I have built by 1st UDS. My basket is using a 14.5" weber charcoal grill with expanded metal wrapped around it. Its sits 3" off bottom of the barrel and is 9 inches high. For my 1st season burn I had temps of 350-380 for about 4-5 hours with no issues, then the temp started to fall down. I cooked ribs yesterday and I filled the basket about 1/2- 3/4 full. I have been lighting the lump with a blow torch. 1st time (season burn) lit 2 spots, one on each side of the basket and that seemed to work ok (probably because all vents were wide open and lots of air). When I did the ribs, I lit it the same way and it went out about 3 hrs into the cook and didnt burn all the charcoal.
For people lighting their lump with a torch, are you lighting one spot in the middle of the basket? Also, how long are you heating the lump? Just enough to get it going or really get a good burn on it. I've read a ton of posts where people can get 12-15 hrs easily out of a similar sized basket. I am wanting to cook brisket and pork butt this weekend and I am worried that I will either be reloading charcoal or moving meat into the oven. It was a bit windy on the weekend, but I think the riser and 90's I have with the ball valves should eliminate some of those issues maybe? Or am I dreaming? Any other advice on how to get enough cook time to do the bigger pieces of meat?
Thank you in advance!
Details on my barrel... Piping is all 3/4 ": I have a 90 elbow out of drum, 24 inch vertical riser pipe, then a 90 elbow with the ball valve mounted horizontally, then a 90 elbow on the ball valve facing down (to keep wind and water out). There is one on each side of the barrel (say at 9 and 3). Then at 12 and 6 I have a 3/4" nipples. The 4 openings are all 3" off the bottom of the drum. When I fire the drum, I have all 4 wide open, then plug the two nipples and then choke the air down with the 2 ball valves. Lid has eight 7/8" holes that I cover over with magnets to get temp around 250-260.