First Build,and New Operator

Discussion in 'UDS Builds' started by damascusmaker, May 7, 2015.

  1. Here is what I gathered to start with. 30 gal drum.

    Here is current progress. I think the dome was going to be an end for a compressor tank, welded it to the original drum lid then cut out the center inside. Still wanting to make hinges for the top and come up with an exhaust. Hope to give it a clean out burn pretty soon. I hope the fuel basket isn't too large, I can always redo it, or make a smaller one to drop in it. Found grates that fit nice so I didn't have to make them from the ss mesh, for now. What is the best chunk of meat to learn on? Thanks for all the knowledge shared here.

  2. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

    That looks really good. You have better fabricating skills than I do.

    The basket size looks perfect. You might want to consider adding an ash pan to make clean up easier.

    As for meat for your test run. I would use whatever is on sale for less than $2 per pound. Most of the time you can get whole chickens or pork shoulders for cheap and they are both easy to smoke (as well as delicious).

    Good luck.
  3. sota d

    sota d Smoking Fanatic

    Wow, you've got some mad fabricating skills! Really nice job. I agree with bmaddox, pork butt(shoulder) or chicken, it's cheap and easy....sounds like a girl I......we won't go there.
  4. Thanks for the feedback. I'm looking forward to learning about this stuff. Cheating a little on  the fab skills, I have a lot of tools. I won't post a link because I'm new here and don't know if it's cool to do that, but if you google "Matt Walker metal" you can visit my shop.

    What about a water pan? The only friend I have who smokes insists all smokers should have a water pan. I think I read somewhere that isn't necessary in a UDS?
  5. Nice Job Looks Great

  6. That is a fine looking UDS!

    Happy smoken.

  7. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    Nope you don't need a water pan at all. You will want an ash pan though and make sure you have 3 inches of clearance from the pan to the bottom grate of the basket. Looks really nice. Any more questions just fire away. Some guys use a heat deflector in theirs on the lower grate. I see pizza pans drilled with lots of holes and terra cotta pots being used. Mine is 55 gallon and I don't need a diffuser for most things I do as I almost always use a drip pan to catch the drippings  and that serves the purpose. Also it seems that 3 inches of exhaust is perfect for my 55 so you might be able to get by with 2 inches for the 30. Whatever you use for your exhaust make sure you can cap it off easily to save on charcoal when you are done cooking.
    Last edited: May 8, 2015
  8. Thanks All,

    Timberjet, good info about the exhaust, I was wondering about what size to go for. Kinda figured the 3/4 coupler welded into the dome wasn't going to be enough. I'll cut it out and put in something a little larger. Had to stop on the build progress and do some paying work.Hope to get back to it next week for hinges and shelves.
  9. Progress report: Working hinges.

    Also I found at Tractor Supply a pan that fits perfect for $4.49, problem is it appears to be galvanized. Is this at all an issue using it for an ash pan? If it is asking for trouble, no problem, I'll make one or find something else.

    bmaddox likes this.
  10. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

    I really like those hinges.

    You will get both sides of the argument on galvanized. Some say a smoker never gets hot enough to cause the zinc to off gas. I personally say, why risk it. Zinc poisoning is a real thing and since it is so easy to just not use galvanized that is how I went with mine.
  11. Thanks, I'll forget the galvanized pan.

  12. I like your little piggie !!!

  13. Thanks Garry,

    Here it is mostly done. Thinking about trying Cornish hens as first smoke. Have a Maverick ET73 on the way. Probably do a seasoning heat tomorrow.

  14. Decided to try a couple of burgers for practice with the tool. Coated (#3/4 patties) with spices and brushed with raspberry bbq sauce last 15 minutes. It worked perfect I think. The burgers were very good but not enough better than grilled to justify the extra effort and time. Local bbq guy told me to use a water pan for hamburger, I wonder if I had taken timberjet's advice and let the drippings hit the coals there might have been more pleasing flavor. I think I didn't put enough hickory chips as well because there was hardly any hickory taste. I guess that's an experience thing? Any accepted rule of thumb charcoal to chip ratio? The meat temp stayed 145 to 150 for a couple of hours, smoker held around 230 most of the time. When we were ready I opened the air and let it roll, went over 300 pretty fast and I stopped when the meat hit 162. Really liked the remote thermometer.

  15. Nice looking burgers, I could handle one of those for breakfast

  16. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    I don't use chips. I use chunks and the minion method. Chips burn up too fast. Nice looking burgers. You will get the hang of it. Practice makes perfect.
  17. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    By the way that is a sweet build you have there.
  18. Thanks timberjet ,

    Learned more today smoking a couple of smaller spare rib pieces. Smoker worked perfect again. Left out the water pan this time. The meat was too fatty for our taste but I'm impressed with how controllable and fuel efficient the UDS is. 
  19. Made a different basket. The openings in the first one were a little large and dropped the chips. I'll be looking for some chunks. Here is what was left after 5 hours of smoking.
  20. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

    I am with @timberjet  about using chunks instead of chips. I also use lump for half my charcoal as I feel it gives more flavor than briquettes. When doing something like burgers that will not be in the smoke for long you need to make sure you have a nice level of smoke the whole time to really get the smoke flavor into the meat (but don't go crazy and get it smoking like a forest fire). 

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