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UDS / Homemade Barrel Cookers

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Post Sun Mar 09, 2008 11:07 pm
Kenny 13 well done
well done

Posts: 4051
Location: Belle Chasse, LA
OK, here are the pics:

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Here's the drum - I cleaned all the paint off with a wire wheel on an angle grinder after doing one burn in the drum.

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Here she is with the inlet holes drilled and painted with the first coat of high-temp stove and grill paint. I barely managed to get 2 good coats of the paint on it yesterday before the outside temperature dropped below 50*.

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Here's the charcoal basket sitting on top of the ash pan. I used a 16" terra cotta saucer for the ash pan and a 16" grate with an expanded metal ring for the basket. Doesn't look pretty, but it should work just fine.

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Inlets installed. I used 4 inlets, 1/2" pipe - 2 with caps, the other 2 with ball valves. I think the 1/2" inlets will be big enough to get up to temperature, while still making it easy to keep them in the 210* - 230* range.

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Ash pan and charcoal basket inside the drum.

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Here it is with one of the cooking grates in place. It's set up for use with 2 cooking grates spaced 7" apart, with the lower of the 2 set 25" above the charcoal grate. You can't really see it in the picture, but I ground a small notch in the rim of the drum to put the wires for my ET-73 inside the drum without getting pinched.

Well, that's it for now. I thought I took a picture of the outside with the 22.5" kettle lid on it. The lid fit the drum like it was made for it. Can't wait to try it out, but it looks like that's not gonna happen for about 2 weeks as next weekend is booked solid.
Large Big Green Egg

What's On The Grill?

Post Mon Mar 10, 2008 10:49 am
Wolfpackbbq well done
well done

Posts: 2617
Location: Valley Springs, CA
Looking good Kenny. Beautiful craftsmanship

Post Mon Mar 10, 2008 11:16 am
Kenny 13 well done
well done

Posts: 4051
Location: Belle Chasse, LA
wlfpkrcn wrote:
Looking good Kenny. Beautiful craftsmanship


Thanks, I tried :lol: It's been a long time since I've done any metalwork.

This weekend I have full days away from home both Saturday & Sunday, but I'm thinking about loading it up with 10 pounds of charcoal Friday evening and just letting it go on a trial run to get a feel for it before I actually try any food in it. This way, I'll get one more burn and also I'll get to see how it works out with the 1/2" inlets.
Large Big Green Egg

What's On The Grill?

Post Mon Mar 10, 2008 11:23 am
Wolfpackbbq well done
well done

Posts: 2617
Location: Valley Springs, CA
I did my burn in. I'm going for it this weekend for the birthday party. I hope it works out :shock:

Post Mon Mar 10, 2008 11:26 am
Kenny 13 well done
well done

Posts: 4051
Location: Belle Chasse, LA
Good luck with that. Keep us posted.
Large Big Green Egg

What's On The Grill?

Post Mon Mar 10, 2008 11:39 am
Wolfpackbbq well done
well done

Posts: 2617
Location: Valley Springs, CA
I'll have lots of pics..

Post Wed Mar 12, 2008 10:26 pm
Bswilly65 rare
rare

Posts: 31
Location: Indianapolis,Indiana

Just got mine done! Works great too. Fire box is on the bottom.smoke and heat travel through the tubes and out the chimmney.
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two 55 gallon drums=20.00
square steel tubing 40ft=free
cooking grates=32.00
grill paint=20.00
chimmney=15.00
87.00 total

Post Thu Mar 13, 2008 4:37 pm
Kenny 13 well done
well done

Posts: 4051
Location: Belle Chasse, LA
Looks great. Keep us posted on how it's working for you.
Large Big Green Egg

What's On The Grill?

Post Mon Mar 17, 2008 2:36 pm
Wolfpackbbq well done
well done

Posts: 2617
Location: Valley Springs, CA
UDS Review

Saturday went well with the UDS. Actually all 3 smokers were flawless. The UDS Help steady at 250* For 11 hours on One load of coal and 4 wood chunks. The butts came out awesome. I am not used to flipping the meat during a cook. So the bottom was a little extra crispy. I should have flipped at the 4 hour mark and would have had a better bark all around. By the time the fatties went on the coals were dying. I ended up throwing them on the grill to get the color. For the minimal amount of time and money I put into it. The UDS is the most consistent smoker I have that will be with me until it burns out. Someday I may try a WSM, but I can't believe it will do what the drum does

Post Wed Mar 19, 2008 8:21 am

Posts: 32
Location: Ms.
Hey Bswilly, I don't see any doors on your drums. Are they on the oppposite side or are you working from the end of the drum.I think I am gonna have to build me one of them.I have been wanting to build a grill but didn't want to sink a lott of $ in it.This looks real interesting.How long of a burn burn can you get off a load of charcoal?

Post Sat Mar 22, 2008 1:33 am
Kenny 13 well done
well done

Posts: 4051
Location: Belle Chasse, LA
wlfpkrcn wrote:
UDS Review

Saturday went well with the UDS. Actually all 3 smokers were flawless. The UDS Help steady at 250* For 11 hours on One load of coal and 4 wood chunks. The butts came out awesome. I am not used to flipping the meat during a cook. So the bottom was a little extra crispy. I should have flipped at the 4 hour mark and would have had a better bark all around. By the time the fatties went on the coals were dying. I ended up throwing them on the grill to get the color. For the minimal amount of time and money I put into it. The UDS is the most consistent smoker I have that will be with me until it burns out. Someday I may try a WSM, but I can't believe it will do what the drum does


Looks like I have a few bugs to work out with my UDS. I did a trial run last night with no meat - just wanted to get a feel for it. Loaded up a 9# bag of Sam's Choice briquettes in the charcoal basket, leaving a cavity in the center which I filled with a dozen lit coals. With 2 of my 1/2" vents wide open, it took 4 minutes for the temperature at the bottom cooking grate to reach 205*, so I started choking 1 vent a little to keep the temps from climbing too high. With 2 vents wide open and 1 valve open about half way, I managed to keep the temps ranging from 215* - 234* for a little over 4 hours before they started to drop. Nearing the 5 hour mark, the temps had dropped to 203* and would not climb - even with all 4 vents wide open. I had intended to let it run all night with the low temp alarm set at 205* so I could see how long it would go on a 9# bag of charcoal, staying at a good smoking temperature. Since it was after midnight and I was having trouble, I decided to pull the ET-73 and shut down the experiment so I closed all the vents.

When I got up this morning with some daylight to see by, I went out and took the lid off and saw that a little more than half the charcoal was still unburned. In fact, it looks like the charcoal pretty much burned toward one side - away from the one vent that remained closed for most of the trial. Without lifting the charcoal basket to be sure, it looks like my terra cotta ash pan experiment may be a failure, as it looks to be completely filled with ash. Since my basket just sits on top of it, this probably helped to deprive the coals of oxygen.

I think I have enough vents with 4, and that the 1/2" pipe size is large enough since I was able to get all the way up to 234* (I'd really like to keep it in the 215* - 225* range if possible). I'm trying to determine what caused the coals to burn in one direction - thinking that it was a combination of the 1 vent staying closed and the ash buildup preventing the coals from lighting back in the other direction. Won't really know for sure until Sunday when I get to remove the basket and see how much ash there really is. When I do actually cook with it I plan on using lump instead of briquettes, so there should be less ash but I'm not sure how much less since I haven't used lump in quite some time.

I'm considering getting an ash pan that's a little larger in diameter and raising the charcoal basket a little (I can go about 1/2" - 3/4" higher and still have enough clearance below the bottom cooking grate) to help with airflow. Right now I have valves on 2 of my inlets and pipe caps on the other 2. I'm wondering if I should put valves on all 4 so I can open all the vents a little to make sure there's enough oxygen all around. I think I'm going to try the ash pan/charcoal basket mod first before I add valves though.

Sorry for getting so longwinded here - trying to think this out. Any suggestions would be welcome in case I'm missing something.
Large Big Green Egg

What's On The Grill?

Post Sat Mar 22, 2008 9:37 am
Wolfpackbbq well done
well done

Posts: 2617
Location: Valley Springs, CA
You should have more than enough air folw. I have 3 holes 3/4". I am not using an ashpan. My basket is approx an inch in a half off the bottom

Post Sat Mar 22, 2008 9:53 am
Kenny 13 well done
well done

Posts: 4051
Location: Belle Chasse, LA
My basket is about an inch and a half off the bottom as well. I can still raise my basket another 1/2" and it will still only be 24" from the bottom cooking grate. I want to use some type of ash pan to avoid having to turn the whole drum over to dump ash.
Large Big Green Egg

What's On The Grill?

Post Sun Mar 23, 2008 11:35 am
Kenny 13 well done
well done

Posts: 4051
Location: Belle Chasse, LA
Well I got a little better look this morning and I don't think the ash pan is the culprit, although I could see it posing a problem if the charcoal were to burn evenly, rather than to one side. I am considering making an ash removal tool out of a hoe and getting rid of the ash pan, but I'm also thinking that it might be a good idea to have all 4 vents open a little to get airflow from all sides.
Large Big Green Egg

What's On The Grill?

Post Thu Mar 27, 2008 11:15 am
Kenny 13 well done
well done

Posts: 4051
Location: Belle Chasse, LA
wlfpkrcn wrote:
You should have more than enough air folw. I have 3 holes 3/4". I am not using an ashpan. My basket is approx an inch in a half off the bottom


Thinking more about this in hindsight, I think the ashpan may have contributed to my problem more than I thought. With my basket sitting right on top of the ashpan, there's no way for air to get to the coals from underneath so I'm just counting on airflow around the sides & over the top.

Last night I came up with an idea for an ashpan that might work better. It will be slightly bigger but not as deep. I'm going to make that and raise my charcoal basket 1/2" and I think I'll be in better shape.
Large Big Green Egg

What's On The Grill?

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