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!