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UDS heat deflectors - What are you using?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

I've been cooking on my UDS for well over a year now.  It's been a great cooking experience in general, but like any cook, I always think that I might be able to do just a little bit better. 


One "downfall" of the UDS design as compared to an offset cooker, is that the meat is sitting directly above the heat source.  Doing that with even a well controlled fire will cause some drying of the meat.  Of course on the upside you get additional browning of the outside and a lovely bark, which I do like.  I think I'd like to try and hit something in the middle.


I've tried using a water pan on a rack between the fire and the meat, but I didn't care for all the steaming.  The meat was moist enough, but the outside wasn't very well browned at all.  I've also experimented with using cheap disposable turkey roasting pans dropped right on top of the charcoal basket as a deflector (no water in it) and that seemed to work better, but the pan got so hot the drippings were burning in it and I fear that wouldn't give the best smoke flavor.


I've read that Kamodo cookers have some sort of a tile or clay platter that is used as a deflector.  And I'm thinking about buying a cast iron pizza pan to be used the same way,. maybe suspended a few inches above the charcoal basket.


So , what are other folks using that seems to work for you?  Or are you just not worrying about the direct heat?

post #2 of 13

I put an extra rack 6 inches above the basket and use a heavy 15 inch pizza pan with no holes

post #3 of 13

I to use a pizza pan !6" steel from walmart  $3.00. My charcoal basket is 16" tall I only fill it 3" from the top. Pan sits on top of basket. I did put three wires on the pan for lifting using a hook. CF

post #4 of 13

I use a 16 inch Terra Cotta saucer filled with play sand and covered with foil. It sits on a rack a couple of inches above my fire basket. You can get one at Home Depot for about 15 bucks. Works like a champ, and I think it also helps keep a steady temp.

post #5 of 13
Since you have a water pan, fill it with sand, wrap it in foil and call it good.
post #6 of 13

I read that you need 24" between the bottom of the charcoal basket and your bottom rack. I based my build around that and I got mine about spot on. I've had no issue with dry meat from either rack. I don't use any diffusers or water pans. Everything I read about water/sand is that they add more mass to heat and thus eat fuel. I also read that steaming your meat can actually make it dryer than smoking it without steam. I know many who prefer diffusers or water pans but it's not necessary in my opinion.

post #7 of 13

I have my UDS setup as/per Motown-n00b stated. I have not had any problems with the meat drying out during a cook and I have had a cook go for up to 20 hours.

post #8 of 13
Thanks guys!
That'll be helpful for sure.
post #9 of 13

Anyone try something steel louver sheet stock?  Shields meat from flame flare-ups, but allows drippings to fall on through to the fire.  If you felt the louvers were too restrictive, you could pry them open a bit more the next time.  

post #10 of 13
I don't have a UDS... but I do have a Mini WSM... same thing, on a smaller scale .. i cut a piece of 1/4" steel plate in a circle to give me about a 1" opening all the way around (probably would need somewhere around 3" or so in a UDS) ... then I have a 12" cast iron skillet (wrapped in foil) sitting on top of the steel.... it catches all the drippings ...
post #11 of 13

Used nothing. I've never felt it was necessary given the distance from the heat to the meat. I've never had an issue with meat drying out. I do 20hr smokes basically set it & forget it.

post #12 of 13

I placed a cheap aluminum vegetable roasting pan directly on top of my charcoal basket. I'm not sure it was truly necessary since the one time the meat came out too dry I smoked it for almost twice as long as I should have. That's on me! Note that the drippings will still burn and give off some smoke but I think that is to be expected. Your issues with the turkey pan burning the drippings doesn't hold a lot of merit. That is precisely what is happening to the juices that drip from your meat and directly onto the fire.


Happy Smoking!

post #13 of 13

I have a cheapo, 18" grill (bottom) that I perforated with a large screwdriver that is placed directly on the fire basket. That makes it 13" off the bottom of the UDS - however I agree with motown and others on the lack of need. For me it is used for air control, as it seems to be easier to control the temp in warmer months with it in.

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