to buy a Big Green Egg verses building a Ugly Drum Smoker??????

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by rbranstner, Jan 5, 2010.

  1. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I have used a Big Green Egg in the past and loved it. I am looking to add another smoker to my inventory and this time I want a charcoal/lump burner as I have two propane rigs now. I know you can't really compare a big green egg to a UDS because they are different if you take the whole range of things an Egg can do but I wanted to see if anyone out there has used a UDS and a big green egg and can tell me if they compare at all.
    I am not looking to cook at high temps which you can easily achieve on a big green egg I am just looking to cook at temps from 200-350 and maintain that heat and not have to constantly watch over it and add lump wood to the fire because it burns out. Just strictly going by lower temps and ease of maintaining the temp and fire would you think a UDS would compare to a big green egg?
    I figure I can building a nice UDS for around $150 and if I want to get into a large big green egg you are looking at around $800-$900 minim around here.
    I just want a smaller smoker that I can take with me to the lakes or to our family reunion and cook a decent yet small amount of meat. I have a huge smoker at home for doing big loads this will be a secondary smoker and I just can't see spending over $800 unless it is going to be WAY better. Like I said i have never cooked on a UDS so I don't know how they handle. I have cooked on a big green egg and they are nice for pretty much setting and forgetting them. Sorry this got kind of long any input would be much appreciated. A guy at work just built a UDS I think I might just have to head to his house when he is smoking and check out how easy it is to run.
  2. bandcollector

    bandcollector Master of the Pit OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    There are a lot of people here who have built and use a UDS, including me. I think the general consensus will be to go ahead and build one. I love mine!

    Shouldn't cost $150 though.

    Good luck, John
  3. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I was just saying $150 as being on the high side if I have to buy all the parts. I was thinking more around $100 by the time I buy the barrel and everything. Either way I am looking at around a $700 savings. Kind of seems like a no brainer to me.
  4. rickw

    rickw Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    You could also consider the WSM. It's a good charcoal unit and real close to set and forget.
  5. got14u

    got14u Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    It depends on you money situation...If you don't care about savings I would definitely go with a EGG. Just for multi purpose use..They also hold heat ALOT better....but there is something to be said about a uds also...either one you go with I think you would be happy.
  6. old poi dog

    old poi dog Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Just like you I also have 2 propane units. I was intrigued by the recent posts regarding the smoke rings produced by different smokers. I decided to gather the materials to build a Drum. I've got less than $100.00 tied into it right now....Seems like a fun project and a good portion of people here swear by the Drum and have the Q-Views to prove it. Good luck with your decision.

  7. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Yea one thing that is driving my decision is the money situation. I just built a big out house style smoker and I put around $300 into and my wife is going through her last semester of college then a year of rotations where she won't beable to work part time so I am kind of trying to save some money. It just doesn't seem right to put $300 into a new smoker and then turn around and put another $800 into a BGE when I can acomplish pretty close to the same thing with a UDS. I think I am going to go the UDS route but I still would like to hear what you guys have to say good or bad about the UDS as far as how hard it is to maintain temp and how long you can maintain that before you have to build a new fire. If I am able to cook pulled pork, brisket and ribs on a UDS and not have to baby sit it constantly I am going to go that route but if is a pain and you have to stick around and constantly adjust airflow etc. I might spend the extra money and go with the BGE since I know I can let it go on its own with an egg. I know there is bound to be a little more work and adjuting with the UDG just becaue the Egg is fully ceramic and hold fire/heat awesome but if they are at all compareable I will go the cheaper route with the UDS. Ok I will stop rambling now.
  8. I'd head over to his house just to eat ..skip the running stuff.[​IMG]
    I built a UDS and couldn't be more excited to cook in it.I have had a smoker for years ,just a little chief but it has turned out some good stuff but small ( Snack sticks,fish,jerky and the like) the drum has moved the whole game up a notch or two and I can do the bigger things ,so far ,fatties,butts pork loin stuffed ,ABT's, turkey, Canadian bacon.I found a Webber on c-list in the wanted section for parts and as of now less than $30.00 so you see when your as tight as the bark on a tree like me it's an easy decision.
  9. ddave

    ddave Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Not hard at all as long as you're not futzing with the valves. [​IMG]

    I've never had to build a new fire. A UDS will run for 16 hours + on a single load of charcoal at temps of 250° +. A little less but not much when it's cold. I got about 14 hours on an overnight brisket cook with ambient temps down in the low 20s

    Not a problem at all.

    Incidentally, you can also high temp grill with them. If you put an extra set of bolts in and a rack you can set your charcoal basket on to get it pretty close to the cook grate you can grill away to your hearts content.

    Not saying they're better than an Egg but they are pretty hard to beat for the money.

  10. papa chubby

    papa chubby Fire Starter

    Love my UDS - wouldn't dream of having anything else! Gave away my old GOSM after my first few cooks on the UDS cause I knew I'd never go back. There's something about pulling great food outta that big, ugly barrel that warms my heart.

    Eggs are swanky but for set and forget, spend $100 on a GOSM or electric.

    ETA - mine came in at about $100 and that was buying all the materials except the expanded metal for the basket.
  11. chisoxjim

    chisoxjim Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    is the cost of putting together a UDS just for materials, or do folks add what their time is worth into the overall cost?
  12. bandcollector

    bandcollector Master of the Pit OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Cost usually reflects the materials only........the fun part is building it.

  13. chisoxjim

    chisoxjim Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Ok, I imagine that would be fun if things like that are your hobby. [​IMG]

    how many hours would you guess it took?
  14. bandcollector

    bandcollector Master of the Pit OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Let's see........Picking up the barrel, drilling 9 holes, burn out, clean out, picking up the paint, painting, picking up the hardware, installing three nipples and a ball valve.

    Probably 6 hours.

    Good luck, John
  15. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Before you go and buy a egg you should look up bob (desertlites) and look at his sapposed UDS but he built it out of a big tank and it would out last you probally.
  16. bigslick

    bigslick Smoke Blower

    I have a large BGE just started smoking on it in the last couple weeks. Love it and can't say a bad word about it. It is really impressing me and I am not a Egghead by any means.
    The thing is you mentioned, moving this thing around, now I know I have seen BGE on tv at the BBQ comps, so people do travel with them, but to me it is not portable. The large is 140 lbs with no table or stand, you drop it, it may break, it has no handles, you drop it, it may break, not only no handles but no good spot to pick it up, you drop it, it may break. since you have owned one you realize they are not terrifically stable sitting on the ground, if it tips over it may break.
    I have never seen a UDS in person, no idea the weight, but looks like you could drop one a bunch of times with no worries...might even add character! Doesn't look like they would tip as easy as a breakable BGE.
    Oh and it looks like putting handles on a UDS is an option.
    Just my thoughts...
    Good luck and be sure to post your UDS build!
  17. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    With all your info on how easy a UDS can be to maintain temp and hold it for a long time. I think I am going to save a load of money and build one of them instead of a BGE. Thanks for the info guys. I better start looking around for plans.
  18. meateater

    meateater Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    I started out with a ECB and made a UDS and never looked back. I use it at least twice a week right now. I am more than happy with it. I smoked a 20# turkey in it and made the 40*-140* safety range in 3.5 hours. Personally I would have multiple cooking rigs but I live in an apartment and the UDS fits right in my balcony closet when not in use. Good luck on your build.
  19. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Well you all have convinced me to go the route of the UDS which will save me a TON of money. I am going tonight to pick up my food grade barrel. I will keep you posted as my build start. Thanks for the info guys. Now I need to look around and get some instructions and good idea's from you all.
  20. pit 4 brains

    pit 4 brains Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I just built a drum and I love it! The really cool thing is no 2 drums are exactly alike so each one is a custom signature model.
    We all smoke to the beat of a different drum...

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