Electric UDS with Back up

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by sancarlosmx, Aug 21, 2009.

  1. sancarlosmx

    sancarlosmx Fire Starter

    Hi to all
    Have abandoned idea of using a busted w/machine as a smoker as i just picked up a near pristine 55 gal. drum for 20 bucks ( no lid). I am looking for input/ideas on the build. Being a retired engineer ( sorry about that) I like to write down a " design requirements spec." before starting design.
    Here is my first draft. Please bear in mind that I live in the tropics.
    1. Primary heat source: electric element w. contol
    2. Back up heat source: charcoal/propane( will probably put drum on 6 inch legs so I can slide another heat source under the drum.)
    3. Smoke Daddy Kahuna for smoke
    4. Water pan to stabize temps.
    5. Drip feed/drain iced water supply to water pan for cold smoking.
    6. One piece 3 grid rack unit raised and lowered to/from drum with light block and tackle.
    7. Hinged lid cos I am old.
    8. Easily cleaned by filling with soapy water and draing.( after element removal)
    9. ???????
    Any input would be appreciated.
  2. beer-b-q

    beer-b-q Smoking Guru OTBS Member

  3. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    All you have to do is get a hold of Nutzman he's benn building them for about 2 weeks now. Last time I heard he was up to 7 now.
  4. ddave

    ddave Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Here is a very good thread on building a basic "no frills", bullet-proof, proven design.


    From there you can get as complex as you want.

    In looking through your design specs though a few things come to mind.

    Number 6 seemes a little extreme. The cook grates are pretty light. Same with number 7 - the lid is pretty light. As far as Number 8, there's really no need to clean it out other than getting rid of the ash if you use charcoal. I certainly wouldn't fill mine with soapy water. I might wipe the bottom off once in awhile to get rid of excess grease but that's about it.

    Since your an engineer, I understand your mind set. I'm a tech guy and have to stop myself from "overteching" things sometimes. The UDS is really an example of elegant simpiicity in its design and function.

    Sounds like you've got a lot of neat features planned but be careful not to over engineer it. That could be very frustrating.[​IMG]

    Good luck and have fun with it.

  5. beer-b-q

    beer-b-q Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I would have serious questions about using an electric element for heat as it would be at the very bottom with all the juices dripping on it...
  6. rw willy

    rw willy Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    I am a tech also. So allow me to elaborate.
    Carry on and enjoy the build, then the Q.
  7. sancarlosmx

    sancarlosmx Fire Starter

    I assumed that the water pan would prevent this. ?
    Am I wrong? [​IMG]
  8. ddave

    ddave Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    No, you're not wrong. Norcoredneck of the BBQ Brethren (the one who posted the "how to" thread that I linked) made one with an electric heating element in it. I'll post the link to his post if I can find it.

    Also, I beleive Dutch made an electric drum. I'll see if I can find that thread.

    On Edit: Found it.


  9. sancarlosmx

    sancarlosmx Fire Starter

    A great big thank you, Dave.
  10. beer-b-q

    beer-b-q Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I stand corrected, If it wouldn't cause problems then I would definitely go Electric... Electric is so easy and convenient for use "Old Fogies"...
  11. ddave

    ddave Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

  12. sancarlosmx

    sancarlosmx Fire Starter

    Thanks for the input folks. Started cutting metal today. Thank god for a Dremel tool with cut off blades. Already have an MES element and controller, a Big Kahuna and a bunch of pipe fittings, nuts, bolts etc. As soon as I have something to show of the build I will post some pics. At the mo it is too darn hot to work outside.
    We have three fishing tourneys in the next seven weeks so I want to be ready for the fresh fish supply. The one on Sept. 17th is a biggy with 52 boats entered so far with 4 anglers per boat. First prize is a Ford 3/4 ton Lobo truck.[​IMG]
  13. danmcg

    danmcg Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    what or where is the mo?
  14. sancarlosmx

    sancarlosmx Fire Starter

    Mo as in moment.
  15. mikey

    mikey Smoking Fanatic

    Do you think that the element from the mes is going to generate enough heat?
  16. sancarlosmx

    sancarlosmx Fire Starter

    Enough heat? Good question. The answer " I dunno" Did a test today to provide a reference point. Mounted the MES element 2 inches below the drum w. the reflector( 1500 watts) Ambient temp was 90 degrees and it only got the drum up to 150 degrees with a sheet of plywood on top. 2 inch air intake hole in the lower end of the drum and huge gaps between p/wood and top of drum. Soooooo , tomorrow will cut the drum and fit the element inside and run another test. At least I got to heat it up, pour some oil in to start the curing process. This is fun. Will post results.
  17. mikey

    mikey Smoking Fanatic

    I believe the element from the mes is in the 750-800 watt range. The item that you refer to as a "reflector" generates 1500 watts? That's pretty impressive.
  18. sancarlosmx

    sancarlosmx Fire Starter

    No. Perhaps I was not clear. the element I have is stamped 1500 watts and it comes with a reflector plate.
  19. sancarlosmx

    sancarlosmx Fire Starter

    Installed 1500w element in drum today and did another test. On high it got to 210 degrees. Drum is getting nicely cured. [​IMG]
  20. irishteabear

    irishteabear Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Sounds interesting. Do you have any pics?

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