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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 05-24-2013, 10:00 PM   #10906
RustyNutRacer
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Rookie Smoker here. I stumbled on this site last Monday when I started making plans to build a smoker. My original plans of building a horizontal offset smoker quickly shifted upon finding this thread. I picked up my first two drums yesterday and I am seasoning my first UDS as I type! I kept it pretty simple so it would be ready for my cookout Sunday, but I have many mods planned for the future!

I only have one question. I have a thermometer in the side of the UDS and one in the lid. They are both pretty cheap. The one in the side is a cheap char-broil unit that screws into the UDS. It is about a half inch below the cooking grate and only sticks out about two inches into the drum. The one in the lid is basically a meat thermometer that I drilled a hole in the lid for it to slide into. It is about two inches above the grate near the center of the lid. Right now the one in the lid reads 250 degrees and the one on the side reads 160 degrees. That's a pretty sizable difference and I'm not entirely sure which one to believe. Thoughts?


Liner burn out.

Ash pan scavenged from a grill I picked up along the road and homemade coal box.



Initial mock up

Spit shined and blinged out!
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Unread 05-24-2013, 10:59 PM   #10907
fat_bastard
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RustyNutRacer View Post
Rookie Smoker here. I stumbled on this site last Monday when I started making plans to build a smoker. My original plans of building a horizontal offset smoker quickly shifted upon finding this thread. I picked up my first two drums yesterday and I am seasoning my first UDS as I type! I kept it pretty simple so it would be ready for my cookout Sunday, but I have many mods planned for the future!

I only have one question. I have a thermometer in the side of the UDS and one in the lid. They are both pretty cheap. The one in the side is a cheap char-broil unit that screws into the UDS. It is about a half inch below the cooking grate and only sticks out about two inches into the drum. The one in the lid is basically a meat thermometer that I drilled a hole in the lid for it to slide into. It is about two inches above the grate near the center of the lid. Right now the one in the lid reads 250 degrees and the one on the side reads 160 degrees. That's a pretty sizable difference and I'm not entirely sure which one to believe. Thoughts?
Welcome to the Brethren and good looking UDS!!!

As for the thermo, you want the temp right at your grate in the middle of your drum. What you're really looking for is a turkey frying thermometer or another 12" or so thermometer. The longer probe will be right under the center of your cooking grate. I use a brass 3/8" tubing nipple threaded into side of of the drum with the barbed side inside the drum just below the grate for mine. This holds it in place quite well.

The thermo in the top of your drum will read hotter that where your food is since heat rises and it's being held there by the lid. The short one in the side, well, the drums just run cooler on the sides.
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Unread 05-24-2013, 11:48 PM   #10908
RustyNutRacer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fat_bastard View Post
Welcome to the Brethren and good looking UDS!!!

As for the thermo, you want the temp right at your grate in the middle of your drum. What you're really looking for is a turkey frying thermometer or another 12" or so thermometer. The longer probe will be right under the center of your cooking grate. I use a brass 3/8" tubing nipple threaded into side of of the drum with the barbed side inside the drum just below the grate for mine. This holds it in place quite well.

The thermo in the top of your drum will read hotter that where your food is since heat rises and it's being held there by the lid. The short one in the side, well, the drums just run cooler on the sides.
Thanks! Makes perfect sense. I had read earlier in the thread about adding about 30 degrees for a short thermometer on the side of the barrel. I just wasn't expecting a 90 degree difference. I suppose had I not been exhausted from the 24 hour build I could have pieced that info together lol! I'll pick up a long thermometer tomorrow before I start my first smoke session.
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Unread 05-25-2013, 12:01 AM   #10909
Heisenberger
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RustyNutRacer View Post
Thanks! Makes perfect sense. I had read earlier in the thread about adding about 30 degrees for a short thermometer on the side of the barrel. I just wasn't expecting a 90 degree difference. I suppose had I not been exhausted from the 24 hour build I could have pieced that info together lol! I'll pick up a long thermometer tomorrow before I start my first smoke session.
90 degrees seems a bit much of a difference from my experience. Is should run about 40 degrees hotter in the middle than the sides (max 50 depending on your charcoal basket). Might want to get those thermos calibrated. Maybe the 90 degrees is truthful. I've found a larger difference in temps when I use the minion method, at least in the beginning. No matter what this smoker can do no wrong
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Unread 05-25-2013, 12:07 AM   #10910
RustyNutRacer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Heisenberger View Post
90 degrees seems a bit much of a difference from my experience. Is should run about 40 degrees hotter in the middle than the sides (max 50 depending on your charcoal basket). Might want to get those thermos calibrated. Maybe the 90 degrees is truthful. I've found a larger difference in temps when I use the minion method, at least in the beginning. No matter what this smoker can do no wrong
I should also mention, I used the minion method and it was early in the burn so that could also explain it too. Just checked the thermos again and they are now about 60 degrees apart.
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Unread 05-25-2013, 09:31 AM   #10911
oteymc
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Sorry for the noob question, I have tried to read as much of this as I can - but are you leaving the inside unpainted? I have burned and then took a wire brush to the inside to remove my liner, when I rinsed it out, it is already showing some rust. Will it hurt to paint the inside with BBQ paint? Most all store bought BBQ's are painted on the inside.
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Unread 05-25-2013, 09:41 AM   #10912
Toney Marconi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oteymc View Post
Sorry for the noob question, I have tried to read as much of this as I can - but are you leaving the inside unpainted? I have burned and then took a wire brush to the inside to remove my liner, when I rinsed it out, it is already showing some rust. Will it hurt to paint the inside with BBQ paint? Most all store bought BBQ's are painted on the inside.

Don't paint the inside. Knock off that surface rust, spray it down with Pam, or wipe it down with your favorite cooking oil (doesn't really matter) and light her up. Once she gets seasoned with smoke and pig fat she won't rust.
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Unread 05-25-2013, 10:51 AM   #10913
oteymc
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Thanks!
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Unread 05-25-2013, 03:42 PM   #10914
CambuiAl
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I have all but finished my first UDS with help from this great site! Today I spray painted with primer, painted with high-heat resistant paint, got the handles on and added the silicone seal, which looks like it's going to work a treat.

The drum with primer:


The final coat of high-heat paint:


The gill in place and silicone seal:


The grill in place and the supports for the higher level, if I ever get a kettle lid.


The charcoal basket with the legs - it's probably too wide but will try it tomorrow:


The finished product with the handles:


I still need a way to get the main ball-valve air inlet tight - it's wobbly right now, and that means air getting in that I don't want. I don't know if some silicone sealant would do the job, or some blobs of weld? Also, I am missing the thermometer - this has been really tricky to track down in Brazil, but I found one, with a 12" spike on it, and will position it just below the lower of the two grills.

The inside is oiled up with some vegetable oil, and it's ready for the first cook tomorrow. I am preparing a rub tonight!
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Unread 05-27-2013, 07:43 AM   #10915
Peddler
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CambuiAl ... I sure like your cooking grate.

I too have been having issues with thermometers so I bit the bullet and ordered a Maverick ET732 and will get yet another turkey thermometer and start over. I figured that 90 to 110* difference was too great between center and outside, Maybe not.
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Unread 05-27-2013, 10:14 AM   #10916
Zona
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nice drum CambuiAl. Where did you get that silicone seal?
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Unread 05-27-2013, 05:10 PM   #10917
CambuiAl
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peddler View Post
CambuiAl ... I sure like your cooking grate.

I too have been having issues with thermometers so I bit the bullet and ordered a Maverick ET732 and will get yet another turkey thermometer and start over. I figured that 90 to 110* difference was too great between center and outside, Maybe not.
Thanks Peddler - I hope my thermometer arrives tomorrow. This weekend was done with a meat-probe poked through the top, which can't have been that accurate. Sadly all those nice remote thermometers (or even the cheap basic ones) just don't seem to be available in Brazil. I am hoping to pick up an iGrill on my next return to the UK as that would be ideal for me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zona View Post
nice drum CambuiAl. Where did you get that silicone seal?

Thanks - it's from a Brazilian company here in Sao Paulo, and they make various rubber and silicone products, including this that is sold per metre, specifically for industrial bread-oven doors. It costs US$8 per metre, but it's worked really well so far on an otherwise slightly wonky lid.
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Unread 05-28-2013, 07:42 PM   #10918
SuperJETT
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I keep thinking about a thread or two on here where members were discussing an inner/outer drum setup and filling the gap with diatomaceous earth mix to make a kamado style UDS.

We have thousands of drums at work, 10/30/55 gallon sizes and I'm considering modding my 55 gallon UDS with a 30 inside then filling the gap with fine grain play sand. Even better would be Daytona Beach sand, that stuff packs like crazy.

My plan would be to bolt the 30 gallon inside with around a 2" gap on the bottom and centered then pour the sand with it on an angle and shake/vibrate it to get good fill. The cooking grate would sit on the 30 gallon's lip since I think they are 18.5" or so diameter and I rarely use the outer inch or two of the grate now anyway.

My guess on benefits is lower fuel burn rate and more stable temps.

Thoughts? Has anyone tried it yet?
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Unread 05-28-2013, 07:58 PM   #10919
Carbon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SuperJETT View Post
I keep thinking about a thread or two on here where members were discussing an inner/outer drum setup and filling the gap with diatomaceous earth mix to make a kamado style UDS.

We have thousands of drums at work, 10/30/55 gallon sizes and I'm considering modding my 55 gallon UDS with a 30 inside then filling the gap with fine grain play sand. Even better would be Daytona Beach sand, that stuff packs like crazy.

My plan would be to bolt the 30 gallon inside with around a 2" gap on the bottom and centered then pour the sand with it on an angle and shake/vibrate it to get good fill. The cooking grate would sit on the 30 gallon's lip since I think they are 18.5" or so diameter and I rarely use the outer inch or two of the grate now anyway.

My guess on benefits is lower fuel burn rate and more stable temps.

Thoughts? Has anyone tried it yet?
Sand is not a good insulator.

If I were doing this I would use a mix of portland cement and vermiculite......I don't remember the exact ratio. I've used this mixture to insulate parts of my pizza oven and the mixture when cured weighs very little. You can use either vermiculite or perlite which can be found in most nurseries, including Home Depot.
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Unread 05-28-2013, 09:46 PM   #10920
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Sand is not bad actually, not as good as 'insulation' like rockwool or fiberglass of course, but it's thermal conductivity is lower than portland cement and having some thermal mass is a good thing to keep temps stable. Plus, it's very easy to work with.

Are you talking about using the cement dry or mixing with water? Getting the moisture out of a 2" layer between 2 steel drums would be an issue where the sand is going to be very low in moisture content to begin with.

Just thinking outloud and looking at other options, thanks.
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