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Finally Building my UDS!!! (w/Q-view)


Smoke Blower
Joined Sep 11, 2010
I've been reading for the last 2+ years about the awesomeness of the UDS and finally the stars have aligned and I was able to get a barrel and get going.

I happened to be in El Paso (the closest place I could find a barrel) and decided to use my trusty work-horse Civic to haul the barrel back. (seat belt's on for safety).  Only $15 for the barrel.

According to the label it used to hold orange juice.  I couldn't find un-lined barrels so I settled for this one.  After reading all the horror stories of getting the liner off I found a local sand blaster to remove the inside liner.

I only asked them to do the inside but the guy said his wife got carried away and did the whole thing.  Bonus!  Only $25, which sounds like it was well worth it.

I drilled the intake holes and decided to do a burn out just to make sure it was clean (and mostly just to have a fire :-)

It's amazing how hot and quick a chopped up pallet burns.

I started making the fire basket but since I don't have a welder (or welding skills) I was forced to but a sheet of expanded metal during the burn out and try to attach it to the fire grate with rebar wire.  Once I get it figured out I will add photos.  I'm not sure I'm using the right size fire grate because it seems to fill a large portion of my barrel (I think it measures 18" in diameter).  I was thinking about going down a size so that my pizza pan ash tray(16" diameter) will collect all of the ashes that drop.

I can't wait to start using this.  I've been thinking/dreaming about it for a long time.


Smoking Fanatic
Joined Oct 14, 2007
Hey erodinamik, I just started building mine too.  I've been thinking about it for a long time as well!  I just built the charcoal basket this past Sunday and used a propane tank from my gas grill.  I formed the expanded metal into a circle by bending it around the tank.  It measures 12" in diameter.  Also like you, I am not a welder, so I fastened it together with stainless steel bolts and used stainless steel u bolts to fasten it to a charcoal grate from a grill.   The charcoal grate I used was from a 22.5 inch grill and I believe it's 16.5" in diameter.  I'll check for certain later today and get back to you.  Here's a picture of it.  



Smoke Blower
Joined Sep 11, 2010
Finally making progress!

After trying to use wire to attach the expanded metal to the fire grate, and then finding hardware to make legs I decided it would be faster and easier to pay someone to weld if for me.  And it was!

Here's how it looks in the barrel.

You'll notice the stainless bolts in place to hold the cooking grate.

Here's the cooking grate installed.

Here's what she looks like.

I'm definitely embracing the U in UDS.  There's a good chance I'll leave it just the way it is.  If I really like it, it's likely I'll build another one.

Inaugural smoke.  I figure you can't go wrong with a fattie.  My room mate is a vegetarian (sucks to be him) so I figured I throw a few potatoes on so he doesn't have to sit and smell my smoker all afternoon and not get anything off of it. (I'm such a nice guy

Thin blue smoke.  I'm still working on getting it dialed in, but so far I'm a happy camper.

I'm still working on an exhaust stack.  For some reason my lid didn't have any bungs in it, so for now I just drilled a few large holes, but I have a smoke stack idea (or two) that I'm gonna try once I find a way to cut a hole in the lid.


Fire Starter
Joined Mar 23, 2012
Great job.  At some point, I am gonna build A UDS.  They look like they're a lot of fun to cook on.  Thanks for sharing.


Smoke Blower
Joined Sep 11, 2010
Thanks.  I've been reading and pondering building one of these for close to 2 years now.  Finally all the pieces lined up and I was able to do it.  So far it's been fun.  If I could weld, and had more tools it would have been faster/easier.  Guess I have something to start saving my pennies for now :-)

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