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Old 01-25-2010, 11:25 AM   #1
Got Wood.
Join Date: 12-06-08
Location: Georgetown, TX
Default UDS Hot Spots? 80 degree differences?

Hi All,
Thanks everyone for your advice on my spare rib thread, I did them yesterday and they certainly filled our bellies :)

I definitely noticed I have a temperature problem or maybe a misunderstanding on my UDS. Its not the standard issue of keeping temps in check....I have a homemade PID based draft system with a little blower that attaches to one of my intake nipples (rest of them are closed) so this is the ONLY source of oxygen. It works dead on to whatever temps I set them to.

My issues is that I dont really know what to set the temps to :(

I have the temperature controller temperature probe about 1/4" below grate level and it sticks in probably 6-8". I set this to 190*.

I have another probe mounted (maverik wireless unit) directly in the center clamped onto the bottom of the grate. The tip doesnt touch metal.

I had a rib rack with 3 spares in the middle area. I have the 2 2" drum lid holes open for the exhaust. I tried playing with both 1 hole open and 2 and didnt notice a lot of difference.

So basically with that setup, i noticed when the temp controller probe was at 190, the center probe would read 260-270.

I thought the probe may be messed up so I stuck in a long stem turkey fryer probe close to the center and it read 250.

I then thought my temp controller probe may be off, so i put the "food" probe of the maverik unit in the rough area where the temp control probe was and it read 180. (this was litterally sitting on the grate, tip not touching metal and only about 2" away from the ribs).

With such a wild difference in temps, I really dont know how I should deal with it. My best guess is that the hot coals directly below (started in the top center of basket) rise straight up to the center, trap hot air because the ribs are there blocking them and maybe the heat just flows around the food out the exhaust bypassing the rest of the pit?

I also dont know if this is normal or how I should gauge what temp I should be cooking at...for instance for a recipe that says roughly 6 hours at 225....I dont know how to set my pit for 225...160 on my temp control to get 225 in the center or 225 on my control and let it go up around 300 in the hot spot?

Any advice or exerience is greatly appreciated.

Thanks all,
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Old 01-25-2010, 11:42 AM   #2
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Join Date: 05-09-07
Location: God's Country Ossipee-Osceola NC

I have a Temp Gauge with a 2" stem at grate level mounted on the side of my DrumPit. I know that a reading of 200* on the gauge gives me roughly 250*-260* center grate and I adjust from there.
I try not to make it any harder than it has to be. Get a couple cooks under your belt and you will get to know your Smoker better, they all cook a little different. Half the fun is learning the process and eating good!!!
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Old 01-25-2010, 02:16 PM   #3
is one Smokin' Farker
Join Date: 12-03-09
Location: Long Beach, CA

Put something on top of your fire basket to diffuse the heat. It will help even out temps so you don't have such a wide range. Try a water/sand pan, a pizza pan, a terra cotta saucer, or even just a lower grate covered with foil.
-elbows deep in someone else's misery.
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Old 01-25-2010, 03:28 PM   #4
Full Fledged Farker
Join Date: 08-07-09
Location: Surry NH

I have a 70 deg swing in one Uds anda 50 in the other from the edge to the center. Like they said you can put a sand pan over the basket and that helps. For me it makes it only a 15-20 deg swing edge to center on both drums. I personaly dont unless im doing ribs...... I had a prob with ribs thats how i figured this all out thanks to the Brethren
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Old 01-25-2010, 03:47 PM   #5
is one Smokin' Farker
Join Date: 07-07-09
Location: Chico, CA

My Maverick close to center grate, next to my meat, will regularly read 70 degrees higher than my pit therm. If for some reason I'm not using the Maverick, I'll shoot for 160-180 on my pit therm.

I know guys with drums that say they get a 40-50 degree disparity from mid grate temp to wall temp but I have a single 3" exhaust in the center of the flat lid on my drum which I accredit with my greater than normal hot spot.. Who knows.
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