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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 09-22-2012, 09:14 AM   #31
Johnny Ca$h
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the end result looks just like you wanted I like both access doors, but it seams like you need a better seal on the doors if you "glob" on the sealer on the door side then cover it with plastic wrap to keep it from sticking to both sides at once close the door and let it cure (learned that trick here just cant rember to credit sorry) it will have a nice tight seal.
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Unread 09-27-2012, 09:14 AM   #32
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Hey, thanks for the input guys. My friend that did the welds was also telling me about the idea with overlapping flaps to seal the doors better. I may or may not do that, it's a great idea, but some of the doors aren't flush anyway.

In terms of the fire basket, this thing is awesome! I know people like there baskets attached to pizza pans and what not, but this thing burns steady for a while, it really does work great. I'm actually having issues keeping the temperature lower right now, I think I don't need as many coals as I think I do.
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Unread 09-27-2012, 09:55 AM   #33
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I don't see how you will be able to regulate the the temps with the open fire chamber as there is no way to control oxygen to the fire.

Here is a thought.

I think one could get a smaller 30 gal drum with a removable lid and cut it down to 12" - 15" height for a firebox. Maybe have a clamp for the removable lid and you remove the lid to access the fire chamber. At the bottom, have a charcoal grate a couple of inches off the floor of the drum. Set the air intakes up to this drum just like any UDS.

Now you could connect this drum to a 55 gal drum with a short tube (maybe rectangular) for heat to flow from the firebox (small drum) to the smoke chamber (large drum). Maybe even extend the tube into the large drum a little for even heat distribution. You could then cut a side door in the 55 gal drum to access maybe up to 3 racks of food. Sealing this door should be no more critical than the door seal on a traditional offset smoker.

Now you could control the temps by adjusting air flow to the charcoal in the small drum like we do on a normal UDS. You have access to the fire chamber without removing racks full of meat. You have access to the meat racks through a side door or through the top lid. And it's only a little bigger than a standard UDS.

Would this work? Main benefits would be an additonal food rack and better access to food and fuel chamber (so fuel or wood chunks could be added without removing food racks). It's sort of an offset UDS.
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Unread 09-27-2012, 03:43 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CustomBBQ View Post
I'm actually having issues keeping the temperature lower right now, I think I don't need as many coals as I think I do.
How are you attempting to control the temperature inside your smoker? If you're trying to do it by measuring out your coals then it won't work.*

Smokers control the temperature by controlling the amount of oxygen that gets to the coals. To raise the temperature you increase the oxygen supply (usually by opening a valve) and to lower temperature you choke off the air supply. A smoker that isn't air-tight will let in too much air and the coals will get hotter than you want.

Here's my DIY UDS. I have two racks and I've cooked ribs and pulled pork for 15 people with the same sized drum you have.

* - I suppose you could constantly monitor the temps yourself and keep adding/removing coals in your coal box but you'll still have wild temperature swings. You'll also have to watch it the entire time to add more coals for long cooks. It'll be a major PITA.
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Unread 09-27-2012, 04:53 PM   #35
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I find the end result humorous to say the least. You asked for advise from people who know the ins and outs of smoke. You basically slapped everyone on the face that tried to help. Besides wasting your time and theirs you now have a run away train smoker. I really hope you are able to get this step child under control. I have much appreciation for your attempts and the time you put into it. If you lived closer to me I would give you a 55 so your words would be over.
I wish you the best of luck, unfortunately I think anything else you do will be nothing more than lipstick on a pig (pun intended)
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Unread 09-27-2012, 05:42 PM   #36
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Hogfan: I appreciate the ideas, sounds like that would be a cool build. Problem is I've already built it, haha. I don't have too much free time as it is, nevermind starting over again. However, these may be good things to consider in the future if I want to modify this smoker. Appreciate the input.

Deeg: First and foremost, your smoker looks pretty sick, haha. I have four 1/2" vent holes at the bottom of the drum. I can plug these whenever, or buy vents and such, which I know would help with the oxygen flow. But here's the thing, the smoker does NOT have temperature swings, it holds real steady, it's just been a higher temperature than desired so far. I have no issues with tending the fire since I won't be doing any overnight cooks, I live in a city so people probably wouldn't be crazy about me smoking all night, haha, the houses are fairly close. Should I try cutting some air flow and using same amount of coal, or use less coal and gradually add as needed?

Daggs: I'm happy my smoker can make me good food and make you smile. I took everyone's advice into consideration, some I used and some I didn't, this is why it's called advice, not instruction. And whether or not I took their advice, I have always been grateful for it.

Thanks for the input people,
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Unread 09-27-2012, 06:23 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CustomBBQ View Post
Deeg: First and foremost, your smoker looks pretty sick, haha. I have four 1/2" vent holes at the bottom of the drum. I can plug these whenever, or buy vents and such, which I know would help with the oxygen flow. But here's the thing, the smoker does NOT have temperature swings, it holds real steady, it's just been a higher temperature than desired so far. I have no issues with tending the fire since I won't be doing any overnight cooks, I live in a city so people probably wouldn't be crazy about me smoking all night, haha, the houses are fairly close. Should I try cutting some air flow and using same amount of coal, or use less coal and gradually add as needed?
I really don't know. I use oxygen to control my temps but you're using fuel amount, which is completely different. You'll just have to experiment. It took me a while, even with the controller, to get the hang of it.

One other piece of advice (which you'll probably ignore ) is not to trust the single thermometer you have, especially if it's a coiled-spring thermometer. I've done a lot of experimenting with my UDS and different areas of the smoker can be 20 degrees difference even though they're inches apart. Depending on how many items I'm smoking I have 5 thermometers in different places (including inside the meat). Given the air leaks in your smoker I assume you'll have more hot and cold spots but maybe the high air-flow will stabilize the temps better.
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Unread 09-29-2012, 08:09 AM   #38
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Hey everyone. I was wondering if any of you know what kind of plugs people use on the bottoms of their UDS. I've seen some with the butterfly valves for one, then the others are capped sometimes. I have the holes already cut for airflow, but I think that I'd like to shut some of them to restrict it a little bit.

What kind of metal do people typically use? I've seen that they come in a variety, iron, brass etc. Also, is there a certain type of piece that it is?

Thanks in advance!
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Unread 09-29-2012, 08:25 AM   #39
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Are you sure you really need MORE airflow?
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Unread 09-29-2012, 08:39 AM   #40
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You regulate air flow (oxygen) to the coals/fire, not to the smoke chamber. Unless I'm missing something, your coals are sitting outside exposed to air so you can't restrict air flow to the coals. So I have no idea what advice to give as controlling air to the heat source is the only method I'm families with.
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Unread 09-29-2012, 08:42 AM   #41
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"Familiar with", not "family with"........spell check got me.
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Unread 09-29-2012, 10:40 AM   #42
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Ok, maybe I should've been more clear. That fire box is half outside the barrel in the picture just to show where it goes, haha. It rests in the bottom of the barrel as would any coal basket.

The four holes that I mentioned are near the very bottom of the drum to get oxygen to the coals. I want to know what kind of nipples, or whatever their called, people use to cap off when they want to restrict airflow, I definitely don't need any more air getting to the coals, I'm talking about installing metal pieces that will let me restrict the air.

Like on the bottom of this drum:
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Unread 09-29-2012, 01:59 PM   #43
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I'd go with "caps" or "pipe cap"
Do you have any new pics of your machine?
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Unread 09-29-2012, 03:22 PM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hook_Line_and_Sinker View Post
Now certainly you could make something with those parts ..... But a few cations and a bit of advice first!
NO PAINT ON THE INSIDE !!! Really no paint ! What ever you make to cook / smoke food in you want no paint!

Now back to making a smoker......

You could put the parts together in all manner of ways and make something you could call a smoker, granted. There will be many that offer suggestions of how they would do it and why - and I bet they are all right

But one question, since you are just starting to smoke, do you think a one off contraption is the way to go?

Let's consider your fist butt.... It's got you feeing a bit uneasy about how it's going, perhaps temps are all over the place! No problem you say, I ask the Breatheren.... Now because you have a one off smoker you will get answers that conflict confuse and bewilder , all of them right in one way or another .....

If you build a mini UDS you know have a device that is well known and a huge knowledge base at the brethren - you questions will get answered with fire control, air management , and more targeted to you method rather than your cooker.

I highly suggest you build a UDS mini or otherwise and learn on it
then spread your wings if you must and build something custom
Really a small drum welded to a small air tank = COS which can be picked up for @ $100 at Wally World I'm sure welding and finding parts like grids etc will cost you more in the short run to build it.

Bottom line make a mini UDS with this drum or get a 55 and build a full size - you will NOT regreat it

Just my 2 cents

Really Good 2 cents Right Here ...
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Unread 10-02-2012, 08:12 AM   #45
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So for the pipe caps, is there a preferred metal, iron, brass etc?

I made some chicken, a pork roast stuffed with a link of chourico, and some baked beans on the smoker the other day, all came out good. I had never had baked beans from a smoker before.......
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