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My UDS build

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

I built my UDS a month or so ago and am now finally putting up my build picts.


My initial smoker was an electric ECB.  It worked great, and I've put out a lot of good BBQ, but my main complaint was that at 18" in diameter it was a pain to cook a whole packer brisket as they are typically more than 18" long.  I was always having to curl it up to get it to fit.  Same thing went for ribs, I just didn't like it.


My goals were to have a bigger smoker and 22.5" diameter seemed really nice.  I liked the efficiency of the vertical smokers.  I thought it would be fun to make one, and my buddy wanted one as well so we decided to build two of them.  I wanted to be able to use the electric element from the ECB in the UDS as well as charcoal.  I figured the best of both worlds.


To support the electrical element I went with a single 1.25" air intake instead of the typcial 3x3/4".  I used three U-bolts to hold each of the racks in place, and put in three racks.  I bought a $30 22.5" kettle from Big Lots that provided the lid, one grate, and the charcoal basket and handle.


So now for the picts.


My schematic, dimensions are in inches:



I live in Austin and the dry weather prohibited me from doing a burn out, so I used paint stripper on my barrel.  The barrel had anti-freeze in it initially, so I good soapy scrubbing and power washing cleaned it up.  I then used some paint stripper to remove the outside paint.  There was no inner liner.



Suggestion for others.  Don't wear sandals when stripping paint, it really stings/burns when bits and pieces of the paint/stripper get on your feet!




All stripped clean, with the help of a little wire brush.




Now fitting the lid:




We then cut the top 2" of so off the kettle bottom to allow it to fit in the smoker and make the charcoal basket.




Looking inside the smoker you can see the charcoal basket and the 1.25" air intake




One coat of high-temp primer followed by two coats high-temp flat black paint.  (still need to paint the lid)  You can also see that I have the electrical heater in it with my BBQ Guru hooked up.




That's it!  It works great, is a little heavy to move around, but works awesome.  Smoked spare ribs, chicken quarters, bacon and cheese in it so far.




post #2 of 13


post #3 of 13

That's a great looking build!


Nice work!

post #4 of 13

Very nice Build.


Happy Smokin'



post #5 of 13


Yep thats  U D S It now should give you many good years of pure smoking pleasure.

post #6 of 13

Nice, very well done!  Sounds like a good reason to mess up the garage.  Wonder if the wife will notice the mess? UH Oh!!!wife.gif

post #7 of 13

I noticed in your Schematic you had plans for a water pan. I was curious what you used for the water pan?

post #8 of 13

Looks-Great.gif That was a great idea to get a cheap kettle and fully use it. I'll bet you will be turning out some GREAT Q in no time. 

post #9 of 13


post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Corey Foreman View Post

I noticed in your Schematic you had plans for a water pan. I was curious what you used for the water pan?

I bought one of these:




It actually fits pretty good.  I have not tried it yet, but I don't see any issue why it won't work.



post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 

I didn't realize it had been 4 months since I built my UDS, so here is a quick update.


I've done a lot of ribs, leg quarters, turkey, bacon, cheese, and sausage on it.  For the bacon, cheese and sausage I use the electrical element with my contoller.  I have a BBQ Guru with the PowerRaptor SSR, and a home made Link Meter/Heater Meter combo.  You can google it and you'll see info on the web about it.


I have not done a charcoal cook longer than 7 hours yet.  I really need to do an overnight butt cook, or brisket to see how that works.  For the 6 hours ribs (two racks of spare ribs) I use 2.5 chimneys of charcoal and it work great.


As far as changing anything, the only thing I would consider changing would be the intake.  With the 1.5" intake I have to close the ball valve almost completely to keep the temp low enough, with or without the controller.  As I think a 1" would be fine for anything I would ever need and I think a 1" would be large enough to pass the electric plug for through I would go with a 1" intake.  If I needed more to run without the controller I would just add another 3/4" and cap it.


I can't think of anything else I would change.  After 10 or so cooks, the cheap-o charcoal grill grate is wearing thin, so I'll need to upgrade it this summer, but I planned on doing this eventually anyway.  I'll probably just go buy a Weber grate from HD or Lowes.





post #12 of 13

thank you

post #13 of 13

You just built the best smoker money can buy! Nice build.

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