Ok here's the lowdown on the GFS briquets. This stuff burns FOREVER! I had started a fire with a half chimney of kingsford then added some oak splits to get my smoker temp up to 350+ to burn in the new plates. Let it die down to 200 then added the rest of the lump I had and started smoking the loin at 220. Once that mostly burned down I added a chimney full of unlit GFS briqs. It burned about 2 1/2 hours until the loin was done. 2 hours later I went out to make sure the smoker had cooled off. It was still 200. I closed the dampers and exhaust and smothered it out. I don't know how long it would have lasted but I imagine it would be GREAT for a drum. One thing, it does leave a LOT of ash. Speaking of drums I got 2 drums on the hook. They're food service drums that have been used once. Can't wait.
I just got back from GSF and picked up a couple different bags of briquettes they had. One 20lb bag of the red bag and they had a brown bag that said Natural Glo Old Hickory. The Old Hickory stuff said it's made by RO. We''ll see how they work.
So there is somewhat of an ash problem with briqs? I'm not putting a door of any sort in the uds so kicking it is my only solution. I'm making a coal basket like bbq bubba will kicking/shaking the drum still loosen enough ash?
From what I've read on other forums, that's about all most people do. And if you want easier cleanup, buy one of those cheap tabletop grills and use the pan for an ashpan. Just set the charcoal basket on it.
You don't have to drill holes in it or put bolts in it to keep it centered, but I did because the first time I used it, I got a little carried away shaking the drum and the ash pan slid over to one side and blocked one of my intakes.
Doesn't shaking/kicking/nudging the barrell stir up the ash to where it sticks to the sides? I thought that was a big reason you don't dump the ash out you have to scoop it or use a pan. I just wouldn't want to shake my uds and get ash on my meat.
You don't really have to shake it that hard. Like I said, the reason I put the bolts in the ash pan to keep it centered is because during one smoke it slid over to one side and was blocking an intake. Clearly I was getting a little carried away with the shaking.
As long as the lid is on, the updraft is going to be pretty minimal and as long as you don't shake it too hard it should be fine.