My First UDS Build! (with Photos)

Discussion in 'UDS Builds' started by blakepizzey, Feb 18, 2015.

  1. For about the last year I have become interested in BBQing and decided it was time to try smoking. For the past month or so I have been scanning these forums to get ideas for my build. Finally I gathered my thoughts, made a plan and went to town. Tonight I finished my little project and can't wait to get smokin! Currently my little bad boy is getting seasoned while I play with the temperatures. Since photos of builds is what seemed to help me the most I thought it was only fair to post my own.

    Many thanks all those who have posted photos of their builds and I hope that these photos may help others.

    gary s likes this.
  2. gunkle

    gunkle Meat Mopper

    Nice job. Looks great.
  3. elginplowboy

    elginplowboy Meat Mopper

    Congrats and great quality work on your build. I see a lot of happy smokes in your future.
  4. It looks good. I have never seen one exactly like it. With 3 elevated Ball Valves, you must not like bending over at all.

    Looked like 5 Grill height locations.  The 90's on the Exhaust Stacks look good.

  5. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    Very nice. You know that is supposed to be UGLY! Not pretty. You got yourself a PDS there! I have one question for you, what fittings did you use for the bottom vents to attatch to the drum? I really like those that you have there. I have always had trouble with the electrical conduit nuts I use on my nipples working loose. I am fixing to build a new one or 2 this spring and that looks like the ticket.
  6. bonzbbq

    bonzbbq Smoke Blower

    Nice job blake, I'm with timber, that is definitely a pds, you will love that smoker, I have several smokers but my uds is my go to for smaller cooks, easy peasy, can't beat em, Bonz
  7. inkjunkie

    inkjunkie Master of the Pit

    Outstanding. Tossing around building a UDS real soon. Would you mind putting up a parts list? Nearest HD/Lowes is right at an hour away, hate making trips to pick up 1 item I did not realize I needed.
  8. Thanks everyone! I am trying out my first brisket right now, hope it goes OK. I will try to put together a parts list here and you will have to forgive me if I miss anything. A few of the elbows and larger black pipe I could not find at home depot, lowes or rona so I had to hunt down some industrial pipe fitting stores. As for the connection of the 3/4" black pipe to the drum I ended up making a last minute switch before paint because I wasn't happy with the electrical conduit locknuts as well. I switched out the tradition elbow for a elbow that transitions from a female to male end, or an internal to external thread. I then attached a 3/4" flange on the end of the transitioned elbow. I can take close up pictures later today if it helps.

    As for the parts list, let me do them in sections:


    2 - 3/4" black pipe nipples approx 4" long

    2 - 3/4" black pipe flanges

    2 - 3/4" black pipe elbows (for rain/snow cover)

    8 - SS 1/4" bolts (3/4" long)

    8 - SS 1/4" bolts

    8 - SS 1/4" washers


    2 - 3/4" black pipe 18" long

    1 - 3/4" black pipe 24" long

    3 - 3/4" brass ball values

    3 - 3/4" black pipe nipples (approx 1-1/2" long)

    3 - 3/4" black pipe elbows (for rain/snow cover)

    3 - 3/4" black pipe external to internal threaded elbows

    3 - 3/4" black pipe flanges

    8 - SS 1/4" bolts (3/4" long)

    8 - SS 1/4" bolts

    8 - SS 1/4" washers

    3 - SS 1/4" U-bolts, with appropriate SS nuts and washers


    2 - 1/2" black pipe flanges

    2 - 1/2" black pipe nipple 2" long

    2 - 1/2" to 1/4" reduced black pipe elbows

    1 - 1/4" black pipe nipple 6" long

    1 - 5" spring BBQ handle (from amazon)

    12 - SS 1/4" bolts (3/4" long)

    12 - SS 1/4" bolts

    12 - SS 1/4" washers


    2 - weber 21-1/2" cooking grate

    15 - SS 1/4" bolts (1-1/2" long)

    15 - SS 1/4" bolts

    15 - SS 1/4" washers


    1 - 24"x24" sheet of expanded metal

    1 - weber 13-1/2" charcoal grate

    6 - SS 3/8" bolts (1" long)

    12 - SS 3/8" nuts

    18 - SS 3/8" wide washers

    3 - 3/8" bolts (2-3/4" long I think)

    1 - some black metal wire for fixing basket to the grate and making a handle


    1 - SS hook from home depot for the lid, with appropriate SS nuts, bolts and washers

    1 - barbecue thermometer

    3 - locking casters, with appropriate SS nuts, bolts and washers

    2 - right angle brackets from home depot, with appropriate SS nuts, bolts and washers

    1 - 6" SS handle, with appropriate SS nuts, bolts and washers

    1 - bale hook (from princess auto, great for grabbing the fire basket)

    1 - slab of wood (my side table has a radius of 11" with it's centre located 2" inside the diameter of the drum) 

    1 - 55 gallon drum..... 

    Yikes..... I think that is it. I should never show my wife this list or she would kill me. Did not turn out to be the $100 project as promised to her. She loves it though and hopefully tonight I can please some friends and family with some good tasting brisket! Quite nervous lol, I told them I hold the right to pick up McDonalds burgers if anything goes wrong. 
  9. Now that's a nice build   Great job    [​IMG]

  10. inkjunkie

    inkjunkie Master of the Pit

    Thanks for the parts list, much appreciate the time it took....
  11. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    That's one pretty looking ugly! Nice build!
  12. Hopefully you didn't eat McDonalds! Nice build.
  13. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    Hopefully you will share your brisket smoke with us so we can help you along to a great first Brisket.
  14. So my first brisket... wasn't bad. It was edible and we didn't need a quick McDonalds run but it wasn't as I was hoping. Everyone said it was great but I know there was much room for improvement. Had some troubles with my temperature control of course.

    So it was a small 6 lb packers cut with a thin flat and not much fat. The end result had a great bark and smoke ring but to dry and tough for my likings. I'll share the details of the cook below:

    - Mustard and simple salt/pepper/paprika rub

    - allowed to sit at room temperature for an hour

    - lumped charcoal and handful of mesquite wood chunks

    - put it on the UDS (T=260* F)

    - 1.5 hours in, took a peak and sprayed it down with some apple juice (T=250* F)

    - 3 hours in, sprayed it down and opened values to increase temp (T=220* F)

    - 4 hours in, I panicked and added hot chimney of charcoal (T=190* F)

    - 5.5 hours in, wrapped in foil (T=240* F)

    - 7.5 hours in, removed from UDS to let sit in foil (T=250* F)

    - after one hour of sitting wrapped I sliced it up

    I know your thinking that this sounds like one mess, well it was. I thought all was well until 4 hours in. So I would love to hear your thoughts and tips please. I will share with you mine.

    First the plan was to keep it between 225-250* F and after some more reading I think I should have gone for 250-275* F (closer to 275* F). I think the problem of the UDS loosing temp, despite all values being open, was because the chimney I added at the beginning wasn't hot enough? Once I added a second chimney, this time red hot, I had a much easier time controlling my temps, kept it right around 240-250* F. Keep in mind I'm in Canada and cooking at -4* F. I read some where that if its dry and tough you most likely under cooked it and if  its dry and falling apart you most likely over cooked it. If thats true I think I under cooked it... Any advice? 

    Also for the first brisket I didn't want to risk an expensive big boy so I cheaped out with a small little guy. I'm sure having a larger one with more fat would have helped but I don't think that is the root of the problem here.
  15. inkjunkie

    inkjunkie Master of the Pit

    As my wife keeps telling me........don't be to critical of yourself when using new equipment and cooking something for the first time.
  16. chiefusn

    chiefusn Smoke Blower

    Nice looking build. One thing I've learned is that your smoker is just that, your smoker. You'll get a bunch of great ideas and tips to cook stuff on YOUR smoker, but most of the time, you'll need to make adjustments to suit your tastes and your smoker. Keep a log as you cook stuff then that way, you can make notes of what you did wrong so you don't repeat them and what you did right so you can. Again, great looking drum and happy smoking.

  17. nklcolt1911

    nklcolt1911 Fire Starter

    how accurate is the therm on the front? do you still drop a probe near the meat?
  18. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    Key information I would want to know to help you is what the internal temperature of the meat was when you removed it. I don't see anything about that key factor. The two most important factors to getting large muscle meat done right is chamber temperature and internal temperature. The latter is exceptionally important in determining when to start probe testing your brisket for tenderness. I am willing to bet it was undercooked in the time frame you gave us. You should really get yourself a Maverick or similar digital probe setup if you don't already have one. Gary S is the man when it comes to brisket and he can help you more than I but this is what I know. I hope it helps. timber
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2015
  19. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    Another thing I would caution against is using lump charcoal. Kingsford Blue Bag or KBB is the king of UDS cooking bar none. It is more efficient, burns longer and with a more even heat. Also I would suggest you learn about the minion method of loading your charcoal basket. You should not have to reload your basket with hot coals for at least 10 or more hours. I can get 18 hours out of mine without a reload. Most importantly is to get a good meat thermometer and make sure your chamber one is not lying to you.
  20. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    I can't see it for sure because of the photo angle but you need a bout 3 inches of clearance from the bottom of the fire basket to the ash pan for good airflow or otherwise the ash will cut off your draft. This could be an issue with lump charcoal as it creates a heck of a lot of ash. Edit, the last lump I used created a lot of ash and a lot of little tiny pieces of unburnt charcoal fell through the grate and clogged things up. I actually had to take the whole shebang out mid cook and dump the ash.
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2015

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