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Unread 11-01-2010, 11:58 AM   #1
d37fan
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Default UDS Test Run

Fired up the drum on sunday to test it out with about 6 lbs of lump charcoal. i have too many holes in the lid, couldn't keep it under 325 with the ball valve barely open. the holes are from the hinge and the small rack that was in the grill it came from. Easy fix with some 1/4" bolts. Overall I am stoked and ready to get some meat on it.




The lid came from a walmart cheapo that was 3 years old. I had to make a ring for the lid because it was 1-1/2" smaller in dia. I also went with three 1/2" nipples and one 3/4" with ball valve for the air inlet.
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Unread 11-01-2010, 12:38 PM   #2
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A few small holes in the lid really shouldn't cause such temp issues. I have used a lid like that for one build I did. Its got holes in the sides where the little rack would go. Not to mention that I flattened the lip and it just sits on the lip of the drum with small gaps here and there. I have also run it with the thermometers removed which leaves two holes in the front. I can still maintain 225.

So, how did you start your coals? Perhaps you had it too hot to begin with and that can be hard to bring down. The pic shows your 1/2" nipples open, were they closed off when you were having issues? I know around me its been windy the past few days. This can be an issue as well. Here is a good test: get a good fire going with temps up over 200 and then shut off the ball valve and nipples. Does the fire go out within 30 minutes or so? If not close the top vent and see. Most people that have just a standard drum with a flat lid and holes drilled can usually just shut off the intake and the fire will die. Thus, I would be surprised if a little extra air coming from your lid was causing you so many issues.
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Unread 11-01-2010, 12:42 PM   #3
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Colonel00 is right on. It is not likely an issue with exhaust or holes near the lid. Usually you will find some sort of air leak down close to the fire basket causing the problem. Let us know what you find out.
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Unread 11-01-2010, 12:47 PM   #4
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Having just gone through this myself I would expect that you had too many briquetts started. I got too many on the first few cooks and although I could control the temp, it was chocking the fire too much and the food came out really smokey and foul tasting. Try 10 briquetts to start and put them in the middle of the basket and see if that helps.
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Unread 11-01-2010, 12:58 PM   #5
d37fan
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This pic was when I first put the basket in the drum. I started about as much as I could hold in my cupped hands and then added it to the top of the basket. I didn't have the thermometer in the side just in one of the holes in the lid. I understand I will have to learn how this thing cooks, just breaking it in.
Thanks for the suggestions, Dale.
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Unread 11-01-2010, 04:56 PM   #6
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I'm starting to sound like a broken record!

Let's see your charcoal basket. Since you said it was a test run and you used 6 lbs of charcoal, that's a good amount for chicken & ribs on your next cook!

Get yourself a weed burner and do it up right.

Once you put some meat on it the temps will level out. You didn't have any mass on the grates....so yeah, 300*++ is about right if you were futzing with the vents.

Just sayin'
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Unread 11-01-2010, 05:24 PM   #7
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My first couple of test runs with mine were all over the place. I thought I had air issue but it ended up I was firing up to many coals and now only fire up about 8 briquettes for up to about 10lbs of coals.
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Unread 11-01-2010, 06:17 PM   #8
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It never crossed my mind that a cold mass would help keep the temps lower, filed that away in the book. I am also pretty confident that I didn't light too much to start with, cause 8 hours later there were still coals in the bottom, and running around 325. There will be meat in the belly of the beast next weekend, guaranteed.
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Unread 11-01-2010, 07:06 PM   #9
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What is the temp at the grate and have you calibrated your thermometer? If temps are a problem, you can try a diffuser. That can help lower temps at grate level.
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Unread 11-02-2010, 07:52 AM   #10
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Here is a shot of the basket. It is 13" across and 18" tall. It is mounted 2" up from the bottom of the pan for ash control. Hope this answers some questions.

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Unread 11-02-2010, 10:42 AM   #11
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Unread 11-02-2010, 11:25 AM   #12
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Hey d37fan...

First observation is the tall sides on the ash pan...this could restrict some of the air flow to the bottom of the basket. You can always cut 3 holes in the side of the ash pan with a hole saw and then just align them with your intakes when you cook.

That said, I would not have expected your runaway temps with this basket, it is a little tall but you just don't have to fill it all the way. Again...make sure you don't have any air leaks around the bottom of the drum or at your intakes. I'm at a higher elevation than most but I typically run at 225° with two intakes completely closed and the ball valve cracked 1/2 to 3/4 open, YMMV. Swamperb may see something I'm missing...he knows his drums.

Keep at it, you'll get it dialed in. On a side note, I heard that the 13th place butt at the Jack was cooked on a drum this year....(blowing my own horn mod) :)
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Unread 11-02-2010, 11:31 AM   #13
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my .02 - when i start mine i use the following method:
I start with 3 open intakes and the lid closed (obviously) - when the temp reaches 150 I close one intake, at 200 I close the 2nd intake, at 225 i close the valve half way. That's it.

my basket is 13" dia and 12 inches tall with a pizza pan at the bottom 3" below
http://www.flickr.com/photos/5451002...n/photostream/

Last edited by brunski; 11-02-2010 at 11:34 AM.. Reason: add more info
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