• Some of the links on this forum allow SMF, at no cost to you, to earn a small commission when you click through and make a purchase. Let me know if you have any questions about this.

New uds goes through charcoal too fast

greg84

Newbie
16
1
Joined May 25, 2021
Hey there,

A few weeks ago I built my first smoker with the big poppa smokers kit. Since then I've used it twice to cook ribs and a few times with no meat just to get used to controlling it.

Last weekend I used it with no meat to test how long I could get it to go for using royal oak briquettes. After about 6 and a half hours the temp started to drop. Today I made ribs on it and this time I used royal oak lump. The basket was near full when I started and I was able to maintain 225 for about 4 hours. The last hour of the 5 hour cook it was down to just below 200. And when I was done I looked down in the bottom and saw that there was not much left burning.

Now from what I've read I should be able to maintain 225 for 15+ hours with this kit, so I'm wondering what I'm doing wrong? I realize there could be a lot of things affecting this, but I'm wondering what common mistakes cause this to happen? I should also mention I've added a pizza pan heat deflector and stainless steel bowl water pan.

Thanks
 

kruizer

Master of the Pit
2,506
1,063
Joined Sep 7, 2015
Lump tends to burn hotter and faster than the briquettes. Try a different brand of charcoal.
 

greg84

Newbie
16
1
Joined May 25, 2021
Lump tends to burn hotter and faster than the briquettes. Try a different brand of charcoal.
Yeah know about that, but I've read a lot online about people using lump in a uds and going for way longer than 4 hours. Not to mention I tried with briquettes last week and although it was longer, it was still only 6 1/2 hours. Not very long if you want to do a brisket. I could try kingsford bb, but for now I'm thinking that theres something more to it that that.

Thanks for your reply
 

Mike R.

Fire Starter
30
46
Joined May 24, 2021
I don't smoke with a Drum, but in my WSM 14 Royal Oak original or KBB with a fully loaded charcoal ring gets me around 6 hours using the minion method. Running with B&B Briquettes (or Weber Charcoal Briquettes, which have been discontinued in the US but are still offered in Canada, or Blue Hog Briquettes, which I also really like) I can basically double that time. I am a big believer that the quality of the charcoal has a major effect on how much time I will get out of my little smoker.
 

Mike R.

Fire Starter
30
46
Joined May 24, 2021
I've added a pizza pan heat deflector and stainless steel bowl water pan.

Thanks
Adding those two diffusers will also use a lot more charcoal because both those items are going to work to keep the temps controlled/down and more charcoal will be burned to get and keep it to your desired temps. Did you put water in the water pan? If you did that really leads to the use of a lot of charcoal to get and keep the temps up, but it also helps make it easier to manage the temps.
 

greg84

Newbie
16
1
Joined May 25, 2021
I don't smoke with a Drum, but in my WSM 14 Royal Oak original or KBB with a fully loaded charcoal ring gets me around 6 hours using the minion method. Running with B&B Briquettes (or Weber Charcoal Briquettes, which have been discontinued in the US but are still offered in Canada, or Blue Hog Briquettes, which I also really like) I can basically double that time. I am a big believer that the quality of the charcoal has a major effect on how much time I will get out of my little smoker.
Well that's good to know, but from what I've read other people are able to get that or more with kbb and royal oak. I'm really just thinking I've got some kind of problem with mine, probably a leak/leaks which are making it burn faster. What I dont understand about that though is that the temp holds at 225 until the charcoal is almost gone which should mean its burning at the right rate regardless of whether or not it's leaking, right? Anyway thanks for your reply
 

greg84

Newbie
16
1
Joined May 25, 2021
Adding those two diffusers will also use a lot more charcoal because both those items are going to work to keep the temps controlled/down and more charcoal will be burned to get and keep it to your desired temps. Did you put water in the water pan? If you did that really leads to the use of a lot of charcoal to get and keep the temps up, but it also helps make it easier to manage the temps.
Yeah I was thinking that. And yes I did have hot water in the pan. Maybe I'll try a test cook without the water pan and just the defuser next time just to see. Thanks
 

Hamdrew

Smoking Fanatic
508
679
Joined Jan 17, 2021
Make one of these and use the Minion Method. Better control of the temp and amount of charcoal.

View attachment 497588

I hope this helps,

John
How's something like this work compared to other minions? Particularly the "standard" of dumping lit coals in the center, but also using an inner coffee can, or going around the outside of the charcoal basket?

Thanks!
 

apn73

Fire Starter
34
19
Joined May 23, 2020
This all sounds weird, I've got a UDS that I made out of a 55 gallon drum, charcoal basket is a piece of expanded metal, 10"x60", rolled around charcoal grate for a 22" Weber kettle, nothing fancy. Four 3/4" holes drilled around the outer perimeter of the bottom that I control with 1" rare earth magnets, we're talking low budget. I can put a full bag of hardwood lump, usually either Royal Oak or Frontier, and I've smoked 9 lb Boston butts at 250-300 degrees for 17 hours, and I've got enough charcoal to go a full 24 hours or more. I'm not even using the full Minion method, I'm dumping half a chimney starter right on the top of the pile of charcoal down in the basket.

I've tried a water pan in mine and it took the heat rather than the meat, but I've never used up charcoal like that. I'm not sure, but I'm wondering if you've got air leaking from somewhere, or your basket is designed in such a way that the air racing through and burning the charcoal quickly. For a UDS, this doesn't make sense.
 

greg84

Newbie
16
1
Joined May 25, 2021
This all sounds weird, I've got a UDS that I made out of a 55 gallon drum, charcoal basket is a piece of expanded metal, 10"x60", rolled around charcoal grate for a 22" Weber kettle, nothing fancy. Four 3/4" holes drilled around the outer perimeter of the bottom that I control with 1" rare earth magnets, we're talking low budget. I can put a full bag of hardwood lump, usually either Royal Oak or Frontier, and I've smoked 9 lb Boston butts at 250-300 degrees for 17 hours, and I've got enough charcoal to go a full 24 hours or more. I'm not even using the full Minion method, I'm dumping half a chimney starter right on the top of the pile of charcoal down in the basket.

I've tried a water pan in mine and it took the heat rather than the meat, but I've never used up charcoal like that. I'm not sure, but I'm wondering if you've got air leaking from somewhere, or your basket is designed in such a way that the air racing through and burning the charcoal quickly. For a UDS, this doesn't make sense.
Ok well that sounds more like it. your basket is definitely much bigger than mine though. Mine wont even hold a 4 kg bag of charcoal. This is it here


The problem is that I've read on the drum smoker forum for big poppa smokers that people can get up to 12 to 15 hours off one of these as seen here


I'm thinking I should get some rtv gasket maker and go around all the places it could be leaking. And I know for sure that some smoke is coming out around the lid. I cant think of anything else it could be. Thanks for your help

Edit: I just thought on something. If it were leaking that badly, wouldn't that mean I wouldn't be able to extinguish the lit charcoal by closing the vents and exhaust? Because I am able to do that, although it does take quite a few hours to completely extinguish.
 
Last edited:

BandCollector

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
2,211
917
Joined Feb 4, 2009
Nice looking basket. Whats that in the center? It looks like something made of ceramic.
Those are clay roof tiles that I got from a member who lives in the south west where they are common on roofs.

John
 

BandCollector

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
2,211
917
Joined Feb 4, 2009
How's something like this work compared to other minions? Particularly the "standard" of dumping lit coals in the center, but also using an inner coffee can, or going around the outside of the charcoal basket?

Thanks!
The S curve in the center made from clay roof tiles creates a path for the burning charcoal to follow. Fill the basket, light one end, and the burning charcoal will follow the S channel around to the other side. Sort of like a fuse burning to get to the dynamite stick.
 

Hamdrew

Smoking Fanatic
508
679
Joined Jan 17, 2021
The S curve in the center made from clay roof tiles creates a path for the burning charcoal to follow. Fill the basket, light one end, and the burning charcoal will follow the S channel around to the other side. Sort of like a fuse burning to get to the dynamite stick.
oh i figured, i just meant to ask whether you've tried other "minions", and if how does that "S" compare to those other minion methods (like putting lit coals in the center, or snaking coals around the outside of the charcoal basket).

i like the flavor profile of fat dripping directly on the coals, but am curious.
 

apn73

Fire Starter
34
19
Joined May 23, 2020
Ok well that sounds more like it. your basket is definitely much bigger than mine though. Mine wont even hold a 4 kg bag of charcoal. This is it here


The problem is that I've read on the drum smoker forum for big poppa smokers that people can get up to 12 to 15 hours off one of these as seen here


I'm thinking I should get some rtv gasket maker and go around all the places it could be leaking. And I know for sure that some smoke is coming out around the lid. I cant think of anything else it could be. Thanks for your help

Edit: I just thought on something. If it were leaking that badly, wouldn't that mean I wouldn't be able to extinguish the lit charcoal by closing the vents and exhaust? Because I am able to do that, although it does take quite a few hours to completely extinguish.
That's weird part of, if it was leaking air, you'd have a hard time maintaining temperature and it would probably run hot. It doesn't sound like you have too much less charcoal than an 18" WSM, and those things will run at 250 for 12-15 hours if I'm not mistaken. Your basket appears to be of a conventional design, so I don't think that's your problem. What kind of charcoal are using? That will make difference. All I've ever used is hardwood lump, Royal Oak & Frontier mostly, but have run Cowboy was well, and have never had fuel problem. Are there any foils or ducts in the bottom that are changing (accelerating or funneling) the air flow? Have you talked with other users of your same smoker? Just some thoughts....
 

Latest posts

Hot Threads

Top Bottom
  AdBlock Detected

We noticed that you're using an ad-blocker, which could block some critical website features. For the best possible site experience please take a moment to disable your AdBlocker.