1st UDS Build

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I should finish collecting all my parts for the UDS in the next day or two.  I purchased a new drum from Sunwest Container as recommended by others on this forum.  They were very nice, and the drum looks great!

I have three questions before I start to actually build.

1. I have removed the rubber gasket that was on the inner lip of the flat lid.  I assume that is not going to hold up well during a hot smoke.  Now that the gasket is gone the lid has a VERY snug fit on the barrel.  Since I dont have a handle on the lid yet it took me a bit to get the lid back off.  Should I try to bend out the lip of the lid to get it to seat easier, or is the super tight fit preferred?

2. I purchased a drum that came with a smooth flat lid (no holes).  I did this because I originally planned to drill 6 or 8 evenly spaced 3/4" holes in the top of the lid for exhaust.  During a cook all would be left wide open, and then I would place flat strip magnets over the holes to put out the coals at the end.  Now that I have done some more reading I have seen many people say that one 2" x 6 - 8" smoke stack might help with temps.  Have any of you seen a noticeable difference between these two exhaust options, or am I over analyzing this?   

3. I have decided to go with 4 1" intakes.  3 will just be the 1" nipples with removable caps, and 1 will have a ball valve.  I planned to install the valve in a vertical position on a 18" pipe to make it easier on me to adjust air flow, and I think it looks better.  I have read some people complain that it has made it harder to reach temps since the bends in the pipe can somewhat restrict flow.  Is this something others here have encountered, or am I once again over analyzing?

Thanks again in advance! 

Pics will follow shortly. 
#1 - June 03, 2014, 07:36:27 am


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1. Once you have a handle it won't be so bad taking the lid on and off, and a snug fit is a good thing. I would not bend the lid. I don't know if you will get the results that you are after and your bends probably won't look as good and an un-bent lid.

2. I have built a UDS where I just use the existing bung, no smoke stack, for the opening and that worked fine. I have seen 6" smoke stacks and I have seen multiple smaller holes. They all seem to work well. I think the diferent options are more driven by what lid your barrel came with. If your lid had a bung in it you can easily screw a pipe into the bung hole to make a smoke stack. If you don't have a bung it is easier to drill a bunch of holes in the top. I am sure people have preferences and opinions but if there was a fatal flaw with any of these options, you would not see people using them.

3. The ammount of air being pulled through that opening isn't huge. I don't think 18" of pipe and a 90 degree bend will have that great of an effect on the air flow. Further, the valve is for fine adjustment. If it isn't getting hot enough, you would remove an additional cap, then use the valve to fine tune the temp.
#2 - June 03, 2014, 11:45:27 am
Gabe LeCheminant
Team: Cloud of Smoke
Smokers: Backwoods Party, ProQ Excel, and UDS


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Thanks lecheminant for the reply.  Let the build begin.  All I have to do now is find some spring handles in Phoenix.  I cant believe im having such a hard time locating some locally.  Worst case ill just have to order some online.
#3 - June 04, 2014, 06:58:03 am


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 Sound advice from lecheminant.

I have one UDS with qty8 1/2" holes in the lid and one that uses the Weber kettle lid.  No real difference between the two when cooking except for capacity.

I also use a pipe with a 90 on my ball valve (on both cookers) I don't remember if its 18" or not but it reaches from the bottom of the barrel to just about the top and I have experienced no issues using this set up.  I can run either cooker at 250 for 18+ hours with only a little fiddling with the valve once the temps have set in.

I have never felt confident enough to leave it all night without checking it once or twice but 90% of the time its rock solid. 
#4 - June 05, 2014, 06:54:22 am
Mike boils his ribs....pass it on.


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Thanks for the input KidCurry!

So I finally started.  I still dont have the hardware for the intakes, but that will be a simple install once the holes are cut.  Here are some pics of the drum I got from Sunwest.  It still needs to be washed out with lots of dawn dish soap, but I wanted to wait till I finished drill holes to wash.

I had some extra time after work today, so I built the fire basket.  It wasnt as hard as I thought it would be.  I dont have a welder, so I did the no weld method.  I just hand bent the expanded metal in a C shape to roughly match the grate.  I used stainless steel wire to attach it to the grate.  I also used 1/4" x 3/4" stainless bolts to attach the two 12" x 24" expanded metal sheets at the ends.  The legs are 1/4" x 3" stanless bolts with 1" stainless fender washers and bolts.  All I need to do now is find a handle, and ash pan.  I think ill use a large pizza pan for ash pan.  Still not sure for handle.  I might just use the extra wire, or some chain. 

Here are some pics with dimensions.  I think it will be big enough for long cooks (18+ hours) if I ever do one.  Is that a correct assumption?

Thanks again for all your help so far!  Ill keep you posted on the rest of the build.
#5 - June 05, 2014, 05:25:32 pm


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Very nice technique and documentation. Looking forward to seeing the rest!
#6 - June 05, 2014, 07:55:42 pm
Mark Motta
Meatier Creator


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Phoenix, for the handle, find the bail from a 5 gallon plastic bucket. You'll be in great shape.

#7 - June 06, 2014, 05:36:02 am
Green Weber One-touch Platinum 22.5"
Green Weber One-touch Gold
Black Weber Silver Kettle 22.5"
Red Weber One-Touch Silver 22.5" (The Redhead)
Black Weber Silver 22.5" converted to a gasser pizza oven, on wheels
Weber 1970's vintage Bar-B-Kettle, converted to a rotisserie cooker
Twin UDS: Blue


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Great idea Skouson!  Thanks for the advice. 
#8 - June 06, 2014, 07:25:38 am


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