Hey All UDS Builders..

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by nate_46, Aug 11, 2009.

  1. nate_46

    nate_46 Meat Mopper

    I am going to build my first drum, to hopefully get some relief from the winds we have been having. A couple of questions....

    1. Has anyone used an Uniflame Round Charcoal Grill for parts?http://www.walmart.com/catalog/produ...ct_id=10828982
    I figure that I could use the dome for a lid, cooking and charcoal grates, and salvage everything else for other projects. I think it is the same size as the Weber dome without the Weber price (40.00).

    2. I have watched a few videos on youtube about UDS smokers, and it never fails they lift the lid and let thick white smoke escape. Do you look for the thin blue like offsets or am I missing something?

    Any help would be great as always....

    Thank you
  2. hog warden

    hog warden Smoking Fanatic

    Can't help you with the grill parts question.

    On white smoke, that just means something is burning and with a little nudge, is about to erupt into flames. In a UDS, that something about to erupt is either the wood chips or grease that has dripped onto the burning charcoal, or a drip pan/baffle over the charcoal basket if you are using one of those. You don't get the white grease smoke with an offset (or an upright with a water pan in it) because it doesn't drip onto the fire or a hot surface directly over the fire.

    On my Weber gas grill, they protect the gas burners by placing them under angle iron, with a crossways grid of angle above those. Weber calls those "flavor bars". The grease drips on those, creates smoke, etc. that permeates up to the meat. But crank it up a notch and what had been gentle white smoke turns to heavy smoke......right before the whole thing erupts into a huge grease fire.

    Normal operation is to start each grilling session with full burners to burn off any grease before you start. Works fine for a steak, but slow cook a couple whole chickens for 2 or 3 hours, or fill the whole surface with burgers or brats and you have a time bomb waiting to go off with the least little nudge of heat. You can always tell when it's about to erupt by the amount, color and smell of the smoke.

    A UDS runs right under the flame up threshold, but lift the lid for very long to let the heat spike up and lookout!

    I did two butts in the UDS over the weekend and used a drip pan over the charcoal basket. I had thin blue all day long (until the wood chunks burnt up). After that, it was just clear heat waves. The only indication it was doing anything at all was the thermometer on the side, which was running around 225.
  3. wutang

    wutang Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Here is a link to a build by Jerrykr using that same grill for parts.

    I agree that the whiter looking smoke is because the drippings are hitting the coals. Never had any problems with taste because of this.
  4. geek with fire

    geek with fire Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I am a strong advocate of a heat shield between the flame and cooking grates. I rest a piece of 16 gauge steel on the charcoal basket. No white smoke in my cooks (OK, that's a lie. Sometimes I get sloppy.)
  5. helljack6

    helljack6 Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    How does the heat shield affect your overall temps?
  6. billbo

    billbo Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I get the white smoke after opening the lid and at initial start up. I try not to do that (lift lid) unless absolutely ness. Once the drum settles in you will get TBS and none of the white stuff. Once the drum is rolling it is a thing of beauty!

    Don't be afraid to ask questions during your build!
  7. geek with fire

    geek with fire Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Doesn't reduce your overall temps, it just keeps thinks like dripping grease from over fueling the fire and causing temp spikes. It's thin enough that it doesn't act like a heat sink, so no major loss of efficiency.
  8. ddave

    ddave Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    They really are pretty amazing once you get used to one. And cost wise they are pretty darn hard to beat.

  9. nate_46

    nate_46 Meat Mopper

    Thanks for all the responses. I can't wait to get started. Maybe this weekend!

    I will update this thread if I have questions instead of starting a new one.

    You guys are the bomb!![​IMG]
  10. The uniflame lid probably won't fit a standard 55 gallon drum. I bought one (uniflame) for parts and the lid was to small. JerryKr's build was on a 44.5 gallon drum. Try the fit by flipping your barrel upside down and placing the lid over the bottom. No matter how I held my mouth the lid wouldn't fit my 55 gallon. That's why I Wutanged my barrel and used my Weber lid.

    I put it together and gave it to my dad so he can grill a nice steak.
  11. nate_46

    nate_46 Meat Mopper

    Cool, thanks for the info. I figured they wouldn't fit perfectly.... my life doesn't roll like that. I was planning on welding a lip around the inside of the barrel so the lid would fit. A lot of work for a dome lid, but I wanted it so I could smoke a turkey from time to time.[​IMG]

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