View Full Version : The life and times of a novice smoker

05-16-2013, 05:20 PM
Hello all,

I am creating this thread as a means to document my head first dive into the world of smoken'

It started in March when I spotted a Brinkman Smoke n' grill my mother in law was going to throw out after only one use. It was in rough shape and missing the water pan. But I grabbed a pork loin, some charcoal and gave it a shot. It went well. I was hooked. Almost every weekend since has involved waking up early and getting the old girl fired up. I have tried a variety of different cuts with varying degrees of success. My first pork shoulder came out terrible but my friends were fighting each other for the first rack of ribs.

I spent a lot of time reading about techniques and tricks and how to get the best end product. The more I read the more I realized my dented old smoker just wasn't going to cut it.

And then...I found the mother of all UDS threads...and that is where the story picks up. I'm hoping to start building mine this weekend and getting some practice on it before a big cookout June 8th.

Stay tuned...

05-16-2013, 05:47 PM
Good luck! I could not think of a better way to spend my time...

05-16-2013, 05:48 PM
Good luck on the UDS!

05-16-2013, 07:08 PM
looking forward to the progress...good luck :thumb:

BBQ Bandit
05-16-2013, 07:47 PM
Can't go wrong with a UDS.

05-16-2013, 08:45 PM
Giddy up!!

05-16-2013, 10:16 PM
I started with a UDS , and have since added all thats in my signature \/

05-18-2013, 07:51 AM
Today is the day. The hunt begins for the barrel.

Also attempting my first fatty this weekend. Hope all goes well.

05-18-2013, 09:41 AM
Go for it! Show some build pics if you are able to.

I've taken the build plunge and enjoying every moment!

05-18-2013, 09:56 AM
UDS's are great! Though they're so set and forget that you might be bored cooking on one coming from a needy offset! Good luck man

05-18-2013, 11:45 AM
So i got my barrel! Went to the local scrap yard and picked one up for $10. It was the only red barrel in the bunch of black ones so I had to have it. Im thinking it needs racing stripes. It contained polyurethane or something at some point so a good cleaning and burn out will be in order tonight.

here is a photo of it draining into my oil catch pan. There was maybe a drinking glass worth of junk at the bottom so while its sitting like that im spraying it down with oven cleane and let it run out.

05-18-2013, 03:44 PM
Remember that scrap yard when it comes time to source expanded steel for your charcoal basket. I picked up my drum and basket steel at my local scrap yard too - paid $8 for the drum and $5 for the steel to make the basket.

Good luck and enjoy the build!

05-18-2013, 04:27 PM
Welcome to the madness!! Ive only been in the hobby for a little over a year and Ive upgraded cookers 4 times and Ive loved every minute of it!

05-18-2013, 04:47 PM
I doubt very many folks have read that whole thread - I have (acouple times) and there is some great info there, even ror someone like me that has not made the UDS leap (yet). If you have read it, good for you - your build will certainly be a success, get ready for some very satisfying Q!

Mason Dixon Bowhunta
05-18-2013, 05:52 PM
Good luck with the burn out. There's something strangely satisfying about watching flames shoot out of the top of a barrel.

05-18-2013, 07:06 PM
Burn out was successful. Burned 2 pallets and some fire wood a buddy had sitting around. Sadly all of the glossy red paint burned away. I'll post some pictures later. Tomorrow i plan to season it and let it go or a few hours to see how well it maintains temp.

05-19-2013, 09:44 AM
So quick question guys. Should I season it before or after paint? Does it matter?

After the burn out the outside took on this really cool patina that I want to keep. I'm going to use some clear coat engine enamel to prevent rusting. I think it will make the meat taste better if guests think I cooked it on an old rusty trash can. Adds a little theater to things and makes me look like a super good cook "you made this...on THAT?!"

05-19-2013, 10:34 AM
Can't go wrong with a UDS.

+1 it has amazing taste from the direct fire cooking. It's fuel efficient, and you can't make anything better for less money. Plus the pride in building it yourself and then turning out amazing que!

Here in the PNW you want to paint the outside as soon as you clean it. I had rust start after just one night sitting in the garage. I just used BBQ paint or engine paint. My drum will go over 450* when wide open and its never bothered the paint.

On the inside I sprayed olive oil after using the weed burner on the outside to keep it from rusting and then smoked a fattie.

05-19-2013, 11:46 AM
here are some photos from the burn out and adding the grates. i just sprayed it with some satin engine paint so hopefully it keeps that "old trashcan" look.

http://i1279.photobucket.com/albums/y533/Scott_S9112/photo-17_zps61adc92f.jpg (http://s1279.photobucket.com/user/Scott_S9112/media/photo-17_zps61adc92f.jpg.html)

http://i1279.photobucket.com/albums/y533/Scott_S9112/photo-18_zps60587590.jpg (http://s1279.photobucket.com/user/Scott_S9112/media/photo-18_zps60587590.jpg.html)

http://i1279.photobucket.com/albums/y533/Scott_S9112/photo-19_zpsa0fbc5bc.jpg (http://s1279.photobucket.com/user/Scott_S9112/media/photo-19_zpsa0fbc5bc.jpg.html)

Mark Warren
05-19-2013, 12:11 PM
Nice Progress.

05-19-2013, 01:19 PM
I just did this a couple of weeks back, and I'd suggest paint first, then oil the inside. How you oil it is up to you. I sprayed it down with Pam, but found that to be a big mess. If I had to do it over again, I'd just go after it with Crisco and a paper towel.

Looking good!

05-19-2013, 02:08 PM
Looks good, I just started my build as well

05-19-2013, 09:42 PM
Looking good. Glad you are hooked. Now get this UDS finished and post some pron!

05-20-2013, 12:57 PM
I like the burnout.....my kind of flame height!

05-20-2013, 04:42 PM
It was a good one. Had flames 5ft outside of the barrel if the wind would blow the right way. Thankfully all the neighbors seemed to be busy that night.

05-20-2013, 05:04 PM
Looks like another one got hooked. Looking forward to seeing it in use.

05-22-2013, 02:32 PM
I have some minor technique questions for you guys.

I have an electronic thermometer with a probe on a lead that shows the temp on a digital display. Do you guys just leave the probe in the meat the whole time its on the grill or open the hood periodically to poke it and check?

How long, if ever do you guys leave your UDS unattended? I see a lot about people doing over night smokes. Are you getting up every few hours to check on the meat/make sure nothing is in fire? Running errands during the day? Going to work? Taking a nap? I never felt comfortable leaving my ECB alone for more then 30 minutes. The UDS seems much safer and better contained.

05-25-2013, 12:40 PM
Got the charcoal basket put together this morning and currently seasoning the drum! It's extremely windy in my neck of the woods but it seems to be making and holding temperature pretty well. I will post pictures later. Really hope to give it a cook tomorrow.