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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, equipment and outdoor cookin' . ** Other cooking techniques are welcomed for when your cookin' in the kitchen. Post your hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures, but stay on topic and watch for that hijacking.


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Old 08-22-2010, 04:59 PM   #1
Southern Home Boy
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Default Building a "sheilded" UDS...

So, taking a cue from Smokin' Joe & Son's insulated UDS, I decided to try my own take on the project.

The concept is simple: Take a 55 gal drum, make a UDS out of it and then put it inside an 85 gal drum and insulate the gap. The purpose is to reduce the effect of wind and other inclement weather on the temps inside the drum by reducing the exposure of the walls of the cooker to those elements.

Joe used rock wool as an insulating material and welded everything in place. It's an awesome cooker that I was quite smitten with at the Hazelwood comp back in April. I was going to copy his design straight off, but there were a couple of problems:
  1. I can't weld and have no friends in town who can
  2. I didn't really want the added weight of the rock wool insulation
  3. Once a cooker like that is welded up, that's pretty much all she wrote. I wanted something a little more versatile that I could tinker with, replace parts, etc.
So, with that in mind, I started work on my own version. Here's a few pics of things so far:

Here's the 85 gal. salvage drum I'm using as the sheild:


Here's the 55 gal UDS; One thing I did differently was I cut the air intakes into the bottom of the drum instead of the sides so that the pipe nipples could double as "legs" to get the top of the 55 gal barrel above the rim of the 85 gal barrel:


I'm also planning on setting up the firebasket so that it can be hung from the bottom cooking grate brackets to allow for direct grilling:



The other thing I'm doing is mounting the 55 gal on the lid of the salvage drum and then cutting a hole in the bottom. The larger barrel will then slide down over the smaller drum and lock into place on the base with the drum's original head clamp:

And casters just make everything easier.

I'll post more pics as the build continues.

Thanks for looking. Any and all comments, tips, advice, etc, welcome and appreciated.
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Old 08-22-2010, 05:23 PM   #2
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now that's an idea!!!! i dig it. however you made the lid fit the 55gal drum but when you slide the 85G drum over it it's taller, and wider... curious as to how you're gonna fix that issue, i think the 85 gal drum is same size...ish to the 26" weber could just get that lid right, also since it will be essentially "rebuildable" you could simply use vermeculite, or perelite(yeah the same stuff that's used in pottin soil) to insulate it pretty light stuff after ya figure out the hows of sealing the top...
cant wait to see this one through
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Old 08-22-2010, 05:43 PM   #3
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Very nice looking build. Keep us up on it's progression. I built an electric smoker a few years back out of a big scuba tank compressor frame and used the pink stuff for insulation. Tops out at 280 or so though, but light. Good looking stuff you got going.
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Old 08-22-2010, 09:04 PM   #4
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What did you use for the sides of the fire basket? Is that just wire metal shelving?
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Old 08-22-2010, 09:23 PM   #5
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Hey, it's been awhile since somebody got creative with a UDS.
You go girl.. we're watchin.
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Old 08-22-2010, 09:55 PM   #6
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Inclement weather?
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Old 08-22-2010, 09:58 PM   #7
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while you may not be able to weld, your other fabrication abilities appear to be making up for that missing skill. things are looking pretty good so far. can't wait to see how this build proceeds.
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Old 08-22-2010, 10:09 PM   #8
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Interesting. Glad I don't have weather issues. I can use a;; of the space in my 85 gallon drum and cook more food. 6 briskets or 10 butts at one time.
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Old 08-23-2010, 12:16 AM   #9
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Last week or so the weather in St Louis has been so bad that we've been insulating our cookers to keep them from overheating!
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Old 08-23-2010, 01:36 AM   #10
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If that's PVC I see issues.....

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Old 08-23-2010, 06:00 AM   #11
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I find that most of my heat loss in winter is through the lid. When I insulate my lid the temps jump noticably, more than just wrapping the barrel. How, or are you, going to insulate the Weber lid?
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Old 08-23-2010, 09:49 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmmmeat View Post
now that's an idea!!!! i dig it. however you made the lid fit the 55gal drum but when you slide the 85G drum over it it's taller, and wider... curious as to how you're gonna fix that issue, i think the 85 gal drum is same size...ish to the 26" weber could just get that lid right, also since it will be essentially "rebuildable" you could simply use vermeculite, or perelite(yeah the same stuff that's used in pottin soil) to insulate it pretty light stuff after ya figure out the hows of sealing the top...
cant wait to see this one through
I used black iron pipe nipples to act as both "legs" and the air intakes in the bottom of the 55. This lifted the smaller drum up to the point where it's taller than the 85 drum. I then cut a hole in the "bottom" (now the top) of the 85 drum so that it could be lowered down over the 55 drum and about 1" of the 55 sticks up over the top of the 85 barrel. This allows me to use the 22.5" Weber lid to cover the 55 drum without issue.

The hole was cut to the size of the smaller drum, so there's very little gap between the shield and the actual cooker.
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Old 08-23-2010, 09:52 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Norcoredneck View Post
If that's PVC I see issues.....

Yeah, it's PVC. But the pieces that actually go into the drum are iron pipe. I used PVC elbows at the bottom of the pipe nipples to transition from the iron to the PVC. I've got a PVC valve on my other UDS and have never had any issues with it. I thought I'd give it try to cut down the cost a little bit. If there are any problems, I can always replace them with iron pipe later.
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Old 08-23-2010, 09:58 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by h20loo View Post
I find that most of my heat loss in winter is through the lid. When I insulate my lid the temps jump noticably, more than just wrapping the barrel. How, or are you, going to insulate the Weber lid?
Haven't even thought about insulating the lid. Probably won't. Like I said, this is more of a sheild than an actual "insulated" UDS. I'm all about overkill, but I can't think of any easy way to that and I'm more about easy than overkill.

However... if I WERE going to insulate a lid for something like this, I'd probably use a couple of other barrels cut down. I'd make two lids out of the bottom 1/5 of both a 55 and 85 barrel and configure them the same way the drums are configured: one inside the other with insulation in between.
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Old 08-23-2010, 10:23 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stl-rich View Post
last week or so the weather in st louis has been so bad that we've been insulating our cookers to keep them from overheating!

amen !!!
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