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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 02-16-2010, 08:25 AM   #1
EatRBBQ
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Default My UDS project: Whole Pork Rear Leg (ham)

Figured I'm new to these forums, I best post some quality Q pron and say howdy!

Been fiddling with the Ugly Drum Smoker concept this winter, decided to finally dig in and make one, here's a small part of the story:

January 2010:
Acquired a non-lined 55 gallon drum. These were used for dry materials: this one was plastic beads. Smooth side doesn't allow for a lot of modification without losing rigidity, otherwise pretty standard measurements compared to similar drums.


Non-lined steel saves so much work and effort. You can even see where just finger prints have started to rust. Basically measure, drill, cut, clean up, sand, paint, season burn - and it's ready for cooking.


Home assembled, No welding, used metal banding, nuts and bolts, steel straps, and an 18" Deep Dish Aluminum Pizza Pan.

This one has been through 5 burns nearly full with 10# plus charcoal plus wood chunks. None of the banding or materials appears to be suffering from the temperatures.

Charcoal grate is the typical 13.5" "7440" replacement Weber grate. 1/2" flattened/expanded, 2 pieces 6" x 24" Holds approx. 14# lit-grayed charcoal.


Sanded, Painted, seasoned. Using business card sized magnets for Air-intake control. K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple Stupid

Both UDS I've built have cooked at 230 degrees on a 10 to 12# load of lit/grayed Kingsford with 5 to 6 chunks of hickory for as long as 10 hours without dropping temperature.


Used "U" bolts for cooking grate supports. Helped add rigidity to the smooth sided drums and avoid snags when you have to dig in there deep.

Set up for 2 cooking levels - this UDS's domed lid isn't ready yet. I have a hinged lid I'm modifying for the job in the works.


The 2 UDS I've built so far. On a lucky pull I found a Weber Kettle donor for $20.00 for the second drum.

Both have very stable controlled temperatures with or without food loaded. With sealed system, air control, the cook chamber is always very moist, and the charcoal/wood load burns low and slow. I don't use any liquid pan or tuning plate, the lower cooking grate is positioned high enough above the charcoal basket to avoid burning.

The juices from meats, your spices, and the rendered fats drip right into the charcoal fire. Because of the controlled amount of air flowing into the burn area that grease never has a chance to flare. In my opinion it all vaporizes instead and recycles through the cook/smoking process going right back into your meats with the smoke. It adds a flame-broiled flavor to everything without the meat burning.


Updates to follow


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Unread 02-16-2010, 08:33 AM   #2
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Looking good! Can't wait to see or hear about the ham!
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Unread 02-16-2010, 08:39 AM   #3
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2-15-2010 4:30pm CST

Picked up a 20# Whole "Ham" - Pork leg from Knee to Shoulder - Skin On. It's currently marinading for the next few hours, I missed the photo opportunity before I bagged it, so I'll post more photos a little later on.

Marinading the entire pork leg for at least 10 hours. Sometime tonight, I'm guessing near 10pm, I'll be firing up the charcoal and should have that hunk of pork roasting by 11pm.

I'm planning on trusting the UDS system, getting it loaded, watch it close for an hour and when it locks into 230 degrees I go to bed for 6 hours. It's my goal to have pulled pork, pig roast style for dinner time. I haven't smoked this cut of meat before, I estimate it will take at least 12 hours, perhaps as long as 18 hours, so starting at 11pm will insure we can eat by 6 or 7 pm tomorrow (2-16-2010)

2-15-2010 10:00pm CST

Got charcoal load started. Burning until all well lit or "gray"
25 Degrees with light snow.


2-15-2010 10:20pm CST

Rolling and ready. No white smoke, all moisture is gone.

Burning mostly Kingsford Hickory charcoal with 6 good chunks of kiln dried hickory between layers for this cook.


Loaded in, choke temperature and fire back with most of the air intakes and exhausts closed for about 5 minutes. That really heats up the drum, chokes back the fuel, and gets the fire under control.


2-15-2010 10:35pm CST

15 minutes choked back and temperature is already stable and
hovering around 270 degrees.

Let it sit, drift a bit lower while I prep the whole ham/leg/shoulder for the smoker.


Whole "Ham" Rear Pork Leg skin-on (not cured ham) marinaded for about
10 hours. I use a Goya Brand, Mojo Criollo marinade. It's citrus based goodness, I've used on whole pig roasts.

I'm not going for "competition grade" pulled pork, I'm shooting for "pig roast" like pulled pork.




And in it goes. No tuning plate or water pan, just air between the coals and meat. Beginning cook with "skin" side down to start rendering it down. Plan on flipping it before tucking in for the night.


2-15-2010 11:50pm

Temperature is already dialed in at 230 degrees. It drifted down from 260 to 230 during the first 30 minutes with meat in. Now that it's stable I've opened up the exhaust to about 1.5" and set air intakes around 1.25" I've found that combination insures updraft.

Just checked, temp still locked in. It's time to tuck it in for a few hours.
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Unread 02-16-2010, 08:46 AM   #4
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Default Re: My UDS project: Whole Pork Rear Leg (ham)

Hubba Hubba. Thanks for the play by play. Great cook underway. Looking forward to seeing how this turns out.
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Unread 02-16-2010, 08:51 AM   #5
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That's a nice looking hunk of pork right there!
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Unread 02-16-2010, 09:02 AM   #6
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2-16-2010 12:07pm

In case anyone else is wondering, yes, I turned the meat prior to going to bed. Midnight BBQ Pron is good stuff for sweet dreams.
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Unread 02-16-2010, 09:09 AM   #7
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2-16-2010 6:40am CST

Sorry no photo update, too early, too cold. Ran out and checked UDS. Temperature is locked right on 225 degrees. Threw on my heavy rubber gloves, popped the lid, rolled the entire leg over again. The side that's been down towards fire since midnight looks delicious, not burned, just good! The charcoal basket is still full to the top and just the brief lifting of the lid had it coming to life quickly.

Now, leave that damned UDS alone and go back to sleep!


2-16-2010 8:45am CST

Couple of cups of coffee later I felt the need to check again. Temperatures are starting to drop off slightly, dipped down to near 200 degrees.


I've noticed that as the charcoal/wood fuel blend has burned for this long it usually needs a little more air intake to maintain temps. She's been burning since 11pm or so last night, 10 hours seems like a nice cook for 14# of grayed charcoal. I opened up the air intakes to about 2" and the exhaust to 2" hoping to coax another couple of hours of cook time.

I'll let her sit for another hour or so and if temps are not coming back up it just might be time to fire up the reserve charcoal basket and reload for a longer cook.


When it's starting to look this good one photo just wouldn't do!
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Unread 02-16-2010, 09:10 AM   #8
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Very nice! Thanks for the pron. can't wait to see finsihed product.
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Unread 02-16-2010, 09:24 AM   #9
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Yah, new cut of meat, haven't done this long of a cook on a UDS. I have got to stop fiddling, poking around. One thing I'm sure of on an UDS, you open that lid and your fire roars into action as soon as it gets that fresh air.

It's looking like my fuel is about spent after near 11 hours. All in all, very efficient.

I really hate to go out and pop the lid again, but food safety is always itching at the back of my mind, so I'm going to crawl into some cold weather gear, go out and stick that leg with a meat-thermo and see where it is nice and deep.

I'm suspecting it'll be needing a couple 3 or so more hours of consistent temps to finish and I'm not seeing that long coming out of what's left of my fuel.

I have a second UDS sitting cold so I'll snatch it's charcoal basket rig, light up another 10# of charcoal, and swap it out. That will give me at least another 6 or more hours of consistent temperatures. It will also give me the opportunity for some excellent close up, BBQ Pron photos!

Drool, but not in your coffee!!!!
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Unread 02-16-2010, 09:32 AM   #10
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OK.
When I use my "Mistress" (MeadowCreek TS250) and other smokers I usually foil up my shoulder/butts about 75% into the cook/smoke.

When I do whole pig roasts I might foil the face and feet to reduce serious drying and to keep the pig pretty. I certainly don't need to foil for moisture reasons.

So, now I'm using a UDS with a skin-on leg. IMHO the UDS sure is a moisture rich set up. With the controlled air intake and exhaust every thing else I've cooked has been plenty moist. Heck I usually end up with a quart or more of fluids in the bottom of the UDS once it's all cooled down at clean up time.

So, as I squeeze into the old long johns and I'm slipping on some socks... should I foil? Should I just roll as is?
There's nothing worse than dried up pork IMO.

Hmmm. Fresh charcoal basket and load, fresh fire is going to mean a heat spike.

I think out of habit I'll probably foil up the entire leg before I set it over the fresh fire. Probably spray the foil with Olive Oil so it won't grow attached to what bark I have.

OK, less typing, more playing with fire!!! I'll get more "action" photos up in a bit.
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Unread 02-16-2010, 09:36 AM   #11
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Thanks for the excellent pics!
I don't care if you post a gazillion pics....I love it!
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Unread 02-16-2010, 09:38 AM   #12
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More pics please! I don't know how you have resisted the temptation to lick that meat to taste it. It looks so good!
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Unread 02-16-2010, 10:12 AM   #13
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Nice build. The uds is the do all/ end all.
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Unread 02-16-2010, 10:17 AM   #14
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Oh yeah!! I like the U Bolts idea. That leg is looking mighty fine!! I'd hit that!
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Unread 02-16-2010, 10:28 AM   #15
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Great documentation and tasty lookin too
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