Drip pan in the Drum?

Discussion in 'UDS Builds' started by buffalosmoke, Feb 10, 2010.

  1. buffalosmoke

    buffalosmoke Meat Mopper

    Anybody use one in their drum? I did my first cook on the drum this weekend...and while I was really impressed with the results....the extra "grilled liked" flavor from the juices dripping onto the hot coals was a bit more than I expected.

    I'm just wondering if I should try a drip pan of some sort over the fire on my next smoke.
  2. brohnson

    brohnson Smoking Fanatic

    I would always use a drip pan, its nice to keep the grease away from your element and chips.
  3. donnylove

    donnylove Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    I think most drummers here would say that the additional flavor created by having the dripppings hit the fire is a good thing, but it's also nice to have a drippings to add back in after the fact too! Totally up to you . . .
  4. buffalosmoke

    buffalosmoke Meat Mopper

    It just seems to me that the the flavor of the burned off fat drippings overpowers the the true flavor of the charcoal and wood smoke. And that's cool if most drum users like it...it just may not be for me.

    I used to have a older (about 11 yrs ago) New Braunfels horizontal grill...no side firebox. I made a few mods to it, and I was able to get some awesome Q by building a small fire on one side, and putting the meat on the opposite side of the fire. Only problem was it was small and not very fuel efficient. And it required me to be around the smoker most of the day to tend the small fire.

    I then got my GOSM, and I really like it. I've been producing some great stuff for years with it...but I'm wanting that charcoal flavor again. I built the drum cause it was cheap! It works very well...you guys know how well they burn.

    I may have to save up my $$ for a offset pit like the Horizon or Yoder. Spring is coming and jobs will be picking up soon(construction)...and tax refund should be pretty good this year too.
  5. donnylove

    donnylove Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    I've actually considered adding a pan to my drum, moreso for the ability to add steam to mix for tenderizing purposes than for the purpose of eliminating the flavors that come from the drippings hitting the fire. I think it really comes down to personal preference. Try adding a pan to yours and see if you like the flavor better. Be sure to let us know how it turns out. Happy smoking!
  6. buffalosmoke

    buffalosmoke Meat Mopper

    I am going to try it...was just wondering if any one else uses one to keep the fat away from the fire.

    After seeing how moist and tender my ribs were....I am looking forward to trying some butts or a shoulder soon.
  7. hog warden

    hog warden Smoking Fanatic

    When I started using my UDS drum, I let the grease drip and burn. That is part of the design. With only a single butt or brisket or slab of ribs, you likely won't get a grease fire going like this, but I do notice the flavor. Move up to yard birds, however, and the amount of grease falling is more noticeably. Some probably look at is as similar to gas grills that have lava rocks or like my Weber, "flavor bars". For that to work, you have to keep them burnt off or among other things, you can get a roaring grease fire going down below.

    For comparison, I went over and inspected the vertical charcoal smokers the guys at Spice Wine Works build. Some of the very best competition smokers around. In operation, they are almost identical to a UDS drum. They include a drip pan to catch the grease. But they can load those smokers up with multiple slide in racks that would drown out the normal dampened down charcoal fires they use.

    But after seeing that, I put a baffle plate on top of my charcoal basket to disperse the heat and a drip pan on top of that to catch the drips. I like the outcome better. It still develops plenty of bark without the burnt exterior. In a UDS you don't need to add water. It's just to keep the grease out of the fire. If you really load it up, it also helps keep the bottom of the drum from turning into a mess of ash and grease.
  8. buffalosmoke

    buffalosmoke Meat Mopper

    Thanks HW. Doesn't the drip pan get get hot enough to burn the fat with no water? I was going to try using the drip pan from the GOSM with a little bit of water in it.
  9. hog warden

    hog warden Smoking Fanatic

    If you use a drip pan directly over the charcoal, yes, it probably will get hot enough to burn. It will boil, bubble and hiss at the least.

    I use a lid from a 30 gallon drum as a baffle to deflect the heat and put a large SS bowl or drip pan from an old ECB on top of that. If you had a piece of flat plate steel, you could probably just use an aluminum roasting pan of appropriate size to snag the drips.

    You can put water in it or you can put sand in it. The spice wine guys use a heavy drip pan over the fire (no baffle plate) and they put water in theirs, mainly to keep grease from catching fire. That heavy drip pan also does a good job of dispersing the heat, such that they get a uniform temp through the smoker.
  10. rickw

    rickw Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I ran a drum for nearly a year and enjoyed it. It wasn't till after I got my Horizon that I really noticed a difference. The product that was coming off the Horizon had a more mellow smoke taste, while burning all wood, than what the drum produced.

    It wasn't just me but the whole family noticed it and preferred the offset to the UDS. This also lead me to get a WSM so I could have a set and forget unit for winter smoking. The WSM doesn't exhibit the burnt fat taste.

    I ended up giving the drum to my nephew.
  11. coffee_junkie

    coffee_junkie Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    The down side of using a baffle or drip pan in a UDS is it will use more fuel. I like the re-flavoring effect of the drum, partially why I built the thing.
  12. pit 4 brains

    pit 4 brains Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    My brisket dripped so much on my coals that it actually cooled and snuffed the fire out. The temp went way down and I had alot of whole briqs in there..
    On my last butt, I put a square of foil (double layered heavy-duty) on my second grate (8" below top grate). The fat from the butt dripped onto the foil and cooked off producing a little extra smoke withought dripping in the coals. I didn't notice needing any more fuel and infact I had a good batch of embers when I took the butt out..
    Seems to me, when the meat dripps into the coals, it releases a lot of ash into the air and gives that sooty tast to the meat. I'll be using some sort of foil or foil pan to catch the dripins and help keep the drum clean from now on..
  13. 69cam

    69cam Newbie

    I am thinking of adding a drip pan too on my UDS.

    The family seemed to like the "mellower" taste that the pork had from my mini WSM.

    Anybody have any pics of the pan mod.

  14. buffalosmoke

    buffalosmoke Meat Mopper

    Thanks for the tips guys....I'll be sure to let you how I make out with adding a pan.

    69cam....I just gonna add a drip pan above the coal basket. I'll rig something up temporarily just to see how it works.

    Does the smoker paint match the car? What smoker is that? It sure looks good!

    Edit....nevermind.....I see that it does indeed match the car....sweet!
  15. ddave

    ddave Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I have experimented with the drip pan / deflector plate as well. I just put a piece of steel over the top of the charcoal basket. Since it was so close to the charcoal, it did increase the fuel consumption. And the grease did sizzle but did not seem to impart as much "extra" flavor as with no barrier.

    For shorter smokes like ribs and such I don't mind all of the fat dripping. But longer smokes, like briskets and butts, it can be a bit much -- especially if you don't foil.

    I have a set of bolts about midway up the drum that I can set a rack on.I could also just put a piece of foil on there and it would stop a lot of the grease and probably wouldn't increase the fuel use that much.

  16. buffalosmoke

    buffalosmoke Meat Mopper

    Thanks DDave....thats pretty much how I planned on adding a drip pan....just set a lower rack in the drum. I don't foil at all....so it should help.
  17. 69cam

    69cam Newbie


    The horizontal Smoker is a New Braunsfels that I bought about 10 years ago. I don't use it much anymore since I built the UDS.
    The UDS is way more full efficient.[​IMG]
  18. the dude abides

    the dude abides Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Reading these and having a drum in the garage that I keep saying "I'll get around to building a UDS" and also being a WSM user I have to ask what may seem like a stupid question. Without a drip pan, baffle, water pan, etc. Isn't a UDS in that case just a grill with the cooking surface being a couple of feet away from the heat source?

    I'd always just assumed that I'd put a water pan or drip pan in mine to keep the heat more indirect.

    Am I way off base here?
  19. travcoman45

    travcoman45 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I don't have a drip pan, water pan er none a that. The difference between a grill an a UDS is the temperatures an the smoke. A very simple an efficient device that I found works just fine without all the other stuff. Turns out as good er better Q then my gosm what has a water pan.

    A UDS just don't need all that stuff. The juices drip inta my basket an burn off without any problems atall.

    Just my two coppers worth.
  20. buffalosmoke

    buffalosmoke Meat Mopper

    No, I don't think you are way off base here Dude.

    I was going to buy a WSM a few years ago...but never got around to it. Then I saw how popular the drum was. I knew I could get a drum for free, and most of the other parts too. I figured the drum would be similar to the WSM if it had a water pan...but most guys(and gals) are running without one.....and that's cool. I just think that the vaporizing fat/juices overpowers the flavor of the wood and charcoal. I don't foil my food...so it's exposed to those vaporizing drippings for the entire cook time. Seems most people like the additional flavor...and I'm in the minority of the drum users here..... It's just not for me. YMMV.

    I'm going to add a second rack, and try a foil pan under my food on the next smoke. Looking forward to a brisket soon.

    I'm now keeping my eye out for a 5' length of 16" or 20" pipe to get started on an offset pit.

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