UDS Plans Needed

Discussion in 'UDS Builds' started by ron petersen, Sep 30, 2016.

  1. Looking for plans to build a UDS Smoker.

    Basically need the placement of racks, vents, etc.

    There are many on google search and many that are different. I want to do one the right way the first time.

    I also am planning on insulating it.

  2. crankybuzzard

    crankybuzzard Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

  3. Thanks, been doing a lot of reading here and google. Still little confusion to the sizing of the intakes. See most with  3 - 3/4" nipples with 2 capped off and 1 ball valve. Some with 2 ball valves, others with 2" pipes, etc. Not sure how the calculations work with the drum smokers.

    What I think I'll do is install 3 - 3/4" nipples with 2 ball valves and cap the other. At least the UDS can be modified at a later time.

    Been looking thru sites to find the measurments to where each hole, bolt, etc is ideal. Think I have a pretty good idea.

    Currently busy working on my BBQ shed so I can Q in the winters as well as the high winds we get here, looking to use the UDS in the shed since it's more compact than my trailer smoker.

    Will start posting pics as soon as I can.
  4. thegreatmc

    thegreatmc Meat Mopper

    The problem with what you're asking is that everyone has a different idea of ideal positioning. If all one smokes is ribs laying flat, having the top grate fairly close to the top of the drum is ideal. If someone else is wanting to smoke turkeys then the grate needs to be lower. I live in Wyoming, so in the winter it gets cold and I'll need to be able to get some air to the fire to get it warm. Someone in Florida may not need as much venting. That being said, the reason most go with only one valve is if you need to open up wider then one ball valve can get, take the cap off the second and have it wide open while adjusting with the ball valve on the first. This saves money as the valves are probably the most expensive individual piece in a UDS build.
  5. Totally makes sense in a way. I have 3 each of 3/4 and 1"  ball valves from leftover jobs. I am thinking of doing a double rack so I have the option of smoking just about anything. I'll probably do the 3 bottom intakes, 1 capped and other 2 with valves and pipe going up along the side so I don't have to kneel to adjust valves. 

    Hopefully this weekend I'll start burning the barrel since I have to move wood to build my shed, weather permitting (winds).
  6. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I have (3) 3/4" intakes all valved with gate valves. 3" up from the bottom of the pit. They were $5 each. I use a gate valve key to turn the handles. So no bending over.

    I made an adjustable rack system and can adjust my cooking grate level in 1" increments from top of drum to top of charcoal basket.

    I highly recommend incorporating an ash catcher attached to the charcoal basket. Makes clan up easy.

    Drill all your jholes prior to your burn out. This will help feed the fire.
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2016
  7. akdutchguy

    akdutchguy Meat Mopper

    I'm running 4 ea. 3/4 holes 1 still has the ball valve in it. The others were capped then the caps stuck on the nipples. I just had the electrical box jam nuts holding the nipples on. Going to weld some time. Right now magnets are plugging just fine. I need to work on an ash pan also. Cleaning up is tough sometimes. I did my holes 3" up from the bottom as well. I wouldn't worry about calculating inlet volumes. I run most cooks with the ball valve partially open and everything else closed off. When doing chickens at 350 I had 2 holes full open and the valve just cracked. The outlet on the lid might take some figuring. I started with 4ea 3/4 holes and found it wasn't enough. I have 6 now and am happy with the results. You are going to love the drum. Pretty efficient little cooker. I can run a bag of charcoal well over 20 hours in the summer. Looking forward to seeing some great q pics.
  8. dirtsailor2003 

    How did you make racks adjustable? Photos?
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2016
  9. Was browsing around looking for sausage making supplies. Since the UDS can do long cooks, I was wondering if I could add another barrel on top of the UDS with a door for smoking sausages and bacon?

    Using the bottom UDS for the charcoal and wood or heating element and wood. Cannot see why it wouldn't work?

    Any ideas? Or anyone done this?


    Or am I better off building a smokehouse?
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2016
  10. Finally had some calm weather and time. Burned the barrel and lid.

    Hopefully this weekend wire brush it and paint it. 

  11. btsnhos

    btsnhos Newbie

    Hey Ron, new guy here but I just finished a UDS build. For the shelving I went to the Home Depot and got two 48" shelving brackets and cut them in half then tac welded three 24" sections in the barrel. I also bought 6 cheap adjustable shelves and cut them down to be about 4". This gave me two layers. Remember that most of that is galvanized so don't breath it when you weld. If you don't have a welder I'm sure you can bolt it on but regardless it's less than $10. Then get a couple 22" grates from Walmart or academy and your good to go
  12. I'm going to be watching this build closely, hopefully you get some good weather soon. I'm very interested to see your build as I am looking to build my first UDS as well!
  13. Had some time to do more work.

    Missing a 90 for the other side.

    I decided on 1" piping in case of the extreme cold weather here in ND.

    Found a Weber grill for $10 will be building the charcoal basket next few days or so.

    Looking for 2" nipple for exhaust or I might just do a teardrop cover.

    Not sure if a "chiminey" is needed.

  14. akdutchguy

    akdutchguy Meat Mopper

    I don't have a chimney on mine. It works fine. I don't know if there would be much advantage. Maybe increased draft. I didn't have any holes in my lid so I put 6 1 inch holes.
  15.      I put my grill down about 9".  Not much worry about meat burning in a UDS.  I can fit everything we like to cook in it; a turkey is a bit tall for it, but A lid off a Weber Kettle fits nicely. One big difference in mine, is that I drilled my exhaust holes in the top rim of the barrel.  They serve as exhaust, but also so I can run rebar rods thru, so I can do larger quantities of Chicken or tri tips, and the rods allow me to hang sausage over them to smoke them.  The exhaust holes are 1/2", rebar is 3/8", and I use 3/4" ceramic magnets to close them off, which allows to me to shut down the barrel when I'm done cooking.  I use Lump, so I just pull the fire basket out, shake the ash out, and we're good to go.

    When I was building the UDS, I was cruising the aisles of the hardware store, looking for something to use as an ash catcher.  They had a disposable BBQ, and the size of it was perfect for ash catching duty.  I punched 2 holes in it, and used a length of baling wire as a handle.  I didn't expect it to last as long as it has, but after 2 years and many cooks, its still working fine. No pics of that.

    My fire basket is a 1 ft wide length of expanded metal, that I wrapped around a 5lb propane tank, to get a round shape, bolted it, and stole a metal handle of a 5 gallon plastic bucket.

    I did 4 3/4 pipe nipples, one has a gate valve. 

    When I built this last barrel, I bought 2. I hadn't built a UDS style, but its basically just drilling holes. I figured If I really screwed it up, I would just unbolt the hardware and transfer it all to a new barrel.  But, the only mod I did, after completing it, was to drop the grill from 3" below the rim to 9".. I wanted to be able to fit disposable pans in side.  

    Last edited: Oct 24, 2016
  16. So far what I did was the first rack at 2.1/4" second at 9 1/2" and third at 18 3/4". Intake 3" from bottom. I wanted the top ones to be a little lower but the barrel ring wouldn't let me. Will see how it works, I can always drill new bolt holes if needed. Now I need to build the coal basket and install the other valve. and make some sort of diffuser. Need to find a handle for the lid and maybe a 6" chiminey. And install a temp gauge, holes for probes.

    Hope to be smoking this weekend. Going to pick up some bacon fat for seasoning.
  17. Did the insulation make a difference in your cooking? I was thinking of making the UDS insulated with a steel wrap.
  18. Tri tips usually take 45 minutes, but in winter, that turned into 90 minutes.  I had that R30 on hand, cut the cook time back to what it takes in the summer.  
  19. Finally finished the UDS, now need to take it home and get it seasoned. Debating if I want to tear apart my BBQ and use the dome lid for the UDS when needed.

    akdutchguy likes this.
  20. akdutchguy

    akdutchguy Meat Mopper

    Nice build. I like the ash catcher. I need to put something in mine. I just dump it out now and the ash gets all over the side. Then I have to wipe it down. A dome lid would help if you needed to do some shoulders on the top rack. I don't have one. I can only think of one time that I would have needed it. I needed to do 4 shoulders and could only do 3 on the bottom rack. Points on the build.
    ron petersen likes this.

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