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UDS / Homemade Barrel Cookers

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Post Mon Dec 14, 2009 10:36 am
Kenny 13 well done
well done

Posts: 4051
Location: Belle Chasse, LA
Married_Man wrote:
How do you replenish charcoal in a UDS?


You just put it in before the cook. Fill your basket with unlit coals & a few wood chunks, then just pour around 12-15 lit coals on top. They're so airtight you shouldn't have to add any fuel during the cook. I've documented over 19 hours of burn time in mine before shutting down the vents - and that was several hours after taking all the meat out.
Large Big Green Egg

What's On The Grill?

Post Mon Dec 14, 2009 11:40 am
Married_Man medium-well
medium-well

Posts: 233
Location: NC
Thanks! I suspected that was the answer.

My only real complaint with my Char-griller is fuel consumption.

I'm going to have to talk my brother-in-law into helping me build one of these.

Are they primarily for the 225-250 degree range or do they handle 300-350 as well?

Post Mon Dec 14, 2009 5:07 pm
Kenny 13 well done
well done

Posts: 4051
Location: Belle Chasse, LA
I normally use mine for smoking in the 220 - 250° range, however for Thanksgiving I roasted my turkey in the UDS in the 340 - 360° range with no problem.

They are great for low fuel consumption on long cooks, and for when you just can't be locked down tending the fire.
Large Big Green Egg

What's On The Grill?

Post Tue Dec 15, 2009 1:37 am
Murman well done
well done

Posts: 410
Location: Nataqua Territory
Kenny 13 wrote:
I normally use mine for smoking in the 220 - 250° range, however for Thanksgiving I roasted my turkey in the UDS in the 340 - 360° range with no problem.

They are great for low fuel consumption on long cooks, and for when you just can't be locked down tending the fire.

Why would I NOT concur,,,

Image

UDSs ROCK!
Weber Smokey Joe
Weber 22.5 Kettle
CharGriller DUO w/SFB
UDS - 55 gal

Post Thu Dec 17, 2009 2:01 pm

Posts: 41
Location: Castroville, CA
Image
This is one of two that I have built. Finished product minus paint!!!

So I did 2 test burns in this with no food. Definately a learning curve on temperature control. I have 2- 3/4" vents and 2- 1/2" vents and a ball valve on one of the 3/4" vents.

With a half of a chimney of wally world charcoal in my fire basket and then poured a 9 lb. bag of ww charcoal poured on top. I let this completely catch on, then added a half dozen chunks of oak wood. I put the lid(weber top) on with the vent open and both 3/4" vents on the bottom open. Temp over 400 initially. After a half hour or so temp down to 250 range. I adjusted the ball valve closed just a bit, within a half hour was at about 225. After a couple of hours temp went down just below 200. Opened my ball valve back up, but took a hour or so to get back up to 225 range. Seems like from what I have read that should have plenty of fire just on one vent. I have 2 temp guages just below cook levels. I bought 2 charbroil temp guages at Home Depot.

Any ideas???? Maybe temp guages not accurate???

Did my first cook on it on Sat. Was able to keep temps in the 225 range for most of the cook. I did 2 turkey legs, a bunch of country ribs(the boneless kind) and my first fatty. Everything was done in about 3 hrs minus the fatty, which was about an hour shorter than expected. Fatty took 1hr 15min which was about 45 less than expected.

Sean
Weber 22.5" Kettle
New Braunfels Silver Smoker
UDS

Post Thu Dec 17, 2009 3:14 pm
Married_Man medium-well
medium-well

Posts: 233
Location: NC
Another quick UDS question. I see you need 3 or 4 intakes at the bottom. But, unless I'm reading it wrong, all the instructions I've seen say cap all but one and put a ball valve on it.

Are the capped inlets "just in case" inlets. Meaning they are always closed unless you need more air than the ball-valve inlet can provide, then you take off a cap or two? Or am I completely misinterpreting the instructions?

Post Thu Dec 17, 2009 3:39 pm
Kenny 13 well done
well done

Posts: 4051
Location: Belle Chasse, LA
BBQboySEAN831 wrote:
Image
This is one of two that I have built. Finished product minus paint!!!

So I did 2 test burns in this with no food. Definately a learning curve on temperature control. I have 2- 3/4" vents and 2- 1/2" vents and a ball valve on one of the 3/4" vents.

With a half of a chimney of wally world charcoal in my fire basket and then poured a 9 lb. bag of ww charcoal poured on top. I let this completely catch on, then added a half dozen chunks of oak wood. I put the lid(weber top) on with the vent open and both 3/4" vents on the bottom open. Temp over 400 initially. After a half hour or so temp down to 250 range. I adjusted the ball valve closed just a bit, within a half hour was at about 225. After a couple of hours temp went down just below 200. Opened my ball valve back up, but took a hour or so to get back up to 225 range. Seems like from what I have read that should have plenty of fire just on one vent. I have 2 temp guages just below cook levels. I bought 2 charbroil temp guages at Home Depot.

Any ideas???? Maybe temp guages not accurate???

Did my first cook on it on Sat. Was able to keep temps in the 225 range for most of the cook. I did 2 turkey legs, a bunch of country ribs(the boneless kind) and my first fatty. Everything was done in about 3 hrs minus the fatty, which was about an hour shorter than expected. Fatty took 1hr 15min which was about 45 less than expected.

Sean


Sean, if I'm reading you correctly it sounds like you put the unlit coals on top of the lit. Try doing the opposite and putting the unlit coals in first, then dump the lit coals on top. I have 4 intakes (1/2") in mine and I add 12-15 lit coals on top of the unlit with just one intake open and get temps up to 225° usually in under 5 minutes. It's easy to maintain temps in that range from there.
Large Big Green Egg

What's On The Grill?

Post Thu Dec 17, 2009 3:46 pm
Kenny 13 well done
well done

Posts: 4051
Location: Belle Chasse, LA
Married_Man wrote:
Another quick UDS question. I see you need 3 or 4 intakes at the bottom. But, unless I'm reading it wrong, all the instructions I've seen say cap all but one and put a ball valve on it.

Are the capped inlets "just in case" inlets. Meaning they are always closed unless you need more air than the ball-valve inlet can provide, then you take off a cap or two? Or am I completely misinterpreting the instructions?


I have 4 inlets on mine (1/2"). 1 is a ball valve, and the other 3 are capped pipe nipples. You can think of the valve as a "fine adjustment". Sometimes I only need to use the valve and can leave the others capped. Other times, like when ash starts to build up, I may need more air coming in. In that case I can take one or more cap(s) off then open/close the ball valve depending on how much adjustment is needed in either direction.
Large Big Green Egg

What's On The Grill?

Post Thu Dec 17, 2009 4:08 pm
Wolfpackbbq well done
well done

Posts: 2621
Location: Valley Springs, CA
You guys are high performance with ball valves and capped nipples. I have 4 holes filled with foil. I adjust by smashing the foil...
Image

Post Thu Dec 17, 2009 5:09 pm
JD_Smokes well done
well done

Posts: 530
Location: West suburbs of Chicago
Wolfpackbbq wrote:
I have 4 holes filled with foil. I adjust by smashing the foil...

Now that's primal. :D

Ok, so my turn now...if the capped intakes do get used, then would I have to cap them? Is capping the standard because it is cheaper that way? Could I put a ball valve on two of the intakes and adjust open/closed as needed? Could I put them on all four intakes? Or better question maybe is if there is any reason that I couldn't just put ball valves on all four intakes?
Eating meat is murder.....mmmm, tasty, tasty murder.
PETA = People Eating Tasty Animals

Post Thu Dec 17, 2009 6:51 pm
CharredGriller User avatar
BBQ Deputy
BBQ Deputy

Posts: 5839
Location: Central Alberta, Canada
JD_Smokes wrote:
Wolfpackbbq wrote:
I have 4 holes filled with foil. I adjust by smashing the foil...

Now that's primal. :D

Ok, so my turn now...if the capped intakes do get used, then would I have to cap them? Is capping the standard because it is cheaper that way? Could I put a ball valve on two of the intakes and adjust open/closed as needed? Could I put them on all four intakes? Or better question maybe is if there is any reason that I couldn't just put ball valves on all four intakes?


I don't see why not. Ball valves are a bit pricey, but if you can afford it you'd have some mighty fine air control. I'm thinking of doing the same thing, in fact, as my brother-in-law has access to a lot of plumbing supplies.
Unlike propane, you'll never wake up scorched and naked in another county because you mishandled a bag of briquettes.

Post Thu Dec 17, 2009 9:50 pm
Kenny 13 well done
well done

Posts: 4051
Location: Belle Chasse, LA
You can put ball valves on all your intakes, but it's really unnecessary. Like CanadaBBQGuy already mentioned, ball valves are a little more pricey and part of the beauty of UDS's is that they are cheap. Like I already mentioned, I have 4 intakes that are 1/2". I used one ball valve that cost me about $7, while my 3 pipe caps cost about 50 cents each. Do the math.

When you're cooking, if it gets to the point that you need more than 1 intake open to maintain your temperatures you can close the ball valve and take one of the pipe caps off, then gradually open the ball valve as you need more air coming in. Then, once the ball valve gets opened all the way and you still need more air coming in, you can close the ball valve again and remove another pipe cap. At this point you have 2 vents wide open, and you still have the ball valve to gradually open for fine tuning. Get the point now?

Of course there is another way that I haven't mentioned yet. I've seen quite a few UDS's that only use 1 intake that is larger in size. You could go with 1 intake (1" for example) with a ball valve on it and that will work fine. The key thing you need to remember is that you need to have more exhaust than intake for it to draft properly. I'm using a Weber kettle lid for mine and the 4 exhaust holes are something like 3/4" each and that's why I went with 1/2" intakes and used 4. Lots of guys use a single 2" pipe for their exhaust and maybe go with a 1" intake.

Hope this helps a little.
Large Big Green Egg

What's On The Grill?

Post Fri Dec 18, 2009 1:09 am
jazzspot well done
well done

Posts: 877
Location: South Jersey

Keeping the intakes simple... No tripping hazards. :lol:

Image
ImageImage

Post Fri Dec 18, 2009 2:24 am
JD_Smokes well done
well done

Posts: 530
Location: West suburbs of Chicago
jazzspot wrote:
Keeping the intakes simple... No tripping hazards. :lol:

Image

Hard to tell from the pic...are those gang box plugs you're using?
Eating meat is murder.....mmmm, tasty, tasty murder.
PETA = People Eating Tasty Animals

Post Fri Dec 18, 2009 11:51 am
jazzspot well done
well done

Posts: 877
Location: South Jersey

JD_Smokes wrote:
jazzspot wrote:
Keeping the intakes simple... No tripping hazards. :lol:

Image

Hard to tell from the pic...are those gang box plugs you're using?


Not sure if 'gang box plugs' are the same as the "Hole Plugs" which I use.

Hole Plugs
ImageImage

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