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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 11-11-2008, 10:01 AM   #1
raiderx
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Default Minimum grill height on UDS

I got my drum, but it's only 35 inches tall (seems to be the only height around). That means I have 33 inches on the interior to work with if I use the lid that it came with. I'd rather do that to start. If I have a fire basket that is 3 inches above the bottom, I'm left with 30 inches to play with.

Is 24 inches the absolute minimum distance between the fire basket bottom and the grill grate? If I do that, then I only get 6 inches between the grill and the lid. Seems a little tight. If I cheat a little and go 23 or 22 inches between fire basket and grill so I get 7 or 8 inches of cooking height, will that mess up the way the UDS works? Anyone have experience with this size drum?
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Unread 11-11-2008, 10:18 AM   #2
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raiderx...

Mine was about the same but I'm using a Weber lid. I measured the distance between the grates on my Weber so I could potentially grill if needed...it's 5". That left me with very little room at top but all worked out good. Other thing was I only have my coal basket 2 1/2" off bottom...seems to be working.
Keep looking for a Weber lid I've seen some on CL over in your area for next to nothing.
You'll have to defer to the experts on the 24" or less question as I don't have enough experience to know what the effect will be.
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Unread 11-11-2008, 10:19 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raiderx View Post
I got my drum, but it's only 35 inches tall (seems to be the only height around). That means I have 33 inches on the interior to work with if I use the lid that it came with. I'd rather do that to start. If I have a fire basket that is 3 inches above the bottom, I'm left with 30 inches to play with.

Is 24 inches the absolute minimum distance between the fire basket bottom and the grill grate? If I do that, then I only get 6 inches between the grill and the lid. Seems a little tight. If I cheat a little and go 23 or 22 inches between fire basket and grill so I get 7 or 8 inches of cooking height, will that mess up the way the UDS works? Anyone have experience with this size drum?
You should use the search function on the top bar. I know someone talked about this like a month ago.

Short answer, I would make a diffuser and lower the rack. You can make a diffuser out of anything as simple as a large metal bowl with water or some corrugated scrap with holes cut in it.
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Unread 11-11-2008, 10:28 AM   #4
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I cheated on mine a little also. Fire basket is 2 in. off bottom, and first grate is 23 in above that. Above the first grate I put in a second grate at 29 in. I can and have cooked 4 packer briskets this way. I also have added another grate about 3 in above the top of the charcoal basket, on which I put a 16 in clay saucer. This helps even out the temps, but takes away from the UDS " flavor". Experiment.
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Unread 11-11-2008, 11:54 AM   #5
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I built a mini UDS and used aluminum foil on a rack about 4 inches below my cooking grate to deflect the heat due to the short distance. But it insulated the temps way to much! I had it remove it to get the cook done. My grill is only about 16" above the fire basket but I use a whole lot less charcoal (2 to 3 lbs.) for the mini UDS to maintain 225*. I have only done 2 smokes so far but it has worked fine for me (so far).

One of these days I will build a "REAL UDS"!
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Unread 11-11-2008, 02:06 PM   #6
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Thanks everyone, I read further into the big UDS thread and it seems like I'll be fine with 6 inches (maybe 7 if I lower the firebox a little). Once I get a Weber lid, I can tackle the really big stuff.


BTW, sfbbqguy, looks like someone swiped your UDS :

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Unread 11-11-2008, 05:51 PM   #7
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raiderx. Correct me if I wrong here but if your barrel is 35 inches tall and you put the bottom of the fire basket 3 inches from the bottom, that leaves you 32 inches to work with. A grate 24 inches about that would leave you with an 8 inch clearance above the grate. Does that sound right? That should work with a flat lid.
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Unread 11-11-2008, 06:13 PM   #8
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Quote:
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raiderx. Correct me if I wrong here but if your barrel is 35 inches tall and you put the bottom of the fire basket 3 inches from the bottom, that leaves you 32 inches to work with. A grate 24 inches about that would leave you with an 8 inch clearance above the grate. Does that sound right? That should work with a flat lid.
35 inches is the exterior height. The drum bottom and the lid take an inch off each end on the inside, leaving me with 33 inches to work with.

I figure I'll try a firebox that is an inch lower to give myself a little more space for the grill.
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Unread 11-11-2008, 06:27 PM   #9
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Got it. That should still give you 6 inch clearance above the grate. I wouldn't cheat too much on the bottom 3 inch clearance though. A long burn can build a lot of ash. I think several folks have done the 2 1/2 inch clearance with not too much problem. If you find a weber lid sometime, you can add the second grate about 3 inches done from the top and have a lot of room for cooking. Good luck with the project.
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Unread 11-11-2008, 08:11 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raiderx View Post
Thanks everyone, I read further into the big UDS thread and it seems like I'll be fine with 6 inches (maybe 7 if I lower the firebox a little). Once I get a Weber lid, I can tackle the really big stuff.


BTW, sfbbqguy, looks like someone swiped your UDS :

Looks like he's cook'n some sausage!

Good adice about hight from bottom of drum for caol basket...I was primarily thinking of air flow when I did mine at 2.5". Ash build up is significant as I found with first few cooks and 1/2 in of ash is a lot.
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Unread 11-11-2008, 08:43 PM   #11
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Just go with the most distance you can get. I have a grate at 24" and 30" and usually use the upper one, but have turned out some good Q on the lower one.
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Unread 11-11-2008, 08:45 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sfbbqguy View Post
Looks like he's cook'n some sausage!
I'd say he's cooking a fatty!
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