Help needed with first UDS

Discussion in 'UK Smokers' started by smurf assassin, Feb 1, 2014.

  1. I know this has most probably been asked countless times before but can u guys point me in the right direction on some plans for a UDS build and where i might get the parts from (online or offline).

    I've yet to measure the drum i have but at a glance it seems like a 55 gallon drum. Also i was interested what happens with the drippings from the meat as i can't find plans online that catches the fat so it doesn't make the charcoal flame up as on a barbeque.

    Last thing, how do you clean them out after a use???

    Sorry again for the extremely NOOB!!! questions, but trying to cover all the bases before building.

    Also bought my first thermometer the other day (the one you can put in the oven) for a tenner and it works great, cant wait to try it out properly.

    Thanks in advance 

  2. Hello Damian.  55 gallon drum??  NO! NO! NO! That just will not do!  Here it is a 45 gallon drum, imperial measurement.  [​IMG]   I have never built a vertical from a drum.  Mine were always horizontal.  Have made some contacts, advice is on it's way.  Keep Smokin!

  3. c farmer

    c farmer Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I dont know where you can buy all the hardware over there, I would go to a hardware store.

    I bought all my stuff at Lowe's.  Dont know if they are over there.

    You want the fat to hit the coals, that gives very good extra flavor.

    I used a pizza pan with holes drilled in it for a diffuser. That will keep some of the drippings from hitting the coals.
  4. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hi Damian

    Drums do vary in size depending on what they were originally used for but the ones I have used before have been quite easy to get standard parts to fit. Measure the inside diameter of your drum and then look for off-the-shelf BBQ spares that will fit inside. The drums I have used have been just right for Weber racks but if you go to the garden centers in Spring you will almost certainly be able to get a BBQ kit with the diameter grills that you are looking for. Sometimes it is worth just buying a cheapo £19.99 complete BBQ just to use the racks. A good place for Weber spares online is

    It has been posted on here before by Progs4ever but I think that this is a great article if you are looking to do your first build  - go to page 25

    You will get a lot of the basic techniques you need from here however you do need to be prepared to adapt.

    The lid is something you will need to experiment with.I was lucky that the lid of my Weber fitted almost perfectly on my drums however the drum lid that they show works well too. You can adjust the air flow by balancing the bottom air intakes and covering/uncovering the holes in the lid.

    One difference I made to the design in the article was that I also cut out most of the bottom of the drum - just leaving a ring of the steel in place for structural strength - and I had a steel tray that I stood the whole UDS on. This allowed me to lift the whole drum off over the fire box when I needed to add more wood/coals without having to dismantle everything from above and the whole smoker cooling down. This made it easy to clean too.

    The vaporising fat helps to provide some of the flavour. I found the best way for this was to use a steel bowl suspended like a rack a few inches above the fire box. This needs to be smaller than the diameter of the drum to allow the heat to flow round it evenly. It can either be fixed directly or, what I did, was to fix an additional lower rack and just stand it on there. The steel bowl gets hot above the coals and vaporises the falling juices without causing them to flare. As C Farmer says though you could drill a few holes in it if you did want some of the fat to hit the coals.

    This makes it quite versatile as the bowl can also be filled with sand or water to act as a heat stabilizer if you wanted - no holes of course...  

    I hope this helps.
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2014
  5. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I have just come back from my local garden centre and they have already started putting out the BBQ displays. I guess it wont be long before the other big chains also do the same.
  6. sorry about the late reply guys, thanks alot for the info, it's been a real help.

    i'll update later as i progress :)

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