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Tucker's UDS Build # 1

post #1 of 2
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I finally bit the bullet and decided to build a few UDS smokers, while waiting for some shop time to build a couple of Gravity Fed Dual Pan Cabinet Smokers off of Frank's plans at SmokeBuilder that we purchased. Seems those gravity fed smokers might end up being a winter project at this point. And with that, the original OzarkSmoke smoker is a breeze to use and cook on; but it is really too big for home use. Which led me to a quick UDS build.


I purchased the drums from a company just outside of St. Louis, Missouri in Venice, IL called Container Distributors. They charged $60 for a brand new open top unlined drum with lid (here is the link http://www.containerdistributors.com/). These drums give me 33" of interior drum height to deal with, and for these we will be using a flat lid.


Here is my initial design and a rough sketch:


Drum Interior Height = 33"
Location of Top Rack from Top of Smoker = 8"
Location of Lower Rack from Top of Smoker = 14"
Charcoal Basket Overall Height (Including 3" Standoff) = 13" (10" Charcoal wall)
Charcoal Basket Inside Diameter = 15" (using 3/4 x #9 Exp Metal)
Quantity of Air Intakes = 2
Size of Air Intakes = 1-1/2 Standard Pipe
Location of Air Intakes From Outside Bottom = 3" to Center of Pipe
Size of Exhaust On Lid = 3" Standard Pipe
Location of Exhaust On Lid = Unknown


So I have a few questions, given the specifics above and the rough sketch:


1. Location of exhaust on lid?
My lid doesn't have a bung hole, so i can cut the hole where ever i want. Is there any preference to a specific location?


2. Location of Diffuser Plate & Thickness
How high above the top of the charcoal basket should i weld the clips to hold the diffuser plate? What thickness of plate would work best (I could go from 3/16" to 1" without issue)


Would love to hear your input and thoughts?


--Matt Tucker


post #2 of 2

Here is how I mount my diffuser plate (perf pizza pan)...Notice the hexagon shaped fire basket, much easier to build than the round.  Bending that 3/4 x 9 expanded metal is not fun and hard to get round.  Just start by marking 4" from the end on both sides of the expanded metal piece (12" x 48" is what I started with although you could get away with as little as 8" tall, depending on the burn times you are looking for), then mark every 8" from there on.  Place on a steel table or other solid surface (heat resistance preferred) then heat up along that line and bend to 120 degrees, proceed all the way around until it meets back up.  Weld or wire together and you have a hexagon fire basket.  Fits perfectly over the Weber charcoal grates.. 

My basket and you can see the T at the top, it acts as both a handle for lifting the basket as well as a resting place for the deflector.  I used 1/4" round stock and heated and bent to fit.

This is the deflector sitting on top inside the drum...

As far as the exhaust, this works like a champ...

I ordered it online from kck.com, under bbq dampers.  You can also get therms and the cool touch handles there as well.  Location really doesn't matter as far as the exhaust, I just always put it to one side so I can mount the handle dead center and the therm on the opposite side.

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