My first build, UDS

Discussion about Ugly Drum Smokers (UDS)
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Peaksy
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My first build, UDS

Post by Peaksy » November 5th, 2018, 8:34 pm

After toing and froing between building a Mini Gravity Feed or a small Reverse Flow, I decided to build myself a UDS.

I ticks a few important boxes, increased capacity over my Weber Kettle, low cost and hopefully within my capabilities.

I picked up a couple of old Weber Kettles to give me more space to cook for my upcoming 50th Birthday party. I'm planning on cooking for 40-50 people. The Webers cost AUD35 each and needed new "one touch" blades, AUD25 for 2.

One of the kettles was pretty rough, with a badly dented lid rim, and several small holes in the kettle. Both are mismatched kettle and lid. The grates are ok at best.

For some reason I started reading the UDS thread and here we are.

I picked up a drum for AUD15
IMG_0263.JPG
The kettle lid wasn't a great fit, so I flattened the rim, it now sits well, and should seal well with a gasket.
IMG_0265.JPG
Burning out the drum.
IMG_0268.JPG
Trying to cheapskate using scrounged 15litre paint tins for the fire basket, but I'm pretty sure I'll end up going with expanded mesh.

Hopefully I can get it together enough to try a cook on it this weekend.
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Re: My first build, UDS

Post by Big T » November 5th, 2018, 8:53 pm

You'll love it once you get the hang of using it. They're by far the best bang for your buck and they're simple to build. That paint bucket will make a great fire basket, just put a piece of expanded metal about 3''-4'' from the bottom and drill some large holes around the bucket for air and you'll be set.


Measure Twice.....Cut Three Times.

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Re: My first build, UDS

Post by Peaksy » November 6th, 2018, 2:32 am

I'd already cut the bottom out of the bucket before burning it out. I found some formerly galvanised mesh lying around. Due to the level of rust I'm pretty sure there is no galvanising left. Managed to jam some in the bucket, it's probably a short term answer, but should get me going. Planning on adding a pizza tray as an ash catcher, and another one as a diffuser.
IMG_0270.JPG
Does it need more holes? The base will be held up about 3 inches from the ash pan.

Sorry for the sideways photos, not sure why they're not the right way up!
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Re: My first build, UDS

Post by ajfoxy » November 6th, 2018, 5:03 am

I think you should be OK for air flow as you've knocked out the bottom already. You might be able to use a Webber grid if you have one from the scrounged Webber kettles. Definitely the lid is good. When looking at fitting webber lids to drums first look at both sides of the drum. Some have a different bottom that the lid will fit without expanding the flange out. Alternatively put a 25 x 3 mm flat bar rolled round to fit inside the top of the drum. Weld in place and the webber lid should fit fine. I've done it both ways.
Look for expanded metal for the firebox and for making a grid to cook on. For the next one that is. And there will be a next one once you find out how great they are. Good luck with finding expanded metal easily, I've not had great success in Brisbane finding flattened expanded metal that they did not want an arm, leg and kidney for.


Learning generally boils down to "Repetition or the avoidance of pain", some people learn by doing, some by watching and some just have to pee on the electric fence.

Whether you think that you can, or that you can't, you are usually right. Henry Ford

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Re: My first build, UDS

Post by Peaksy » November 6th, 2018, 3:30 pm

ajfoxy wrote:
November 6th, 2018, 5:03 am
I think you should be OK for air flow as you've knocked out the bottom already. You might be able to use a Webber grid if you have one from the scrounged Webber kettles. Definitely the lid is good. When looking at fitting webber lids to drums first look at both sides of the drum. Some have a different bottom that the lid will fit without expanding the flange out. Alternatively put a 25 x 3 mm flat bar rolled round to fit inside the top of the drum. Weld in place and the webber lid should fit fine. I've done it both ways.
Look for expanded metal for the firebox and for making a grid to cook on. For the next one that is. And there will be a next one once you find out how great they are. Good luck with finding expanded metal easily, I've not had great success in Brisbane finding flattened expanded metal that they did not want an arm, leg and kidney for.
Wish I'd thought of flipping it over. The lid is pristine, and the bottom has a little rust. Would have been pretty easy to weld the lid on and cut out the base (the base definitely is slightly narrower than the top) Something to remember for the next one I do.

Fun job for today after work will be trying to remove what I can from the inside after burning it out for about 8 hours yesterday.



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Re: My first build, UDS

Post by Peaksy » November 7th, 2018, 9:25 pm

Change of plan after AJ's suggestion. The base looked even worse after the burn out, with some thin patches that may not last too long. The Weber lid has had the rim "re bent" to fit the base of the drum. Started cutting the base out and will trade my father in law dinner to weld the lid on fully and patch the now incorrect intake holes. A bit of extra work, but I think I will be better off in the long run.

The "re bent" Weber lid looks a little rough, but I have a better one to use if I can't get it looking ok



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Re: My first build, UDS

Post by Chromeski » November 7th, 2018, 11:13 pm

Its an ugly drum smoker, it's supposed to have a little bit of ugly



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Re: My first build, UDS

Post by ajfoxy » November 8th, 2018, 2:43 am

Exactly that Chromeski, it's a rough and ready smoker. Don't try make it look flasher than it needs to be.
Just a thought, drum's are pretty cheap, grab another one instead of of all the welding and farting around re-attaching the old one.


Learning generally boils down to "Repetition or the avoidance of pain", some people learn by doing, some by watching and some just have to pee on the electric fence.

Whether you think that you can, or that you can't, you are usually right. Henry Ford

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Re: My first build, UDS

Post by Dirtytires » November 9th, 2018, 1:16 am

Yea...if you gotta spend that much effort on it than it’s overrated.



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Re: My first build, UDS

Post by Peaksy » November 11th, 2018, 1:29 am

Got a lot done today.

New base attached, old base cut out and ground back.

Primed
IMG_0277.JPG
Charcoal basket
IMG_0276.JPG
Painted
IMG_0280.JPG

High tech baffle plate done (design courtesy of AJ, ugliness courtesy of me)
IMG_0278.JPG
Not sure how well my spray painting skills show up in the photo, but I definitely tried to "uglify" things a bit with my lack of skill.

Also modified the side tables from an old gas grill to fit the drum.

Currently removing zinc from bolts in an acid bath, assemble everything tomorrow and hopefully have time for a test burn
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Re: My first build, UDS

Post by Chromeski » November 11th, 2018, 3:45 am

Coming along nicely



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Re: My first build, UDS

Post by Peaksy » November 11th, 2018, 3:58 am

Got the rest of the hardware fitted, a bit of HCl certainly rips through zinc. I'll give it another pressure wash and get on with test burn and seasoning.



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Re: My first build, UDS

Post by ajfoxy » November 11th, 2018, 5:29 am

Although not desirable to have galv fittings in a cooker, I would not loose too much sleep over it. It would take way more heat than you could muster in your UDS to start outgassing the galve parts. But best be safe than sorry. Don't forget to really wash the parts after the acid bath. They'll probably rust pretty quickly if you don't season them well.
Apart from that... looking good. And don't put yourself down with painting, welding or whatever. YOU built it, so it is proudly YOURS... warts and all.
Way better than a store bought one anyway. :kewl:


Learning generally boils down to "Repetition or the avoidance of pain", some people learn by doing, some by watching and some just have to pee on the electric fence.

Whether you think that you can, or that you can't, you are usually right. Henry Ford

Peaksy
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Re: My first build, UDS

Post by Peaksy » November 16th, 2018, 3:35 am

On my test burn and seasoning I had some oil leaking from the gaps between the stitch welds on the base. I got some high temp food grade sealer, and it was much better on my first cook.

Cooked up some beef ribs, they were ok but I pulled them out a bit early, would have been more tender with a bit more time.
IMG_0289.JPG
Today's cook was some pork butt. 26 lbs looking pretty good. The UDS is so much easier than the Weber kettle. Not having to add fuel is so much better.

IMG_0292.JPG
Tomorrow I'm attempting my first brisket. I've got a 8.5 lb (trimmed) piece of grass fed Angus waiting for me. Really hoping I don't mess it up.
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Re: My first build, UDS

Post by Chromeski » November 16th, 2018, 3:38 pm

Looks great. Good luck on the brisket



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Re: My first build, UDS

Post by Big T » November 16th, 2018, 8:53 pm

:needfood: :needfood: :needfood: :needfood: :needfood:
:LG:


Measure Twice.....Cut Three Times.

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Re: My first build, UDS

Post by ajfoxy » November 16th, 2018, 9:42 pm

:yth: looks good.


Learning generally boils down to "Repetition or the avoidance of pain", some people learn by doing, some by watching and some just have to pee on the electric fence.

Whether you think that you can, or that you can't, you are usually right. Henry Ford

Peaksy
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Re: My first build, UDS

Post by Peaksy » November 17th, 2018, 8:48 pm

Really happy with the UDS.

A few more small additions to come, hooks for grates and lid, and a little panel beating to improve the seal. Nothing too serious as it's working great.
IMG_0293.JPG
First brisket came out great, despite me forgetting to inject it. Meat was most, tender but holding together perfectly after slicing.
IMG_0300.JPG
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Re: My first build, UDS

Post by Big T » November 17th, 2018, 10:52 pm

:LG:


Measure Twice.....Cut Three Times.

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Re: My first build, UDS

Post by Peaksy » Yesterday, 2:33 am

Photo of the finished smoker didn't work, so I thought I'd try again. Side shelves make it a lot easier to use.
IMG_0293.JPG
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Re: My first build, UDS

Post by Dirtytires » Yesterday, 12:42 pm

Yep...shelves for any king is serious cooking are a necessity. Nice build.



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