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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 04-06-2010, 10:00 PM   #1
McGurk
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Default UDS Newb questions (Yes, I read the UDS thread!)

Couple of thoughts from my first UDS build:

First off, I am new to this site (love it!) and you'll have to cut me a little slack if these questions have been addressed. Believe me: I have waded through the UDS thread, the IDS photo gallery, and Norco's Redneck UDS build for hours. I have learned alot, but have yet to stumble across much having to do with a few things.

1) The Hole Saw controversy: I know that a Unibit can be the cat's meow and usually don't have a problem investing in tools, but at $40 for each bit it's a bit tough to swallow. I'm not talking the Harbor Freight cheapos, but an Irwin or equivalent. The Irwin's only offer (1) bit that gets to 1" (actually 1 1/8"), and it's close to $60, whereas the others only get to 7/8". I used a $7 1" Morse Hole saw (the red ones) for the 3 holes I needed, and all it took was tapping a dent at each location with a punch, pre-drilling the 1/4" hole with just the bit, and coming in after on all three locations with the hole saw. Take your time, keep the RPM's down, and give it a shot of WD40 or equivalent while you are drilling. It cut fine and clean and CHEAP. Score another one for a cheapskate.

2) Weber lid vent holes: I know that the standard Weber 22 1/2" lid comes with the 4-hole vent, and the holes are at least 3/4" diameter. The consensus here is to have either 8 1/2" holes on a flat lid, or use the 2" bung hole. I did some quick math and found that the 8 holes are close to 1.6 square inches of vent area. I was suprised to find that you get the same vent area from 4) 3/4" holes, 2) 1" holes, or 1) 1.5" hole. That means the standard 2" bung hole is more than adequate for what is deemed an acceptable amount of vent area in a flat lid, but limits on the dispersion of smoke to one location. With a Weber lid, all 4 holes are close together, but give plenty of ventilation. So is there any need to add anymore vent area to the Weber lid as I've seen in a few other builds?

3) UDS as a UDG, too?: Anyone use their UDS as a grill by raising their fire basket up to right below the top grate? I've seen one build that did that, but there weren't any results given. I'd think that a wider and flatter (18" diameter by 6" high maybe?) fire basket would allow for most all of a 22" grill rack to be used. It seems that a taller but narrower basket is the norm for a smoker, but a ring could be made and set inside for smoking if that is the desire (which it definitely is!). Also, could you get the heat temp up without adding more vent holes below? I'm starting with the 3) 3/4" nipples, but am anxious to see if that will allow enough airflow for getting a good grill temp. If not, I'd probably double it to 6) nipples and just have caps for them when not in use.

4) Barrel type: The barrels I obtained (free) had a citrus-based biodegradeable asphalt emuslifier (stops it from sticking to stuff you don't want it to stick to) in them, that seems to rinse off pretty well. The first one is opened and has been rinsed through. There isn't an epoxy liner, and a braided cup brush seems to take the residue and surface rust off pretty well. Do you think they should have a good ol' burn anyway? The reason I ask is that I am in a very residential area and a big time burn is going to be frowned upon big-time.

Final thought: I know I'm a newb and that a lot of people say to KISS KISS KISS when making their first smoker. I am staying very close to the tried and true design that is very popular here, and I just want to try to get it as close to right the first time. I appreciate any and all thoughts on these, and look forward to reading them.

Thanks in advance!
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Unread 04-06-2010, 10:07 PM   #2
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I'd recommend a burn. You can use a Harbor Freight weed burner to burn your drum if you are in a residential area. No need to fill it with wood. The weed burner burns plenty hot and will burn off any residue left.

Just be aware that you can warp your drum if the flame is left in one spot too long. Also, try not to look directly into the drum while using the weed burner or you will discover the "burnt off my arm hair and eyebrows mod" from the backdraft of heat.
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Unread 04-06-2010, 10:14 PM   #3
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You ask some great questions and I can only give you my opinion from my builds. I also use a cheap 1" hole saw just bought some extra 3/4" bits in case I broke my guide bit. I use both a weber top and a flat top(2 UDS) and I added no extra ventilation to the weber and it burns great as does the 2" bung. I have seen some mods to the charcoal basket to make the UDS a UDG and they seem to work well I will try to find the thread. As far as a burn I would burn it just to cleanse the inside before the season burn if you can't (cheapskate mod) I would buy a wire wheel and use a drill to buff out the inside -got my wire wheel for $4 at lowes- and bought a cheap corded drill from Harbor Freight to save my cordless battery. Best advice I got on my first build was KISS and it turned out real good and cheap to build. Hope this helped some Alan
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Unread 04-06-2010, 11:40 PM   #4
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Ditto everything Alan in GA said!
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Unread 04-07-2010, 08:40 AM   #5
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#1 I have a different approach altogether for inlet air t5hat is much easier and less expensive to construct. It also allows for much more air when you want to go high temp (like for grilling pizza).

#2 The goesinto should equal the goesoutof

#3 yes

#4 you can get by with a more gentle burn-in. No need for creating a big spectacle.

I got a photo album here:
http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/album.php?albumid=64

I can also email you a guided PowerPOint presentation if you PM me your emaill address.
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Unread 04-07-2010, 10:09 AM   #6
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Thanks for all of the replies. I think I'll go with a gentle burn and see how it goes. I'd like to repaint it anyway, so it will help with the paint removal. I've got a cup brush for my angle grinder, and I could adapt that to a drill, I suppose. We'll see how the grinding goes.

I wrapped a doubled over moving blanket to my drum and tightened it double with some ratchetstraps to keep it quiet for lid removal. Seemed to help. I used an angle grinder with cutting disc to hop around the inside of rim and notch to whole thing down, and then popped the grinding wheel back on to smooth the edge back down. My Weber lid doesn't quite fit, but instead of doing the hammer mod to get it to fit I think I'll just go around the outer rim with the grinding wheel until it's a snug fit. Shouldn't take too long with the thin metal and small rolled lip.

Also, I think I'll go ahead and put 3) more 3/4" nipples in for a total of 6) for grilling purposes. Even if I don't need them, it will be easier to do them first and it will only cost a couple more bucks. I'll need to test regardless before painting.

Concerning the comment about having a similar amount of intake to exhaust, that only makes sense. So if I go with more intake for grilling purposes, I suppose I'll need more exhaust area to get high temps. From reading here it sounds like the bad result from too little exhaust is stale smoke flavor and creosote buildup. For that I think I'll get the pop-in plugs and just drill some holes. I can then remove them for grilling and replace them for smoking.

Just a thought: If my fire basket is up high for grilling, would it make semse to have the 3) additional intakes up high, too? Say, right below the belly of the suspended fire basket when in grilling mode?

Once again, thanks for your input. It doesn't seem like it from my ramblings, but I am not trying to over-complicate this. What I'd like for an end product is to have 1) unit do all of my charcoal needs!
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