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Old 11-10-2013, 04:55 AM   #1
Babbling Farker
Join Date: 07-06-13
Location: Oklahoma
Default UDS Owners: How often do you use BOTH cooking grates?

If you have two cooking grates, how often do you use both grates versus just one grate? Or if you have only one cooking grate, do you feel it satisfies most of your needs?

I want to build my first UDS and keep the costs down. I can do this by having just one grate with a drum lid instead of Weber lid.

It seems like a single grate setup would still be able to cook a lot, but I am a newbie so I need advice before I build one.
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Old 11-10-2013, 06:18 AM   #2
Got Wood.
Join Date: 11-17-12
Location: Hastings,Ontario

For cooking roasts I find one rack has enough room , but when doing ribs one rack just doesn't have enough space to feed many hungry mouths .
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Old 11-10-2013, 06:34 AM   #3
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Join Date: 09-07-10
Location: Sunny AZ

Ribs: always 2
Butts: 1 -2
Wings: 2
Brisket: 1
Turkey: 1
chicken: 1-2

depends on how many you're cooking for
go ahead and install the second set of grate bolts, wait to buy the grate?
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Old 11-10-2013, 06:39 AM   #4
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Join Date: 07-07-12
Location: Westfield, Wisconsin

I use both grates almost every time. I like to get the most out of my charcoal consumption so I will cook extra meat and bag and freeze the leftovers. I have six butts in there right now and eight in my fatboy. At some point in time you will want two racks so plan for it now by putting in the bolts and add the extra rack and weber lid at a later point in time. The first one i built had four rows of bolts and the drum lid so I was able to run two racks with the drum lid anyway, just the bottom one was a bit low. Many times I cooked a brisket low and two or three butts above, still using the drum lid. However, it was kind of tricky getting grates past those extra rows of bolts. Both drums I have built since only have two rows of bolts and a weber lid. Better to put the extra row of bolts in and be ready than to add them later when you have a nice layer of Que goo built up inside your drum for the metal chips to stick to.
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Old 11-10-2013, 07:04 AM   #5
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Join Date: 08-23-13
Location: Michigan

I mostly use 1 rack, well my bottom rack sits a diffuser/when required drip pan. I only used 3 bolts at 18inches up from the bottom, and used 4) 3/8's X6 inch long carriage bolts nuts/washers for each cooking rack. As my prior one I used bolts thru the drum and did not like having to lift/tilt sideways 3 heavy butts to rotate the racks. I can lift straight up and out. Works better for me. I took this idea from the Dr. of drums And when rotating racks, each rack has it's own legs to stand on so I'm not laying the greasy racks down like before.
I had to take the photo when new other wise with all the BBQ covering everything you wouldn't be able to see it. I have one thermometer just below the diffuser rack just so I can compare temps from top to bottom.

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Old 11-10-2013, 07:22 AM   #6
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Join Date: 07-03-12
Location: Yorktown

I use both grates a few times a year. I use i whenever I'm cooking for one of my bigger cookouts. Rest of the time I use only 1 grate to cook, but I use the second grate to hold the drip pan.
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Old 11-10-2013, 07:31 AM   #7
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Join Date: 11-26-12
Location: Micosukee, Florida

I like having the versatility of being able to have a choice in rack heights. But I seem to use both racks most of the time anyway
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Old 11-10-2013, 07:47 AM   #8
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Join Date: 08-22-13
Location: Fort Wayne, Indiana

Originally Posted by aawa View Post
I use both grates a few times a year. I use i whenever I'm cooking for one of my bigger cookouts. Rest of the time I use only 1 grate to cook, but I use the second grate to hold the drip pan.
Same here
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Old 11-10-2013, 08:40 AM   #9
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Join Date: 09-07-10
Location: Chicago, IL - West burbs

I have a flat top drum. I use mostly one grate. I can get 2 briskets on there or 4 butts. I usually only do 3 racks of ribs. But with rib racks, I think I could get 5 to 6 on there. This is the most I've ever really needed to cook.

BUT, I once did 6 butts using two grates. I used a diffuser between the charcoal and then the second grate above that. So one grate about 7" from the top and the second grate about 14" from the top. Worked great. Think about where the second great is in a WSM.

Save the drum top for a future upgrade. It isn't something you MUST have.

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Old 11-10-2013, 09:03 AM   #10
somebody shut me the fark up.
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Join Date: 07-04-09
Location: Jonesboro,Tx

Never, mine is 6 yrs old I built it with one never saw the need for any more.
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Old 11-10-2013, 09:20 AM   #11
retired trucker
is One Chatty Farker
Join Date: 09-28-11
Location: Dallas, Georgia

I have two on mine, one is about 6 inches above the basket to hold my terra cotta diffuser filled with sand. The other is about 8 inches down from the top rim of the drum. I also have a flat lid top that has a clamp to hold it on without leaking. I have never wished for more cooking space on mine as I only cook for my family and occasionally for a small group of friends. It will hold 2 large briskets easily, and about 5 or 6 racks of ribs if they are arranged right.

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Old 11-10-2013, 09:28 AM   #12
Bbq Bubba
somebody shut me the fark up.
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Join Date: 05-03-07
Location: New Baltimore, Mi.

Build it with 1, add a Weber lid & a 2nd rack later!
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I cook the best brisket north of Dallas. Get over it.
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Old 11-10-2013, 09:36 AM   #13
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Join Date: 08-15-12
Location: Irish Hills, MI

Typically just one, but the second is very handy when smokin something with tons of fat as I run a diffuser/drip pan there. I don't like all that bitter grease smoke on my grub. If it were me, I'd put provisions for a second grate, even if you don't get one right away. Bolts are cheap. Just make sure to get the shortest bolts possible without the grate falling in. It's a PITA if the bolts are long and you have to tilt the grate too extremely to get it out.
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Old 11-10-2013, 10:24 AM   #14
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Join Date: 04-04-10
Location: Shelby Twp. Macomb Co. SE Michigan

Build my first drum with one rack. I ended up with another drum as a doner to make not only one 6" extension but two extensions for a total of 3 racks if ever i need them, i would have them ready to go. I have used 2 racks for several cooks. never have used all 3 at this time. Ya never know.
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Old 11-10-2013, 12:27 PM   #15
Babbling Farker
Join Date: 02-08-10
Location: Howell, MI

Somewhere in this site there is a post using bolts as legs on the second grate, but my bookmark for it no longer works. You only install the lower support bolts in the barrel and the bolt legs on the upper grate set on the lower grate. Here is a version I use on my kettle. The UDS version uses longer bolts. If you put bolts in both grates, it makes swapping grates durring a cook easy.
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