I decided to document my UDS build here...

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by dbarnett66, Jul 9, 2008.

  1. dbarnett66

    dbarnett66 Smoke Blower

    Hello all,

    I have most of my components so far. I need to take pictures and itemize everything so far. I am an open book, so that means I will list the absurd prices that I paid. I have a thick skin....and a wife who has certain demands about what type of components will be used. She is extremely cautious about our family's safety and she asked that I use a new barrel. Since I have no welding experience, I am using the no weld method for the entire assembly.

    Progress as it happens, can be seen here:

    So here is my list so far: (Some prices have been rounded to nearest dollar.)

    1. 55 Gallon Drum Open Head from Grainger Industrial Supply. - $122 after tax.

    2. Spicewine Iron Works Thermometer - $26 after shipping.


    This thermometer is nice and solid. Check out the thickness:


    3. 24"x24" expanded metal for charcoal basket from HD- $18.74

    4. Replacement food grate from Weber 22.5" grill from HD- $16.99

    5. Replacement Charcoal grate from 22.5 inch grill from HD - $10.97

    6. Quantity (3) 3/4 inch nipples (3 inch length) from HD- $2.94

    7. Quantity 2 3/4 Nipple Caps from HD - $2.08

    8. 1 inch hole saw to cut holes for 3/4 inch pipes from HD - $9.79

    9. Quantity (8) 5/16 SS washers for charcoal basket from HD -

    10. Quantity (8) 5/16 SS hex nuts for charcoal basket from HD -$2.00

    11. Quanity (8) 5/16 SS hex bolts for charcoal basket from HD - $2.64

    12. 3/4 inch ball valve threaded on both ends rom HD - $8.79

    TOTAL SO FAR: $224.30 [​IMG]

    I will need to update the list as I need to purchase 3 handles, (2 on the sides and 1 on the lid.), and some more bolts/nuts/washers to stand the charcoal grate 2.5 inches off the bottom of the barrel and to hold the food racks in place.

    I will post some assembly pictures on my Smugmug account as I go. Please keep in mind that I have 2 young boys who think I am Zuess right now and a full time job, and a 1 week vacation coming up, so assembly will have to take some time.
  2. danbury

    danbury Smoking Fanatic

    Where are you going to mount the thermometer? The reason I ask is because if you mount it in the side above the grates, the probe will get in the way. If you mount it below the grates your readings will be off a bit. I found that when I first mounted a thermometer in the side, the readings were not showing what the heat was at meat level directly above the fire. Although I do use remote digital meat thermometers, I also drilled a very small hole right in the middle of the top and got one of those very long turkey frying thermometers. It has a clip on it which slides up and down. I adjust the clip so that the end of the probe is right at grate or bottom of meat level. You just have to make sure that when you put the food on the grate that you leave the exact center clear so that the long thermometer probe does not end up stuck in the food.

    Others can give you some ideas on how they have their's set up as well so that you get the best possible set up for your thermometer.
    I'll surely be watching.
  3. sweethanky

    sweethanky Fire Starter

    cant wait to see it...... i made mine the other day total cost was $39 bucks.....
  4. dbarnett66

    dbarnett66 Smoke Blower

    I knew someone was going to rub it in. [​IMG] I figure a happy wife is a happy life....although some of the cost is due to the fact that I don't have access to spare parts, expanded metal, etc. I found it is just cheaper to bite the bullet rather than spend $30-40 on gas to find all of the components that are reduced in price or free.
  5. placebo

    placebo Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Good looking out there Danbury. Would it be possible to modify the grate by cutting a slit just large enough for the probe to slide through while putting the grate in?

    To the OP thanks for posting this thread. I will aslo be watching it closely as I'm planning on building one of these soon.
  6. danbury

    danbury Smoking Fanatic

    I guess you could cut a slit but I just was not that impressed with the side mounted thermometer I had in mine. Hopefully some folks that have side mounted thermometers can shed some light on their experience.
  7. danbury

    danbury Smoking Fanatic

    Even if you spent more money than you wanted to, I think the results you will get over time are going to be more than worth it.
  8. bbq bubba

    bbq bubba Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I personally measure temp at grate level with a probe through the side, knowing the center is 25 to 30* warmer.

    By imn88fan

    As long as you know the temp range, you'll be fine.
  9. placebo

    placebo Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Good call Bubba. Would that be a probe in the potato or something sitting in the middle of the grate?

  10. cowgirl

    cowgirl Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Looking forward to seeing your UDS!
  11. bbq bubba

    bbq bubba Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I did that until i realized the temp difference to the sides, now i know when the side reads 220, i'm 245 in the center, which is a nice temp to smoke at!
  12. placebo

    placebo Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Excellent. Great info thank you very much Bubba. Points!
  13. richtee

    richtee Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I GOTTA believe you can scrounge some handles and other little stuff. But if yer going all new...it is whut it is. Still a dang good smoker for well under $300!
  14. cowgirl

    cowgirl Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    That is a good tip Bubba!![​IMG]

    Can't wait to see your finished drum dbarnett!
  15. dbarnett66

    dbarnett66 Smoke Blower

    I have to thank you as I saw your blog entry on creating a charcoal basket. I guess you can say that I am borrowing your idea.
  16. cowgirl

    cowgirl Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Glad to hear it! Remember to wear gloves....lol I had them on and still needed two bandaids.[​IMG]
  17. dbarnett66

    dbarnett66 Smoke Blower

    2 bags locking conduit rings 3/4 inch for intake pipes at HD $2.91
    1 Handle Pull at HD - $3.29
    1 Step Drill Bit at Harbor Freight Tools $6.99
    1 Center Punch at Harbor Fright Tools $2.49
    8 1/4" Fender Washers at Home Depot for attaching bolts to charcoal grill. $1.12
    4 SS 1/4 inch Bolts 3" in length to raise charcoal grate off the bottom of the barrel. - $1.95 at HD

    FINAL PARTS TOTAL: $243.05 +around another $10 for tax on the misc. parts. $253.05

    I may have extra washers that may be returned. I will let you what isn't used. I will start with Cowgirls charcoal basket mod first and then start working on the barrel.

    Let the building begin......maybe it might have been cheaper just to buy a new BDS or a big box smoker.....[​IMG]
  18. bbq bubba

    bbq bubba Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I coulda sold you one for $175.00......[​IMG]
  19. dbarnett66

    dbarnett66 Smoke Blower

    Does that include shipping haha! I wish I could have bought a used barrel for $20 bucks, which could have made this a lot cheaper, but the wife drew her line in the sand. I will let her win this battle as I intend to purchase a travel trailer next year and may have to go a little over budget on that purchase.....

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