I had the maiden voyage for my first UDS build this past weekend………so many questions.
First, let me give you some specs. It is your typical UDS build:
- 3-1 in. holes, 2 inches from the bottom (2 with ¾ steel nipples and the 3rd with a ¾ ball valve.)
- Food grate 7 inches from the top (I’m using a domed lid)
- Another grate 14 inches from the top - I’m using this to hold a drip pan.
- Small steel brackets were welded in the drum instead of drilling holes for bolts to hold the grates. I lucked out with that, my father-in-law can weld.
- Charcoal basket made with expanded metal, charcoal grate, and pizza pan. Diameter is 13.5 in., it’s about 8 in. high and I’m using 4 in. bolts so that it stands 3 inches above the pizza pan.
Here was the game plan:
- 11lb. brisket
- Charcoal basket pretty much full, approx. 10 lbs of Royal Oak natural lump charcoal (stuff you can get at wal-mart) and I put in maybe 8 chunks of hickory (size of half a fist or smaller) mixed with the charcoal.
- Began with approx. half a chimney starter of charcoal. I made sort of a dip/hole in the charcoal and dumped the lit charcoals into that spot.
Weather conditions: It was extremely windy and about 45-50 degrees.
It started with thick white smoke, then after a while there was some nice thin blue smoke, but this lasted 2 hours at the most. After that I could no longer see any smoke, even at times when the wind slowed down. The temp held fairly well. I adjusted with the valves from time to time, but 10 hours in it lost steam and I had to finish in the oven. I looked at the charcoal and it pretty much all burned up excluding a few small pieces.
There was a very small smoke ring in the brisket and not much smoke flavor. I was very disappointed.
- What the heck happened? I read stories of how a UDS can last 15+ hours, but mine only lasted to 10.
- Did I start with too much lit charcoal? Is my basket too small and I need to have more charcoal to burn?
- How do you produce smoke for several hours without adding more wood?
- Did the windy conditions cause some of the problems?
Any help or guidance will be appreciated. Thanks!