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Regulating UDS temp

 
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smoke'em
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 05 10 10:11 pm    Post subject: Regulating UDS temp Reply with quote

I just built my UDS and only have one problem, stopping the temperature at 250. The first time I thought maybe i didn't close down the two air intakes soon enough so i closed them down sooner at 200 the next time but still got up to 300 before leveling off. I have 3 -3/4" air intakes, one being a brass ball valve. Charcoal basket is roughly 16x16x5. I am starting off with 12 lit coals in the center off the basket. The lid is sealed 100% can that be a problem? Looking for suggestions.
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12TH AV SMOKERS
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 05 10 10:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How many of the intakes are you leaving open once you've added hot coals? You might find it "easier" if you leave only the ball valve 100% open when you start. I like to start on the low side and let it climb slowly to my cooking temperature. A tight sealing lid is what you want so, no that's not causing you any problems

peace
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whitey
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 05 10 10:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dont put so many lit coals in on top(Try 6 coals)..And dont let the fire get away from You.
K.A.M told Me this before I ever fired mine up.He said If you let the basket(The Fire) get away from You that it would be tough to get it back under control..

I start mine out real slow.Once I see the lump has started to get lit I start closing the intakes..

Baby steps.
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MarkBall2
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 11 10 2:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My UDS also bounces around in temps. I have 4, 3/4" inlets & finished welding them to seal them better. Last weekend, I did a rack of ribs & I had to monitor it as they were cooking. Wide swings from 175-325 degrees.

When it would start cooling off, I would crack the ball valve, it would take a while, but then would climb. Closed the ball valve back down (only a hair) & it would cool back off after about 30 minutes.

I'm going to have to experiment a bit more. Might make a smaller charcoal basket to run, as mine is about 16" in diameter. I may just need to put a center well in the middle of it to control the charcoal burn.
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Ohio-Ed



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PostPosted: Sun Apr 11 10 3:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My charcoal basket is 17"x12" and I have had no problems what so ever holding temps.... I fill it up with Lump and about 4-5 pieces of wood chunks light the center with a weed burner. Once I put the basket in I start out with all 3 caps off and valve wide open, once it hits 150 I put one cap on, then 175 another cap, 200 the third cap and close the valve half way. I let it settle out for about a half hour then put the food on. Now this is what works for me, I have found they all seem to have thier own personalitys if you will and you just have to find what works best for yours.... Good Luck!!!!!
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12TH AV SMOKERS
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 11 10 11:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MarkBall2 wrote:
My UDS also bounces around in temps. I have 4, 3/4" inlets & finished welding them to seal them better. Last weekend, I did a rack of ribs & I had to monitor it as they were cooking. Wide swings from 175-325 degrees.

When it would start cooling off, I would crack the ball valve, it would take a while, but then would climb. Closed the ball valve back down (only a hair) & it would cool back off after about 30 minutes.

I'm going to have to experiment a bit more. Might make a smaller charcoal basket to run, as mine is about 16" in diameter. I may just need to put a center well in the middle of it to control the charcoal burn.


IMO theres no need for a different basket. The size of the basket isn't going to change anything with your temps. You can try the "donut" style but in my expierience the donut style didn't help. I think the donut style burnt more charcoal and I saw more spikes in temp too. Not sure why. I tried it many times and have gone back to just filling the basket and starting it with a 1/4 -1/3 chimney of lump in the center of the basket and bring it up to temp slowly. Normally only one valve open to start. Adjust it from there with minimal adjustments. Don't lift the lid!

peace
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MarkBall2
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 12 10 12:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I only lifted the lid to add meat to the rack. I was monitoring the grill temp with my digital probe on the rack to verify the new thermo I had mounted just below the rack.

The day had a nice 80* temp, slight breeze that varied from 0 to about 5mph out of the north, with the ball valve facing south. Seemed to me that another lump of charcoal would catch & burn, then die down. When the temp would decrease (via the digital probe) to about 190*, I would barely crack the valve open again, then the temp would come back up & keep climbing.

Never did find the "sweet spot" of set & forget, it was constant monitoring throughout the day. Ribs came out ok, nice & moist. I will try a different rub next time & not do the "Trig method" of foiling. Maybe just a glaze on it. I will keep experimenting with it though. It's fun, although time consuming.
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12TH AV SMOKERS
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 12 10 2:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Are you using lump charcoal?
Using less to start your basket is a good place to start. It takes very little to get a UDS hot. No matter what temp your trying to get to. A few hot coals, the lid off and open up all those inlets and you can grill on it with the basket at the bottom
Practice makes "perfect". It takes a few cooks before you get it dialed in but you will
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MarkBall2
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 12 10 3:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes. Royal Oak lump.

I put about a half a basket of lump in the basket, then a 1/2 chimney of lump that's lit pretty good. Not all of it has ashed over in the chimney when I dump it in. Takes about 10 minutes in the chimney then dumped into the basket.

I close the lid watch the temp gauge on the side & start shutting them down (capping 3) when it reaches about 175, then the ball valve when it reaches 200. I let it stabilize around 250 with the ball valve about 1/3 open.

I'm thinking I might have too tall of a pipe for a chimney, I might take it off & try to run it empty. I know I got all the air intakes sealed, because the charcoal will go out less than 5 minutes when the ball valve closed.

I've checked the ball valve & it opens completely when the lever is opened.

Here's what it looked like right after the build:


Here's the charcoal basket:


And the valve:


I need to get new pictures of it, as I have since painted it & changed the thermometer with one that is much more accurate. It's only off by about 10*.
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12TH AV SMOKERS
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 12 10 10:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In looking at the pic of your basket loaded up I'd say to bury your wood deeper Shocked Shocked Laughing You might not need such large pieces or not as many. If you have the much wood on top, all grouped together, you might be getting temp. spikes because those chunks are igniting and flaming up?
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MarkBall2
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 12 10 11:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That picture was the very first smoke I did back in September. I learned from that one to "not" put in so much wood. I've learned to use 1 chunk unless they are real small then I'll use more.

Thanks for the info, I'll keep practicing!
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MarkBall2
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 20 10 2:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, did a Sirloin Tip Roast yesterday, the UDS ran great!

I had all 4 intakes open until it hit 180 degrees, then capped off 3 of them. It ran on up to 300, then started settling down. Finally settled at 180, so uncapped one intake, when it reached 200, capped it off again. Ball valve fully open the whole time.

After the roast went on, it spiked up to 280, then came back down to 230-240. Chugged along between 230-250 the remainder of the smoke.

So, I think I have it figured out. In the charcoal starter I used small chunks of lump, made sure they were red hot before I dumped them in. Took about 30 minutes to get it to settle. I had one fist sized chunk of Hickory in the charcoal basket off to the side. Not a lot of smoke, but enough to get the flavor without overpowering the meat.

Meat turned out great too. Even have leftovers. Yumm!
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thevinoman
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 20 10 10:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I use a WSM charcoal ring in the bottom of my UDS. I put a small coffee can, with both ends cut out, in the middle, then put a double layer of charcoal around it. I then light about 10 to 12 coals in a chimney starter, pour them into the coffee can, then lift out the coffee can. This maintains a 220 degree fire for about 6 hours, every time.
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