General Stupid UDS Questions

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by billbo, Mar 12, 2009.

  1. billbo

    billbo Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    OK, I'm ready to build one of these suckers! I do however have some very basic (I think) questions.
    1. If I get a brand new factory barrel, unlined so it's bare steel, do I need to burn it? Can I keep the factory paint on the outside if I don't need to burn?
    2. If I do need to burn it, do you need to do anything with the lid or just use it as is?
    3. How long can I expect a basket of fuel to burn? Long smokes concern me here but from what I've read it burns slow.
    4. I also need instuctions on proper fuel lighting techniques with a UDS.
    5. I have also read about a seanoning process. Please enlighten thy ignorant one.
    6. How do you guys add more wood? Do you soak your wood? Do you take the grates out and add? Again, thinking long smokes.
    7. How does a UDS perform in cold weather? I live in upstate NY for cryin out loud!
    OK, I think that's enough questions for now. As you can tell I am deep in the planning stages. For my money this seems to be a very good option as far as a bigger rig! I know you guys will calm my nerves on this so I can get to building.
  2. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I didn't see bubba logged on, he knows his stuff with drums. There should be a few others on-line that will catch up with you soon.

    As far as wood goes, you'd be using pre burned (lump) or briquettes.

    Fresh exterior paint should be fine, the interior is what really matters.

    With the right size basket, loaded correctly, I'm hearing of 12-18 hour burn times, so no reloading fuel.

    Good luck with the build, sounds like a blast!!!

    On edit: no such thing as a stupid question...remember that!!! LOL!!!

  3. rickw

    rickw Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    1. No need for burn in with a brand new steel barrel.You will need to wash it out though. Make sure to take the seal out from the lid of the barrel.

    2. There is no need too add fuel; with a full load you will get approximately 1 hour per pound (or better) burn times. I have done 13 hour smokes without a reload. Put 3 or 4 fist size chunks of wood at different points in the basket then there is no need for more wood,
  4. ddave

    ddave Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    On edit: Rick must type faster than me.[​IMG]
    1. If you get a truly new unlined barrel (bare metal with "rust inhibitor") there is no need to burn. Just wash it out (warm water and Tide works well) rinse and dry. Then spray on some Pam or rub on some Crisco in preparation for the seasoning run. Do this quickly or it will rust.
    2. Even if you do burn it, don't do it with the lid on as the heat may warp the lid then it won't seal properly. Use a wirewheel to get the lid to bare metal if necessary.
    3. My basket is 13.5" in diameter by 8" tall and will hold 18 pounds of Royal Oak or Regular Kingsford and 12 pounds of Kingsford Competition Briquettes. I got 20 hours out of 18 pounds of Royal Oak when I did a test with a brisket. I got 10 hours out of 6 pounds of Kingsford Comp. You will never likely out cook one load of fuel.
    4. You don't add more wood. You put 4 or 5 fist sized chunks in with the charcoal and they will last through out the smoke.

    That's the basket with 18 pounds of Royal Oak which was an extreme test out of curiosity on my part. I doubt I would ever fill the basket over 3/4 full in the future and most of the time it would be more like half.

  5. rickw

    rickw Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Finally beat ya on one Dave [​IMG]
  6. billbo

    billbo Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Wow you guys are good! Thanks for the info! I have added more questions since I keep thinking of them. If you can't tell I'm pretty pumped about this!
  7. rickw

    rickw Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    When lighting I use the minon method. Light 10-12 briquettes and simply put them on the coals. Start with 3 intakes open, when you hit 200F close one intake. Now when you reach 215-220 close another intake and close the last one 1/4 to 1/2. This should give you a good starting point, adjust from there.

    Lets see if I beat Dave :)
  8. billbo

    billbo Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    You beat him! I can't wait to start this thing!
  9. ddave

    ddave Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Yeah, you beat me! [​IMG] For some reason, I can't get into my Photobucket account.

    You forgot to explain the seasoning process though. [​IMG]

    The seasoning process is just lighting it up for the first time after you have wiped the inside of the drum with Crisco or sprayed it down with Pam. After it has been running awhile, throw a fatty on for good measure. [​IMG]

    As you use the drum, you will notice a shiny black coating build up on the inside.

    That is the "seasoning" and will keep the drum from rusting.


    On Edit: Oh yeah, and don't soak your wood. Just put it towards the outside and don't dump the hot coals dirextly on it. Although, even if you did, when you close the intakes down to "cruising speed" I doubt there will be enough excess air for them to burst into flames anyway.
  10. rickw

    rickw Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I just did a test burn on mine to season it. That was before I knew of this seasoning you speak of.
  11. billbo

    billbo Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    How about cold temps? Does the Uds perform well?
  12. Boy, am I learning a lot for a future build!![​IMG]
  13. rickw

    rickw Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I've never tried a cold smoke.
  14. ddave

    ddave Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    ROCKS!! [​IMG] And unless the drum is leaky, it doen't care if it is windy either. Of course you don't want to face the open intake into the wind, but they perform very well in the wind and cold.

    Well, let me qualify that -- cold here is low 30s. I'm not sure what "cold" is where you are. But I have read posts from users in much colder climates than mine that they work great. Use a little bit more fuel maybe but they're fine.

    They are such a small container and an elegantly simple design. Heat rises and the draft just pulls air in at the bottom. Other smokers you have to work to keep temps up. With a UDS you sometimes have to work to keep them down. They like to run hot so you have to be careful to start them up slow and don't open the lid unless absolutely necessary.

  15. billbo

    billbo Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Sorry, I meant does it work well in cold temps like an upsate NY winter?

    Nevermind, Dave beat me this time! Thanks Dave!

    I hope to do a pictorial of the build for you guys. Least I could do.
  16. ddave

    ddave Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Well, I have seen pictures on other forums of people using them in the snow and there was a path dug to the UDS and the snow around was all melted so I think you'll be ok. [​IMG]

  17. rickw

    rickw Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Darn it I read that wrong, I thought it was about cold smoking.

    The uds is feakin awesome in cold weather. I've smoked in weather in the teens and snowing. The usd does not care about wind, cold or snow. I live in northern Il not far from Chicago and smoke all winter long.
  18. billbo

    billbo Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    You guys are great! I would have never even considered a build like this if I didn't have this support network! I do however have one more question.

    When you get the fuel lit do you put your meat in right away and let the UDS come up to temp or do you get it up to temp then put the meat in?

    I am sure I will have more questions and I really appreciate all of the help you guys have offered. As I stated earlier I will try to post a step by step pictorial to show everyone how I did it.
  19. rtom

    rtom Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    I've used mine a few times in the winter (I live in central WI) and the UDS performs well, it does take a little more fuel but its well worth it. I used to use an electric smoker for most of my smokes but since the UDS came along that is all I use and I love it.

  20. ddave

    ddave Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I let mine come up to temp and stabilize and then put the meat on. It takes a little while for the whole thing to warm up if you are bringing it up slow, which I would recommend so that it doesn't run away on you. Sometimes when you first put the basket in the cold drum, the smoke is kind of white and not the kind of smoke you want your meat bathed in. [​IMG]
    So I will let mine warm up a stabilize a bit and then put the meat on.


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