Some UDS pre-build thoughts

Discussion in 'UDS Builds' started by turnip, Apr 28, 2016.

  1. turnip

    turnip Fire Starter

    Ordered a new UNLINED Skolnik 18 gauge 55 gallon barrel.  Don't feel like stripping and re-painting the exterior it with heat resistant paint right away, or feel the need to burn out the interior since it's unlined.  Will the factory paint job just bubble up in time, and then the carbon steel rust?  I figure if that's the case, I'll take it apart, clean it up, and paint it with some high temp paint when it's loosened up some. had the best deals on these (can't get new ones local) $90.  2 x 2 ft #9 3/4" expanded steel (flat) $17.  No shipping charge.

    Going with a Kamado Joe type sliding bottom intake.  Would like a domed top, and ordered some huge mixing bowls!  We'll see how sturdy they are and how they fit.  One's aluminum and 25" in diameter.  The other is stainless steel and 23" in diameter.  The drum's OD is 24" including the lid and ring.  I've seen different ways to approach fitting the Weber domes, and will see if I can adapt those methods for these bowls.  Probably put one of those rotating dampers on the top (the bowls are flat-bottomed).  Really not sure about the bowls, but they've been ordered and we'll see.

    Most of the stuff is arriving tomorrow...

    Last edited: Apr 28, 2016
  2. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    That air intake is pretty big...  Most UDS use 3/4" pipe nipples....  2 with caps and 1 with ball valve.....  For temp control,1 nipple is fully opened and 1 is adjusted using a full flow ball valve....   All three are usually opened when starting the charcoal briquettes....

    Removing the interior paint might be fairly important....   The paint fumes could poison the food.....
  3. turnip

    turnip Fire Starter

    Hi, Dave.  These drums aren't lined (epoxy) or painted.  Just coated with mineral oil as far as I can determine.  I'll email Skolnik tonight to see if they can confirm it's just mineral oil.  Don't want to poison anyone!

    Yeah, the vent is pretty big.  But it can be closed all the way and apparently seals tight.  I see what you are saying about opening the nipples up during start up, then closing them to stabilize temp.  Figure I can adapt this to that, maybe set a mark or something on the slider.

    Thermometer will be an old dual digital that needs new type k thermocouples with stainless braid. Figure I will just run both down the top vent instead of fitting a port on the barrel.

    Also plan on moving this around in my backyard quite a bit, so will add two wheels toward the back and a single forward leg (tripod configuration).  What else...oh, yes, a side table eventually.
  4. turnip

    turnip Fire Starter

    On their website, they say that their unlined drums have a "passive corrosion inhibitor" (mineral oil is what I read elsewhere).

    Also, this is interesting regarding using their epoxy-lined barrels (mine is unlined) for smokers:

    1. JT says:

      July 12, 2013 at 11:17 am

      I bought a drum from you recently with the epoxy phenolic liner that I intend to convert to a smoker. I don’t anticipate ever cooking anything at over 400 degrees, mostly low & slow, 225 degrees. I know it is supposed to be safe for food but Is it safe for cooking bbq? Does this liner need to be removed prior to smoking on it? Thanks!

    2. [​IMG]Howard Skolnik  says:

      October 16, 2013 at 8:23 am

      Hello, I must apologize for the delayed response. Thank you for purchasing a drum from Skolnik. Having the interior lined will not effect your smoker environment. The liner is similar to a high temperature paint and all the ingredients in the liner are food safe. After some use, the liner may begin to peel due to heat exposure. Just wire brush the peelings to prevent them from dropping onto your food. Hope you have many great tasting bbq’s!
  5. turnip

    turnip Fire Starter

    Don't want to give the impression that lined barrels are all safe.  Do your research.  Some lined barrels are toxic, apparently:

    Anyway, won't be assembling mine for a week or two due to other stuff (landscaping) that I have to do before it gets real hot here.  But if anyone has a good reason to strip the exterior paint before proceeding with the assembly, let me know.  Looking forward to smoking over charcoal.  My only experience has been with a gasser.  Served me well enough, but it's time for ugly.

  6. turnip

    turnip Fire Starter

    Well, perhaps the lining issue is a non-issue (see below).  Either way, I'll start a new thread when I start putting my unlined UDS together.

    1. Alex Hedrick says:

      March 9, 2016 at 3:07 pm

      Is the tan colored lining food safe or only the red lining?

    2. [​IMG]Howard Skolnik  says:

      March 9, 2016 at 3:22 pm

      Hello Alex,
      Thanks for posting a good question. Both the tan and reddish colored linings are food safe, however, the linings do not have an FDA certification.
      Let me know if you have further questions.
      Thank you,
      Howard Skolnik
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2016
  7. It's going to be extremely hard to control temps with a Kamado style air intake. I have 1 inch pipe on both my Drums, one on each side with a 1 inch cap in the middle. That lid that came with your drum doesn't have a 2 inch bung hole? If it does you can use a 2 inch close pipe that can screw in for exhaust. Good luck with your build.
  8. turnip

    turnip Fire Starter

    I've seen the sliding vent used on UDS builds and heard they work fine.  Also, the Big Poppa Smoker UDS kit that is commercially available uses two sliding intakes.  Don't see why it wouldn't work or be any harder to control than pipe nipples and a valve. Well, I'll be finding out soon!  The KJ intake was the cheapest option of the commercially available sliders.  Could have built my own, but looks like it'd be real tedious!

     Also, want a domed lid for the extra capacity.  If the bowl idea doesn't look like it will work, I'll just go with the drum's lid till I can find a Weber lid.

    BGE slider on UDS:

    Last edited: Apr 29, 2016
  9. turnip

    turnip Fire Starter

    Another view of the Kamado Joe sliding intake. Won't be coming till next week.  I have nothing against pipe nipples for intakes, just wanted to try something different.

    Still doesn't make sense to me to burn off the exterior paint (which is good to about 425 degrees F, I think) just to re-paint with high heat (1200 F) paint when I'll be smoking @ 230 degrees F.   Maybe the bottom third of the drum will have paint bubbling up due to the higher temp around the charcoal basket when starting up.  Guess I'll find out...

  10. turnip

    turnip Fire Starter

    I know you're not supposed to over-think these [​IMG]  but I swear I'm not [​IMG][​IMG]
  11. turnip

    turnip Fire Starter

    Damn, where is my drum?  My expanded steel?

    Where the heck is Mr. UPS?  Should be "Out Fer Delivery" by now! [​IMG]


    Last edited: Apr 29, 2016
  12. turnip

    turnip Fire Starter

  13. turnip

    turnip Fire Starter

    This is with the aluminum bowl (which was about $30 shipped).  Seems sturdy.  Not sure about the lip (will catch rain water, though it never rains here).  

    Think I can make this work!

    Last edited: Apr 29, 2016
  14. turnip

    turnip Fire Starter

    That's it for now - I have to work on the yard and do other chores and stuff or I'll be in serious trouble [​IMG].  

    And I'm waiting on the KJ intake vent.  And I have to decide on the grate spacing.  

    Think I will put the top grate just an inch below the rim since the bowl has plenty of room.  And the second grate can go down about 7 or 8 inches or so below that, I'd guess.  Don't want to drill into the drum too much for grate bolts.  May just drill for the bottom grate, and put feet on the top grate using long carriage bolts that can set on the bottom grate.  I'm using the nickel hinged Weber grates, fwiw.  And found a cheap 18" table grill for the ash pan and bottom of the charcoal basket.

    I'm open to any ideas!  Will probably start a new thread when I get to building.  Thanks and happy smoking! [​IMG]
  15. turnip

    turnip Fire Starter

    And that 25" aluminum bowl is a tad too large.  It rides on the rim of the drum with no good way to seal where they meet.  I'd like to find something that would seat snugly, and this one doesn't.  So I ordered a 23" of the same design.  The 23" stainless steel one fits pretty good (just inside the rim of the drum top), but doesn't seem as sturdy.
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2016
  16. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You can bolt an extension on the inside of the drum, and set the lid on the extension....  Below is how to make a lid from a sealed drum, but the bowl will work the same....

  17. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I made the grates in my UDS adjustable. I can go from the top down to the bottom in 1" increments.

    I assume the expanded metal you have is for a charcoal basket. I highly recommend incorporating an ash catcher to your basket. Makes clean up a lot easier. I added a pizza pan the the bottom of the feet of mine. Works great.

    As for the exterior paint, I'd remove it and high temp powder coat or high temp spray it. One of the nice things about the UDS is using it for high temp smokes like for poultry. Those higher temps might make the paint burn off. Trust me it smells horrible when it does and isn't pleasant when cooking a feast for friends and family!
  18. turnip

    turnip Fire Starter

    Thanks, Dave.  I may just do that.  The other option is that the 23" bowl sits perfectly in the flat top that came with the drum.  Might just cut that open while leaving about 1/2" for the bowl to set on.  Some high temp RTV or wood stove gasket rope would help seal it.  But the bowl sits in there very tight as is.
  19. turnip

    turnip Fire Starter

    Are you using bookshelf brackets to make the grate heights adjustable?  I was going to use the standard technique for a fixed bottom grate.  But for the top grate, I was thinking of making adjustable legs that would set on the bottom grate, using long carriage bolts.

    I do have an 18" table top grill pan to use for the ash tray.

    Okay, will burn off that paint before cooking.  I'm lazy, so thought I'd avoid it for awhile.  But I'm in no rush and have the perfect propane burner for a gas forge I built to burn it off with.  Thanks for the feedback.
    Last edited: May 1, 2016
  20. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Modified shelf bracket supports in the UDS. Welded rod on the grate.



    Charcoal Basket



    Mines dome less.


    Smoke away!!!

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