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  1. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Pattison, TX
    Posts
    6,964

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by BYBBQ View Post
    i'm not completely happy with the exhaust as it is. i feel like there's a hint of a fuel taste in the meat (the mrs. said she didn't notice it). i'm wondering if a bit of stagnant smoke might be getting trapped. currently running just the 2" bung in the lid as exhaust. think i'm going to throw on a 4-6" piece of pipe and see if that helps a bit.

    This is more than likely an intake problem and not exhaust. It's more that the fire is not burning clean and smoldering causing the problem. Do away with the angles and uprights on the intakes or increase their size to 1" rather than 3/4".

    the bigger problem, though, is my fire is taking a nose dive around the 5-7 hour mark, irregardless of what i'm doing with the intakes. a good stir of the firebox brings it back to life but that's not awesome. after i put it out at around the 10 hour mark and let it cool down, i find that the coals around the top and sides of my firebox are nicely combusted but the center is not (the firebox is 12x12x12", expanded steel with angle iron corners). i'm wondering if some sort of air tunnel (drilled coffee can, expanded metal cylinder, etc.) in the center of the firebox may help. anyone experience anything like this? FWIW, i'm using kingsford blue.

    This also is partly an intake problem and your fire basket needs to be higher to allow ash not to clog the air to the fuel.
    In your pics your basket looks to be very tall. You don't need to fill it all the way, as Tom said 10 pounds is more than enough. Also Kingsford Blue will work fine and be more consistent burning than lump. lump will have more spikes than KBB. I would get used to using the KBB and learning how your UDS likes to run and what temp it settles in for the most consistent running. Most seem to like around 275.
    Another thing that can cause some of the things you stated is how you are starting your fire. Place your KBB in the basket, then take 12-15 briquettes from the center of the basket, light them in a chimney, and then replace them into the hole you took them out of. This will, along with the improved air flow help with the burn of fuel in the basket.

    JWWFM-YMMV
    Jim makes several good points here. One is that briquettes are consistent burning. Therefore, you might find it easier to learn how your drum runs with KBB. I should have added that if and when you try lump, try to make sure that the chunks are fairly uniform in size like briquettes, Break up the big pieces and discard the tiny chunks and dust and you'll get a clean burn and not so many temp spikes. The little pieces can cause as many problems as too much ash build up.

    Once you learn how it runs a drum can be almost a set and forget kind of cooker. I know mine has. I can get it going, put on the meat at 7 am, go to church, go shopping, get the car washed, etc. and come home at 12:30-1:00 and find it still chuggin' along at 250-275 as it was when I left. Later it may need a valve adjustment or a shake-out of ash, but not much more than that.

    I hope we have helped you.
    "Once I thought I was wrong, but I was mistaken."
    Tom, smoker of meats and fine cigars
    UDS, Vicking grill


  2. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Posts
    8

    Default

    i have found some success!

    raised the bottom of my firebox up a couple of inches; now it's got 4" of leg. added a 6" pipe to the bung hole in the lid that may or may not have made any difference at all but looks kind of cool. filled the firebox to about 1/2 way with royal oak lump (biggest pieces broken down to about tennis ball size) and a couple chunks of wood.

    started the smoker as BYBBQ suggested and ran it for 9 hours yesterday without any choke out or need to open the lid. finally shut it down because i was ready to go to bed.

    fired it back up the same way this morning and produced this baby for lunch today in a tidy little 5 hour run (cooked for 2) with no funky fuel taste:
    seems as if i used roughly half of the charcoal i started with on today's cook. didn't have to venture below the cook grate at all after i got it fired up.

    i'm no where near ready to "set it and forget it", but i can keep her within +/- 15* of the temp i want with incremental valve adjustments. the only other thing that still bugs me is the ~30* difference in temperature from the center of the grate via maverick vs the tel-tru on the front (both checked in boiling water)... but i think i'll run it the way it is and consider some sort of defuser on down the road.

    thank you all very much for your valuable suggestions! i appreciate it.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Tulsa, Ok
    Posts
    2,326

    Default

    Awesome. That chicken looks perfect.

    Just remember to get the lid back on as quick as possible.
    Master Cabinetmaker,KCBS Certified Judge,Student of the smoking arts,All around gear head
    Ugly drum smoker,Chargriller,Custom Backwoods Chubby,Bellfab backyard model

    "I love what mine cause, whats mine is all mine. Gives me a reason to go get more"- John Popper, Blues Traveler.

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    South of Peculiar, MO
    Posts
    6,735

    Default

    "If you can't smell smoke it ain't a barbeque joint" peculiarmike

    TQJ Plankowner

    "Life's tough.....It's even tougher if you're stupid."
    - John Wayne

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Pattison, TX
    Posts
    6,964

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jallen013 View Post
    i have found some success!

    raised the bottom of my firebox up a couple of inches; now it's got 4" of leg. added a 6" pipe to the bung hole in the lid that may or may not have made any difference at all but looks kind of cool. filled the firebox to about 1/2 way with royal oak lump (biggest pieces broken down to about tennis ball size) and a couple chunks of wood.

    started the smoker as BYBBQ suggested and ran it for 9 hours yesterday without any choke out or need to open the lid. finally shut it down because i was ready to go to bed.

    fired it back up the same way this morning and produced this baby for lunch today in a tidy little 5 hour run (cooked for 2) with no funky fuel taste:
    seems as if i used roughly half of the charcoal i started with on today's cook. didn't have to venture below the cook grate at all after i got it fired up.

    i'm no where near ready to "set it and forget it", but i can keep her within +/- 15* of the temp i want with incremental valve adjustments. the only other thing that still bugs me is the ~30* difference in temperature from the center of the grate via maverick vs the tel-tru on the front (both checked in boiling water)... but i think i'll run it the way it is and consider some sort of defuser on down the road.

    thank you all very much for your valuable suggestions! i appreciate it.
    Well first of all congrats on the successful cook!

    Secondly, I think you are closer to "set and forget" than you think you are. Keeping it =/- within 15 deg. is pretty dang good. Even your kitchen oven will have temp swings of 50 degrees. When you preheat it to say 350, it will likely climb to 375. Then the element or gas will turn off until it drops to 325 or so and kick back on. It will cycle like that as long as you leave it at that temp setting giving you an average of 350 rather than a constant. If those swings are good for an oven, why not a smoker?

    One of the keys to good Q is temperature control. Keeping it in a good steady range rather than constant. Constant is next to impossible.

    Lastly, no matter how accurate your Tel Tru is, the stem just doesn't reach far enough to measure temp all over the grate. You can place your Maverick probe anywhere in the chamber and get all different readings. Measuring at the center is less useful than you may think. That bird you just cooked overlapped the center. So that spot in the center was hottest, but the legs cooked in a slightly cooler zone. Didn't hurt a thing did it?

    Now consider a big ol' cut like brisket, slabs of ribs, turkeys. Or a whole grate full of wings and ABT's. The point is, there will be temp variance, but it's not as critical as you think. Use the side thermo reading to get a handle on the temp range. And now that you know how much difference there is between the two probes, you can adjust accordingly. Shoot for 225 on the Tel Tru if you want 275 in the middle. No biggie.

    Keep playin' with it. You'll have fun watching it and have a cool one by the drum!
    "Once I thought I was wrong, but I was mistaken."
    Tom, smoker of meats and fine cigars
    UDS, Vicking grill


  6. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Sort en Chalosse, France
    Posts
    1,299

    Default

    I was gone for a week and came back to find this fantastic thread. It should be mandatory reading !
    Sure am glad that jallen013 started it.
    Cal
    Hardware : Cold smoker, Weber kettle copy, SFB stick burner, Weber Spirit E-310, Bullet

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Posts
    8

    Default

    hi, all. i'm back. had several good smokes in a row and am starting to get stable temps figured out with only minimal interference on my part.

    had a couple of unpleasant things go down this weekend, though. a rack of pork spare ribs and two dozen meatballs cooking away at a nice 275* - about 2/3 KBB and 1/3 lump in the fire box with some chunks of oak and apple. about midway through my cook, i had some nasty black stuff drip off of my lid onto my ribs. i wiped the inside of the lid off as best i could while the cook was on and scraped the wahoo out if it this afternoon. it's pretty clean now, but i'd really like to avoid this from happening again in the near future. is it just a matter of keeping the inside of the lid cleaner in general or is there something else afoot?

    also, as i was cleaning out the smoker today, i noticed there was quite a bit of wattery yuck in the bottom of the barrel. i keep it plugged and covered when not in use, so water probably did not get in from the outside - it must have collected sometime during yesterday's cook. (it's cleaner and dry now.)

    sooooooo... black yuck dripping of the inside of the lid and moisture collecting in the bottom of the barrel... anyone have any thoughts?

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    St. Petersburg, Fl.
    Posts
    4,717

    Default

    Are you keeping the exhaust all the way open?
    It sounds like you had a smoldering fire at some point or to much wood and bad smoke collected some creosote on the lid.
    Is the wood you are using green or dried real good ?

    This could help cause both of your problems.
    Jim

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Posts
    8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by BYBBQ View Post
    Are you keeping the exhaust all the way open?
    It sounds like you had a smoldering fire at some point or to much wood and bad smoke collected some creosote on the lid.
    Is the wood you are using green or dried real good ?

    This could help cause both of your problems.
    one exhaust out of the original 2" bung - 6" chimney stack up from that. the oak i'm using is from a local guy but is pretty dry, apple was store bought. used 3 fist sized chunks of wood and 3 chunks about half that size. may will try less wood next time but it's so delicious.

    smoke was thick for right at first and for ~30 minutes after a lid open (don't remember if that was before or after the icky drip), but was nice and light through the vast majority of the smoke. no "bad smoke" fuel-y flavor to the meat at all.




    (delicious meat with the icky drip - i know therm in the ribs is rather worthless)
    Last edited by jallen013; 01-18-2015 at 11:16 PM. Reason: added img

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Tulsa, Ok
    Posts
    2,326

    Default

    If that oak is red oak, it might be your problem. Red oak has lots of tannins. Tannins are what makes coffee black. Might also want to stick to lump only. Briquetts have stuff like driveway dust and coal oil in them. Either way, your fire got too hot. I try to never leave my lid off more than 10 seconds.
    Master Cabinetmaker,KCBS Certified Judge,Student of the smoking arts,All around gear head
    Ugly drum smoker,Chargriller,Custom Backwoods Chubby,Bellfab backyard model

    "I love what mine cause, whats mine is all mine. Gives me a reason to go get more"- John Popper, Blues Traveler.

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