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Considering a UDS smoker

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JaySyn

  • Karma: 0
I am fairly new to smoking, but have thrown chips on the coals on the old charcoal grill quite a few times.  I have been looking around at some smokers, but for some reason, I am really liking the idea of a UDS over a commercial smoker.  I have been looking around to find a drum to use for it, but I could use some pointers as far as getting rid of any lining if I happen to get my hands on a "food grade" drum.  I had seen one site recommend breaking apart some pallets and throwing the wood in it and setting it ablaze, and letting it burn for a while.  I was talking to azjohnnyc, who mentioned that pallets would be a bad idea because the wood is treated.  I don't want anything getting inside it that would render it unsafe to cook in.  I may look into getting my hands on some fire wood, but I am looking for any other suggestions you guys might have.  I am also wanting to get the vents on it set up right.  I have seen some sites recommend a lid from a Weber Kettle grill, so I will be looking for one of those (Home Depot, maybe?), but different sites say different things about the vent holes in the bottom.  I have even seen some say to use a ball valve to control the airflow, but would like all the advice I can get from someone who has experience with these.

I am also looking for some suggestions for a fuel basket in the bottom, but I think I may be able to fabricate something for that pretty easily.
#1 - December 31, 2012, 03:05:27 pm

skou

  • Karma: 0
Jay, (Jeremiah) look for some of my brother's posts in this section.  (He's Skouson here)
He (we) build a converted 55 gallon drum, into a smoker.  Cut the top off, use a Weber
kettle lid, and put 3 vents in the bottom.  Gives you 2 grill heights, one at 2 inches below
the rim, and another at 8 inches below the rim.  (That's enough room for 6 Boston
Butts, or 10 racks of ribs.)  Use the charcoal grate to make a basket, and it will burn for
16 (or so) hours.

PM me, so we can hook up.

steve
#2 - December 31, 2012, 08:26:59 pm
Currently cooking with a newly built UDS,(thanks to Skouson, my brother) which is my current best smoker.  I've also got a Weber Performer, also from Sterling.  My brothers think I'm CRAZY.  (Strangely, they're right.)

AZWildcat

  • Karma: 22
DON'T use an old or used barrel if you don't have to. 55-60 bucks will get you a brand new un-lined, un-dented and painted 55 gal drum w/ choice of lids at SW Container Corp. It's well worth it. No worries, no scraping or burn outs. My .02
#3 - December 31, 2012, 09:15:02 pm
2 UDS's-Stoked
2 WSM's-Stoked
BWS Party-Stoked
22.5 Kettle to burn burgers and steaks.

Be kind, polite and courteous to everyone you meet, and ALWAYS have a plan to kill them.

skou

  • Karma: 0
Wildcat, I've ben using, (and my brother has ) been using
oil drums from his source, for 3 years now.  He gets them for
a LOT less than the price you're posting.  Mainly nothing.

After a burn-out, they-re just fine.  Lately, it has been
a water-soluable, non-toxic cutting oil.  You could lick the drum
clean, with NO adverse results.  (But, we still burn them out.)

steve
#4 - December 31, 2012, 09:22:32 pm
Currently cooking with a newly built UDS,(thanks to Skouson, my brother) which is my current best smoker.  I've also got a Weber Performer, also from Sterling.  My brothers think I'm CRAZY.  (Strangely, they're right.)

AZWildcat

  • Karma: 22
Skou, it's just my preference. If i'm gonna cook on it, in it, or over it, I don't take any chances. For only 50-60 bucks, it's a no brainer for me. Plus it's not dented or scratched yet.  Before I got my UDS's powder coated, the paint lasted over a year, and looked good for most of it. I agree with you that there is likely nothing wrong with a good, burned out food grade barrel. The new clean one is also easier to work with. With all the money you can spend building one of these things, not counting the cost of a lifetime of good meat to smoke, the price is small.
#5 - January 01, 2013, 11:15:48 am
2 UDS's-Stoked
2 WSM's-Stoked
BWS Party-Stoked
22.5 Kettle to burn burgers and steaks.

Be kind, polite and courteous to everyone you meet, and ALWAYS have a plan to kill them.

JaySyn

  • Karma: 0
I am looking to work within a specific budget (which I have yet to work out :P), so the less I spend on it, the better.  The wife would likely kill me if I spent 50-60 on just the drum.  I am also not too concerned with any scratches or dents, considering it is an Ugly Drum Smoker. :D

Steve, what do you guys use for your burn outs?  I was looking at a site that recommended finding some used pallets, and breaking them up then just letting it burn til the paint starts coming off the outside, but I am not wanting to do anything with treated woods, since this will probably end up cooking a lot of meats for me. 
#6 - January 01, 2013, 09:00:22 pm

skou

  • Karma: 0
Jay, what we usually do, is wash out the drum with Dawn dish soap, then build the smoker.  The owner is told to spray the interior with a can of Pam, or some other spray cooking oil, and then, build a decent-sized fire, using a whole basket of charcoal, and a good measure of DECENT cooking wood.  Don't use any wood, you wouldn't use for smoking.  Pine is OUT.  Pinon, juniper, maybe.  Oak is the easiest to find.  I use mesquite, because I have a good source.  My brother may turn you on to some Freestone Peach, if you come over.  Hickory, Pecan, apple, cherry, basically any wood you'd use for smoking.

LMK if you need more help.

steve
#7 - January 01, 2013, 09:54:18 pm
« Last Edit: January 01, 2013, 09:59:36 pm by skou »
Currently cooking with a newly built UDS,(thanks to Skouson, my brother) which is my current best smoker.  I've also got a Weber Performer, also from Sterling.  My brothers think I'm CRAZY.  (Strangely, they're right.)

JaySyn

  • Karma: 0
I do need to experiment with some more different woods.  So far, I have only used hickory, mesquite, and apple.  I have actually seen some Jack Daniels Oak barrel chips somewhere, that I would like to try.  AZJohnnyC turned me on to BBQ Island, where I saw all kinds of woods that I would have never thought to smoke with. 
#8 - January 01, 2013, 10:45:44 pm

skou

  • Karma: 0
Deadly, I work at a (as Sterling likes to call it) "used foods" store.  We just got in some smoking chips.  Prevalent were the Jack Daniels drum chips.  I didn't get any, because I got 1 bag of apple, and 2 bags of Cherry.  There are plenty of the JD stuff, though.  We're at Southern at Longmore.  Just east of that intersection, behind the McD's and Carl's Junior fast food places, across the street from Fiesta Mall.  There is a closed Mexican food buffet out front too.  (Wish that one was STILL open!)  Panchos?

Look for American Discount Foods, in the only ACTIVE store in the strip mall.  (There'll be cars out front.)

I just heard from the freezer guy, we've got pork bellies in stock.  Wanna try homemade bacon?  Did it last year, and it was AMAZING!
Get them before I do!

steve
#9 - January 01, 2013, 11:00:33 pm
Currently cooking with a newly built UDS,(thanks to Skouson, my brother) which is my current best smoker.  I've also got a Weber Performer, also from Sterling.  My brothers think I'm CRAZY.  (Strangely, they're right.)

JaySyn

  • Karma: 0
I actually know that area pretty well.  I used to eat at that Carls Jr. all the time.  I miss Panchos too, the food there was very good.  I would try my hand at some home made bacon, but as it stands right now, it was a bit too hard to maintain a temperature that I liked in the gas grill.  I will definitely give it a go when I get a real smoker going though.
#10 - January 01, 2013, 11:11:30 pm

skou

  • Karma: 0
Sterling and I did 50? pounds last year, came out AMAZING!  Got a tiny bit left.

Stop in, look for me, and we'll say HI.

steve
#11 - January 01, 2013, 11:15:01 pm
Currently cooking with a newly built UDS,(thanks to Skouson, my brother) which is my current best smoker.  I've also got a Weber Performer, also from Sterling.  My brothers think I'm CRAZY.  (Strangely, they're right.)

JaySyn

  • Karma: 0
I have a hard time getting some spare time to do much of anything.  If I can get a chance to stop in, I will be having a look around.  Chuck has met me a few times, and can vouch for me not being too crazy (for an Overclocker :D). 
#12 - January 01, 2013, 11:24:48 pm

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