New forum guy with little meat smoking experience

Discussion in 'Roll Call' started by 1wheeldrive, Oct 13, 2015.

  1. 1wheeldrive

    1wheeldrive Newbie

    Hey smokingmeatforums,

    I just joined your forum after I stumbled across it in a google search.  I've always enjoyed eating good BBQ, and we do go out to eat at smoke houses whenever we can find one, but we live in Southern New Hampshire, and there aren't a lot of great que places around here.  Learning to smoke my own was a great decision

    My first foray into back yard smoking was with a COS (Cheap Offset Smoker) that was a gift from my wife and kids for fathers day 2 years ago. 

    Stock COS before any modifications

    After assembling the unit, I built a charcoal basket to fit into the firebox. 

    I also added a full length baffle in the cooking chamber and moved the chimney, to make it into a reverse flow design. Note the partially blocked off communication port between the two chambers in the firebox above.  That is part of the Reverse Flow baffle plate added in the next picture.

    Which required the chimney to be moved to the firebox end of the cooking chamber

    All of that worked pretty well, except the firebox and charcoal basket were too small for my liking, so I converted to propane heat source.  Low pressure LP burner bolted to a metal grate in the firebox generates plenty of heat with the burner turned down low.

    And a second grate over the burner for the smoke pan (I've replaced the thin, tin pan in the photo with a small cast iron fry pan and use the thin pan as a lid to help control the wood from getting enough O2 to flame)

    So that's the story of my Cheap offset smoker.  The grille works pretty well, and has turned out some pretty tasty meals, Here's a nice pork tenderloin smoked up in just a little over 4 hours of low and slow.

    But as I said, the grille is a bit undersized for bigger clods of meat, and even with the propane heat source, you do still have to continuously feed the smoke pan about every 1/2 hour or so, at least for the first few hours of cooking. 

    So, in my next post, I'll tell you about my Big (not so) Ugly Drum build... 

    Go big, and stay home!
  2. Welcome to the addiction!!!

    Looks like you're already having fun with your COS turning out Q!!!

    You'll find lots of UDS build info here and folks willing to offer help and suggestions!!!

    Most of all, have FUN!!!
  3. 1wheeldrive

    1wheeldrive Newbie

    Thanks for the welcome.  Yeah my addiction has progressed beyond the COS.  THe UDS has been built and has been turning out BBQ for about a year now.  But here's a little more about my build:

    Since I wanted a bigger pit, and really couldn't see parting with several hundred for what was a new hobby at the time, I decided to build a UDS (Ugly Drum Smoker).  Shopped around for all the required material for the fabrication.

    Bought a 55 gallon food grade drum from a guy on Craigs list for $20.  Then, rather than buying a 22" food grate, and smaller charcoal grate for the basket for ~ $20 each, I decided to splurge and buy a 22" Webber Kettle grille clone at Home Depot for $50.  The idea was to use the grates and also tyhe nice domed lid on my UDS build and just chuck out the rest of the kettle grille (but it's actually still sitting around out in my shed.  I'm a pack rat)

    Burned out the barrel lining with a good sized wood fire, then sprayed it rattle can black.  Added two gate handles on either side, and drilled and installed screws from the front and back, all to support the food grate.

    It would never look that clean again inside ever again...

    Used a hole saw to install two 3/4" close pipe nipples, and fitted one with a cap, the other with a 3/4" ball valve.

    I didn't see the point of putting riser pipes on the sides like some people do.  I suppose I could do that some day if I get bored.

    Next I took a couple of pieces of expanded metal and used some short screws, washers and nuts and just bolted the two halves of the charcoal basket together.  Then I used pieces of coat-hanger wire twisted around the bottom of the expanded metal cylinder to attach it to the charcoal grate bottom.  Bent up a length of 1/4" diameter steel rod as a handle, and finally I used some short sections of pipe, longer carriage bolts and washers to form the legs, along with a pizza pan at the bottom for the ash catcher.

    Leftover piece of the 1/4" steel rod was used to make a hook to grab the basket out of the drum.

    And here it is all together on the virgin cook...

    Which was a fine tasting turkey breast

    I've subsequently added a set of casters (salvaged from work) under the drum to make it easier to move around, and also built a side shelf for putting platters of meat, etc on, but those can wait for another day.
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2015

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