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The Mini UDS (update 12/3/10)


I added another cooker to the arsenal today.  The mini UDS (Upright Drum Smoker) was made from a 40 quart stainless steel stock pot that was collecting dust in the basement.  The lid is from an old Weber Smokey Joe that my son had backed over with the car a couple of years ago.  Fortunately, I saved the parts; I thought I might find a use for them some day!

There are 4 air intakes on the bottom.  Three have removable caps and the fourth has a ball valve to control air flow and temperature.

The charcoal grate is from the Smokey Joe.  The legs are made from 1/2″ steel pipe nipples.

Instead of a water pan, I used a pie tin filled with foil balls and covered with a couple of layers of foil.  I learned this trick from The BBQ Brethren; it makes a great heat deflector without creating a steam bath.

Next, come the two 14″ cooking grids.  These are actually charcoal grates for an 18.5″ Weber Kettle that I picked up at Home Depot for less than $10 each.

So I fired it up today.  It was about 35 degrees outside, but the cooker had no problem coming up to temperature and held steady at 230.  Since I’m mostly cooking only for myself and my wife, I have a feeling this little cooker is going to get a lot of use!

12/3/10 – I made a couple of minor modifications to the Mini today.  I installed two thermometers, 1/2″ below each of the cooking grates.  I also added side walls to the charcoal grate so I could get some longer cooks.  That’s 50 briquettes in there.  Based on some test runs I made without the basket, I should now be able to get at least 6 hours from one load of fuel.

10 Responses to “The Mini UDS (update 12/3/10)”

  • I have to try this. Really, a great idea, especially since I’m usually only cooking for myself (sadly, my wife doesn’t eat meat). Thanks for the blog piece!
    Kevin

  • hogblog:

    Thanks Kevin, it really was quite easy to put together, and it cooks like a champ. If you have any questions about the build, let me know.

  • That is a spectacular contraption you put together! Too cool!

  • hogblog:

    Thanks Chris. It’s easy to build, easy to use and great on fuel. I’m actually cooking dinner on it tonight!

  • Saw your link on a post in the Brethren and thought I’d check it out. Nice little UDS ya made there. Been thinking of making one about that size for a good friend of mine. I like the stockpot idea.

  • hogblog:

    Thank you. Since I’m mostly cooking for myself and my wife only these days, I use the Mini UDS all the time. It cooks like a champ!

  • k.o.t.f.:

    If you keep coming up with these inventions, us Keepers will be rendered useless. Now looking forward to the nex’t time one of my kids back over something in the driveway.

  • hogblog:

    There will always be a place for Keeper Of The Flame! If your kids don’t take care of that ‘backing thing’ for you, I’ll send mine. They’ll destroy anything given half a chance!

  • Jason:

    man that is awsome!!!!!nice work on that mini,would like to see more cooks on that if possible,how is it for keeping temp?will the ball valve provide enough air or are you using the side air vents lots to assist it?

  • hogblog:

    Thanks Jason! The mini is actually very good at reaching and holding temperature. I start her off with all four vents open. As the temperature rises, I start to close the vents one at a time. At 30 degrees to target, I close the first vent. With 15 degrees to go I close the second vent. 5 degrees before the target, I close the third vent and leave the valve wide open. On a warm day, the mini will run at about 230 this way. If the weather is cold, and I need more air to stoke the fire, I open one of the vents (away from the wind) and close the valve to halfway and adjust from there. The combination of open vent(s) and the valve, give me complete control in any weather.