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UDS tips and unique ideas

2
2
Joined Jun 12, 2017
Hello everyone,
I've been reading these forums and contemplating a UDS build of my own for a few years now. I have finally decided to go ahead with it and acquired a drum. I have a couple buddies that have done UDS builds already and like I said I have been reading these forums for a long time, so i am pretty comfortable with the basics of the build (and know where to go when i run into an issue.)

The reason for this post was to pick your brains and and see if there were some unique or interesting things any of you had done with a UDS that you would recommend. I am especially interested to hear what those of you who have built more than one UDS have changed from first to second builds.

I've seen all sorts of amazing creations on here and other parts of the internet, so i am confident that there will be some interesting suggestions. I don't have anything specific in mind but I am interested in any thing from the funny and mostly aesthetic things, to little things you have done for ease of use, or enhanced performance.

Thanks for your help!
 

SonnyE

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
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Joined Dec 13, 2017
I made a UDS once.
It didn't work for me though....

Guess I should not have used a plastic drum.... :emoji_rolling_eyes:

:emoji_laughing::emoji_wink:

(They worked good for my dust collection system's though... ):emoji_ok_hand:
 

gmc2003

Legendary Pitmaster
OTBS Member
9,010
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Joined Sep 15, 2012
I've never built a UDS, but good luck. I'll bump this thread in case someone who has built one missed it. I'm pretty SmokinLogs SmokinLogs just finished one, and is happy with the results.

Chris
 

SmokinLogs

Smoking Fanatic
864
335
Joined Dec 5, 2017
Thanks for the mention gmc2003 gmc2003 . I’ve only built one, but I have redone a lot on it modifying it to my liking from trial and error.

It’s important to have good airflow around your charcoal basket, and have it elevated so ash will drop and help keep airflow to the coals. Most people use expanded metal and that’s probably your smartest move. I tend to make things more difficult for myself. I didn’t spend much money on mine. I had some perforated stainless steel I found a way to use with some other scrap metal from work. A catch pan under the basket makes cleanup a lot easier.

I prefer having eight 3/4 inch holes spaced around the lid for the exhaust. It’s helps the heat and smoke to draft all around the smoker instead of just one opening.

And one small mistake I made was mounting the thermometer with the probe right over the grating. My thoughts were that’s the most accurate spot because that’s where the food will be. Don’t do that lol it just gets in the way. It makes it hard to take the grating in and out and you have to watch where you set the food. Mount it a little under the grating. I use the hole from my original mounting point for running my digital probe wires so it worked out.

I recommend everyone to build one. You can build it however you like it and they don’t have to be expensive. They are super reliable and not difficult to operate. Good luck.
 
2
2
Joined Jun 12, 2017
thanks for all the responses so far. We are planning to do the burn out this weekend so that the building can begin when the weather warms up a bit. The best news for me so far from this thread is that there is heat resistant orange paint on the market (i'm a Bengals fan, so there is a good chance mine ends up with a few coat of orange paint as well.)
 

fivetricks

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Me? Yeah, I've got a couple dozen cooks on it. Love the results, don't love the babysitting I've had to do. Read all about how folks drums just settle in at a certain temp. Havnt found that with mine yet.

I'll get it though. Just takes more tweaking I suppose
 

hardcookin

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Joined Aug 13, 2015
Me? Yeah, I've got a couple dozen cooks on it. Love the results, don't love the babysitting I've had to do. Read all about how folks drums just settle in at a certain temp. Havnt found that with mine yet.

I'll get it though. Just takes more tweaking I suppose
I would be checking for air leaks if it won't settle in. The other thing is open the lid as little as possible.
 

fivetricks

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Yeah, I'm aware of all that. I've red rtv'd the pipes and today I'm drilling through the lid for temp probes. I'll use the ring once that's done and retest my temp stability :-)
 

Ricardo Galindo

Fire Starter
35
9
Joined Jan 30, 2019
Curious about your temp problem. I have a few questions if I may ask?
What size are your ball valves?
Where is the third valve? Can’t tell in you pic but I’m assuming is down low in front.
Where are the vents in relation to the firebox?
 

fivetricks

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All ball valves are 3/4.

The third valve is exactly like the first two.

The firebox has legs that stand off (guessing here) 3 inches off the floor of the barrel so air can flow underneath of fire as well. The "vent" would just be the inlet pipes in whatever position I have the ball valves adjusted to.

I usually start 5 RO briquettes (9 if using embers, etc) and 3 open valves. When I get to within 100 degrees of temp I close one valve, when I get to within 50 degrees I shut 2nd valve, then step down my third valve from there.

Keeping in mind I have an exhaust system in my garage that may be causing my issues. Have to do more testing to be sure.
 

Ricardo Galindo

Fire Starter
35
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Joined Jan 30, 2019
During my research I found that at least one BV works better down low without the pipe extension, for quicker stronger intake. This valve should always remain open with the adjustments on the two uprights. It also helps if it’s as close to the height of the coals in your basket, not underneath.
That’s how I did mine and haven’t had any issues.
Don’t know if it’s right or wrong, but it seems to be working.
Good Luck Sir.
 

SmokinLogs

Smoking Fanatic
864
335
Joined Dec 5, 2017
What type of baby sitting are you having to do? Do your temps jump, or do they fall if you don’t crack the lid to give it some extra air? Let us know the actual issue.

Ive got mine dialed in pretty good with briquettes, but recently I bought some lump to see how it does and if I don’t open the lid every so often and give it some air or leave the lid partially open it will put itself out. Ive noticed with lump too if you leave the lid off too long the fire will get out of control. I may have to try what Ricardo Galindo Ricardo Galindo said and leave one ball valve down low with no extension/riser.
 

fivetricks

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Joined Jan 7, 2017
I have a problem of it not picking a temp and coasting. It's funny though, if I start it in the garage with my exhaust hooked up, it wants to run away.

Once it gets 40 or so over temp, I push the damn thing outside into the cold and the temps become much more manageable. The plunge with the cold weather but they will straighten out eventually.

That's why I'm thinking my exhaust is pulling a draft. I've drilled holes for thermos in the last couple of days, so now I can use the ring for the lid, ensuring a tight lid and therefore no extra air. This will give me a better idea of what part my exhaust is playing.
 

SmokinLogs

Smoking Fanatic
864
335
Joined Dec 5, 2017
I have a problem of it not picking a temp and coasting. It's funny though, if I start it in the garage with my exhaust hooked up, it wants to run away.

Once it gets 40 or so over temp, I push the damn thing outside into the cold and the temps become much more manageable. The plunge with the cold weather but they will straighten out eventually.

That's why I'm thinking my exhaust is pulling a draft. I've drilled holes for thermos in the last couple of days, so now I can use the ring for the lid, ensuring a tight lid and therefore no extra air. This will give me a better idea of what part my exhaust is playing.
That makes a lot of sense. Ive noticed these ugly drums seem to rely on minimal airflow because they are so air right. That’s how they maintain temps so great. I could definitely see how an exhaust fan in you garage could create more draft through the smoker, especially if they are close together or even your smoker exhaust being right under the ventilation suction.
 

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