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 Post subject: UDS Build
PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2008 6:37 am 
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Since there is a lot of interest in building drum smokers I'm starting this thread just for that purpose.
Questions, comments, pics, and info about building UDS's.

Please keep this thread on topic.

I believe this is going to be a large thread before it's over and if we keep it on topic it will be easier to look through and find info. :D 8)


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2008 4:16 pm 
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I'm glad to see that there is a lot of interest in building these drum smokers. They are easy and inexpensive to build and they produce some great Q!

Since this is a new thread dedicated to the barrel cooker, I'll tell ya again what I did on the first UDS I build.

I started out with new, unlined, open headed steel barrel. I used a knock out punch to cut two 1" intake holes and 2 1" exhaust holes. Used steel pipe nipples and electrical conduit nuts to secure the intakes and exhaust. Drilled 4 holes about 6" down from the top of the barrel and used 2" stainless steel nuts, bolts and washers to support the Weber cooking grate.

For the fire grate, I took 4 4" stainless lag bolts, nuts and washers and bolted them, as legs, to a Weber charcoal grate. ALthough, I have built a charcoal basket now, at first I was just using the coal ring from my WSM.

About the only things that I've seen from various discussions about these builds is that you should allow enough room above your food grate for the height of what you want to cook and to try to keep the fire around 24" under the meat. Other than that anything goes.

Unfortunately I'm in Bogota and don't have many pics of the UDS on my laptop... I did upload the few I had to share with ya...

ImageImageImageImage


After those pics and a few test burns on the first build, the second, I changed just a few things... I did not add the upright pipe for the intake as I could not get it to draw correct as the pipe was probably too long. I also added two additional exhausts to the lid...

If anybody is interested, I will try to get some more pics when I get home...

So how are the rest of ya planning on building yours???

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2008 7:31 pm 
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Probably similar to yours. I need to clear out some space in the garage before I can start work, though.

I was planning on 4 1" intakes and a couple of 1.5" exhausts. Do your 2 intakes give you enough air flow for hotter temps. I'm thinking I may want to do chicken or other poultry in it, so I want to be sure I can reach high enough temps if needed.

Coal basket, I have some ideas, but I like your idea of legs on a coal grate. How'd you build your basket?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2008 11:48 pm 
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So far, I have not tried for higher temps than say 275. You might very well need more intake than I've got if you want to go higher... One thing that I've found with these barrels is that the more intake, the more outgo you need as well... In the first barrel (in the pics), I only had two 1" exhausts. Never really could get the temp up to where I wanted it. After adding two more exhausts I am able to maintain ~250 all day long (and well into the night)

Originally, I had planned on the two 1" intakes and one with a ball valve. I was thinking how little open vent I used on my WSM to maintain temp, so just guessed that 1" should be enough for normal cooking temps. If I wanted higher temps, I would uncap the second intake and then the ball valve would act as further control...

In my second barrel, I went with the two intakes and two ball valves ($9.95ea at Harbor Freight). Just 'cause I had 'em on hand.

I had a friend of a friend weld me up two coal baskets. I again used the charcoal grates and had him roll and tack expanded metal around the edge of the grate and welded on 4" lenghts of rebar for legs. I guess I should have given him a better detailed plan. The expanded ended up being about 16" inches tall, which is way over kill.

I have not had a chance to test them, but I'm thinking that these baskets might actually be too big to keep a steady burn. The WSM coal coal ring is a few inches smaller than the coal grate itself.

There has been discussion of different sized basked for different length burns so that is something to think about.

Another way I've seen and thought about contructing the basket is all out of expanded and bolts. Use expanded for the base, bolts for the legs and wire tie or tack expanded on for the sides. I will get pics of these mongo baskets of mine when I get home.

James.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2008 8:59 am 
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Chuck Wagon
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Here's a couple pictures of my UDS. I burned it out since the pics. I have one grate in it right now, but I plan to put in a second. My grate is 22" above my firebox. I need t find the pictures of my firebox. Since these pictures, I have removed the upright pipes (intakes) and just use the pipe nipples with ball valves. I plan on modiying it a little. I got some 3/4" nipples to replace the 1/2" intakes in there now. The lid has 5 - 3/4" holes for exhaust. It has been working great, but I can't get the temps past 260. Hopefully the 3/4" intakes will change that.
I'll have more pics later as I locate them.

Image
Image
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Jr. C's BBQ
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nice gas grill
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2008 9:57 am 
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Chuck Wagon
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Found the pictures of my firebox. It's 15 3/4" X 15 3/4". If I was to do it again (and I will) it'll be 15x15, so that it will fit better. It's a really tight squeeze now. The sides are 6" high. The bottom is welded on so the ashes stay on the plate, and can be lifted out when I remove the firebox.
I've finished painting the drum, added a thermometer and will soon have the intakes exchanged. I'll take more pics later.
I'm not a handyman, so I'm really proud of my smoker. Besides, it's a great smoker. My longest cook has been 17 hours on one load of fuel.


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Jack
Jr. C's BBQ
http://www.jrcsbbqandseasonings.com" target="_blank


Homemade upright drum smoker
Backwoods Party
GSW upright (now deceased)
nice gas grill
Weber 27" grill
Weber rotisserie


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2008 1:02 pm 
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I like the idea of using the eyebolts for grate suppors! Also really like the coal basket with the attached ash pan! Great idea! Might have to steel that one...

Why did you remove the pipes? I've heard of many folks having success witn the raised intake. I just never could get mine to draft right with it on...

James.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2008 4:33 pm 
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JamesB wrote:
I like the idea of using the eyebolts for grate suppors! Also really like the coal basket with the attached ash pan! Great idea! Might have to steel that one...

Why did you remove the pipes? I've heard of many folks having success witn the raised intake. I just never could get mine to draft right with it on...

James.



What is the advantage of the raised intake pipes? I assumed it was for better accesability to the ball valve, but maybe I am wrong.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2008 5:47 pm 
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nascarchuck wrote:
What is the advantage of the raised intake pipes? I assumed it was for better accesability to the ball valve, but maybe I am wrong.


Old fat guys don't like to bend over... :roll:

Good thing I can adjust the valves on my UDSs with my foot!

James.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2008 7:46 pm 
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JamesB wrote:
nascarchuck wrote:
What is the advantage of the raised intake pipes? I assumed it was for better accesability to the ball valve, but maybe I am wrong.


Old fat guys don't like to bend over... :roll:

Good thing I can adjust the valves on my UDSs with my foot!

James.



OK... So it is more convenience than anything then... Im gettin old and am already fat so maybe thats the route for me! :lol:

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2008 8:32 pm 
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Chuck Wagon
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Mine wasn't drawing right. Once I took off the raised pipes, my temps went up and it seemed to draw better. I'm going to 3/4" intakes. I think the more air the better, because you can close the intakes to reduce the air, but you can't increase the air if the intakes are to small. I'm always tweaking mine. Gonna do another soon, with the improvements and see how that goes.

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Jack
Jr. C's BBQ
http://www.jrcsbbqandseasonings.com" target="_blank


Homemade upright drum smoker
Backwoods Party
GSW upright (now deceased)
nice gas grill
Weber 27" grill
Weber rotisserie


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2008 11:07 am 
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Just an observation. These UDS seem to be a hybred between a WSM and a ceramic in that the UDS draft control is akin to a ceramic and is much better that a WSM, but the capacity is much better than an egg. Wonder what would happen if you went with only one intake and one exhauste?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2008 12:19 pm 
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DATsBBQ wrote:
Just an observation. These UDS seem to be a hybred between a WSM and a ceramic in that the UDS draft control is akin to a ceramic and is much better that a WSM, but the capacity is much better than an egg. Wonder what would happen if you went with only one intake and one exhauste?


Hey DAT's, I know that some folks have done just that, 1 intake/1 exhaust and were pleased with the results. Of course you have to go to larger ports for that... I originally went with 2 intakes on mine because I thought that it might make for a cleaner burning fire if it got the air from more than one side. Nothing scientific about it, just guessing as I went.

James.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2008 12:25 pm 
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I would think that one 2" air intake and one 3" exhaust would work good on one of these. I think I saw a pic of one done with one intake and one exhaust, but I don't know what size the pipes were. The size I stated has been used on Stumps and on a couple Spicewine cabinet smokers, that's why I thought they would work. :dont:
I wonder how a Guru would work on an UDS?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2008 1:05 pm 
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I think multiple intakes started because the original drums just had holes drilled in. Plugs blocked the holes, so airflow was controlled by adding or removing plugs.

Jim's right that 1 intake would work, but a 2" hole is harder to drill than 4 1" holes. Me, I'm planning on 4 intakes to help keep air intake as close to the bottom as I can.

BTW, Jim, I've seen pics of a Guru-contolled drum. Interesting little cooker there.

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"...grilling is fun and tasty, but it isn't brain surgery and the patient won't die if you mess up."
Steven Raichlen


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