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Old 11-01-2010, 12:05 PM   #1
jimmyinsd
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Default what is wrong? UDS question.

i have noticed that after about 6 hours that i have to shake my coal basket about every hour to keep it going. i see plenty of liquid fats and juices on the bottom of the drum and i wonder if that stuff landing on the unlit coals in the basket could possibly be making it harder for them to burn?

the fire seems to tunnel underneath the unlit coals and then snuff itself...any ideas or suggestions, or am i missing something.

thanks in advance.
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Old 11-01-2010, 12:41 PM   #2
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Got any pics of your setup? That would help a lot. Yes, if you are not using a drip pan the fire tends to burrow into the coals. However, I rarely have an issue with it burning. What kind of fuel are you using and how much are you starting with?
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Old 11-01-2010, 12:46 PM   #3
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Burning Kingsford blue bag??? All the fillers mean lots of ash buildup and it starts to choke out the fire usually after 4-5 hrs into the cook with the drums. I think you'll be much happier with a good hardwood charcoal. I like Stubb's briquettes that I get a Lowe's but there are others that will work as well. I also don't shake my basket, I think it just causes more ash to fall off and clog up your basket. I just give it a little more air if I notice the temps dropping a little. Try it and see if that doesn't take care of the problem.
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Old 11-01-2010, 01:55 PM   #4
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To me it sounds like your briqs make a lot of ash.
I clean the bottom of my UDS once in 3-4 months but I use other kind of briqs.
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Old 11-01-2010, 03:02 PM   #5
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ive used Royal Oak and i barely have any ash build up
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Old 11-01-2010, 04:43 PM   #6
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Let's see your charcoal basket and intake setup.

The only time I have ever found the need to shake my basket as you have described is when I have used lump exclusively, and it was @ 6 hrs into cooks.
When I use BBK it burns clean and produces very little ash buildup in the drum, and I can even close the vents and snuff the fire and will have coals leftover for another cook. The "natural" briqs like Stubb's, Rancher/Trader Joe's and Maple Leaf just turn to dust.

I am going to use my psychic powers and take a stab in the dark and bet you have a ginormous charcoal basket for those "long burns" everyone thinks they need on a drum.

JMO
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Old 11-01-2010, 05:27 PM   #7
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How high off the bottom of your drum is your coal grate? I started out at 2 inches and had similar issues. After raising my coal grate to 3 inches from my ash pan I haven't had any issues. Recently ran an 18 1/2 burn on a brisket with zero issues.
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Old 11-01-2010, 07:14 PM   #8
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I have the same problem. There is a point where my temperature just drops like a rock. I shake the life out of the drum and it starts to come back up. I use Kingsford blue bag.
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Old 11-01-2010, 07:21 PM   #9
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jimmy, I am with swamp and low-n-slow as possible issues. Without knowing your set up, it is somewhat of a stab in the dark. As swamp said, I have seen over the years that folk get away from a simple basic design of a basket around 14 - 15 inch diameter and try to make a huge basket. This may not be your case but is a good thought. From experience, a 3 inch bottom clearance is an absolute minimum. If you can do 4 inch clearance, it would be even better. You will get it figured out bro! Keep us posted.
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Old 11-03-2010, 02:56 PM   #10
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thanks for all the responses guys.

i have a cheap round grill as a ash pan. about 18" diameter and 2.5 inches tall with 3/4 holes drilled in the sides all around it. (this sits directly on the bottom) i then have a expanded metal grate that goes over the top with a 15" diameter x 10" (?) tall expanded metal coal basket.

i have been burning a approx 50/50 blend of kingsford blue and royal oak lump. with hickory pieces mixed throughout.

other than that, i think i took the redneck UDS design pretty close to gospel. 3-3/4 nips 3/4 fp ball valve on one, caps on the other two. i have on 2x6" black nip in the lid for exaust. (no drip pan) i have been thinking about trying that, but i thought i would try and get a consensus.
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Old 11-03-2010, 03:41 PM   #11
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I shake my UDS every few hours...just to remind it who is BOSS!!
Never really had trouble with a fire going out even on long (15+ hour) cooks.

I use RO Lump or Kroger generic lump w/ hickory or pecan usually. I have NEVER used briqs in my UDS.
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Old 11-03-2010, 03:58 PM   #12
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do you guys end up with a crap load of liquid in the bottom of your drums after a long cook? i would estimate it to be a several cups. considering my set up, if this much is hitting the bottom of the drum how much is sitting on the unburnt coals? i have only used it 3 times and have never burnt down all the coals (i did refill it once, but i have been amazed at the effiency.) however i do dump them out and shake off the ash between cooks.
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Old 11-03-2010, 03:59 PM   #13
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might want to try a different basket set up.
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Old 11-03-2010, 07:16 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmyinsd View Post
thanks for all the responses guys.

i have a cheap round grill as a ash pan. about 18" diameter and 2.5 inches tall with 3/4 holes drilled in the sides all around it. (this sits directly on the bottom) i then have a expanded metal grate that goes over the top with a 15" diameter x 10" (?) tall expanded metal coal basket.

do you guys end up with a crap load of liquid in the bottom of your drums after a long cook? i would estimate it to be a several cups.
Put legs on the bottom of your basket so air get's under the coals.

What amount of food are you placing in the drum to get that sort of liquid in the bottom? Are you injecting?

I also think your basket needs to be taller that way at least the fuel on the bottom get's lit and helps burn off the drippings before the thin layer of fuel is saturated.
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Old 11-03-2010, 08:34 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by devious View Post
might want to try a different basket set up.
I agree diff basket, also I move the meat toward the side of my drum, not directly over fire. Recently I added a diffusser plate and like the results.
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