Capacity for UDS

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by suprfast, Apr 22, 2009.

  1. suprfast

    suprfast Meat Mopper

    Does anyone have any pictures of a fully loaded UDS. I LOVE ribs(who doesnt) and cook these more than anything else. Im just trying to gauge how many slabs of ribs i can do on a single UDS(55 gal). Ive been searching UDS all morning and cant come up with a conclusion on max limitations.

    Silly question to ask here, Do i need two UDS(for parties). My parties normally have 20-30 people(just birthday parties for the kids, lots of family).

    Lastly, incase anyone wants to ask i took the SnP back to walmart and found a Drum two days ago. I think the drum is my calling.
  2. cowgirl

    cowgirl Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    You would need to use rib racks... Not sure how many you could get in one drum. I'd use more than one drum, you could use two cooking racks in one too.
    Just to give you an idea about how much I can get in mine......

    cornish hens...


    ribs and scalloped tatoes..

    a 12 pound spatchcocked turkey..

    bacon wrapped shrimp
  3. pinkmeat

    pinkmeat Smoking Fanatic

    I say max about 4 slabs per drum, that's with two cooking grates. I don't think you could get much more on there unless you cut the racks up into thirds or something like.
  4. teacup13

    teacup13 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    3 with no rib racks

    not my picture but you get the idea...with rib racks you are looking at least 6 per grate

  5. billbo

    billbo Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    You will have about 7 inches of verticle space to work with from grate to top. Using rib racks will increase your volume.

    If you added a Weber lid you could add an exta grate and more room. Hope this helps, I am learning too!

    I plan to build mine with one grate until I can find a doner Weber lid then I will add another grate.
  6. pinkmeat

    pinkmeat Smoking Fanatic

    I would like to see that in action. 4 easy, but I think maybe 6 St Louis style racks using two grates, ribs laying down flat.
  7. suprfast

    suprfast Meat Mopper

    no wonder everyone loves cowgirl so much. thanks for the pics.

    I plan to use a weber lid or atleast fabricating a lid to extend the height.
    If i read correctly i will want 24" of distance from the top of the charcoal tray to the first(or only) cooking grate right?

    Im sure in time i will obtain a second UDS to make life easier, but cowgirl shows that life without a second is doable.
    Thanks to everyone else too, all help is appreciated
  8. ddave

    ddave Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Just to clarify . . . you want 24" from the charcoal grate to the first cooking grate. It doesn't matter how tall you make the charcoal basket sides.

    Assuming you do the common charcoal basket with 3" legs . . .

    you're first cooking grate will be about 27" from the bottom of the drum.

    Hope this helps.

  9. suprfast

    suprfast Meat Mopper

    ddave, thank you. That actually helps me a lot. Should there be an average space between cooking grates(i know you dont want to SANDWICH the food). i plan to add a domed lid of some sort, or maybe cut another drum just to add a little more height. My goal is to get two levels for ribs, just about everything else one level is going to be more than enough.
  10. fire it up

    fire it up Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Only bit of advice I could offer for space (besides a rib rack) would be to make sure you leave about 1/4" between your meat. If you allow it to touch other pieces then the smoke and heat will have trouble penetrating that particular area as much as the more exposed surfaces.
  11. suprfast

    suprfast Meat Mopper

    Wow, i just did the math and the UDS will have 880.96 sq in. that is not too shabby. Now to double that.
  12. jaxgatorz

    jaxgatorz Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    That's not why i love cowgirl [​IMG][​IMG] Shhh Im stalking her[​IMG]
  13. billbo

    billbo Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I just found a Weber One Touch on craigs near me, will this fit the drum? If so I'm gonna snag it quick.
  14. rickw

    rickw Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    You got to watch it when pack the ribs in tight on the usd. I did the double rack with around 10 slabs, not big either, and had a tough time getting temps up. I rack that up to lack of air circulation. Even with 3 intakes wide open 200F was hard to maintain. I separated them into two different drums and things went fine from there on.

    The uds NEEDS air circulation, that's the one draw back as far as I can tell.
  15. suprfast

    suprfast Meat Mopper

    I started the burning process tonight with spare firewood i had laying around. How long should i burn it for? The smell was awful. Im beginning to think this may have had oil at one time. Is this going to be safe? There is also an orange color coating on the inside. is this the epoxy stuff. I was able to take a nail and "scrape" to bare metal, but i dont think the fire is burning it off.
    I guess a wire wheel and time will be all that really tells.

    On the plus side i can order them here in town for 40.00+tax for a brand new unlined 55gal drum with a lid and ring. Im probably going this route too:)
  16. graybeard

    graybeard Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member


  17. ddave

    ddave Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    If it's orange inside and stinks when it burns, it is most likely the epoxy liner.

    If you can get an unlned one for $40, I'd do that in a hearbeat.

    Like Rick said, be careful about loading a rack full. Got to have some space for air to draw through for it to work.

    As far as space between the racks goes, my first one is 24" above the charcoal grate and the second one is a little bit below the lip of the drum. I think there is 5 or 6 inches between them. Enough for briskets or butts if I put the temp probe to the side. Don't know that you'd want them much closer than that. I don't think rib racks would fit on the bottom though.

  18. suprfast

    suprfast Meat Mopper

    Im thinking of going the non liner way too, so this burn might have just been for fun. I was thinking of doing the first rack about 6" below the top and the second rack at level while modifying a top piece that will extend upwards about 6-8". I guess we will see when i get a good drum.
  19. suprfast

    suprfast Meat Mopper

    Some pics i snapped

    Can you tell if this has epoxy on the inside? If it does, this might be my storage for charcoal and wood, nothing more.

    drum pictures

    If i take a wire wheel to this and it comes right off, would this mean it was just paint? Im really thinking of going safe and buying the new one that is three weeks away
  20. ddave

    ddave Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Looks like the epoxy liner to me.

    But if you can wirewheel it down to bare metal, it won't matter if it was the epoxy or not. Many people have done it. Some with a wirewheel, some with a weed burner. It is pretty tough stuff though. But if you can get it to bare metal, you'll be good to go.[​IMG] Some have also mentioned that a 40 grit sanding disc will work.

    If you choose to wirewheel/sand it off, make sure you have eye protection, ear plugs and a GOOD mask. I tried with a cheapo dust mask and was coughing up crap for 5 days. (The human body is really quite amazing in it's ability to rid itself of foreign objects. [​IMG] )

    Good luck.


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