Grate height ?'s

Discussion in 'UDS Builds' started by bigterp, Apr 17, 2015.

  1. bigterp

    bigterp Newbie

    Getting my parts together for a fancy new UDS. Tired of the low capacity and babysitting my offset. I think I have everything figured out, but wondering about the cooking grate distance from the top of the drum. Seems that most guys do 6" or so. My concern with that is if I wanted to do a chicken standing up (like a drunken chicken) there wouldn't be enough head room. I don't want to mess with trying to get a dome lid. So I'm wondering if there is a specific reason most set there grate about 6" below the lid? 

    Pretty excited to build a UDS!!!!
  2. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

    I think 6" just seems to work for 90% of the items you would cook while still keeping it higher up in the smoker so it has a good separation from the coals. You could install one at 6" then another grate 6" below that. Then when you need more space you can use just the lower rack. I installed two racks and run a heat deflector on the lower when I am only using the upper rack (but I also have a domed lid so my upper is 2" down and the lower is 8" below that).

  3. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    I have my top rack 7 inches down and the second rack 6 inches below that. I quit doing beer can chicken when I learned to spatchcock my birds but when I do a turkey whole without spatchcocking I just use the lower grate. No deflector. Generally I have a drip pan in there to catch the drippings from most large items I smoke so that is a heat deflector of sorts. I have not really found the need for a deflector as it seems the heat is much more even than you would think just looking at how it works.
  4. I would look into adjustable shelving for more options. I have a flat lid with 2 racks one 4.5 from the top and one 6" below that but bought the shelving for adjustable levels. Just need to install it.

    And I got rid of my cheap offset and now have 2 UDSs. They are way easier. Good luck.
  5. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

    I think the bottom line is to go with whatever works for your needs. I have read dozens of threads on UDS builds and everyone does it a little different. At the end of the day as long as it smokes good food than nothing else matters [​IMG].
    elkhorn98 likes this.
  6. bruno994

    bruno994 Master of the Pit

    I put one grate level in the UDS's that I build at 8" from the lip.  Works just fine for turkeys and such.  Others have suggested the adjustable grates, great idea as well.
  7. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    I think it is a must to have another grate level in there for your drip pan. I like that stuff, what can I say?
  8. bigterp

    bigterp Newbie


    I like the idea of having a separate grate below the "main" grate. I think I'll just put nuts and bolts at 2 levels. One 6-7" below the top and another set further down. That way I can put my grate at either level as needed.

    I was forced to learn how to spatchcock chicken. Only way I can fit them on my offset. They turn out decent, but I think the uneven heating issues with an offset keep them from turning out great. Really looking forward to having a well functioning smoker!!
  9. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    A lot of times I put a pan of beans underneath a pork butt or ribs to catch some of that goodness too. I have the hinged grates that Weber makes that make it nice if you would like to add a chunk of wood or two sometime during the smoke. I think this is a good way to go too. They are a few extra bucks but worth every penny. 
  10. bonzbbq

    bonzbbq Smoke Blower

    Hey big, I started with the flat lid and put the grate at 6 or 7 inches below the top, when I located a webber lid I added another grate at the top, I also have an awesome reverse flow offset but honestly use the drum the majority of the time, love that thing, just too easy to use

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