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UDS Plans Needed

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Looking for plans to build a UDS Smoker.

Basically need the placement of racks, vents, etc.

There are many on google search and many that are different. I want to do one the right way the first time.

I also am planning on insulating it.



post #2 of 12

LOTS of builds here on SMF.  Most all members will share their opinions, successes and failures as well.


Start here, and then start building your plans a bit.



post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thanks, been doing a lot of reading here and google. Still little confusion to the sizing of the intakes. See most with  3 - 3/4" nipples with 2 capped off and 1 ball valve. Some with 2 ball valves, others with 2" pipes, etc. Not sure how the calculations work with the drum smokers.


What I think I'll do is install 3 - 3/4" nipples with 2 ball valves and cap the other. At least the UDS can be modified at a later time.


Been looking thru sites to find the measurments to where each hole, bolt, etc is ideal. Think I have a pretty good idea.


Currently busy working on my BBQ shed so I can Q in the winters as well as the high winds we get here, looking to use the UDS in the shed since it's more compact than my trailer smoker.


Will start posting pics as soon as I can.

post #4 of 12
The problem with what you're asking is that everyone has a different idea of ideal positioning. If all one smokes is ribs laying flat, having the top grate fairly close to the top of the drum is ideal. If someone else is wanting to smoke turkeys then the grate needs to be lower. I live in Wyoming, so in the winter it gets cold and I'll need to be able to get some air to the fire to get it warm. Someone in Florida may not need as much venting. That being said, the reason most go with only one valve is if you need to open up wider then one ball valve can get, take the cap off the second and have it wide open while adjusting with the ball valve on the first. This saves money as the valves are probably the most expensive individual piece in a UDS build.
post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 

Totally makes sense in a way. I have 3 each of 3/4 and 1"  ball valves from leftover jobs. I am thinking of doing a double rack so I have the option of smoking just about anything. I'll probably do the 3 bottom intakes, 1 capped and other 2 with valves and pipe going up along the side so I don't have to kneel to adjust valves. 

Hopefully this weekend I'll start burning the barrel since I have to move wood to build my shed, weather permitting (winds).

post #6 of 12
I have (3) 3/4" intakes all valved with gate valves. 3" up from the bottom of the pit. They were $5 each. I use a gate valve key to turn the handles. So no bending over.

I made an adjustable rack system and can adjust my cooking grate level in 1" increments from top of drum to top of charcoal basket.

I highly recommend incorporating an ash catcher attached to the charcoal basket. Makes clan up easy.

Drill all your jholes prior to your burn out. This will help feed the fire.
post #7 of 12
I'm running 4 ea. 3/4 holes 1 still has the ball valve in it. The others were capped then the caps stuck on the nipples. I just had the electrical box jam nuts holding the nipples on. Going to weld some time. Right now magnets are plugging just fine. I need to work on an ash pan also. Cleaning up is tough sometimes. I did my holes 3" up from the bottom as well. I wouldn't worry about calculating inlet volumes. I run most cooks with the ball valve partially open and everything else closed off. When doing chickens at 350 I had 2 holes full open and the valve just cracked. The outlet on the lid might take some figuring. I started with 4ea 3/4 holes and found it wasn't enough. I have 6 now and am happy with the results. You are going to love the drum. Pretty efficient little cooker. I can run a bag of charcoal well over 20 hours in the summer. Looking forward to seeing some great q pics.
post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 


How did you make racks adjustable? Photos?

Edited by Ron Petersen - 10/7/16 at 4:49am
post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 

Was browsing around looking for sausage making supplies. Since the UDS can do long cooks, I was wondering if I could add another barrel on top of the UDS with a door for smoking sausages and bacon?

Using the bottom UDS for the charcoal and wood or heating element and wood. Cannot see why it wouldn't work?

Any ideas? Or anyone done this?



Or am I better off building a smokehouse?

Edited by Ron Petersen - 10/8/16 at 5:40am
post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 

Finally had some calm weather and time. Burned the barrel and lid.

Hopefully this weekend wire brush it and paint it. 


post #11 of 12
Originally Posted by Ron Petersen View Post

How did you make racks adjustable? Photos?
Hey Ron, new guy here but I just finished a UDS build. For the shelving I went to the Home Depot and got two 48" shelving brackets and cut them in half then tac welded three 24" sections in the barrel. I also bought 6 cheap adjustable shelves and cut them down to be about 4". This gave me two layers. Remember that most of that is galvanized so don't breath it when you weld. If you don't have a welder I'm sure you can bolt it on but regardless it's less than $10. Then get a couple 22" grates from Walmart or academy and your good to go
post #12 of 12
I'm going to be watching this build closely, hopefully you get some good weather soon. I'm very interested to see your build as I am looking to build my first UDS as well!
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