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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Smoking on UDS (drum smoker)

I had the chance to use my drum smoker yesterday. Did a hunk of pork (shoulder piece from one of my homegrown berkshires)
Made some twice baked tatoes, bella mushrooms and leeks.

I smoked at a temperature of 250 using hickory.

I left the air outlet open...

I seasoned the pork with evoo and some of my homemade cold smoked seasoned salt.

Seasoned the veggies too.

Let the meat smoke for awhile before I added the veggies.

The veggies took about 35 minutes, long enough for me to feed the pigs and chickens and gather eggs. :)

I pulled the pork off at 180 degrees and covered it with foil and let it sit.

I love my little side table, it's really handy!

Suppper....I couldn't eat it all, but everything sure tasted good. :)


Professor Salt said...

Hi cowgirl,

Do you have any photos of your side table? It's one of those geeky UDS topics that the BBQ Brethren like to see.

Hope you don't mind I linked you on my site

cowgirl said...

Hi professorsalt!
I do not have any pictures posted, but will get some to you.
I do not mind you putting a link of my blog on your site.....looks interesting. :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Cowgirl.
That's one nice looking UDS you have there. Looks like it works well too. Nice how you have it all gussied up with a side table n all.
I never knew you even had one.
Guess I need to pay more attention eh. lol
Take care,

Smoking gun.

cowgirl said...

Thanks Smoking Gun! :)
I really like the thing and I've used it a lot. The little side table is handy to have.
It was an easy build...I might have to make another one. lol

Thanks again SG!! :)

Anonymous said...

Very cool site! And very informative. Can you please share where you get the juvenils shrimp srom and how much they cost?
Chuck in the Heart of Dixie.

cowgirl said...

Thank you Chuck!

I usually get mine in Texas, I can pick them up and save shipping costs.
Here is a good site that shows more options for juveniles, might be one closer to your area.

It's from Mississippi State U

The prices vary depending on what size you purchase and the quantity...the more you buy the cheaper they usually are.
Hope this helps! :)

Anonymous said...

Hi ya Cowgirl...

Another Chuck here, but I'm from Cowtown.

Just wanted to comment on your USD. Those things are great. I built one awhile back, and although it doesn't look near as nice as your, it is very efficient and would use anything else now.

If you dont mind, next time that I update my blog I will post a link to your site.

Take care...


cowgirl said...

Hi Chuck!
Thanks for the compliment about my UDS. :)

I really like mine too, it's so easy to use and I don't have to worry about watching over it while the food cooks. Seems to take care of itself.

I don't mind at all if you post a link to my site on your blog, I will do the same.
I just checked out your blog....great looking recipes!

Thanks again Chuck! :)

Anonymous said...

your uds is the best i've ever seen.
i'm going to start building mine tomorrow. how much charcoal an wood do you use for a normal smoking?
thanks porky pete

cowgirl said...

Thank you Pete!
I appreciate it. :)

I always seem to start with 8lbs of charcoal and add maybe 4 small chunks of wood on top.

This gets me through a long..say 8 hr smoke.
When my food is done, I just shut the valves and air outlets in the lid and the coals extinguish... I use them on the next cook.

I do use my homemade coal basket in the drum... works great for me.

Thanks again! If you have any questions while you build yours, let me know. I might be able to help ya or at least point you in the direction to find help. :)

I'd also love to see your drum when your finished. :)

Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

Wow that is an awesome smoker..How do you change the wood or charcoal chunks while you are smoking something?


cowgirl said...

Thank you Anonymous!
I load the basket with about 8lbs of coal and it lasts through the whole smoke... I don't add any more.
Any coals that are left when I'm through, extinguish when I close the air holes at the end of the cook.
Any coals left get used next time.

The longest smoke I've done in it so far is 8 hours.

As for the wood I use to add flavor..... I start with a few on top of the hot coals, then add a few when needed from the top.

Hope this helps! Let me know if I didn't explain it well. :)

I really love the thing. lol

Anonymous said...

hello CG! i am using your cool idea for my smoker as well, but neded some pointers' what size of barrel did or that you feel would work the best for me? oh and what is your personal favorite wood to smoke with?

thank you!


cowgirl said...

Hi Kallan!

Mine is a 55 gal drum. The main thing to remember is to place the cooking grate 2' above the hot coal grate.

I seem to use hickory a lot...but love mesquite on brisket and apple on pork... I guess it depends on what I'm smoking. :)

Good luck with your drum Kallan...let me know if I can be of any help!

Unknown said...

Question for you, I saw in your picture that you actually have a smaller box smoker in the background, I've been having a hard debate if I want to build one or buy the box smoker you have behind the barrel. I think the largest piece I'll do is a shoulder or a turkey. I'm just wondering what are the pros and cons since you have both.

cowgirl said...

Hi Daniel,
I do have a small vertical charcoal Btinkman. It's a 2 door version. The coals go in the bottom door and the food in the top.

The little Brinkman is fine but the drum holds more. Also if you get a vertical smoker, you need to either drill more holes in the hot coal basket or use a different basket because there aren't enough air holes to keep the coals going at a good temperature.

I use a home made coal basket like the one in my drum. Made from expanded metal.
Here is a link to my charcoal basket ..

Overall I like the drum better. It's so easy to use and reliable. I can load it up and not worry about adjusting temperatures or adding more coals.

I think you should get both. lol :)

Hope this helps ya Daniel. :)

Anonymous said...

Hi cowgirl

What type of plugs do you have for the top. I'm making my UDS now but i dont want to use the plugs i have.



cowgirl said...

Hi Rick,
I am not sure what they are called. They look like large threaded bolts and are about 1 1/2 inches long.
I drilled 1" holes and the plugs are 3/4 of an inch.
They screw right in.
So sorry I can't be more specific as to what they are called.

For some reason I want to call them threaded pipe plugs, but I could be wrong!

If I find out, I'll post the name here.



BBQ And Smoking Junction said...

Hi Jeanie

Sorry to be a question asker. Does the valve at the bottom serve as your only vent. I was thinking on a few around the bottom.


cowgirl said...

Hi Rick,
I do not mind answering your questions! :)
There are 4 air intake holes total around the bottom of the barrel.
The one ball valve and three 3/4 inch pipe nipples.

I usually smoke with all of the air outlets open on the lid of the drum and I start by opening 2 of the inlets on the bottom and the ball valve. Then I adjust the temperature with the ball valve.

You could drill your air intake holes and just use magnetic strips to cover them.....then slide them open as far as you need for air intake.
That's just another option.

I'd sure like to see your drum when you get it built Rick. :)


BBQ And Smoking Junction said...

Thanks again Jeanie.

I have some pics posted on my blog. I still need a few things yet but its getting there.


cowgirl said...

You're sure welcome Rick!
I'll check out your blog...thanks! :)

Anonymous said...

Hi, I am making a drum smoker, my drum is food grade but it has a telfon coating on the inside, do I need to sand it completely off? I was thinking of burning then sanding and painting over what was left. Thank you for making such a wonderful blog


cowgirl said...

Hi Smokesumptin,

I'm not sure about using one with a teflon coating. I've heard good and bad things about teflon at high temperatures.
I'd probably sand it down to bare metal and season the inside with oil like seasoning a cast iron pan.

You could probably burn it before sanding, but be careful of the fumes... I think that teflon at a high heat gives off toxic fumes.
(just what I've heard anyway.)

You don't want any paint in the inside of the barrel at all.

Hope this helps Smokesumptin!
Let me know if it didn't. :)

Thanks for checking out my blog too!!

Anonymous said...

I'd like to ask your advice. I'm new to smoking. I've been getting great results on ribs with a gasser converted for indirect heat. Now I would like to move up a level.

I've been considering getting a cheap offset grill until I came across your site.

I live in a cold climate during winter and would still like to smoke all year. Would this UDS be able to hold the heat of a fire in low outdoor air temps? I know the offset won't. Perhpas a mod with a insulation blanket could do the trick. Is this even needed?

cowgirl said...

Hi Anonymous!
I've used mine during the winter here in Oklahoma without a blanket. I'm not sure how cold of an area you are in, but I've had friends in Michigan use their drums with snow piled all around. I guess the fact that the heat will rise makes them easier to get up to temperature. I've not heard them mention using blankets on theirs.
If you can find a drum, the cost of building one is minimal.

There is another post here on my blog under favorites that shows the build a bit better. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. I do not mind helping if I can.

I use mine a LOT! lol

BOX Learning said...

Cowgirl, what do you have your barrel sitting on? This is a very cool design. I think I can even do this! Ha!

cowgirl said...

Thank you Box Learning!
I'm sure you would be able to build one, they are pretty easy and the food they cook is outstanding. :)

Mine is sitting on a regular "drum dolly". You can purchase them at places that sell drums.
I lucked out and someone gave me this one.. I just painted it black.
I had already purchased casters to attach to the bottom of my drum but when a friend saw what I had planned, he dropped off the dolly...said he didn't need it!

If you google drum dolly there are several pics online. I guess I should post a pic of mine here!

Thanks again and good luck with your build. If you have any questions, let me know!

Steve said...


Love you not so ugly smoker.

I am an american that has lived in Greece for years. I am still the oly one I know that smokes food & they love it.

How do you clean out the ash? Just open & turn it over?

I plan to build this unit but I will open the bottom & stand in in a wheeled steel platform a bit larger than the drum diameter. When I have to clean it out I will lift it off & collet the ash for my fruit tree fertilizer. Nothing goes to waste with me.
Fantastic work on your site.

Quasy Greek

cowgirl said...

Thank you Steve!
I really like my drum smoker and seem to use it a lot. When I clean the ashes, I wait until they are cooled and vacuum them out with my shop vac. It's the easiest way for me. I am able to life the drum off of it's base and dump it but it's pretty heavy for the vacuum works better.

I would love to see your drum when you get it finished. That is a great idea to use the ashes for your trees. :)

I've never been to Greece but imagine it is really beautiful over there. It's great that you are able to smoke your own foods, Bet they are tasty!

Thank you for the kind comments and thanks for stopping by. :)


Tyronicus said...

Ok so I think I am in love with you...I am pretty sure my wife would be ok with it if we got married as long as no conjugal stuff was going on....Seriously you are soo unbelievvably talented and resourceful...Your website makes me hungry and i am in hot pusuit of a food grade drum.
How did you seal the air intake to the drum?
Also did you tie or toothpick the bacon woven around the sausage roll?
Excellant website...thanks so much for sharing

cowgirl said...

lol Thanks for the laugh Tyronicus!
The pipe nipples just screw into the air intake holes. You can weld them if you like.. I didn't and have had no problems. JB Weld might be used too.
No toothpics on the bacon weaves. Just tuck the sides in as you roll and then leave the seam side on the bottom.
Good luck!
Thanks for checking out my blog too. :)

carolloyd said...

Can you show a photo of the bottom side of drum smoker and what do you have inside off it that you have a valve out side at the bottom

cowgirl said...

Hi Carolloyd!
I'm not sure if you are talking about the inside of the drum where the ball valve is? If you click on the photo of my Drum at the top right side of the page it might have the pics you need.
Hope this help!

carolloyd said...

Do you have a gas buner inside the drum on the bottom is that where the valves go to that I see on the outside

cowgirl said...

Hi Carolloyd!
There is no burner in the drum. The valve is only for air intake.
There are 3 holes with just pipe nipples screwed in (threaded pipe)... and then the ball valve is attached to another piece of threaded pipe and screwed into the drum.
The valve just allows for "fine tuning" what air comes into the drum.

I usually smoke with at least 2 of the air intakes and the ball valve open all the way. Seems to work best in most weather.
Hope this helps, let me know if it didn't! :)

gopokes said...

Hi Cowgirl,

Fellow Oklahoman here. Where did you find your drum? I googled and searched craigslist for drums in OK and no luck

cowgirl said...

Hi Gopokes! Hope you're not getting any of this strong wind today. :)
I already had my drum. It's an old one.
You might try googling 55 gallon steel drums in okla city. I think some companies sell them new. Be sure to get an open top one, with the lid separate. They are just easier to mess with. Cutting the lid off can be a pain.
Hope you have good luck with it!