UDS heat deflectors - What are you using?

Discussion in 'UDS Builds' started by 1wheeldrive, Oct 13, 2015.

  1. 1wheeldrive

    1wheeldrive Newbie

    I've been cooking on my UDS for well over a year now.  It's been a great cooking experience in general, but like any cook, I always think that I might be able to do just a little bit better. 

    One "downfall" of the UDS design as compared to an offset cooker, is that the meat is sitting directly above the heat source.  Doing that with even a well controlled fire will cause some drying of the meat.  Of course on the upside you get additional browning of the outside and a lovely bark, which I do like.  I think I'd like to try and hit something in the middle.

    I've tried using a water pan on a rack between the fire and the meat, but I didn't care for all the steaming.  The meat was moist enough, but the outside wasn't very well browned at all.  I've also experimented with using cheap disposable turkey roasting pans dropped right on top of the charcoal basket as a deflector (no water in it) and that seemed to work better, but the pan got so hot the drippings were burning in it and I fear that wouldn't give the best smoke flavor.

    I've read that Kamodo cookers have some sort of a tile or clay platter that is used as a deflector.  And I'm thinking about buying a cast iron pizza pan to be used the same way,. maybe suspended a few inches above the charcoal basket.

    So , what are other folks using that seems to work for you?  Or are you just not worrying about the direct heat?
  2. dcb5739

    dcb5739 Fire Starter

    I put an extra rack 6 inches above the basket and use a heavy 15 inch pizza pan with no holes
  3. I to use a pizza pan !6" steel from walmart  $3.00. My charcoal basket is 16" tall I only fill it 3" from the top. Pan sits on top of basket. I did put three wires on the pan for lifting using a hook. CF
  4. I use a 16 inch Terra Cotta saucer filled with play sand and covered with foil. It sits on a rack a couple of inches above my fire basket. You can get one at Home Depot for about 15 bucks. Works like a champ, and I think it also helps keep a steady temp.
  5. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Since you have a water pan, fill it with sand, wrap it in foil and call it good.
  6. motown-n00b

    motown-n00b Fire Starter

    I read that you need 24" between the bottom of the charcoal basket and your bottom rack. I based my build around that and I got mine about spot on. I've had no issue with dry meat from either rack. I don't use any diffusers or water pans. Everything I read about water/sand is that they add more mass to heat and thus eat fuel. I also read that steaming your meat can actually make it dryer than smoking it without steam. I know many who prefer diffusers or water pans but it's not necessary in my opinion.
  7. coloradoron

    coloradoron Newbie

    I have my UDS setup as/per Motown-n00b stated. I have not had any problems with the meat drying out during a cook and I have had a cook go for up to 20 hours.
  8. Thanks guys!
    That'll be helpful for sure.
  9. bill1

    bill1 Smoke Blower

    Anyone try something steel louver sheet stock?  Shields meat from flame flare-ups, but allows drippings to fall on through to the fire.  If you felt the louvers were too restrictive, you could pry them open a bit more the next time.  
  10. jckdanls 07

    jckdanls 07 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    I don't have a UDS... but I do have a Mini WSM... same thing, on a smaller scale .. i cut a piece of 1/4" steel plate in a circle to give me about a 1" opening all the way around (probably would need somewhere around 3" or so in a UDS) ... then I have a 12" cast iron skillet (wrapped in foil) sitting on top of the steel.... it catches all the drippings ...
  11. ak1

    ak1 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Used nothing. I've never felt it was necessary given the distance from the heat to the meat. I've never had an issue with meat drying out. I do 20hr smokes basically set it & forget it.
  12. jay6896

    jay6896 Fire Starter

    I placed a cheap aluminum vegetable roasting pan directly on top of my charcoal basket. I'm not sure it was truly necessary since the one time the meat came out too dry I smoked it for almost twice as long as I should have. That's on me! Note that the drippings will still burn and give off some smoke but I think that is to be expected. Your issues with the turkey pan burning the drippings doesn't hold a lot of merit. That is precisely what is happening to the juices that drip from your meat and directly onto the fire.

    Happy Smoking!
  13. I have a cheapo, 18" grill (bottom) that I perforated with a large screwdriver that is placed directly on the fire basket. That makes it 13" off the bottom of the UDS - however I agree with motown and others on the lack of need. For me it is used for air control, as it seems to be easier to control the temp in warmer months with it in.
  14. travisty

    travisty Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    I know this is an older post, but I just picked up a pizza stone, and used that for a cook the other day. Anyone else used this or have any reason they wouldn't recommend using a pizza stone?
    Seems to be a similar idea as the terra cotta base mentioned above.
  15. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Perforated Pizza Pan.....

  16. Like many said, I use a cheap 16in pizza pan from Walmart.  I drilled holes in it.  The temp is more even across the whole cooking area.

  17. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Nice job on the pan .....    [​IMG]   ....
  18. travisty

    travisty Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Ok cool! Thanks for the advice.

    Ive been using a 16 inch pizza stone, but A: I haven't really noticed any difference in the cook other than the fact that it takes longer for the UDS to change temps, and B: the thing is a pain in the but to clean.

    Ill give the pizza pan with holes a try and see how I like it. I know a bunch of people are saying that they don't use one at all, but at least when I did chicken I was getting a pretty bad char on the bottom, so id like to do something to help with that.  
  19. Thanks Dave

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