... all valid points.

also regarding # 4 - I've not seen or read about WSM's being prone to tip-overs... Have I missed all those threads ?
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Old 12-27-2011, 07:53 PM   #10
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I own 2 UDSs but have never owned a WSM although I would like to have a 22.5" one. I have a question. I see some say that you can cook in the WSM without the water pan. How does that work? I would think the meat might be too close to the coals to cook direct without burning it. The UDS is much further from the coals.
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Old 12-27-2011, 08:56 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MilitantSquatter View Post
excellent observations Ronelle... all valid points.

also regarding # 4 - I've not seen or read about WSM's being prone to tip-overs... Have I missed all those threads ?
Must have missed that too, I would think you would really have to try and knock over a WSM, they don't just tip over.
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Old 12-27-2011, 09:44 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smokeyw View Post
I own 2 UDSs but have never owned a WSM although I would like to have a 22.5" one. I have a question. I see some say that you can cook in the WSM without the water pan. How does that work? I would think the meat might be too close to the coals to cook direct without burning it. The UDS is much further from the coals.
The distances are relatively similar between a UDS and a WSM 22.5" model.
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Old 12-27-2011, 09:56 PM   #13
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I've used both extensively, and good points already made. Rather obvious, but still the biggest things are that the UDS cooks faster but the fat gets in the fire.
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Old 12-28-2011, 01:51 AM   #14
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RETURN POLICY
We will refund your purchase price if you receive a defective product. If you receive an incorrect product, we will make an exchange for the correct product. The customer is responsible for paying all shipping costs for returns. We do not offer any other refunds. If serious damages occur during shipping, you will need to file an official claim with FedEx.

This is directly from the BDS website. Hope I did not break any rules posting it. If so, please delete this reply.

These are horrid return policies. If I receive an incorrect product, or a defective product, I damn sure am NOT going to pay the shipping to return it. Especially when I'm being charged top top dollar for a drum smoker in the first place.

Additionally, If I receive a damaged BDS, it should NOT be my issue to take care of.
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Old 12-28-2011, 03:58 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colonel00 View Post
From the last item his list:

You have to turn meat in the BDS?
I turn my meats on the Drum, I don't on the WSM

Your mileage may vary


Quote:
Originally Posted by cameraman View Post
I suppose this is only answerable by the subset of brethren who have cooked on both. So, pros and cons, features and benefits, ins and outs... They appear fundamentally similar to my uneducated eye. What am I missing?
I apologize for using the Big Drum Smoker link that started this chitstorm- Yes it is a cooker-centric Forum response, but if you were to ask the same question on the Bullet site you would probably get the same response.

I have two 22" & two 18" WSM's for competition cookers.

The Drums that I use are all BDS clones, an 85 gallon 27"x39" with 2 grates, two 55 gallon 23"x39" with 2 grates and a 15 gallon 14"x27". I'll be assembling a 30 gallon drum that will be 18"x34" soon.

Yes you can remove the waterpan of a WSM and cook direct like a UDS, but my experience is you get a much more heavy taste, and I've done this with the 18" WSM and my 22" Cajun Bandit kettle conversion (not tried it with the big bullet) side by side with my drum and IMO it has a lot to do with the diameter of the charcoal ring of the WSM's in relation to the size of my drums baskets.

I use 12lbs of briqs to cook butts or briskets in the drum and the meats will be done and in the Cambro with charcoal to spare. If I were cooking heavy meats in the 18" WSM low and slow I would likely use 15-16lb of Stubb's and likely have to add more during the cook before the meats were done.

A lot of people do not like the heavy flavor the fats dripping on the coals impart in the meats when cooking direct, I used to compete with Drums and some judges gave me comments like "too much creosote" or "tastes like liquid smoke", so rather trying to change their tastes, I moved on to the indirect WSM's, and cook hot n' fast with them, so Yeah, my meats can get done as quickly if cooked direct.
If you built a drum and used a waterpan or heat deflector, you likely would not be able to tell the difference between meats from the two cookers, I could not.

It seems like most people that build a drum smoker have that satisfaction of using a cooker they made with their own hands, customized it to fit their personality etc. When it all comes down they are all just toys in the toybox.
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