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Small, Low Smoke Cooker???
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kevreh



Joined: 13 Sep 2012
Posts: 18
Location: Annandale, VA

PostPosted: Thu Sep 13 12 8:43 am    Post subject: Small, Low Smoke Cooker??? Reply with quote

Just found this forum today (post #1!!!) and admittedly haven't had too much time to browse. I want to buy or make a smaller smoker. The UDS looks solid, but even the 30 gallon drum version may be too small. Are there decent DIY plans for a smaller smoker, or a decent off-the-shelf model.

Also, my neighbors are relatively close to me. I don't want to make anyone mad with a 1/2 day of smoke blowing into their house. Is there such thing as a low smoke smoker? Or a method to filter the smoke?

TIA!!!
Kevin
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k.a.m.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 13 12 8:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome to the ring kevreh, looking forward to seeing some pics of your cooks. Smile
If your putting out smoke thick enough to annoy the neighbors your doing it all wrong. Wink For the most part you should only have a thin blue smoke or a heat signature coming from your exhaust. If a 30 gall. UDS is to small build a UDS from a 55 gall. drum. Very Happy
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kevreh



Joined: 13 Sep 2012
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Location: Annandale, VA

PostPosted: Thu Sep 13 12 8:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the welcome. I guess I need to call it a day.... meant to say the 30 gallon may be too BIG. Sorry.

I'll do more reading here (I'm sure there's plenty of insight and opinions on the right way to smoke) but good news (to me at least) that owning a smoker doesn't mean the whole neighborhood has to know when your cooking.
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Rinngrizz
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 13 12 9:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome Kevreh! you will love it here. I found this place almost a year ago and must say that it is the way that I start and finish every day. There is a wealth of knowledge on this site and great people to help with any problem you might have. A 30 gal really isnt that big. no bigger than a 3 ft tall Weber smokey joe. I think they be like a 11in diameter or something like that. the UDS is IMHO the way to go. easy go get fuel, runs very efficiently and turns out some GREAT "Q". and the only way ur whole neighborhood will know you are cooking, is when they can smell the pure bill as it blows out of the cooker and into the wind. Enjoy your new hobby, but be careful as it may become an obsession like it has for so many![/i]
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SoEzzy
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 13 12 11:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What's the largest number you'll ever cook for?

What's the smallest number?
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ckone
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 13 12 12:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

look at the UDS plans that use a smokey joe and a tamale pot.

smaller than that I don't know.
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MacEggs
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 13 12 5:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome to the ring, kevreh!

Here is a build thread of mine that I did last year.
I used a 16 gallon drum. It's small, but works great!

http://www.thesmokering.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=53910
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kevreh



Joined: 13 Sep 2012
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Location: Annandale, VA

PostPosted: Thu Sep 13 12 9:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SoEzzy wrote:
What's the largest number you'll ever cook for?

What's the smallest number?


Good question.... smallest is my wife and I with 2 small kids (who don't eat a lot, yet). Largest maybe 5 or 6 people. But no big eaters exactly.
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kevreh



Joined: 13 Sep 2012
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Location: Annandale, VA

PostPosted: Thu Sep 13 12 9:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MacEggs wrote:
Welcome to the ring, kevreh!

Here is a build thread of mine that I did last year.
I used a 16 gallon drum. It's small, but works great!

http://www.thesmokering.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=53910



Thanks for posting that... so now I need to decide on a 30 gallon or 16 gallon. I'll have to do some soul-searching to decide what size to go with Very Happy But good Idea on approaching local oil change places.

Couple questions about the UDS:

- The "cage" that holds the coals looks fine, but how do you clean the ashes that fall to the bottom through the grate? Unless I'm not noticing most of the plans I've seen don't have an ash pan.
- To keep smoke down, does it matter whether I use mostly charcoal or wood?


Last edited by kevreh on Thu Sep 13 12 10:00 pm; edited 1 time in total
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SoEzzy
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 13 12 9:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My team mate has a 30 gallon UDS good as a chicken grill but not much better.

I'd go with a 55 gallon UDS, it's not that much bigger foot print, but you can cook anything from one pork shoulder, up to 3 racks of ribs, (trimmed), on a single grate. When you are done you shut it down and save what's left of the charcoal for the next cook.
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kevreh



Joined: 13 Sep 2012
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Location: Annandale, VA

PostPosted: Thu Sep 13 12 10:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SoEzzy wrote:
My team mate has a 30 gallon UDS good as a chicken grill but not much better.

I'd go with a 55 gallon UDS, it's not that much bigger foot print, but you can cook anything from one pork shoulder, up to 3 racks of ribs, (trimmed), on a single grate. When you are done you shut it down and save what's left of the charcoal for the next cook.


To "shut it down" I'm guessing that means to close all ports, which will cutoff air to the coals?
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Thumper
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 13 12 11:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kevreh wrote:
SoEzzy wrote:
My team mate has a 30 gallon UDS good as a chicken grill but not much better.

I'd go with a 55 gallon UDS, it's not that much bigger foot print, but you can cook anything from one pork shoulder, up to 3 racks of ribs, (trimmed), on a single grate. When you are done you shut it down and save what's left of the charcoal for the next cook.


To "shut it down" I'm guessing that means to close all ports, which will cutoff air to the coals?


You got it. Closing all vents will shut it down due to no air to burn. I too would recommend going with a 55 gallon UDS. If not you will end up with 2 UDSes. A small one and a large one! Trust me, go big first. You will want the room, becasue you are already hooked. Very Happy
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kevreh



Joined: 13 Sep 2012
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Location: Annandale, VA

PostPosted: Fri Sep 14 12 4:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

MacEggs wrote:
Welcome to the ring, kevreh!

Here is a build thread of mine that I did last year.
I used a 16 gallon drum. It's small, but works great!

http://www.thesmokering.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=53910


Wow I can't believe my luck. So I read your thread and thought, on a crap shoot, I would stop by a nearby Jiffy Lube. They had a couple empty 16 gallon Mobil cans just sitting around! The guy there was so nice he did sprayed on a degreeser and rinsed it for me(!) I took it home and cleaned it again with a heavy duty degreaser also.

I know this is quite a bit smaller than a 50 gallon or 30 gallon drum, but I look at it as a prototype/proof of concept.

Next step is to pickup a Smokey Joe and part it out.
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MacEggs
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 14 12 6:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kevreh wrote:
MacEggs wrote:
Welcome to the ring, kevreh!

Here is a build thread of mine that I did last year.
I used a 16 gallon drum. It's small, but works great!

http://www.thesmokering.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=53910


Wow I can't believe my luck. So I read your thread and thought, on a crap shoot, I would stop by a nearby Jiffy Lube. They had a couple empty 16 gallon Mobil cans just sitting around! The guy there was so nice he did sprayed on a degreeser and rinsed it for me(!) I took it home and cleaned it again with a heavy duty degreaser also.

I know this is quite a bit smaller than a 50 gallon or 30 gallon drum, but I look at it as a prototype/proof of concept.

Next step is to pickup a Smokey Joe and part it out.

Very nice!!

I do recommend doing a burn.
It will help get rid of most, if not all contaminants .... to food. Shocked
And, of course, the exterior paint will come off with out much effort on your part. Very Happy

Engineer it how you want .... it will be a great little cooker. Cool
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Some Weber kettles of various age, color and size
UDS & Mini UDS
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kevreh



Joined: 13 Sep 2012
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Location: Annandale, VA

PostPosted: Fri Sep 14 12 7:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here she is (next to it is my small charcoal grill, obviously not cutting it. Also have a Charbroil infrared gas grill for the quick after work grilling):

http://www.rehbeins.com/photodrop/DSC_0157.jpg
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MacEggs
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 14 12 7:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kevreh wrote:
Here she is (next to it is my small charcoal grill, obviously not cutting it. Also have a Charbroil infrared gas grill for the quick after work grilling):

http://www.rehbeins.com/photodrop/DSC_0157.jpg

Looks good, dude!

It should suit your purposes, whatever you choose to do.

I would recommend finding a used Smokey Joe ... might cut your costs.
I wish I had thought of that. Crying or Very sad
However, I do use the SJ from time to time. Weber makes awesome products. Very Happy
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Pickled Eggs

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Some Weber kettles of various age, color and size
UDS & Mini UDS
Abby Normal ECB
Napoleon Propane Grill
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kevreh



Joined: 13 Sep 2012
Posts: 18
Location: Annandale, VA

PostPosted: Fri Sep 14 12 7:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, finding a used one would be nice. But I'm so happy to find this drum for free I don't mind spending the $29 Home Depot wants for one. By the time I buy an extra grate, expanded metal, nuts n bolts, and a few other things I may pull this thing in for less than $60. Who woulda thunk.

BTW, I was at lowes and looked at the Master Forge smoker. At first glance it was tempting for $59. Then I realized all the issues with them. No bottom or top venting, lame ash tray, not air tight at all, ... Not sure how these things are meant to work with poor/non existant venting. Rolling Eyes
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MacEggs
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 14 12 8:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kevreh wrote:
Yeah, finding a used one would be nice. But I'm so happy to find this drum for free I don't mind spending the $29 Home Depot wants for one. By the time I buy an extra grate, expanded metal, nuts n bolts, and a few other things I may pull this thing in for less than $60. Who woulda thunk.

BTW, I was at lowes and looked at the Master Forge smoker. At first glance it was tempting for $59. Then I realized all the issues with them. No bottom or top venting, lame ash tray, not air tight at all, ... Not sure how these things are meant to work with poor/non existant venting. Rolling Eyes

Temperature control on my full sized UDS and my Mini is almost too easy. Confused Wink
You will not regret making one.

My first smoker - an ECB is fully modded using day_trippr's mods,
but, at the time, I had never smoked anything
and never heard of a UDS when I purchased it.
I do want to make a 30 gallon UDS, so I can donate the ECB.
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Pickled Eggs

The cookers (so far).
Some Weber kettles of various age, color and size
UDS & Mini UDS
Abby Normal ECB
Napoleon Propane Grill
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kevreh



Joined: 13 Sep 2012
Posts: 18
Location: Annandale, VA

PostPosted: Fri Sep 14 12 8:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have a few more questions I've been looking for answers to, haven't found them yet;

- What method do most people use to start their charcoal?
- With a UDS, do most people just use charcoal (or would that not work because less smoke) or a mix of charcoal and wood.
- Using wood, since its hard to get to the bottom where the charcoal tray is, how do people handle the fact that wood will burn out and not last a full 8 hour session? Is it a given you'll have to take the grates of food out to add more wood or charcoal?

If there's any FAQs or threads adressing these questions please feel free to post them. Very Happy
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SoEzzy
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 14 12 11:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kevreh wrote:
Have a few more questions I've been looking for answers to, haven't found them yet;

- What method do most people use to start their charcoal?


*Fire / heat is what I use to start my charcoal, I've tried telepathy and thought transference without any luck!


Quote:
- With a UDS, do most people just use charcoal (or would that not work because less smoke) or a mix of charcoal and wood.


Charcoal for the heat, wood chunks for the flavor in the smoke. You will get some smoke flavor from the charcoal, but the wood chunks do add a distinct flavor of their own. Make sure they are well seasoned, have no rot or mold on them, and you can use 4 or 5 chunks buried into the charcoal so that they will light during the cook, rather than all at the start of the cook.

Quote:
- Using wood, since its hard to get to the bottom where the charcoal tray is, how do people handle the fact that wood will burn out and not last a full 8 hour session? Is it a given you'll have to take the grates of food out to add more wood or charcoal?

If there's any FAQs or threads adressing these questions please feel free to post them. Very Happy


The whole point of a charcoal basket is to provide enough fuel to cook the whole time needed without having to refuel.

In a 55 gallon UDS a full fuel load in one of my baskets, will burn beyond 18 hours, 1 x 22lb bag of charcoal, if you shut it down at the end of the cook, you can come back the next day and cook another 12 hours or so on what was left from day 1.

When lit, with good tight air control, my 55 gallon UDS's burn just over 1/2lb of charcoal per hour.

By burying chunks of wood in and amongst the charcoal you can have smoke flavor on the meat for 8 or 9 hours, it will take color for the smoke ring from the reaction of the myoglobin in the meat to the nitrates and nitrites in the smoke, until the meat passes 135 - 140° internal... the meat will take more smoke flavor until you take it out of the smoke. Try not to confuse the two!

* Any heat source a match and a piece of newspaper, a kitchen towel with a drizzle of veg oil on it, a chimney starter, an electric fire starter, a weed burner, a lightening strike will all get your charcoal lit, pick what you have and find a way to make it work for you! Wink
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