Friday, 30 November 2012

BBQ: Using the UDS


For it's first use, the UDS fire box is filled with charcoal, a couple of handfuls of smoking-wood-chips (and a few firelighters since my BBQ-lighting-chimney is still at my sister's after her post-wedding-BBQ):


15 or so mins later the fire has gone down and the charcoal is white/burning:


The traditional inaugural cook for an UDS is a 'Fatty'


... sausage meat, stuffed and rolled.


And in use it looks something like this:


... the wood-chips burn up within the first hour or so of cooking (so the smoke stops by the time the meat is sealed) but the cooking time (which depends on what is being cooked) generally takes many hours (6-12hours for most things).  If available larger chunks of wood are used for smoke, so I'll have to find some bits of trees to chop off or something.

BBQ: Ugly Drum Smoker


Here are some pictures and details about my UDS or Ugly Drum Smoker.  Basically a UDS is a '44 gallon' drum, usually topped with a Webber kettle BBQ lid, and usually fitted with Webber kettle BBQ racks.  Most frequently it's used to burn charcoal fuel (or Heat Beads) for hot-smoking (Southern) American Style BBQ (ribs, pulled pork and those sorts of things).  Most often they are painted and fitted out much nicer than mine. ;)

There is a ~700 page (that's pages not posts!) thread here on the BBQ Brethren USA BBQ forums all about the UDS, how to build them and various options etc.
And a good build thread, with suggestions for measurements, dimensions and hardware can be found here.

I got a 44 gallon drum from Ebay (approx $10 or $20), burned it out at my sister's farm last year, and cleaned the interior with a drill and wire brush:



Measured 1/3 segments:



and drilled air-intake holes with a TCT hole saw:



Two recycled Webber kettle BBQ racks are mounted on 3x SS bolts at the top of the drum:



There are many ways to build an UDS, the only generally fixed guideline is that the lower rack should be at least 24inches from the bottom of the fire-box.

The general way to build a fire-box is to attach a ring of expanded mesh to the ash-tray of a Webber kettle, however I couldn't find any of the expanded mesh (in small/cheap sizes/prices) locally, so I cut an old BBQ grill-plate in half:


... and wired it together with some nichrome wire:


using an old BBQ-wok-tray for an ash-catcher.
Note: after using a few times, I think the fire-box is a bit too high and will be making a new one (or changing this one) so that it is wider and flatter.

Various methods (most often a ball-valve) are used to control the opening on the air-intake holes and thus control the cooking temperature, I just used a few fridge magnets stolen from the fridge:



... no additional hardware or setup needed, and easily adjusted:



Finished it looks like this, note how the protective oxide layer nicely matches the colour of the lid: