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problem with my uds temp

Discussion in 'UDS Builds' started by ebeveridge, Jan 8, 2011.

  1. ebeveridge

    ebeveridge Newbie

    Ok so I got my drum done but wanted to do a test fire before I try to cook in it. Loaded it and lit the charcoal and 3 hours later the temp is only 150 deg. All the charcoal is burning. I have 2 ¾” air inlets made with black pipe nipples and 90 deg elbows 12” of pipe and ball valves on each. I was running with both valves open.  The charcoal basket is about 12” high and held 3” off the bottom of the drum. The lid is made from a piece of 22 gauge sheet metal with a 2” vent hole in the top.  I wanted to take picks but it’s now dark outside.  I am sure this post is not great but I am trying to type it while being Mr. mom today and the 10 month old wants to play with the computer.
  2. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    It sounds to like you need a chimmey. It's a thingy that you put in your charcol and then put in some newspaper in the bottom of it and light the paper and then it will give you a nice fire in no time. you will hava a ragging fire just that quick.
  3. ebeveridge

    ebeveridge Newbie

    thanks for the quick response i will pick one up ASAP and give it another try.
  4. el ropo

    el ropo Newbie

    I'm thinking your thermometer is way off.  No way a UDS can't get above 200* with a full basket of coals cooking.

    Also, you mention (2) 3/4" intakes, I have (4) 1" intakes on mine.  Seems like not enough oxy to get the fire going?
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2011
  5. rw willy

    rw willy Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    I have one 1" ball valve and one 1/2" that I leave open.  Plenty of air.  I run with the ball valve at 1/2 open.  How did you start your fire?  If you have more then 12 brcks burning you should be over 275 easy.  If things don't improve?  Add an exhaust chimney to your lid.  Maybe a 6" extension.  That will enhance your draw/draft.

    Good luck
  6. I'm having difficulty getting my temps up but it may be due to the outside temp and the wind but 200 degrees seems to be the peak, I have 3 1" holes that have the 3/4" pipes, two with nipples and one with a 90 and a ball valve. I use a weber lid since mine was a sealed top that I had to cut off. 

    Current outside temp is 50 degrees and breezy, conditions were similar in November which was the last time I fired it up. how should my settings be set?
  7. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    How are you guys starting your fires? If you don't start the fire properly you will struggle to get your  temps up. A lot of people us a charcoal chimney and that works great but I just use a charcoal iron to start mine. I remove my basket and clean out any ashes then fill it up with my lump and stick a charcoal  iron in it  until I am getting some flames going  then I put it back into my UDS and open all  four of my  3/4" intakes. Once  my temps start rising I will start closing  them one by one. If I am planning on smoking at 225 I will try and stabilize at around 200 degrees because I know when I open the lid  to put the meat on my fire is going to get oxygen and the temps will spike after that. Once my meat is on I normally have my ball valve around 1/3 of the way open and that will run at 225 degrees.

    But you will want to calibrate your thermometers to make sure they are accurate as your readings could be off. Also you will notice that  the center of the drum will read a bit hotter then the outside will at least until the fire distributes throughout your whole basket. I have two analog thermometers on the outside of my smoker and one only has  about a 2" stem and that  one reads about 20 degrees less then the other thermometer which is sitting right next to it that has a 6" stem on it. I always use my  digital thermometers to gauge my temps.
  8. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I run my UDS all winter long and outside  temps have never been a issue. I have used it from -20degrees all the way up to 100 degrees outside temp. The wind can make a difference but it usually makes my fire hotter as it  gives my  fire basket more oxygen.
  9. I use a Chimney and lump charcoal Cowboy brand because it is the only lump readily available, my thermometers are at the outside edge of the barrel sticking in no more than a 1.5" at most. right now since the sun seems to be on the barrel, I am at 225 now
  10. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Certain brands of lump or charcoal will burn hotter than others as well.

    Check this link out for tons of reviews on charcoal or lump. http://www.nakedwhiz.com/lump.htm
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2012
  11. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Do you have the exhaust fully open on your Weber lid?

    Are all of your  air intakes open and you still cant' get over 225?

    Is your charcoal basket lifted off the bottom of the barrel a bit so air can get under your basket and feed oxygen to the fire?

    Are you air intakes too high at the bottom of your barrel or are they almost to the bottom of the barrel?
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2012
  12. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    That's pretty much the same set up as  I have. Like you mentioned you need to make sure your thermometers  are  accurate. Having  a digital  thermometer or two can be you best friend in the world. Nothing more frustrating then not knowing what temps your cooker is running at.
  13. Here is my pork butt