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Simple UDS here's how I do it.
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SoEzzy
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Joined: 13 Oct 2006
Posts: 11902
Location: SLC, UT

PostPosted: Sat Apr 02 11 5:18 am    Post subject: Simple UDS here's how I do it. Reply with quote

Here's how I do it, I have 12 out there working away, (well 11 really, #1 sucked and I cannibalized it for parts) 9 x 55 gallon, 1 dead 55 gallon, 2 x 85 gallon!

Shopping list

1 x open top 55 gallon drum, (if it has a colored liner once you have the holes drilled, burn the heck out of the barrel, use cardboard or cardboard and wood, get the whole thing as hot as you can, or you can use a weed burner, nasty fumes DON't breath them), better to find unlined food grade drums if you can.
Use the charcoal grate out of a Weber kettle, 17.5" diameter, wrapped in 60" x 10" of #9 expanded metal.
3 x 1/2" x 1.75" stainless nuts bolts and washers.
3 x 1 1/2" U bolts, with plates and nuts, (Don't use Nyloc nuts, use standard nuts, I use galvanized U bolts and weed burner the heck out of them... WARNING don't breath the vapors though).
3 x 15 Oz Tomato sauce cans, topped and tailed.
2 x 22.5" grill grates.
3 x Cheap metal handles from Lowe's or Home Depot.
1 x Turkey fryer thermometer (WalMart $5.00).
Fridge magnets or 1" round rare earth magnets, Lowe's or Home Depot.

Tools

Tape measure.
1 x 1/8" drill bit.
1 x 1/2" drill bit.
1 x 3/4" step drill bit.
1 x electric drill.
1 x sharpie.
Wrenches to match the nuts & bolts
1 pair heavy work gloves
Weed burner.

Build instructions

Turn drum upside down, measure 2.5" down from the bottom lip.

I like 6 evenly spaced holes, some like 3 some like 4, pick what you like, as once you have it running at temperature you will mostly only be controlling it with 1 hole. I like the 6 holes for a couple of reasons, 1) symmetry the 6 holes works well with the 3 grate supports. 2) You can alter the choice of hole to use in blustery or windy days. 3) You regulate the intake on the side away form the wind, with 6 holes, I twice as much choice as with 3 holes.

Drill the pilot hole with the 1/8" drill bit, then run them out to 3/4" with the step drill, (I find the 1/2" holes a little small to control the pit with only one hole, and you don't need to go as big as an inch).

Eyeball the position 180 opposite, measure down 2.5" mark it with a sharpie, measure from the one side round to the other, you'll get a figure around 36 - 37" so if you mark two more positions 2.5" down and about 12.5" from hole to hole. Repeat on the other side and mark your positions.

Pilot drill them with the 1/8" drill bit, then drill through with the step drill to 3/4".

Turn the drum the right side up.

Mark 3 positions 1" down from the top 1/3 rd expansion ring, the bump about 1/3 rd down from the top. These need to be 24.5 - 24.75 inches apart. Drill them with the 1/8" pilot hole, then use the 1/2" drill to bore them out, (this is if you want 2 grates in a standard drum, if you only want one grate go 1 - 1.5" above the expansion ring, see picture below).

Drill 8 x 1/2" holes in the lid, I like to put a side plate in the visual middle of the drum, them use the sharpie to mark a cross of 4 dots, then split the difference between each with 4 more marks. Pilot drill them then bore them out with the 1/2" drill bit.

Mark and drill for 1 handle in the middle of the lid.

Mark and drill for handles on the sides just below the 3 x 1/2" holes 1" down from the 1/3rd expansion ring.

Drill through the center of one of the handles with the 1/8" drill bit, put the handle in place with nuts and bolts, then put the drill through the hole in the handle and mark the drum, remove the handle and drill through the mark, put the handle on and tighten firmly with the wrenches.



Put the 1/2" x 1.75" bolts with a washer on the outside, and a washer and nut on the inside through the 1/2" holes 1" below the 1/3 rd mark.

Rest one end of the expanded metal on the floor, stand on that end by putting your foot across the 10", then lift up the other end, (WARNING wear gloves on you hands or you are likely to cut your fingers, wear shoes on your feet for the same reason). Lower the metal, move your foot 6" further along the metal and pull up again, repeat and the expanded metal will start to roll into a circle.

Put 1 of the 1.5" u bolts through the expanded metal about 8" in from one end and about 2" up, put the charcoal grate from a Weber kettle inside the U bolt, put the plate across the U, and put the nuts on the bolts. Roll the expanded metal around the charcoal grate, the grate can then have another U bolt about 2/3 rds of the way round.

The expanded metal forms a cylinder around the grate 2 - 2.5" below the grate and 7.5 - 8" above the grate, the 2 - 2.5" below forms the "foot" and you don't need anything else.

Over lap the expanded metal use the last U bolt to secure the overlapped expanded metal, tighten the U bolt nuts, (remember I said don't get "Nyloc nuts", on my first home made one I didn't bother and bought Nyloc nuts, they lasted about 3 seconds when heated with a weed burner, then the Nyloc center melted and it all fell apart, I had to make another trip to Lowe's to buy more nuts)!

Stand the new Charcoal basket on a grill or safe place and weed burner the expanded metal and the U bolts, stay UP WIND, and don't breath the fumes that will be given off.

You now have a pit ready to cook on.

Cooking for the first time!

If you covered all your holes with magnets, take off all the magnets.

Load the charcoal basket with 1/2 - 3/4 of a bag of charcoal of your choice.

Put the charcoal basket into the drum.

Start 1/2 a chimney starter full of charcoal, wait till it is fully ashed over , (15 - 20 minutes).

Spread the ashed over charcoal over the top of the charcoal in the basket.

Lid the pit.

Insert the 12" Turkey fryer thermometer through the hole in the handle, and then through the hole in the drum, watch the temperatures begin to climb.

As the temperature passes 200 close alternate intake holes with the fridge magnets, leave the one furthest from the wind and two others.

As the temperature passes 225 close the two open holes nearest the wind side of the drum.

Watch the temperature settle into it's own groove, somewhere between 240 and 260, leave the lid alone and just get a feel for how it cooks and how it runs.

Before you take the lid off, cover the last hole and wait 3 - 4 minutes, then take off the lid, add a cooking grate and meat, if you want to cook on both grates, put the topped and tailed cans near the outside evenly spaced, they form the supports for the top grate, but they don't slow or stop the heat and smoke from circulating properly, add the second grate on top of the triangle of cans, add the meat, close the lid, now wait another 5 or 6 minutes before you open the magnet off the down wind side of the drum again.

The closing of the intake vent before removing the lid slows the combustion, and reduces the chance of a flair up due to lots of extra oxygen flooding into the barrel from the top.

Always repeat the closure of the intakes before you remove the lid, if you are only going to take 15 - 20 seconds to thermopen your meats, you can get away with it, but anything that's going to take more than 30 seconds it's worth closing the vent, waiting a few minutes, then taking off the lid. Have a table near at hand, and work quickly once the lid is off, once the lid is back on, wait double the time you did before opening the intake vent, this will help control temperature spike you would other wise suffer.

Once everything is cooked and out of the drum.

Close all the intakes, wait 5 minutes then close the holes in the lids, this takes some of the heat out of the pit, and makes our exhaust magnets last longer as they are not getting burnt up all the time.

Now you can take that and add, water pan's, diffusers, dome lids, extensions, rotisseries, valves, stokers, guru's, higher exhausts, higher intakes, sliders, legs 3 / 4 / 5 or more, casters, etc. but what was described, works well as a simple UDS.

Enjoy! Wink Laughing Wink
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Last edited by SoEzzy on Wed May 11 11 12:21 am; edited 2 times in total
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day_trippr
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 02 11 5:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow. Kudos to The Park Ranger for taking the time to put an awesome UDS tutorial - from start to finish! If I ever get in the mood to build one this is where I'll start - and probably end! Very Happy

Cheers, SoEzzy!
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Kronk
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 02 11 6:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very nice job! You certainly don't need pictures in that post but they would make it all that much better.
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SoEzzy
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 02 11 10:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would post pictures if I ever took them when I make a UDS... I make them when I'm not taking pictures, so I'll have to make another one to show how I made all the others that I never took pictures with... silly isn't it? Wink
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jess
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 02 11 8:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SoEzzy wrote:
I would post pictures if I ever took them when I make a UDS... I make them when I'm not taking pictures, so I'll have to make another one to show how I made all the others that I never took pictures with... silly isn't it? Wink
Can't fix a leaking roof in the rain etc. Laughing ...
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k.a.m.
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 02 11 9:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SoEzzy, Thank You for the thread this will help answer a lot of up and coming UDS builders. Very Happy I have bookmarked this one as a fantastic go to tutorial. Very Happy
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ChuckieD
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 04 11 1:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kevin said,
Quote:
I have bookmarked this one as a fantastic go to tutorial. Very Happy


SoEzzy,
+1, when people ask me to build them one, I'm sending them this link Wink
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tacklebox
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 04 11 1:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SoEzzy wrote:
I would post pictures if I ever took them when I make a UDS... I make them when I'm not taking pictures, so I'll have to make another one to show how I made all the others that I never took pictures with... silly isn't it? Wink


Awesome tutorial Mr. Bear Wink I will definitely use this when I get around to building one.

And when you get around to posting pics of your build...here's a tutorial for you Wink

Clicky for Tutorial
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Chuck
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 04 11 4:42 am    Post subject: UDS Reply with quote

Hey Boss I no longer have a pit to cook on
I too will book mark this one
If I get in a bind on making this one can I call


Stilwell Chuck
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MacEggs
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05 11 1:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great tutorial SoEzzy, thank you. I have a couple questions.

I just purchased a 48"x48" sheet of expanded metal to make a charcoal basket on my ECB. Still lots left. Would a 13.5" charcoal grate be okay to make a basket in the UDS, or is that too small?

I have seen on other threads that a water pan or a diffuser plate is used. Are they really necessary in a UDS?
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SoEzzy
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05 11 4:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

tacklebox

Thanks for the link, I'm never sure just how to work that picture size thing! Razz

Chuck you're welcome to call! Wink

MacEggs, my team mate has a charcoal basket built the same way I build mine but using the grate from a Weber smoky Joe, I think it's about 11" and it works well for shorter cooks.

You want to avoid having the fire too high if you use the double rack information, it doesn't matter as much if you use the information for a single rack, that is part of the reason I like the larger diameter.

If you see my penultimate paragraph I state, "Now you can take that and add, water pan's, diffusers, dome lids, extensions, rotisseries, valves, stokers, guru's, higher exhausts, higher intakes, sliders, legs 3 / 4 / 5 or more, casters, etc. but what was described, works well as a simple UDS".

The choice of extras is all down to personal opinion, my choice for simple says, "don't use them", but with that and $4.79 you can get a cup of coffee round here if your at the right coffee shop. Others add bells and whistles as they want, or need, but as momma used to say, "simple is as simple does, and I sure do a lot of simple things"!
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MacEggs
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05 11 5:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SoEzzy wrote:
The choice of extras is all down to personal opinion, my choice for simple says, "don't use them", but with that and $4.79 you can get a cup of coffee round here if your at the right coffee shop. Others add bells and whistles as they want, or need, but as momma used to say, "simple is as simple does, and I sure do a lot of simple things"!

Thank you SoEzzy! Always listen to your momma. When I eventually get around to building one, I will keep it simple. Wink
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BBQMAN
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05 11 7:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good looking tutorial SoEzzy!

It will look great as a sticky right above the other sticky as a second (or 1st) reference.
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killswitch505
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PostPosted: Sun May 15 11 1:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks man awesome how to Very Happy
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PostPosted: Sun May 15 11 7:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great job on the "How To", SoEzzy.
Don't forget to take pics on #13, Laughing
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PostPosted: Mon May 23 11 8:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good to see this become a sticky that folks can find.

You can't beat a UDS for ease of use, size, quality of BBQ produced, and easy on the wallet. Cool
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 12 11 12:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay, now you've given me something to think about. That actually looks like fun and I've never thought about magnets for something like that. I'd have spent time and money making sliding covers for all those holes. Embarassed
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u63405
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 15 11 3:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I printed this thread and made my own UDS which was fun! Thanks again SoEzzyy!

I've been using the magnets to cover my holes with great results but, they tend to burnout after awhile so I bought a magnet sheet and made my own:) got lots now http://www.dickblick.com/products/flexible-magnetic-sheet/
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SoEzzy
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 15 11 3:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I now mostly use the Rare Earth magnets, 1" diameter from Home Depot or Lowe's!

They last about a year and a half.
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apn73



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PostPosted: Fri Sep 09 11 8:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I built a UDS that is a hybrid between this sticky and the one over in "cookers stickys." Very simple, easy and the charcoal basket design that SoEzzy came up with is awesome! I finally used mine this past weekend and worked really slick, pretty much the way everyone said that it would. Didn't use even half of the charcoal in the basket for 5.5 to 6 hour cook.
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