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How many grates

Jokerswild!

Newbie
12
6
Joined Dec 4, 2020
So picked up some barrels today. Never used. CLEAN. two threaded holes in the lid. The kettle grill lid I wanted to use is too small. How many grates can a guy put in a" original lid" UDS? I mean- with enough room for pork butts....and cook evenly. Im looking to replace my 4 rack propane cabinet smoker. Id like to be to able to do at least 8 butts though! without the kettle lid Im wondering about how low that bottom grate can go,,,A diffuser seems like a MUST right? My lid isnt a weber so I may need to scrounge one of those up. Id like to build a pile of these things though...and with a source of clean barrels....sky's the limit!
 

kruizer

Master of the Pit
2,252
892
Joined Sep 7, 2015
Usually you have two grates in a UDS. A diffuser is not generally used but I am sure you could use one.
 

thirdeye

Master of the Pit
SMF Premier Member
1,598
1,665
Joined Dec 1, 2019
So picked up some barrels today. Never used. CLEAN. two threaded holes in the lid. The kettle grill lid I wanted to use is too small. How many grates can a guy put in a" original lid" UDS? I mean- with enough room for pork butts....and cook evenly. Im looking to replace my 4 rack propane cabinet smoker. Id like to be to able to do at least 8 butts though! without the kettle lid Im wondering about how low that bottom grate can go,,,A diffuser seems like a MUST right? My lid isnt a weber so I may need to scrounge one of those up. Id like to build a pile of these things though...and with a source of clean barrels....sky's the limit!
You will love drum cooking. Since you have access to several drums, bear with me a minute, and I'll try to convince you that the 'sky truly is the limit' .
One of the real ambassadors to Barbecue, Danny Gaulden wrote a review in December of 2005 about a BDS (Big Drum Smoker) which were being fabricated in North Carolina by Rocky Richmond. In that review Danny said: Within 15 minutes of the first cook, I knew this pit was a winner. The smell was absolutely what I look for in a first class cooker and NEVER have I achived this quality for the price and cooking capacity. I call it that ol' time "Grandpaw smell"... when many years ago men cooked meat over hardwood coals and the smoke from the wood and the drippings from the meat fell down into the fire, creating an aroma that was unforgetable. It was a lot of work. Not saying that some folks don't do this today, but they are a dying breed. This pit accomplishes this ol' time flavor with little effort due to the fact that the cooking grate is located about 24 inches from the bottom of the charcoal ring which allows direct cooking over the coals...

I was hooked when he said Grandpaw smell because my Grandfather taught me how to cook barbecue in the 70's and back in the 40's and 50's he was an open pit man and general backyard Barbecuist. Anyways, a couple of months later I called Rocky and pulled the trigger X2.
hzeptd1.jpg
Drums are hands down, my favorite cookers of all time. The flavor of the food is amazing. In fact, because they are so versatile.... I'm cold smoking in one as I type this. Before answering your questions, my drums are about 5" taller than a standard 55 gallon open-top drum like you probably have. Mine came with two racks, the upper about 6" down from the lid, and the lower about 12" from the lid. You can easily cook 6 butts with two racks. But, the meat needs to be rotated. It's workable but I stopped using the lower rack and found it was easier cooking on the high rack on two drums. These are 10# or 11# butts.
eXsOs2T.jpg
My drums do not have a diffuser. And a lot of UDSs don't either. There is some natural convection action within a drum, and I want the little flavor bombs of fat dripping directly into the coals. But....some of the newer designs of drums have diffusers and are VERY popular for backyard and competition cooks. I've never cooked side-by-side to compare.
 
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