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spareheat 07-18-2011 06:42 PM

Ok. On page 387 now, getting closer to the end. I am building two, one for me:crazy: and one for my son in law :-o. Got my drums last monday from Drumco in Memphis- resalvaged, cleaned, not painted, not lined with lid for $14 each. These are considered Burning barrels. I picked thru the trailer to get two the same size, shape and condition ( they look like brand new steel only dented) NO Smell at all. One has bad threads on 2" bug. Both had bad dents in top ring sealing surface, probably why they got pulled to the burn trailer --DOT rejects. Several minutes with a pair of hammers and I smoothed them out enough for a UDS. I've welded in a 3/4" nipple in the side and a 1" nipple and elbow in the bottom center. Both will be valved, the bottom one will be for start up air and cleaning--these will be sitting in a rolling work station with 2' x 2' expanded metal table area on both sides of the smoker. I welded 1" wide pieces of 2" angle iron inside for grill supports. I put 4 for the bottom grate and 3 for the top grate, thinking that I could notch the bottom grate to fit past 3 brackets easily. Doesn't work. So now I will remove the 3 top supports and install swinging brackets made from 1/2" thin wall square tubing welded to drum side ( I am using square instead of round because it's easier to weld to these thin drums). A 3/8" bolt sits inside the sqaure tubing and a piece of 3/8" round stock welded to the top of the bolt. This will allow the rods to swivel from the center of the drum to the side. Nothing in the way when setting the bottom grate. Will add pics later.

kitts21 07-19-2011 08:04 AM

I am in the process of making my 1st UDS and have a question about the burn out of it. I did it once but there still seems to be some of the red liner left in it. I have ran out of wood to use, but I have a xmass tree that has yet to find its way to the dump. Can I use this as burn out wood? Or will it leave some nasty residue behind? Thanks for the help, and Great looking UDS's. I hope mine will look half as good

johnodon 07-19-2011 08:44 AM


Originally Posted by kitts21 (Post 1715511)
I am in the process of making my 1st UDS and have a question about the burn out of it. I did it once but there still seems to be some of the red liner left in it. I have ran out of wood to use, but I have a xmass tree that has yet to find its way to the dump. Can I use this as burn out wood? Or will it leave some nasty residue behind? Thanks for the help, and Great looking UDS's. I hope mine will look half as good

From what I read, the red liners are the anti-christ of the UDS world. I can't answer about the xmas tree, but if you have a propane tank, it might be a good investment to get a weed torch. Harbor Freight has one for $20.

This things are just pure nasty!!! :)


kitts21 07-19-2011 09:26 AM

anything with the word "Torch" in it sounds like a necessity. thanks.

Carbon 07-19-2011 11:38 AM

2 Attachment(s)
This is what I've got so far with the drum I picked up last week. All that's left to do are to install my big old 3" Tel Tru smoker gauge, drill two or three 3/4" vent holes through the solid plate part of the draft door assembly I fabricated, make a charcoal basket, and then season.
Here are a couple of photos I snapped this morning. Thanks for looking.

johnodon 07-19-2011 12:27 PM

That looks awesome Carbon!

Skidder 07-19-2011 12:49 PM

Hate to say it but these things have got to be hurting Weber sales. As much as I love Weber products there so cheap to make and work as well or better. I have made eight so far.

Claude 07-19-2011 02:23 PM


Originally Posted by Claude (Post 1682857)
Well, my first UDS is almost done. I had posted a while back about grinding the edge off of the top of a closed barrel and then using that top as the lid. I regret to report that I have no report. The friend that is helping me build got tired of seeing the parts laying around his shop and just got started. He used a plasma cutter to cut the inside of the lid and then ground down the edge a bit. It works out, though. I had an extra barrel around to cut for my lid. We cut it just below the first 1/3 rib so that the "lid" has a full rib. Thus, the lid will wedge inside of the lip of the UDS. Does anyone have any comments about the lid being over the lip versus inside the lip? I already have another tab open, searching "aluminum foil mod." I'll report back on the air tightness of the lid later.

The burn out was completed today. The next couple days will be some light grinding on the outside to prep for painting. I hope to do a test burn as soon as I can thereafter. Assuming all goes well, fatties to season after that.

Well, it's a good thing that I had read most of this thread before I tried my first cook. I ran into a number of problems that were quickly solved with no worry or fuss on my part. I basically ended up with a redneck build - . The welding of the nipples didn't go well so we picked up some conduit nuts. I didn't find out until later that the conduit nuts mostly melted during the burn out. More on that later.

I got the UDS home and did a quick test burn one evening to see how it held temps. The temps were stable, but quite a bit higher than I thought they should be. **Lesson #1 - Calibrate your thermometers** As it turned out, my fryer thermometer was measuring almost 50 degrees high. Adjusting down, the temps were right around 275-300. I tried to shut it down to save some coals. But, with the poor connections that I had at the bottom valves, I was obviously getting too much air in to extinguish the fire. The next morning when the fire was still burning, I decided to just open her up and let it finish. **Lesson #2 - While air tightness is important, there is a certain amount of fudge factor if you don't need to completely extinguish the fire.**

This is where I got ambitious. I picked up two butts from Costco and prepped for my first UDS cook and my first overnight cook to feed the guys at work the next day. **Lesson #3 - Some may prefer otherwise, but, in a pinch when your hose nipple falls out, a small sheet magnet off the fridge will do.** I started half a chimney and poured it on top of the basket. About an hour later I put the meat on the grill (10:30pm). I checked the drum every half-hour or so. By 11:30, it was getting a little too high (I was going for 225-250ish)**Lesson #4 - Small adjustments in your ball valve will make a big difference and will take some time to become apparent.** I sort of ignored this last lesson. I made one more adjustment and went to bed.
I woke up at 5am and the drum temp had dropped to 175. My butts were still at 155. I opened the ball valve all the way up. By 7:15, the drum was at 225 and the butts were at 155. **Lesson #5 - If you butt didn't finish cooking or you run into some problem, you can always foil it up and finish it in the oven.** I put the butts in the oven at 300. Just over an hour and a half later, the probe told me that the butts had reached 195. I wrapped them in a towel and put them in the cooler. A couple hours later, the butts were still a little warm (180ish). But, it was time to eat. I pulled the meat (wow, was that easy) and served it up. The meat turned out great. I felt like I had a pretty decent smoke ring and no off flavors. It certainly didn't last long around 20 hungry guys.
I ended up using the top 1/3 of another drum for my lid. I do not have a great seal. I tried a modified weber top that I found on the side of the road that didn't give me a great seal either.
Hence, the aluminum foil mod. She sure is ugly.
One of the butts.
What was left.

Thank you to all of the posters on this thread. It was fun. I will post more food pron next time. For my next cook, I will also be sure that I can check the drum a little more often (as opposed to leaving it alone for 5 hours)... during the day might be nice.

spareheat 07-19-2011 04:34 PM

Round holes are fine but aren't good for controlling flow. A slot will provide better control. 3/8" to 1/2" wide slot 3" long with a sliding door ( like above ) will give a consistant air flow change with a change in door position. Moving the door a 1/4 inch will change the air flow the same amount whether it's half open or a fourth open. I believe this will make temp control more consistant time after time. And if you mark the door and or slot, your postion will be easier to find after shutting it to open the lid or if it gets knocked out of position accidentally. I want mine out of the way so it won't get changed by someone walking past and hitting the valve. The throttle cable controller will work great with a slotted door. Just my two cents on air flow.

Carbon 07-19-2011 05:08 PM


Originally Posted by spareheat (Post 1716336)
Round holes are fine but aren't good for controlling flow. A slot will provide better control.

Thanks. Yes, I realize 3 round holes in a row will not be continuous as far as gauging air flow with a single sliding door. A slotted vent as you say will be easier to gauge. But on the other hand, temperature control when things settle will be made through just one 3/4" hole, not two or three holes, as those will be completely shut for the remainder of the cook.
This is something for me to think about tonight, whether to use 3/4" holes or a long narrow slot. I can go either way. I like the slot idea now that you brought that up. I was going with 2 or 3 holes simply because it was the easiest to do.
Thanks again!

pman777 07-20-2011 09:00 AM

Did my first run seasoning last night.
My first UDS build is now an official UDS as I completed what I think was a quite efficient first run, seasoning last night. I'll supply pictures later after I get the handles and second thermometer attached.

Big thanks to Norco's wisdom among others. Seems like Norco, who never seems to tire of UDS teaching, supplied the most tidbits that I used.

Last night I hit 250 degrees (97 degrees outside) in about 15 minutes and it took another 25 minutes to hit 340 (measured right below the grill center). I then shut down my 3 open intakes to 1.5 intakes and it continued to rise to 365 before the temp started to drop at about the 1.5 hour mark. It slowly dropped to 325 and held. I then closed the ports to 1.25 open and the temp dropped to about 300 at the 2.5 hour mark and held about there until the 3 hour mark.

I then shut all intakes and within a half hour I was down to 175 and falling. I don't think I could ask for more.

I started with a Weber kettle lid, found a closed drum that had held sesame oil (loved the smell) and had a tan inner surface that I burnt out with a weed burner. After washing the ash off with scotchbrite I put my angle grinder with a sanding pad and put it to bare metal all in about 95 degree heat outside. I immediately sprayed the inside with Pam.

I drilled 3 ea, one inch holes with a hole saw before the burn and put in the 3/4" nipples after the burn. I painted the outside the dull black bbq paint and then repainted with the semi gloss as the dull look sucked with my shining weber lid.
I used only 3 grate supports made of ss ubolts and they support just fine. My charcoal basket is the typical 14" diameter expanded metal attached to the small weber grate with an aluminum pizza pan on the bottom for the ash catcher.

Now that the hard work is done and I'm ready to christen with the fatty cooking I've almost got stage fright. I've never smoked anything before.

Thanks to all and a big thank you to the people that run this board. I looked at many a board when I first decided to try this and this board became my smoking home pretty quickly.

Joe Steel 07-20-2011 09:30 AM

UDS Flare Up Question:
So, I've done a few runs on the UDS (so awesome).

Noticed the following: I had the grill filled with a whole chicken and about 6 pounds of country style ribs. Chugging along, maintaining a decent temp (say 225 -250). I need to remove the lid and check on things -- turn the meat, relocate pieces cooking faster than others, apply sauce, etc.

With the influx of air, and add the dripping grease, flareups occur and pretty soon, you have a raging fire in your coal basket.

How do you deal with that?

Carbon 07-20-2011 11:17 AM

3 Attachment(s)
A little more progress this morning.
I decided to go with 3/4" vent holes instead of a single long narrow slot as was suggested by spareheat in my previous post. I figured I can turn those holes into one long slot anytime. The slider which is sandwiched between the drum and the outer plate is snug and solid, not loose with good action, so I'm not worried about leaks.
I'm just waiting on my 48" x 48" expanded metal to arrive today so I can do the basket, grate, and ash catcher assembly. Then I'm ready to get this thing dirty...:)

spareheat 07-20-2011 05:28 PM

Great looking smoker CARBON. If you want to expeiment with the slot idea, cover the top and bottom of the holes with tape. Yours would be easy with all your holes in a row like that. Or a piece of cereal box with a slot cut in it taped over the holes and you can change the slot size easily. If you don't like it, take it off. No harm, no foul.

Can anyone think of a reason not to use hinges as grill supports? Earlier in this thread someone used SS boat hinges that had a rotation stop built into them. He mounted them with the hinge pin horisontal so that the top half was either hinged up--flat against the side of the drum, or hinged down--90 degree from the drum wall making a shelf for the grate to sit on. This is a great idea, but the SS boat hinges are very pricey and I didn't see too many used in later posts.

However, a house door hinge--closet, front/rear door--mounted with the hinge pin vertical--just like in your house. They will fold to the side of the drum or to the center for grill support. They can be bolted or welded. They can be bought or picked up for free if you look for them. They will each hold 50 pounds. They won't fall back down while trying to put the grate or fire basket in place like the boat hinge.

I can not think of a reason NOT to use them. Tell me what you think.

Meat Burner 07-20-2011 05:36 PM

Round holes are just fine. They have worked on the UDS since this thread was started. Pretty good record IMO.

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