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Started a UDS build last week. Here is where I'm at.

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

I built a little smoker box for my grill and have some apple that I have been saving for a campfire to cook some steaks on.  Put some chunks in the box on my gas grill and they were too big, I soaked them and got little to no smoke flavor in some boneless chicken breast. This wasn't going to work.


I started researching smokers and decided to build a UDS.  A week after my decision I was invited to a football party where my buddys dad was using a good one smoker.  It is well built and if I like smoking I am sure I can try to clone one of those and build it my self.  The ribs were fantastic.  I had already put a word in at work to find a barrel.  I got an unlined barrel that was used to hold steel shot for media blasting.  A bit dented and FREE.

 

I am a professional welder and have a lot of equipment at home which I use for personal projects and side work.  I feel bad that guys have to stress about doing weld free projects, I was doing the same thing when I was younger.

 

This is what I came up with, 2- 1" inlets with caps, 1- 3/4" inlet with a ball valve, expanded metal charcoal basket 8.75" tall 44" in in circumference, 14" in diameter.  Adjustable shelving 24" from about 3/4" down from the top of the drum.  Drum was flipped over and the lid was fully welded on, bottom was cut out to fit the weber lid with ease.  Did a burn out today, hopefully can get the wheels from my weber donor kettle and a small shelf for my remote probes welded up tomorrow.  

 

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Edited by chevy power - 10/7/15 at 2:31am
post #2 of 9

Looks good so far. 

post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

Made a little bit of progress today.  I was going to hinge the lid and have decided against it for now.  Made a little side shelf out of some stainless tonight with a little ledge to hold my thermometer.  I still have to weld the shelf with a few support brackets to the drum and polish it up before painting.  After grinding the outside with some 80 the true ugliness of this drum is much more apparent. Adapted the wheels, and the handle from my donor grill so I can store it in my shed with ease which is about 200ft from where I will be using it.  

Planning on a season and smoke this weekend.  I will be heading to the grocery store tomorrow and am planning on a tenderloin and a fatty for the first smoke.  Work is very very very slow right now so I have plenty of time to smoke something after I get this baby dialed in. 

 

 

post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 

Fired up the smoker for the first time on Saturday and again on Sunday.  Did my first fatty and it was amazing.  Went for a Pork tenderloin for the next time, also turned out amazing.   I need to get my lighting procedure down a little better.  The first time I do not think I lit enough coals, and the second time I lit too many.  I am using lump right now and think I will add a mix of lump and briquettes in the basket and use just briquettes in my chimney. Here are a few more pictures.  

 

 

 

 

post #5 of 9

Looks good.

 

I actually stopped using lump and only use briquettes. They don't burn as hot but they are more consistent and I don't get the temp spikes like I did with lump. A 3/4 full chimney of briquettes works perfect for 225-250. 

post #6 of 9

I turn my Weber chimney upside down and only fill the small area in (what is normally) the bottom part of the chimney for the starting charcoal, and add them to one side of the big charcoal basket when they are hot.  I also do not preheat my UDS to 225 before putting the meat on.  Once I've got the hot coals added to the basket, I'll just put everything together and put the meat on the grille right away and close it up with both 3/4" air ports wide open.  The temps will be below cooking for a little while, but you'll still be getting plenty of good smoke happening as you bring it up to temp.  

 

I should add that I do not use liquid starter.  If you do you'll want to be sure it has all burnt off before putting any meat on.

 

My main point is, it probably doesn't matter all that much, one way or the other how many coals you start with

post #7 of 9

Why did you swap over to the Weber lid? I am building a UDS right now and want to stay with the original lid so I placed my first cooking grill a little lower than most.

post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay6896 View Post
 

Why did you swap over to the Weber lid? I am building a UDS right now and want to stay with the original lid so I placed my first cooking grill a little lower than most.

I can't answer for the OP but on my UDS I used the Weber lid for three reasons. One, you increase the capacity of the UDS by allowing tall items like chickens to be placed on the top rack. Two, you can place your racks higher up for more separation from the coals. And three, you get an adjustable exhaust built right in. 

post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bmaddox View Post
 

I can't answer for the OP but on my UDS I used the Weber lid for three reasons. One, you increase the capacity of the UDS by allowing tall items like chickens to be placed on the top rack. Two, you can place your racks higher up for more separation from the coals. And three, you get an adjustable exhaust built right in. 

Those are all of my reasons, plus I already had it from the donor grill and I like the way it looks.  

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