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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 04-07-2010, 08:14 AM   #1
topchefvt52
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Default I just gotta ask.....UDS

During the few months I've been reading the Brethren forums, I see a LOT of you talking about UDS rigs. I've cooked on offsets, Cookshack electric smokers, Traeger Lil Tex and the FEC100.

OK, so I can see where building a UDS can be satisfying in itself but what are the advantages of cooking with one?
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Unread 04-07-2010, 09:06 AM   #2
N8man
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The sense of pride that comes from cooking on something created by one's own hands aside, it is one amazing cooker for the amount of money invested. Versatile and Ugly, what a combination....
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Unread 04-07-2010, 09:09 AM   #3
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I think mainly for me its what N8 said. I am getting ready to build mine after reading the thousand of posts on this forum about it. For the money invested into it and the product coming out you can not beat it. Yes, would I love to have a FEC or a nice big offset? Sure!! Want to give me one for about $100? :)

Until then though, my dual UDS's, my modified grill/smoker and Weber Kettle will keep me going!
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Unread 04-07-2010, 09:10 AM   #4
rw02kr43
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Default uds

It's so easy to use. although so far mine has been rather hectic, but you can set your temp and the thing will run all day long with no attention. Once I got my temps down to reasonable levels it ran for 15 hours without refreshing charcoal, or emptying ash.

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Unread 04-07-2010, 09:15 AM   #5
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I built one for the single fact that it could go at least 10-12 hours with no fire maintenance. I really only use the UDS for longer burns like brisket and pork shoulder, and stick to my offset for ribs, sausage and everything else.

The other reason for the UDS is that the fat drips onto the coals - which is supposed to give you that "old time pit" flavor, but truthfully I always use a water pan under the meat in mine.
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Unread 04-07-2010, 09:17 AM   #6
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Prolly cuz most guys here already have the things lying around to make one of the best smokers around. Oh and the whole direct Heat cooking method.
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Unread 04-07-2010, 09:19 AM   #7
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All true, but there is another benefit.
Cooking directly over the fire is another great method to use. Take a look at many of the great pits of all time, the meat is done directly over the coals-far away from the coals, and a small amount of coals, but thats what it is. A different result.
Now I want to go home and whip out the drum!
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Unread 04-07-2010, 09:21 AM   #8
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I have to agree with everything mention above. it's cheap to build. I build mine for about $80. It's large enough to smoke a turkey, has the capacity to burn over 12 hours with out adding more fuel, great temperature control, economical (as you can shut off all the air and burn out your charcoal and use it next time) and you neighbor doesn't have one :)
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Unread 04-07-2010, 09:31 AM   #9
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Hi, my name is Joe and I cook in a barrel. In fact, I have cooked some of my best BBQ in a barrel.

I have used a modified Chargriller Outlaw with SFB offset smoker for about 4 years. It is a big fat cry baby. Every 2 hours you have go care for it and feed it. It cooks some good Q but it is a lot of effort and forget about running any errands while slow cooking. You just couldn't leave it alone for very long.

I spent about $150.00 completing my UDS. It is a hands off cooker. It holds temps steady as a rock for hours. Many like the taste that you get from the fat dripping in the coals as the meat cooks. Many do not like it. With the UDS, you can use either method. If you don't like the grease hitting the fire, pick up a $15.00 clay pot tray from HD and put it over the charcoal basket. Problem solved.

The UDS is fun, inexpensive, and extremely simple to operate. If you have $400.00 or more get a WSM, a Bubba Keg, or a BGE or a FEC. If you want to make BBQ that's just as good as what you can get out of one of those with comparable capacity to a XL BGE or 22.5" WSM but want to save some $$$, a UDS is a great way to go.

My gently used impeccably cared for Chargriller Outlaw with the SFB is going on Craigslist. Between my Weber SS and the UDS, I have all I need... until I get a Jambo. ;-)
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Unread 04-07-2010, 09:41 AM   #10
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To answer your question of advantage.... I see no "advantage". Having said that, I use mine almost exclusively to the others I have (my Chargriller, my Cookshack and my Fast Eddy). Like N8man said.... I get a whole lotta satisifaction smoking in the drum I made and it really is a "set it and forget it" pit! Now if I could somehow bring it into my bedroom for some REAL TLC!
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Unread 04-07-2010, 09:44 AM   #11
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All the thing's mentioned above. Also I can pick it up myself, throw it in the back of my truck with a bag o coals and am pretty much good to go. Guys at work like to have q on Saturday's
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Unread 04-07-2010, 09:45 AM   #12
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If you have ever used a WSM, you could equate the ease of use of that cooker to an advantage of the UDS. Cost is probably the biggest factor of all, outside of the satisfaction of building one.
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Unread 04-07-2010, 10:55 AM   #13
BigButzBBQ
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I think what everyone else has said pretty much covers it, the only thing I can see that hasn't been brought up is the whole creative versatility part of a UDS. They are great for finding out what happens if the rack is lower or high, what it's like to use different difusers or to put a water pan underneath. How low intake and fast out take will cause your meat to absorb smoke, or vice versa. In the end, the expermenting factor alone given the low initial cost is another great benefit. Afterall, you wouldn't weld a lower rack on a traeger just to see what would happen and potentially destroy it in the process. With your UDS you can, take everything out, and just get another barrel. I love experimenting and that's why the UDS is great for me.
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Unread 04-07-2010, 11:48 AM   #14
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You can put the meat on at night, go to the bars and chase women and have lunch ready the next day.
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Unread 04-07-2010, 11:51 AM   #15
topchefvt52
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Wow! Thanks for all the replies. I'm assuming you can get UDS as hot as a BGE for grilling? Do most of you use briquettes or cowboy charcoal? And for smoke, just add chunks of wood as you would for a Cookshack electric smoker?

I just may have to take a stab at building one. I'm sure the Missus would lover to see one more cooking device out in the yard...hehe.
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