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Maintaining Temperature

Jasoncmor

Newbie
6
1
Joined Apr 25, 2019
Hi all
I'm new here, and i'm looking for a bit of advice please.
I built a UDS a little while ago, i've only used it twice so far both with different results.
I have 3 x 22mm inlet ball valves, roughly 3/4", and 8 exhaust holes on the lid, at 28mm or 1" 1/8.

Now I don't use 2 out of the 3 ball valves, as they are not required, I only take the temp up to 110*C or 225*F for smoking, and I have to cover 5 out of the 8 exhaust holes, and the inlet valve is barely open.

Its a struggle but I can get upto temp, then I need to keep adjusting the inlet as the temperature will rise or fall and sometimes I will have to open up another exhaust so that I can raise the temperature, along with opening one of the other ball valves to let more air in, then close it off and cover an exhaust hole again once its at temp again.

Sometimes I can go half an hour or 45 mins with it maintaining 225F, then other times only 10 mins, so I need to keep adjusting it.

Is there any tricks to keeping the temperature stable?

Would it be a good idea to use 2 exhaust holes and open up the intake slightly and see if that helps?

Cheers in advanced.

Jason
 

Jonok

Smoking Fanatic
536
233
Joined Feb 4, 2019
Never cooked seriously on one, but have fabricated 3 or 4 for friends.
I would think your situation is crying out for a BBQ Guru-type setup so that you have active and positive control of your ventilation pro-actively. (There may be a BBD somewhere, and I am sure that there are much better informed people on this board than I) but it's hard to beat having the grill blow on its own coals to heat things up when it senses that it needs to.
 

daveomak

SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
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Joined Nov 12, 2010
Leave the exhaust open... with it closed, you are starving the fuel for air... Controlling the air inlet will control the temp... Except if your drum is not air tight... The slightest gap in the lid will screw up temp control...
You may have better luck with a 1/2" ball valve... It will control the temps easier... A 1/2" ball valve is ~1/2 the size of the 3/4"... You will probably have to run a 1/2" ball valve about 1/2 open...
 

fivetricks

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
1,396
642
Joined Jan 7, 2017
Seals, seal, seal. I fought with mine forever until I made triple sure it was sealed tight at every possible spot.

Like Dave said, even the most minor misalignment with the lid will cause major problems.
 

Jasoncmor

Newbie
6
1
Joined Apr 25, 2019
Thanks for your replies everyone.
The barrel was brand spanking new when I got it to make the smoker. The lid fits perfectly on the lip, but maybe it needs something to help it sit properly?
Is there a seal you can get to put around the top lid to ensure it is 100% air tight?

Cheers
 

fivetricks

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
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Joined Jan 7, 2017
Yup. Look up oven gasket. I actually use one of those rings that gets tightened around the lid with a bolt. Works wonderfully
 

hardcookin

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
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Joined Aug 13, 2015
Keep your lid close once you get your temp set. Adding oxygen screws everything up.
You will be smoking in a range not an exact temp. It should vary no more than 10-15 degrees.
Make sure your intakes have no air leaks.
After I took care of all my air leaks. Once I hit my desired temp, I could run with one 3/4" intake half open. It would usually run within 10 degrees...They are chicken cooking machine.
 

Jasoncmor

Newbie
6
1
Joined Apr 25, 2019
Cheers for your help guys, much appreciated.
Another quick question, I use the minion method when burning the coals, is there an amount of coals you are supposed to initially light? or just a full coal starters worth?

Cheers
 

fivetricks

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
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Joined Jan 7, 2017
Sorry I missed this post.

The answer to that depends on what I am cooking and what brand of charcoal I'm running with.

So IIf I want 225-250 and I'm using Royal Oak brand coals, I start maybe 5-6 coals in my chimney. If I'm using one of RO's "seconds" brands then it's more like 8 or 9.
 

SmokinLogs

Smoking Fanatic
864
335
Joined Dec 5, 2017
I don’t know if your still having any issues, but it never hurts to check your thermometer in a pot of boiling water every so often to make sure it is accurate, and then calibrate it if it’s able to be adjusted. I had a lot of headaches early on when I started smoking from using cheap, unreliable temp gauges.
 

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