UDS fire issues....HELP!

Discussion in 'UDS Builds' started by wdoss89, Jul 14, 2016.

  1. wdoss89

    wdoss89 Smoke Blower

    Ok UDS members one and all...I'm having fire control issues. I can do the method I've seen online and read about where ya pour in unlit charcoal in your basket and then you pour in a chimney of lit coals in a spot dig out in the middle.

    So I do that and take some unit on top and close the lid. It soars to up over 300* so I start closing down the extra intakes I have. I have 3 and only one I put an extension upwards with a ball valve.

    My concern is that my charcoal basket is to large in diameter and it's not lighting the coals properly this way?? Any input would be helpful.
  2. Have you tried putting the lit coals(12-15) on one side instead of the center? That's how I smoke in my UDS and I never go over 250. I put about 3/4 full chimney of unlit coals to one side and put the lit coals to the side of the unlit just so they overlap 1-1 1/2 rows.
  3. pit 4 brains

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

    I do just about the same. I doubt your basket is to big, I wrapped mine around a propane tank when I built it if that will give you an idea of how big it is.

    I pile my unlit briqs to one side with a slope then dump a small amount (half a weber chimney) in the unoccupied area of the basket. Close that lid and begin opening dampers a little at a time until the smoker comes up to temp. I go until there is thin blue smoke and the entire drum is up to temp before adding meat.

    I have my food already laid out on the rack outside of the drum so I only need to open the lid for a few seconds to get it in. Having the lid open for any length of time will skyrocket your  temps and they are hard to get back down.

    BTW, your lit coals do not have to be fully engulfed and glowing red.. they just need to be lit and have a little grey around the edges..

    Good luck..
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2016
  4. wdoss89

    wdoss89 Smoke Blower

    Ok so my basket is a charcoal grate out of a 22 inch Weber. So it's like 17.5 inches. It covers almost the whole bottom of my drum. I can fit almost. 20 lb bag of lump charcoal in it. It's large in diameter.

    So basically instead of dumping my lit coals into the middle and letting it burn outwards I should dump to one side and let it burn it's way across? It's kind of what I ended up doing I was just seasoning my drum today but still I don't want to cook on it until I get the temps right.
  5. pit 4 brains

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

    My basket is the same size, a Weber coal grate. Yeah, whether using lump or briquettes, pile them to one side and dump the lit coals where there aren't any but making sure they make contact. You should be fine. Air control is the key. 


    This is my basket. It's 12" expanded metal and the grate is 3" off the bottom making it 9" deep.

    Last edited: Jul 15, 2016
  6. akdutchguy

    akdutchguy Meat Mopper

    I have a 18" tall basket on the weber grate. I fill it up with a bag of kbb and some flavor wood. I light the top 2-3 briquettes with a torch then let it warm up. When I get around 200 I close off the 3 pipes and shut the ball valve to about 3/4 open. I can hold temp all day long. The only time I have issues is when the wind shifts. It works for my uds.
  7. hardcookin

    hardcookin Master of the Pit

    I think you dumped to many lit coals in. I would only dump about 1/2 a lit chimney in and let the UDS come up to temp.
  8. Any luck with this? Curious how it turned out for you as my basket in my UDS is pretty similar in size (weber 17.5" charcoal grate). Ive seasoned mine twice, so far to keep it at around 250ish I need one intake capped, the other two with ball valves around 1/4" closed. Gonna try my first cook tomorrow and hope it does ok 
  9. I use a 3lb coffee with both ends cut out in my basket, put the can in the middle of your basket, pile un-lit charcoal all around it. 7 or 8 briquettes are lit using the chimney. When the coals are white in the chimney dump them in the coffee can and pull the can out.

    All intakes are closed except the one on the lid, monitor the temps that way and adjust intakes as needed.

    Works perfect every time.

    Hope this helps.


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