So whats the trick on these UDS for starting temp?

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by rbranstner, Jan 17, 2010.

  1. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    This morning is my second smoke on my UDS and I am having troubles keeping the temps down low on start up. Yesterday since it was my first smoke I wanted to season the smoker a bit so once I got my fire going I let it run for about 1.5 hours before I put the meat on. At the begining it held temps around 335 until I was finally able to get it down to around 250-275. Well this morning I am trying to put my ribs on but the smoker is just too hot. I am sitting at 335 right now and I have everything closed up try to bring the temps down. What is your trick to getting your heat at around 225-250 so you can put your pork on? Or do you usually plan on preburning the UDS for around an hour before you get down to the temps you want? I had to put the ribs on when it was still over 300 degrees becasue I need them done at 12:30-1:00 for company.
  2. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I am finally running down around 250 degrees but it took about an hour to get there.
  3. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Another question. What do you guys do about your temps rising when you open your lid to spritz??? I almost don't want to spritz my ribs because every time I open the lid the fire gets air and the temps rise.
  4. solaryellow

    solaryellow Limited Mod Group Lead

    The key with the UDS is to start with just enough hot coals to get it started. If you have too many hot coals to start with, it will be a struggle to get the temps down.

    One of the best pieces of advice I received about temps spiking when taking off the lid was to lower the temp just before taking the lid off. I don't worry too much about small spikes as the drum usually evens out not long after the lid goes back on. I do try and be quick about opening and closing it though.
  5. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Do you guys usually start a chimney of charcoal or lump and pour that into your basket on top of the rest of your wood or do you start the fire right in the barrel? I was using a Charcoal iron to start mine right in the barrel. I might have left it in there to long today becaue I am holding at 260 with everything closed up.
  6. solaryellow

    solaryellow Limited Mod Group Lead

    I usually start 1/4 to 1/3 chimney of lump and dump it in.
  7. rickw

    rickw Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    That's about right on the amount of lump. If you are using briquettes start with 10 or so bricks. The key is to catch the temps on the way up.

    Start with all vents open, this is assuming you have three vents. When the temps reach 180° close down your first vent, at 200° close down the second vent the when you reach 220° adjust the last vent down to you desired temp.
  8. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Yea I will have to try the chimney thing next time instead of my charcoal iron. One other thing I have found is that some times I have to close my top exit holes to snuff the fire out enough to drop the temps. My temps were getting to high for my liking and even when I had all four of my intake valves closed I was still holding strong at 270 degrees. I finally had to close some of my top valves to drop the temps back down to around 225-250 where I wanted it. The funny thing is I was reading a post or an article on some other page about how you always should leave your exit valves wide open. It said you can never have to much exit draft. I guess I would have to disagree a bit. In my case I had to close the exit valves up a bit to get my temps to drop. All in all the UDS held good temps today on my second run and I am happy with it. I can't believe how much moisture that is produced in the smoker. I like it. My baby back ribs were super moist and had a beautiful smoke ring. And the Vikings won so I am having a good day today so far.
  9. ddave

    ddave Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    What he said. [​IMG]

    I close the bottom vents only for 3 or 4 minutes before I lift the lid to spritz and leave them closed for 3 or 4 minutes after I put the lid back on.

    Sounds like you let the fire get too big. You should NEVER have to close the exhaust on a UDS to control temp.

    I've tried that in the past (sometimes my fire gets a little out of control too.[​IMG]) and for me I think the ribs tasted better finishing at 270° or even 280° then they did when I choked the fire to try and get the temp back down below 250°.

  10. meateater

    meateater Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    Here's how mine rolls. I fill the fire box and get it lit, leave the lid off and valve open "1/2 inch size valve" and let it go for about 30 minutes,this is when I add a water pan with pre boiled water, put the lid on and wait 5 minutes, my lid has 3 1 1/4 vents wide open. Now I add food and some smoking wood. Mine will cruise at 250* at this point. In the pic the water pan is just under the smoking grid, kinda hard to see. Hope this helps.
  11. ddave

    ddave Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    If I left the lid off my drum for 30 minutes after lighting, I'd probably burn the Duplicolor Hi Heat Engine Enamel right off of the drum.[​IMG] I would have a raging inferno on my hands for sure.

    What saves you is your use of the water pan which most people don't use because the drum is a moist cooker by nature and the water pan really saps the effiiciency and long burn times on a single load. It is great for helping to keep the temps down though.

    If it works for you, rock on. [​IMG]

  12. coffee_junkie

    coffee_junkie Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Depending on outside temps....if it is below 0 I use a half a chimney of kingsford briqs, today it was about 45* outside, I started with about 1/4 of a chimney, I still had to work to get the temps up to 275* (for chicken) But once I got it there it purred like a kitten. Just did some mods on the UDS...and observed that the bottom grate level in the center is anywhere from 65* to 75* hotter than the outside of the top grate.....I guess it is just the law of averages. Dont worry too much about temp spikes when opening, if you hurry you can get in and spritz and chut the lid before the temps start to spike, they usually drop first.

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