UDS Math Grate Location

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by dbarnett66, Jul 2, 2008.

  1. dbarnett66

    dbarnett66 Smoke Blower

    Hello all,

    Since I have to wait for my barrel, I decided to rough some numbers out. I think I will use a 13x6 expanded metal basket sitting on a charcoal grate 1" from the bottom. That measns that I will have my charcoal up 7 inches from the bottom. If go up another 24 inches from there, my grate will be at 31 inches, or just 3 inches from the top of my barrel. (Barrel is 34" high).

    Since I have a flat lid, I am concerned that I will have some issues fitting all that meat in the barrel. Have some of you cheated a little on the distance from the coal basket to the first grate? I was think that I could be 21" from the coal basket and have at least 6 inches of clearance, but I am not sure if that is enough for ribs and chickens....

    Sounds like I will need to but a domed lid? I hate the extra expense as I have about $121 invested in a new barrel, (wife would only consent if I purchased a new barrel), $25 for a thermometer, and about $20 in parts for the rest of the smoker. I still need to get 2 grates, one for charcoal and the cooking grate. I figure that I will have close to $185 invested in this thing before I am done. Not to mention the extra expense of another Weber type grill for the domed lid.

    The only reason why I am building a UDS is that it seems to be a solid performer. Most Sub $200 smokers seems to have their issues. I almost decided to pull the trigger on that $99 Great Outdoors Charcoal Smoker at Walmart. I am so glad that I came here to save a little money![​IMG]
  2. bustedluckbarbq

    bustedluckbarbq Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    first, I used an 18 inch weber charcoal grate for the bottom of the coal basket and only put 2 or 3 inck pipe npple feet on it and i don't have a prob. with ash smothering it during a smoke....

    then went down i think 12 inches from the top and used SS eyebolts to hold the 22 1/2" weber grate for the top one....

    we are lucky around here... we got "the barrel guy".... he sells barrels for like 10-20 bucks w/lid - they had concentrate apple juice in them
  3. bbq bubba

    bbq bubba Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Your math is off a little.
    Basket needs to be 3" above the drum bottom to allow for ash to collect and for air to get to the coals.
    The grill sits 24" from the charcoal grate, not top, which should put you at 7" from the top....plenty of room to cook with! [​IMG]
  4. danbury

    danbury Smoking Fanatic

    I would try at some point to make a charcoal basket like what Bustedluckbarbq has shown. I have one similar to it as well. The dimensions on mine is 17" in diameter x 7" high. If I had to spend extra money somewhere it would be on a good charcoal basket.

    Lot's of good suggestions and some pictures here.

  5. dbarnett66

    dbarnett66 Smoke Blower

    I am certain that I could have found a decent barrel for around $30. My wife would not have been happy unless she saw the shrink wrap being pulled off a new barrel. I guess there is a trade off. It just costs more money to comply with the wife's requests.
  6. dbarnett66

    dbarnett66 Smoke Blower

    Just chomping at the bit to perform surgery on the new barrel.
  7. bustedluckbarbq

    bustedluckbarbq Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    BBQ bubba is on it! after checking... mine is close to that... only 8" from the top.....

    feet on coal basket are 3"....

    works extremely well.... had 4 of the biggest butts i found.... well 3 butts and a bone in shoulder....

    Check : UDS at max capacity post...
  8. dbarnett66

    dbarnett66 Smoke Blower

    Have any of you done a two food grate construction on a 34" inch barrel. I was thinking about one grate from 8 inches from the top and another grate i inch from the top. I guess I would need to get the webber lid, but I like the idea of extra capacity. If you think a 34" inch barrel is too short for this application, please let me know before I drill some holes....[​IMG]
  9. danbury

    danbury Smoking Fanatic

    I have a two grate set up on my UDS and have never once used the second grate. I've cooked 4 very large chuck roasts at one time and 3 fair size butts at one time on the main grate.

    ***I edited this post from it's original as I had misunderstood something earlier**
  10. bbq bubba

    bbq bubba Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    34" is a standard barrel. [​IMG]
  11. danbury

    danbury Smoking Fanatic

    Duh... don't know what I thought I was reading... Thanks bubba.

    **I edited my previous post**
  12. safety1

    safety1 Fire Starter SMF Premier Member

    Hey BustedLuckBarBQ, is there any chance that I could get a phone number or address of the person that supplies you with your barrels? I am racking my brains and burning up the phone trying to find one that has not conatinaed a "toxic" substance. Thanks in advance.
  13. dbarnett66

    dbarnett66 Smoke Blower

    It looks like I will stick to one food rack 7 inches below the barrel. Once again, you all have been a wonderful resource.
  14. walking dude

    walking dude Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    there is a guy over at the Breathren, that uses TWO grates..........and the bottom grate is NOT at 24 inches above the fire......The Survival Gourmet.......can't remember his name......Bubba would know.........but he cooks just fine.........so, i don't know for sure, but 24 inches must not be written in stone.........top grate 6 inches from the top, and the second grate 6 inches below that..........on his UDS
  15. bustedluckbarbq

    bustedluckbarbq Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Safety1 - you may have to tell him you want an Apple concentrate one. I guess he will ship one.... i dunno?
  16. bbq bubba

    bbq bubba Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Someones been reading the UDS thread!!
    I believe that was his original drum Dude, has since changed to the normal height....had some food "grilling" issues.

    But thank's for pointing that out.
  17. dbarnett66

    dbarnett66 Smoke Blower

    I must have read the 87 page thread at the bbq-breatheren 3 times already. Funny thing is that I keep on forgetting to take notes as I go along. I will most likely stay with one cooking grate. If I need more capacity, then I will have to make another drum smoker. I just need to get that barrel. All my other parts are now waiting to be mounted.

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