PDA

View Full Version : UDS and Water Pan?


Howtobrew
07-07-2010, 03:10 PM
Okay, I am seriously considering building a UDS instead of buying an BGE for $1000.

The question that occurs to me though is that the plans for building a UDS do not call for a water pan, such as the WSM has.

Do you not need a water pan for a) temperature stability or b) humidity in desert climates to keep the food from drying out?

Also, when using a UDS I see comments that users just tossed a couple chunks on hickory on the fire basket for smoke. Are these chunks dry or soaking wet? Don't they catch fire?
Would an alternate design be to put the wood in a seperate pan above the fire basket but below the food?
Thanks,
HtB

Dave Russell
07-07-2010, 03:40 PM
Okay, I am seriously considering building a UDS instead of buying an BGE for $1000.

The question that occurs to me though is that the plans for building a UDS do not call for a water pan, such as the WSM has.

Do you not need a water pan for a) temperature stability or b) humidity in desert climates to keep the food from drying out?

Also, when using a UDS I see comments that users just tossed a couple chunks on hickory on the fire basket for smoke. Are these chunks dry or soaking wet? Don't they catch fire?
Would an alternate design be to put the wood in a seperate pan above the fire basket but below the food?
Thanks,
HtB

You don't need a water pan in a UDS. Temp is easy to control since it's tight as a drum and if you try using a water pan you'll find you need much more fuel and oxygen to the coals than otherwise. I already tried it.

Don't soak the wood chunks. They'll be plenty of smoke when they start smoldering. They won't burn up unless you leave the top off long enough. Of course, then you'll be more concerned with the ensuing temp spike than the wood chunks.

Howtobrew
07-07-2010, 03:50 PM
Thanks Dave!

PatioDaddio
07-07-2010, 04:12 PM
I use a water pan in one of mine for my butts and brisket. I just don't like the massive infusion of burning fat flavor. A little gives it that great old-school taste, but beyond a little is too much for me.

John

Moose
07-07-2010, 04:16 PM
Some folks use a heat diffuser in their UDS's, myself included, for certain cooks. The heat diffuser can be helpful if you want to avoid flareups and helps if you like less "bark" on your meat. Mine is a giant colander I place upside down over the charcoal basket, but I have seen others use a clay pot dish filled with sand placed on an additional grate between the food grate and charcoal basket...the latter will definitely use more fuel.

1FUNVET
07-07-2010, 04:19 PM
I don't use one, but here in Louisiana, low humidity is never a problem,especially in the summer. I have seen 100% humidity and not raining. :becky:

Dave Russell
07-07-2010, 04:20 PM
I use a water pan in one of mine for my butts and brisket. I just don't like the massive infusion of burning fat flavor. A little gives it that great old-school taste, but beyond a little is too much for me.

John

You can just foil the water pan and leave an air pocket so all the collecting grease doesn't burn. I've cooked ribs with and without a foiled pan in my UDS but prefer the wsm for butts and brisket for exactly the same reason you use the pan. If I had to cook more than four at a time I guess I'd get the drum out.

timmy7649
07-07-2010, 04:36 PM
i use a pizza pan with holes in it(it came that way). since i've started using that my q has been better and fire control is better. no need for water pan. you will have so much moister you will not know what to do with it. i tried a soup can of water and wow i had so much moister that i had a puddle in the bottom of the uds. man these cooker are great and cheap.

pomah25
07-07-2010, 04:54 PM
I built my UDS two years ago (love it), do not use water pan, but have been conteplating to get a diffuser not to keep the grease of the fire, but to difuse the heat more evenly (my fire box is rectangular). I do not soak my wood chunks, but if i use wood chips, i usually soak those.

No issues with fire/temp control. Love the cooker! You should definitely do it.

FretBender
07-07-2010, 05:20 PM
I don't use a water pan in mine but, at times, I do add a foiled second grate blow the cooking grate with some holes in it. This works as a drip pan and heat diffuser. If you use a quality lump charcoal you are actually burning 100% wood with no binders or fillers like the briqs. The lump alone can give a nice flavor to your cook. The chucks add that extra touch, though.

Howtobrew
07-07-2010, 06:04 PM
How far above the top of the firebox should the diffuser or grease catchpan be?

What is the minimum distance between the top of the firebox to the food grate?

Thanks!
John

Moose
07-07-2010, 06:13 PM
How far above the top of the firebox should the diffuser or grease catchpan be?

What is the minimum distance between the top of the firebox to the food grate?

Thanks!
John

I think you'd be pretty safe with the diffuser about midway between the top of the firebasket and food grate...I'm sure others can chime in here as well, esp since I use a cheap colander!

TheMidnightSmoker
07-07-2010, 07:03 PM
I have an original BDS which is built without a water pan or any type of diffuser. The cooker is designed to not use anything between the fuel and the meat so to allow the fat drippings to vaporize when hitting the fire imparting additonal flavor into the mix.

BBQ Grail
07-07-2010, 08:59 PM
Are you married?

(Work with me here.)

Sean "Puffy" Coals
07-08-2010, 09:11 AM
I built by second UDS earlier this year. At first I was all about the water pans, but did not like the texture it gave the meat. I was going thru TOO MUCH water, and it was making the meat super moist and mushy.

When meat fibers cook, they turn to gelatin- too much moisture gives you meat flavored gelatin. Not appetizing at all.

Now, I use a 1/8" thick steel diffuser plate with a couple large holes cut out, mounted 5" from the top of the coal basket. It keeps the heat more even from the top of the cooking area to the bottom, catches most of the drippings while still allowing some to fall thru to the coals, and keeps the flare-ups to a minimum.

If you're seriously concerned about retaining moisture in the meat- foil it 2/3 way thru the cook. It will do the same thing only better, plus it will do what a water pan can't- collect some of the juices for later use.

That's my humble .02

Sean "Puffy" Coals
07-08-2010, 09:21 AM
How far above the top of the firebox should the diffuser or grease catchpan be?

A few inches. I'd say no more than 6. The higher you go, the less effective it will be, and it may interfere with the smoke flowing around the meat.

What is the minimum distance between the top of the firebox to the food grate?

Most people say 24" from the bottom of the coals to the cooking grate. That doesn't do you much good if your coal basket is 22" tall.

I say, if you're using a diffuser/grease pan, 6" - 8" above that. Or about 12" - 16" from the top of your coal basket.

Johnny_Crunch
07-08-2010, 09:30 AM
I just added a grate 3 or so inches below my cooking grate and throw a piece of foil on it with some holes poked in it. Works like a champ.

el_matt
07-08-2010, 10:33 AM
Perhaps asked and answered, but... Why does a diffuser/pan/clay pot increase the amount of fuel that is consumed?

Matt

Howtobrew
07-08-2010, 11:43 PM
It must be because it acts as a heat sink or radiant heat shield to the food, causing you to open the air port more to burn the coals hotter, and thereby consuming them faster.

Here's my next question: How deep does everyone set the top grate? Can you fit a turkey in there without using a Weber lid or does that put the grill too close to the coals causing flare-ups?

I bought the 1 ft diameter weber charcoal grate to use as the fire box base, and I am looking for 1 ft tall expanded metal mesh for the sides. I am thinking I can set the grate two inches up from the bottom to create the ash-relief and get good airflow, leaving 10 inches for loading coals. Sound like a plan?:confused:

BruceKWHP
07-09-2010, 08:20 AM
I think you want the larger Weber charcoal grate that is closer to 16" for the base of your basket. The larger diameter will catch / burn the drippings better. My experience with cooking fatty beef ribs showed me the fat is converted to fuel by a UDS... crazy but true.

I built mine 12" tall but that is really more than you need.... and heavy! 8 or 10" tall will hold more than enough for 12 hour cooks. I got the flattened 12" x 60" x 3/4" x #9 expanded metal as a "scrap" from Ramcast metal for $20. (9165 Glenoaks Blvd., Sun Valley, CA 91352)

Mount it on a 18" flat pizza pan with 2 to 3 inch risers made of bolts or whatever. That way you can push the ash off the pizza pan into the trash without dumping the good leftover coals out of the basket.

I have not tried a diffuser or water pan... it is VERY moist in there when cooking and my family likes the flavor.

expatpig
07-09-2010, 10:05 AM
There are no minimums or maximums, if it works for you ,it's all good. There may be guidelines to follow, I say break all the rules and innovate. Think outside the box.