What is the Ideal Height?

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by bandcollector, Feb 21, 2009.

  1. bandcollector

    bandcollector Master of the Pit OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    My UDS is almost finished with the exception of inserting the cooking grate. My charcoal basket is 13 1/2" in diameter with 8" walls and sits up 3" from the bottom of the barrel. 3-3/4" air intakes (2 capped and one with a ball valve) 2" from the bottom. I will also be using a Weber Kettle Grill Lid on the top of my Barrel.

    My question is: What is the ideal height from the bottom of the charcoal grate to place the primary cooking grate?

    Thanks, John
     
  2. rickw

    rickw Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    24 inches...
     
  3. rw willy

    rw willy Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    What I've heard is what RickW stated. But I don't think you could go to high. Especially with the Weber lid mod. You'll have a bunch of room.
     
  4. ddave

    ddave Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Put your first grate 24" from the charcoal grate. If you are using a Weber lid you can add a second grate above the first and do one heck of a lot of meat at once. [​IMG]

    Dave
     
  5. bandcollector

    bandcollector Master of the Pit OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Thanks for your help.........24" it shall be and then I am going to add another level probably 2" down from the rim of the barrel..........And away I go!

    John
     
  6. petesque

    petesque Smoke Blower SMF Premier Member

    What would happen if you put a metal plate on top of the charcoal basket that was just a little larger that the diamitier of the charcoal basket? I don't think it would interfere with the air flow but reduce the radiant heat from the charcoal and create some turbulence making the heat more even

    Just a thought.

    Pete
     
  7. bandcollector

    bandcollector Master of the Pit OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I had a similar thought of installing a solid metal plate midway (12") to the cooking grate to try to achieve the same thing.................Great minds must think alike.

    I was going to propose the idea to the experts via a New Thread after my first smoke but didn't know if a baffle would be necessary when the meat is 24" away from the heat.

    Thanks, John
     
  8. rickw

    rickw Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    The grate is even closer than 24 inches to the coal, especially at the start of the smoke.

    I tried a water pan and found it robbed the uds of being fuel efficient which is one of the qualities it really like. When it comes to these drums I think keeping it simple is best.
     
  9. ddave

    ddave Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I put another set of bolts in about halfway up . . .



    and had a piece of expanded metal cut to fit.



    Took the idea from one of Bubba's posts.

    I have never put anything on it during a smoke but I thought about sitting the charcoal basket on it in case I wanted to grill something. I suppose you could set a steel plate on it or a smaller grill wrapped in foil to act as a baffle, but I don't think it is needed to protect the meat from the heat as long as the temps are kept low.

    I have heard that from other UDS users as well.

    Dave
     
  10. bandcollector

    bandcollector Master of the Pit OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    DD,

    You're the man!...............Thanks.
     
  11. petesque

    petesque Smoke Blower SMF Premier Member

    I think the expanded metal with a plate would be the ticket if you convert to a grill at times. As to the plate it is the same idea as the baffle I installed on my SNP so the radiant heat didn't to the food closest to the fire. I got this idea because a video mentioned the fat cap down on a brisket to protect the meat.The plate will do that plus cause some turbulence and make the heat more evenly distributed.

    Pete
     
  12. bandcollector

    bandcollector Master of the Pit OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Pete...............You're the man too.................Thanks!

    John
     

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