Wide range of temps in my UDS

Discussion in 'UDS Builds' started by bigr314, Jun 18, 2011.

  1. bigr314

    bigr314 Meat Mopper

    I took the advice from this forum and added another therm. I have one therm. that has a 2 1/2 inch stem at cooking level and added a therm. with a 12 inch stem at cooking level. I was shocked at the 2 readings. The 12 inch stem reads 75 degrees higher than the 21/2 inch therm. Both therm. are working properly. My fire basket is 11 inches in diameter, What therm should I go by? Should I make my basket bigger?
  2. adiochiro3

    adiochiro3 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    You've tested both therms in boiling water?  If so, and they are both accurate, then you have a good idea of why we recommend that you have a gauge at each grate level -- different temps in different regions of the smoker.  Every smoker has this situation.  Now you know what yours is & can anticipate that during your smokes and adjust things accordingly. 

    Two things come to mind in managing your smokes: rotate the food 1/2 way thru the smoke; some of our members (I hear tell) use a small fan to circulate the air and make the temps more uniform.  UDS operators will probably be by soon with more (and better) technical advice for ya.
  3. austexrod

    austexrod Fire Starter

    I understand you have a variation in temps from two different thermos. What I do not understand is if these thermos are located on the same cooking level or two different cooking levels. Remember I'm just trying to help and learn at the same time, so this is kinds wordy.

    1. If they are on the same level and have been tested for accuracy, then I believe they are both accurately giving you the temp for that particular area of the UDS, Now that being said, I'd say go with the 12 in stem. It is more likely that you will be placing your food more in the center of the UDS than closer to the outer edge.

    2. If they are on two different cooking levels and have been tested for accuracy then they probably are a good indication that they are accurate at each of the cooking levels. Makes sense, the closer you are to a fire the warmer the temperature.


    I think that if you want to fix the uneven temps in your UDS, you will need a diffuser. Probably in the shape of your fire basket and located just above the fire basket.  I use a 14" Terra cotta saucer lined with foil to keep the grease off, it works like a water pan, but instead of water I went with the sand approach, in this case a clay saucer.

    In addition to all this I put my first thermo on the dome lid that I use. Being new this game I thought this would be an accurate indication to the temp of my smoker. It wasn't, it was however accurate for the temperature near the dome and not at the cooking grate level, now I use a 12" stem thermo and put that down through the damper of my lid for my cooking temp.
  4. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    My UDS will read different temps at the same grate level if I have one in the center vs I have one near the outside of the drum. I especially notice this while I am bringing the UDS up to temp. Once I get temps stabilized and the fire spreads through the whole basket then I don't notice much  of a variation from the center to the outside. There might be some but not a lot. I do however always turn my bigger chunks of meat 180 degrees about half way through the smoke to make sure that the meat gets done uniformly.
  5. austexrod

    austexrod Fire Starter

    See what you can learn, I'm going to try that too.
  6. ecto1

    ecto1 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    +1 what I ave started doing in the begining is spreading the lit coals out over the basket more to speed up the evening process.  This will cause you to take just a bit longer to get to temp though.

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