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Boshizzle 05-09-2010 12:56 PM

Update on my excursion with a UDS -

I have about 10 cooks under my belt using my UDS and here are a few things that I have learned.

The UDS is a fun way to cook BBQ. You build it the way you want, you don't pay an arm and a leg, and, after a small learning curve, it holds temps steady as a rock. All things considered, it is easier to clean than my CG Outlaw w/SFB too.

I tried cooking without a diffuser and with a diffuser. I decided I liked the diffuser better since I am more accustomed to BBQ flavor without fat hitting the fire. I use a cheap Walmart grill just above the charcoal basket with a round 15" clay pot tray on it as the diffuser and it works great.

I had some trouble with the temps through a couple of cooks. I just couldn't get the temps up to 250 degrees. I used trial and error to figure what was going wrong. First, I changed the way I setup my square shaped charcoal basket. Using something akin to the Minion method, I started putting unlit charcoal around the edges leaving the bottom of the basket for the lit coals. This allows more oxygen to the fire.

The second thing I did, and this one really gave me a lot of control over the temps and prevent them from going up and down like a yoyo, was to setup a wind shield around the inlet of my UDS. I use what ever is handy like a cinder block, my CG Outlaw with its cover over it, some bags of charcoal, etc. It seems that wind actually sucks air out of the intake preventing enough of it from getting into the drum. In fact, the first time I put up the wind barrier, my temps shot up from 225 to 400 before I knew what happened. Right now I am running at 275 with about a 1/2 gap in my inlet (I used an inlet for a BGE). As long as I fill my charcoal basket right and keep the wind away from the inlet my UDS will keep 275 steady as a rock for hours.

I know how frustrating temp control can be and I hope some of what I learned can help someone else. Vive la UDS! The be all and end all BBQ smoker. ;-)

armor 05-09-2010 01:14 PM

Never heard of the wind affecting UDS at air inlet. You must not have used a ball valve.

Boshizzle 05-09-2010 01:20 PM

I'm using a BGE vent on it. I thought the wind was cooling it down but it turns out that the wind was preventing enough air flow into the vent.

Slackerx 05-09-2010 01:32 PM

Re: Ugly Drum Smoker
I couldn't help but call my pop today after starting to read this thread as he knows some good places to get barrels from. He found a place that sells them cleaned and chared for $24. Should have one this week lol. What did I get my self into. The wife already thinks I'm nuts...might as well give her some confirmation.

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Jiggs 05-09-2010 01:45 PM

Where can one find a grate to use on an 85 gallon UDS? I think it would use a 26 inch grate, but I can't find one.

Smokin' D 05-09-2010 02:47 PM


Originally Posted by Jiggs (Post 1276161)
Where can one find a grate to use on an 85 gallon UDS? I think it would use a 26 inch grate, but I can't find one.

I think the grate to a Weber 26 " grill will fit. Contact Weber Customer Service and you should/might be able to get one there.

DutchQ 05-09-2010 02:50 PM

I'll admit it: I stopped reading this thread after 124 pages. But my UDS is nearly finished and being used. Here are a couple of pics:

Thanks for all the great advice, tips, pics, experiences etc.

Happy Q-ing.


Sterling 05-09-2010 03:05 PM

Grill grates for 85 gallon drum
Here's a couple of links:

I've got 2 of the Rome grills for my 85 gallon UDS.

Sterling Skouson

sjm845 05-09-2010 03:24 PM

My baby is finally finished.
4 Attachment(s)
Added the antique bottle opener today. Sitting at 250 on the bottom grate right now firing up some sausage and chix thighs. Hand painted the logo with ceramic paint---not bad for no artistic ability!!!

Attachment 40630
Attachment 40631
Attachment 40632
Attachment 40633

Boshizzle 05-09-2010 03:42 PM

Nice job, DutchQ and sjm845!

HeSmellsLikeSmoke 05-09-2010 07:15 PM


Originally Posted by Jiggs (Post 1276161)
Where can one find a grate to use on an 85 gallon UDS? I think it would use a 26 inch grate, but I can't find one.

Have you tried calling Weber customer service?

ON THE FARM 05-09-2010 09:54 PM


Originally Posted by Sterling (Post 1276230)
Here's a couple of links:

I've got 2 of the Rome grills for my 85 gallon UDS.

Sterling Skouson


i did the maiden cook on my XL, pulled pork, moinks, ABT's and pig candy and it works awesome!!!

Jiggs 05-09-2010 11:23 PM


Originally Posted by Sterling (Post 1276230)

Thanks Sterling. Much appreciated. I also found another thread about 26 inch grates and it looks like Weber's 26 inch grates run around 42 bucks.

Sammy_Shuford 05-10-2010 12:41 AM


Originally Posted by Babyboomerboy (Post 1171312)
Thank you Skidder for your experience in UDS building and the results. I have read so many brethren that have posted they are getting ready to build their first smoker and have already decided they can make improvements on the main design. If only they would build the UDS the way it was meant to be built and learn how it cooks, they would have an idea what would make their next UDS do different things with changes they would like to make to the original design. To many people want to go the step three before step one and two. I guess its just a fast world we live in today.

After 329 pages of seeing other's mistakes, I have set the advanced (not) stuff aside. Just a basic flat top UDS (KISS).

It's been a good read so far!

Sammy_Shuford 05-10-2010 02:30 AM


Originally Posted by NASCARican (Post 1197936)
Found a good source of drums in the charleston area...I'm gonna have to start a second one...or a third....maybe a fourth!....think I'm gonna need a bigger shed!!:confused:

Somebody from my neck of the woods.

Got my drums of charleston craigs list also.

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