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UDS questions

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Will the lid off of my weber grill in the pic fit right on a 50 gallon drum for a UDS build? After brainstorming all day I am thinking of stripping my weber cart down and turning it into a mobile UDS smoker. I got a few questions.

 

1- How do you guys clean out the bottom of all the ashes?

 

2- Of the 3 air holes drilled in the bottom, can I put a ball valve in all 3 to have complete control?

 

3-Can a UDS double as a standard grill for those nights when you want to grill a steak or brats?

 

4-My weber lid has a hole for a thermometer. Is temps measured above the meat as accurate as temps measured mid chamber?

 

5-As long a you got a really good burn done on your barrel, does it really matter what was inside it originally? I would think any burn for a few hours would remove anything harmful including oil or antifreeze. Especially if you soaped and washed it out prior to the burn.

 


Edited by cmwr - 9/3/12 at 6:40am
post #2 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by cmwr View Post

Will the lid off of my weber grill in the pic fit right on a 50 gallon drum for a UDS build? After brainstorming all day I am thinking of stripping my weber cart down and turning it into a mobile UDS smoker. I got a few questions.

  Yes it will,but  I'd keep the grill together for your steaks grilling on a UDS would more than likely be kinda hard to get food close enough to hot coals But man that cart would look good with a UDS on  it

 

1- How do you guys clean out the bottom of all the ashes?

        shop vac,after it completely out or just dump them out or an ash pan

 

2- Of the 3 air holes drilled in the bottom, can I put a ball valve in all 3 to have complete control?

     Sure can I used plastic ones ....cheaper

 

3-Can a UDS double as a standard grill for those nights when you want to grill a steak or brats?

   keep the weber together and just use the lid off of it  .  you'd have to get a grill close to the hot coals or find a way to raise the coals closer to grates for grilling ( find the same weber grill on Craig's list cheap and use it for cart/lid and grate) that's a NICE grill you Have!

 

4-My weber lid has a hole for a thermometer. Is temps measured above the meat as accurate as temps measured mid chamber?

  nope, different levels have different temps ,

 

5-As long a you got a really good burn done on your barrel, does it really matter what was inside it originally? I would think any burn for a few hours would remove anything harmful including oil or antifreeze. Especially if you soaped and washed it out prior to the burn.

  Mine had oil in it I burned it out ,power washed , hand washed , and power washed,rinsed it out and was ok with it

 

post #3 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by cmwr View Post

Will the lid off of my weber grill in the pic fit right on a 50 gallon drum for a UDS build? After brainstorming all day I am thinking of stripping my weber cart down and turning it into a mobile UDS smoker. I got a few questions.

 

1- How do you guys clean out the bottom of all the ashes?

I have one of those pans you catch drippings in under my coal basket. I lift out the basket and then lift out the pan thing and that usually gets 99% of the ash out. If you source a barrel with a removable lid with the hoop, you can put that on the bottom and simply lift the drum off.

 

2- Of the 3 air holes drilled in the bottom, can I put a ball valve in all 3 to have complete control?

It would be a waste of money in my opinion. When my smoker is up to temp, I only have 1 ball valve less than half open. I never open the other ones except to bring it to temp at the beginning.

 

Edit: I only have one 1" ball valve and three 3/4" short pipes with caps.

 

3-Can a UDS double as a standard grill for those nights when you want to grill a steak or brats?

Not the best idea unless you raise up your heat.

 

4-My weber lid has a hole for a thermometer. Is temps measured above the meat as accurate as temps measured mid chamber?

You really only need to measure the temps at the grate level, wherever and however many that may be. Mine only has a single grate with a non-domed lid. I put a temp probe in a potato and set it on the cooking grate.

 

5-As long a you got a really good burn done on your barrel, does it really matter what was inside it originally? I would think any burn for a few hours would remove anything harmful including oil or antifreeze. Especially if you soaped and washed it out prior to the burn.

Pretty much. I only burned mine out and then scrubbed it with multiple SOS pads to get the soot out. You will want to season it shortly after the burn so it does not rust inside. I had to hit the inside of mine with medium-ish sand paper to knock off the light layer of rust and then wiped it all down good with cooking oil and pam.

post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 

I really love the way a UDS looks with a flat top lid. I actually want to make mine and use the lid instead of my weber dome lid. But I realize if I follow all the plans I have seen, a flat lid does not offer much clearance for anything like a whole bird. I am not even sure if with a flat lid you could do a pork butt or other giant slab of meat. If I was to lower my top grate down a few inches to compensate for a flat lid, why would that matter? What is the minimum distance you can go with your grate above the coals and not cause poor performance?

post #5 of 8

I have seen a mini UDS with only 12-15 inches above the coals. At some point you would be grilling vs. smoking though I think. I have my single grate set up ~7 inches from the top. I have done everything except a stand up beer can chicken and still have plenty of room to spare. I want to change to a dome lid but I am saving that for my next smoker build, this one works too good to mess with.

 

Here it is completed:

 

post #6 of 8

Hey man, i actually bought a small 14 inch weber for going to the beach and i nowuse it in my smoker also as my "charcoal basket". works great and I have also made a level where instead of putting the weber directly on the floor i will just put it on the lowest rack setting that I have this way I really dont need a "grill" because the UDS acts like my smoker and grill. Also when I go to the beach, I just take my little weber out and head out.

post #7 of 8
I run 2 grates with a flat lid with no issies. I did make a diffuser plate above the basket.
post #8 of 8

Ashes...get a solid pizza pan from WM or other cheapo store, bolt it to your charcoal basket...before you cook on it the next time, take the basket out, empty the ashes then get back to cooking.

I don't use a ball valve at all, I just have four 3/4" pipe nipples with caps for intakes.  1 off I'll run 250 or so, with 2 off it'll get 275-325, with 3 off 350 plus, with all 4 off I'm over 400....For better control, you really only need 1 valve.

You can grill on a UDS, just not  more than about 400 degrees without a raging fire, or as others have stated, be able to raise your fire.  I have seen somewhere on here or another forum, an idea for raising the fire level.  

I don't trust any therm mounted to a lid or to the side of a pit.  I only trust a digital one with a probe on the cooking grate I am using.  Now if you have a therm on your smoker and a digital on the grate, after you cook on it for a while, you'll get familiar with when the mounted therm shows X, I'm running Y at grate level.

A real good burn out on the drum where your intakes at the bottom get a nice orange hue, will eliminate any nasties that may have been in there before.  If your still worried about it, just give it a good wire wheel or wire brushing before you start cooking in it.

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