Can this be done?

Discussion in 'UDS Builds' started by danbono, Apr 23, 2014.

  1. danbono

    danbono Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hui All I was thinking of converting my Electric smoker into a UDS if that is possible?

    Any idea's/thoughts would be helpful.

    Thanks Dan

  2. [​IMG]   Hello Dan.  Sounds like a great idea to me.  It's all there, lid, vents, racks.  Seems just rip out the electrics and add a charcoal basket and you are away.  I can't see any reason it won't work.  Keep Smokin!

  3. c farmer

    c farmer Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Should work.   Mini UDS
  4. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Sure you could, Brinkmann makes a charcoal smoker that's identical so all the needed parts are available off the shelf. However, I have to wonder if this is the best solution. I'm guessing you want the adjust-ability and versatility of charcoal. By the time you get the required parts, do a bunch of reading on the internet, make all the modifications suggested by the myriad posts on charcoal ECB's, you'll be longing for the simplicity of the electric element. Sure, it's limited to either really low and slow with a water pan or medium low and slow without a water pan. But it's really good at what it's designed to do, and it won't be really that great as a charcoal smoker.

    I'd suggest building yourself an actual UDS or a mini WSM if you've got the bug to go home made. Keep the electric for those times when you just want a long slow cook without all the fuss. That way, you'll have a decent electric AND a really good charcoal smoker.
  5. handymanstan

    handymanstan Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    Another idea is Lowes has the same master forge smoker in charcoal for $70.00.  The body's and bases are interchangeable so you could start with charcoal and switch to electric.  The charcoal smoker is 20" and shorter then the one you have so you would have a choice of small or tall on either base.

  6. danbono

    danbono Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hi I do have a COS Brinkmann's Smoke N pit.

     Would start with a 55 drum, but they are hard to find around here.Then I would have to do a burn out,.Etc.

    I was thinking of just adding some ball valves to the bottom and make a basket, maybe adding a top vent,if needed..

    Thanks Dan

    PS The Electric did work OK just trying to get it to be more efficient
  7. nlambert

    nlambert Newbie

    Why not just buy the firepan for this smoker? I have two of the charcoal versions of these. The firepan isn't but ~ $20 or so from Brinkmann...... Pull out the element and throw in the firepan.

    One thing worth mentioning is that the temp spikes quickly in mine if the door is cracked or any additional air is introduced to the equation. Plus the firepan will clog easily with ash, so getting the fire even hotter by adding additional air intakes will just speed that issue up.

    I can easily get my Brinkmann up to 400 in just a few minutes. Then when I close the door off and fill the water pan I typically see temps between 250-275.

    IMHO.... it works ok for what it is. I don't think I'd do it if it were me. I'm building a UDS now to replace mine.

    If you can't find a drum go to your local car dealerships. Many will give you a drum or two that had brake cleaner in them. I was given 4 30 gallon drums two weeks ago for free. Burn out was easy.
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2014
  8. danbono

    danbono Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    HI I'm trying to stay away from doing a burn out. Just thought the E smoker with a charcoal basket and some valves might just do the trick.
  9. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    It would then be an ecb. I used one for years and there is nothing efficient about the design. You can build a mini for super cheap and basically you end up with a wsm. I would keep that electric intact for fish or jerky or whatever. Just my opinion though. By the way the burn out you want to avoid is pretty quick and easy and not as messy as you would think. 
  10. danbono

    danbono Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hi I'm back[​IMG]  

    He is what I was thinking, making some holes in the water pan, and using some bolts to raise the pan off the bottom for ash clearance.

    1.Would I be better off making a charcoal basket?

    2.Do I need to drill any holes on the bottom/side for air flow?

    3.Top vent?

    Thanks Dan
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2015
  11. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    You would need a ball valve to adjust airflow in the bottom and yes a basket with an ash catcher would be much much better.

  12. danbono

    danbono Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hi All

     Well I  finally got started to converting my E smoke to Charcoal. Need some idea's and thoughts on this, regarding air flow/ashes?.

    The charcoal pan is 4' high and has 2" clearance from the bottom of the smoker.

    1. Do I have drill holes the pan , for air flow/ashes?

    2. The bottom of the smoker has a 3" hole on the bottom and a vent where the electric element came out of see pics.

    I was thinking I can just rotate the pan with the vent to control air flow.

    3. Would I need a vent on top?

    4. Would the snake method work?

    Thanks Dan

    PS I would love to build a UDS, but so far NO luck getting a unlined drum. Don't want to do a burn out.

                         Charcoal Pan

                          Smoke base with vent

                Bottom base with hole

    Last edited: Jun 20, 2015
  13. danbono

    danbono Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hi All Later today/dinner time  I'm  going to do trial run, just the way smoker  is. Got a split chicken as the victim. Going with Kingsford Blue, and some apple chunks. I just might try the snake method or minion.Thinking maybe 2.5-3 hrs for the chicken to done, hoping for  crisp skin so the smoker will have to reach at least 325. If the temps dpon't up and skin is not crisp, then onto the grill it will go.

    Will post back with pics and comments. 

    Happy Fathers Day to all

  14. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    You keep mentioning not wanting to burn out the drum. Do what I did have it sand blasted. I took mine to my local powder coat shop and the t blasted the drum inside and out for $20. For another $50, they powder coated the exterior of the drum and lid with high temp black powder coat.
  15. danbono

    danbono Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hi Have to 1st find a place that does sand blasting.

  16. danbono

    danbono Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hi All Here is an update on my converted E smoker..I used  my 12" charcoal basket on it's side, to hold the charcoal and gave it 2" legs, Buried 2 chunks of hickory, lit the coals with a Weber cube. After 1 hr it is holding temps at 300.Going to put the probe in the chicken breast in 1/2 hr, for a reading. So far so good, just hope the 300 temps keep up, for another couple of hours..Smoke looks pretty good.The chicken was split and rub with McCormick's Chicken Seasoning and Olive oil.

    Dirtsailor :I''m, going to check on Craig's List for a sandblaster prices for the drum.

  17. danbono

    danbono Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hi All The chicken came out real good, maybe a little over cooked, didn't want to take any chances.

    I have to find a better way of controlling temps, when I opened the lid to check chicken temps, smoker temps went to 350-400 in no time.

    I'm thinking I had too much charcoal to start.I had to finished the chicken in the oven for about 1/2 hr. I couldn't get the smoker temps to back down? Over all not a bad 1st try..One hour later the smoker was still reading 225.

    Maybe next time close off the vent on the bottom and start with less charcoal.


     This is how I used the basket.on it's side/2" legs.

        In this pic I'm already finished and dumped the coals.

    Last edited: Jun 21, 2015
  18. danbono

    danbono Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I just recieved 2 e-mails from local companys that do sandblasting,one was for 125, the other was 150..That is more then it would cost to build the UDS.

    Dan,Thanks for reaching out. We can blast your drum for 125. Feel free to stop down to the shop anytime.
  19. danbono

    danbono Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hi All Ok back to the conversion. One ball Valve 1/2" and one 1/2" pipe with a cap? Was thinking pipe on top for airflow?The UDS has been on put hold for time being..Want to get this working good before moving on.The size is nice and convenient. I  used it in the rain the other day under my front porch. Still had trouble getting temps to settle in 250-275 range.

    Would like your comments and thoughts.

    Thanks Dan

    PS I was thinking about a Mini-WSM, but going to work with what I have.

    Last edited: Jul 8, 2015
  20. danbono

    danbono Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    HI All Going to try this as my new charcoal basket.Starting with 1/2 Weber chimney,last time with a full chimney the temps were way too high.



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