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Gonna Try A UDS - Page 2

post #21 of 35
Looks good, that is a huge basket though..

You could probably get it to burn for two days if you filled it up.. icon_lol.gif
post #22 of 35
Nice looking drum. I have to agree, use less coal to start next time and catch temps on the way up.
post #23 of 35
Thread Starter 
I used about a 1/3 of a chimney to get things started tonight and that made a huge difference. Got two butts totaling 17 lbs on there right now. Made some eggs too and they were outstanding. biggrin.gif
post #24 of 35
Thread Starter 
Finished up the butts about 11 am today. In my SNP this took over 24 hours last time to do 15 lbs and I used 30 lbs of fuel and eventually put them in the oven for another 3 hours. In the UDS it took 21 hours to do 17 lbs of Boston Butt to 205* and I only used 10lbs of fuel. The efficiency of the UDS is amazing me. I stayed up pretty much the whole time monitoring the UDS since this was the first cook on it. After a 3 hour nap earlier this afternoon I am back up and doing 12 lbs of country style ribs. This second go round it was much easier to get the temps I wanted and lock them in.

I am amazed more people don't make these as they seem to be very simple to use and you can't beat the price. Now for some observations;
  • My pulled pork had a much different flavor than the last few times I made it. I am assuming this is either because a.) the fat dripping onto the coals changes the flavor somewhat vs. my offset horizontal which is indirect and/or b.) this is the first cook in the UDS.
  • Taking the lid off would cause temperature spikes regardless of how quick I was. At this point I don't know how big of a deal this is or how much effect it had on the cook. The temp would be back where I wanted it within 15 - 20 minutes.
  • The temp seems easier to regulate using the exhaust vs. intake. It seems to me that when I made an adjustment with the top vents (don't have a chimney on mine) the results were more immediate vs. the intake. I played with both and intake adjustments took up to an hour before I would see what I expected in temp. I didn't notice any bitterness in the meat so I am assuming creosote wasn't a problem for me.
  • The fewer hot coals added to the charcoal basket, the easier it is to lock in temps. My first test fire as posted earlier in this thread resulted in high temps. As was suggested, I trimmed down the amount of hot coals used to get it started and that helped immensely. If you can't control it at the start of the smoke, it is going to be a frustrating day the rest of the way.
  • While my massive charcoal basket of doom is indeed massive, putting a coffee can in the center for wood chips and chunks works well. The idea is similar to that of putting chips and/or chunks into foil so it cannot flame. Using an open top coffee can I was able to let the thin blue smoke out for an extended period of time without having to worry about actual flame up. With the butts, it took an hour for it to start smoking. With the ribs I am doing now, I dropped a couple hot coals into the can and got immediate results.
  • A door for the charcoal basket would be perfect. Around 2am I found that I was struggling to maintain temps with the pulled pork. Don't get me wrong, 10 hours on 5lbs of lump was amazing to me compared to what I am used to. The issue was that enough lump had burned away but there were still some pieces left. Having to unload the meat to get to the basket was a PITA. Perhaps I should have put more in to begin with anticipating how long it would take but this was my first cook. I think my next build will definitely have a door though. Taking the lid off needs to be minimized.
I am very pleased so far and am plotting out my next UDS build because having one isn't good enough now that I have tried it. I also plan on making a few modifications for convenience sake.
post #25 of 35
Can you describe the difference in flavor? Bad, good, more robust, charrred.... etc.

It would be good to know.
post #26 of 35
Thread Starter 
I wish I could Nate. I ended up with a much thicker bark on the UDS than the SNP. I am not sure whether or not to attribute that to the direct heating or that in the SNP it was foiled longer and eventually stuck in the oven. The flavor difference was not bad, just different than the SNP. I really wish I had words to describe it.
post #27 of 35
Thread Starter 
I had someone ask me about the coffee can thing. I improved upon it yesterday when digging through the left over parts from the Weber knock-off. Turns out there was an ash pan that came with it that worked perfectly instead of the coffee can so I added it yesterday. Got a pic of it today.

post #28 of 35
I have noted a difference in taste a few times using the uds compared to the Horizon off set.

I think the drum embarks a bolder, smokier flavor to the meat. The off set while burning all wood has a much more laid back smoke taste than the drum burning charcoal with wood chunks. The other thing is I believe the drippings are also accountable for the different flavor that makes for the bolder flavor. It is certainly not a bad taste by no means but just different.
post #29 of 35
Thread Starter 
This is the third or fourth weekend cooking on the UDS and I am starting to get a pretty good feel for it. Prior to today I had been using Nature-Glo lump which is the food service brand for Royal Oak. I really struggled with temps when using it. I learned to start off with just a handful of coals if I were to have any chance at all of controlling temps but they would still slowly sneak up. This weekend I had to pick up some more and was always buying the big 20lbs bags on the bottom shelf and not paying any attention to the smaller bags on the middle shelf. Had I paid attention I would have noticed these smaller bags were actually 20lbs bags of briquettes. Yesterday was that day.

I picked up a 20lbs bag of briquettes thinking I would try them out and see if it is any easier since it seems most UDS owners are using briquettes. I am about 2 hours into 8lbs of chuck roast and the temps have been super easy to control. It is too early to tell if there will be a flavor difference but I am astounded at how much easier temperature is to control with the briquettes vs. lump.
post #30 of 35
Yep, briquettes due to their uniform size and shape make for nice long controlled burns in the UDS. That doesn't mean you can't use lump. When I was using lump, I would bust up the bigger pieces and try to get some uniformity sizewise and that helped a little bit.

One other thing that will cause temps to creep up over the course of a cook in a UDS is removing the lid to mop/spritz/foil, etc.. I always shut my intakes down for a couple of minutes before removing the lid and leave them closed for a couple of minutes after I put the lid back on.

Good luck.

post #31 of 35
Thread Starter 
So it is the size of the pieces vs the actual composition of the material in your opinion?

I have struggled when taking the lid off with the lump. The temp would shoot up 50* in no time. So far today it has been a non-issue with the briquettes. With the lump, I have little trouble controlling temp if I am trying to stay around 250* or more. Last weekend it was tough to make jerky but I am thinking briquettes are the way to go when I need lower temps.
post #32 of 35
I think it is both. The size of the material will influence the consistency. If you are burning odd sized pieces of lump, the smaller ones will ignite faster and burn faster than the larger ones which could lead to some temp spikes.

But the Kingsford Competition Briquettes (which I use) are of uniform size but are less dense and burn hotter than the regular Kingsford. So while the burn is pretty consistent, the temp can creep up if I let the drum get too much air.

I think you are going to have a hard time making jerky in a UDS depending on what temp you are trying to maintain especially with the direct heat component You might be better off using the SnP for that.

post #33 of 35
Thread Starter 
Surprisingly, the jerky came out fairly decent last weekend. But keeping the UDS temp down was difficult with lump. Briquette's so far would be much easier to hold in the 150-180* range than lump.
post #34 of 35
If you can do that and you are happy with that temp range, then I'd say you're good to go.PDT_Armataz_01_34.gif

I try to keep my SnP down around 140° but that is a litte difficult sometimes with the Afterburner.

Oh and the jerky is cured by the way. biggrin.gif

post #35 of 35
Thread Starter 
Mine wasn't cured so I had to run the temp a little higher. I used the idea of toothpicks in the end to hang from the upper rack of the UDS without the lower rack in place and it worked great. Aside from trying to keep the temp down of course. lol
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