having trouble keeping heat down in my UDS

Discussion in 'UDS Builds' started by bigr314, Jun 4, 2011.

  1. bigr314

    bigr314 Meat Mopper

    I am new to smoking. I just made an UDS. I am having trouble keeping the heat in the smoking range. I have 3 1" hole drilled in the bottom with 2 caps and the other one with a ball valve. for the top I am using a Weber dome cover from a 22.5 inch grill. I have been using the minion method for lighting the charcoal. Once the UDS is up to temp.225 I close all the vents and the temp continues to rise. Please help.
     
  2. meateater

    meateater Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    First off what size barrel are you using? Next where are you taking the temps at and what type of therm are you using. Always keep your exhaust wide open and control with your ball valve. Also how high is it climbing to? 
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2011
  3. jennenga

    jennenga Fire Starter

    How straight of a cut on the lip of the drum? Mine did same thing,then I relized air was leaking past the Weber lid and drum lip, because I cut a little crooked. Just a thought. I also sealed my fittings at the barrell with high temp sealant. 
     
  4. adiochiro3

    adiochiro3 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Are your thermos tested and accurate?  If so, it is an airflow regulation problem.  Meateater has it right: ball valve is your control, top vents wide open....  the only other thing that comes to mind is whether your minion method is working correctly (are the coals lighting in sequence, or all at once?).
     
  5. bigr314

    bigr314 Meat Mopper

    There is a little smoke coming from where the Weber lid sits on the 55 gallon drum. The temp gage  is at cooking grate level with a 2 1/2 inch stem. I do leave the top vent all the way open and shut all the bottom vents and use the ball valve to regulate.
     
  6. bigr314

    bigr314 Meat Mopper

    Jennenga, How did you fix the lid problem? Is that little pit of air enough to make that much of difference. When I get to 225 I have to shut all the vents including the ball valve. to try to keep temp. down.
     
  7. meateater

    meateater Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    I run mine at 250* at the lid myself so your's doesn't sound like it's running hot at all if it's 225* at the cooking grate. . A little leak around the lid is no problem. Adiochiro is right on checking your therms, look at my signature and you will see a link to a wiki on how to do that. [​IMG]
     
  8. cromag

    cromag Smoking Fanatic

    fireplace gasket rope is what I used. I also have 2 racks so I drilled matching holes in the weber ring and inserted my top rack bolts threw the ring and before tightening my top rack bolts I glued the fireplace rope in the crack then I tightened.

    You can see how I bolted it in the picture of the UDS next to the basket pics
    http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/forum/thread/98999/1st-build-done
     
  9. jennenga

    jennenga Fire Starter

    Yes the leak can make a difference given wind conditions and temp outside. I used a grinder and a straightedge, and a cautious eye, and worked my way around the rim. Also check your lid, it may be warped just a scosche, that it doesn't sit on the lip flat.  This is where a rope gasket would work wonderfully.
     
  10. bigr314

    bigr314 Meat Mopper

    Thanks, I will try the fireplace rope. I smoked a pork butt last night for about 10 hours. About 5 hours in we had a rain storm. I still managed to keep the temp at around 225. The only thing is that I had to make many adjustments during the 10 hour cook time. Again thanks for the info to you all.
     
  11. michael ark

    michael ark Master of the Pit

    A water pan can help you have more stable temps.
     
    bigr314 likes this.
  12. deannc

    deannc Master of the Pit

    There are a few methods for igniting and getting up to temp, but I've had great success in only lighting 8 to 10 briquettes, placing the basket in the drum.  With all air inlets open, I close one cap at 180*, the second at 200* and then close the ball valve to half throttle at 215* and it'll settle right in at 225*.  If you're using this method or a similar variant, I think we can eliminate this as a possible issue.

    I'd recommend giving it a couple more runs (empty or with some inexpensive meat) and see if your controlling the temps gets better.  Sometimes I think it's just a matter of becoming more familiar with what you're working with.  When I first started with the UDS I had a few panic moments, even wrapped an old blanket around the lid in a panic...lol  It ended up my issue was from lighting to many coals. 

    Also, keep in mind that your actual temp out over the coals could be 30 to 50 degrees hotter than what you are getting from your short stemmed thermo.  I tapped a hole in the side of my drum at grate height to use my digital probe near the center of the cooking grate for a more accurate cooking temp reading. 
     
  13. bigr314

    bigr314 Meat Mopper

    Thanks so much DeanNC. I think you hit right on the nose. I was using about 9#s of charcoal in my basket and then about another 3/4s of a lit chimney. I will try again and not use so much lit charcoal. Thanks.
     
  14. cromag

    cromag Smoking Fanatic

    Yeah what Dean said but you'll have to learn what your smoker will do. I do the same as Dean except I have to leave my ball valve open all the way to maintain 225 as his smoker he needs to close his valve a bit.
     
  15. deannc

    deannc Master of the Pit

    Bigr - you are welcome, glad we narrowed it down!  Definitely give firing only 8 or 9 briquettes next time you light up.  When you ignite to much it's almost impossible to bring the temp back down in the low and slow range.  It's so much easier to allow the temp to creep up.  I usually let mine burn for upwards of an hour to clear the heavy smoke and get the TBS going.  Once you load it up with meat, open as little and quickly as possible.

    As cromag said, after a few burns you'll dial in your intakes.  

    Welcome to the dark side!  [​IMG]
     
  16. bigr314

    bigr314 Meat Mopper

    Thanks to all of you again. This is a great forum with very knowledgeable people.
     
  17. austexrod

    austexrod Fire Starter

    Try this minion method: half a basket of lump charcoal, half a chimney starter of charcoal briquettes. When the briquettes are burnt orange, dump on the unlit lump add your wood chunks of choice. Make sure your thermo is at the cooking grate level. START COOKING!

    I don't wait for the temp to hit or the lump to catch, after the chunks go on..... the meat quickly follows. 

    Now, I am still in my smoking meat infancy but it works for me and it is easier to get the temp up than to bring it down. You know this! Buena suerte!

    PS. make sure to cap the 1" intakes, turn the ball valve to half open and your dome damper to halfway. The only adjustment you should have to make, in most cases will be reduce the diameter of the openings for the valve and or the damper.
     
  18. bigr314

    bigr314 Meat Mopper

     

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