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Finished my UDS smoker last night

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 



It's been a labor of love for the past 3 weeks when I've had the spare time here and there but I finally finished everything and got it put together last night... Pretty proud of how it turned out. The paint scheme is in honor of all Law Enforcement Officers with the "Thin Blue Line" signifying the brotherhood of Officers that stands between all good people and the evil that is out there......




post #2 of 16
That looks really nice. Officers need all the support they can muster with what's going on out there. icon14.gif Now - GET TO SMOKIN"
post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 

Well thanks Jay6896..... And I took your advice and went and bought an 8lb bag of briquettes and lit it up for it's first trial run but now I've got questions. Not knowing any more about this other than a little reading I've done on the forum, I poured the entire bag into my basket and saved out about 20 briquettes, put them in a chimney and lit them until they had burned down to white and then dumped them in on top of the other briquettes. Put the top on and opened my exhaust stack along with opened both air intake tubes. Temps initially went up to about 215*.

I threw a couple of thin sliced chicken breasts on to the top rack and shut the lid again. In probably 20 minutes, my temps had fallen to about 175 and holding. I took the top off and left it off for about 3 minutes and could see the briquettes come back to life and turn red. Put the top back on and for the last 10-15 minutes it has held at about 205*.

I have 2 air intake tubes, one on each side and they are 1/2" pipe with ball valves and they are both opened all the way. Could it be that with 1/2" tubes, I am not pulling enough air inside for the temps to get any hotter than I'm seeing ?

post #4 of 16
Sounds like not enough intake.

I had 4 ( 3/4 ) intakes. Wasn't enough.

I made 2 of them 1 inch. Works good now
post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 

That just has to be the problem.... It just drifted back down to 175* and I removed the lid again and let the briquettes burn back up to red again, put the lid back on and the temps went up to 250*..... I may just ditch the 2 - 1/2" tubes and go with 2 - 1" tubes with ball valves and give that a try.

post #6 of 16

I use only two breather holes. Each is 1" with a 1" pipe nipple. These have a 3/4" inner diameter. They are piped up and ball valved. I have no issue reaching 300 and maintaining that temp witch both valves wide open. I use a dome lid with the vent wide open as well. I think your issue is airflow or lack thereof. If those are 1/2 " pipes, remember that measurement is often the outer diameter, meaning you likely have only 3/8" of airflow per pipe.

post #7 of 16
I've got two 1 inch pipes on mine. They are 18 inches. It runs inbetween 250-275. I don't have ball valves on mine. I also have a 1 inch close nipple in the middle with a cap.
post #8 of 16

No risers, nipples, caps or ball valves on mine.   3  3/4" holes - cover or uncover with flexible sheet magnets as needed.   Nope- not sexy.  But I have unlimited control- can see exactly what I have open or don't- and I don't have any problems with pesky leaks around those pipe joints.  Adding or enlarging an existing intake is pretty simple as well.


Simpler is not always better... but it works for me.

post #9 of 16

you can never go wrong with two-tone paint.  

post #10 of 16
Never was a fan of the risers. Just had 3 3/4" intakes on mine. Fire basket about 3" off the bottom. Used the standard bungs on drum lid.
Never really had any problem with temps.

Nice job on the build! icon14.gif
post #11 of 16

You can put a little blower on one of the intakes to get more air into your fire.  An old hair dryer or air mattress inflator works well, but you'll probably want to add a 600W light dimmer to throttle down the flow. Or just add more and larger intake pipes.   (For price, it's hard to beat EMT conduit from the electrical department.)    


Also, I'd have made a donut of unlit coals and poured the lit ones into the middle of them.  Then put a layer of unlit ones over the whole works.  Fire burns up, not down, so pouring hot coals on top is not a good way to get a fire going, even if you have lots of air flow.  

post #12 of 16

I am a definite newbie to UDS's and made the same mistake you did by first going with 1/2" ball valves.  I installed four 3/4" evenly spaced black pipe nipples on the bottom of mine, but used a 3/4" to 1/2" reducing elbow and ran 1/2" black pipe into 1/2" ball valves on two of the nipples (the front).  The reason was mainly cost...1/2" ball valves were literally half the price of 3/4" ball valves.  I had the elbows and black pipe painted beautifully with gloss high heat engine enamel, but when I went to do my first burn, I couldn't get the thing to hold above 200 degrees without having the two 3/4" black pipe nipples with screw on caps fully opened.  My plan was to season it first and then cook cupcake chicken, and I knew right away that I could never get the temps high enough with the 1/2" ball valves.  I made the last second tough choice and returned the 1/2" ball valves and ate the cost of the 1/2" black pipe and went and bought 3/4" ball valves, elbows and pipe.  Once installed, I had no issues whatsoever getting temps above 300 degrees, and I cooked cupcake chicken last Friday at 325 degrees for almost 3 hours and the next day I cooked two 8.5lb pork butts between 275 and 300 for almost 8.5 hours.  I was thrilled with how little I had to babysit it.  Go with wider pipe and avoid the headache. 


You can see my build here after moving to 3/4" ball valves.  You can see in the final product picture that I have yet to paint the pipe and elbows, but I put Crisco on the elbows and threads because it was raining part of the time and luckily they avoided rusting.


post #13 of 16
Thread Starter 

JamieLamb, I feel your pain man.... I tore mind down and removed the 1/2" tubes and drilled out and replaced both tubes with 30" tall 1" tubes and 1|" ball valves. And yeah, the cost was almost 3 times that of the 1/2" tubes and valves but anyhow, painted the new ones, drilled out the barrel holes for the new tubes and put everything back together. Fired it up and could immediately tell a difference. I had a partial bag (6lbs) of cheap Dollar General briquettes and just real quick I got 275* out of it. turned one valve half closed and tamed it down to about 250* and threw a couple of pork chops on the lower rack. I flipped them about 30 minutes into it and 30 more minutes I was eating..... Here is a pic with the new 1" tubes...


post #14 of 16
.... icon14.gif ... Looks good...
post #15 of 16

Yes, very nice.  And if you ever want a little more air, you can screw off the ball valves altogether.  There's quite a bit of flow resistance in each of them.  

post #16 of 16
If I'm not mistaking those gas valves are restrictive ... What I mean is the inside opening is more narrow then your pipe opening
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