UDS Build.

For years now I have fancied having a go at building a UDS (Ugly Drum Smoker) but never really had the time. So with less U.K. competitions in the calendar and my business being quieter than normal this year I decided to make a start.

After reading numerous forums and pages on the internet I decided to search out and pay extra for a new, unlined, open top drum, as I really couldn’t face burning out and sanding the dreaded tan liner, and I also wanted to know that nothing nasty had been in the drum. £40 well spent for piece of mind though.photo

The only things that needed removing were the strap that holds the top on and a rubber strip inside the lid.

The next job was to make a charcoal fire basket with ashpan. Again, reading the forums a good way to go was to buy a cheapo supermarket bbq and use it’s base as an ashpan. I decided to bolt the ashpan to a replacement pro q excel charcoal basket.

Next job was the exhaust. I wanted a small right angle piece of car exhaust fitting into the existing bunghole. So a quick visit to a former neighbour and an hour later I had this.

For a living I work with carbon fibre and I wanted to cover the whole barrel with it but unfortunately my curing oven is too small to accommodate it. I did try one section to see if it would get hot enough to cure whilst running but it didn’t, so we opted for a Matt black finish and I have used the carbon fibre on the lid and side tray.


The only thing I would probably do differently next time is some kind of different wheel system. The castors I have fitted have made it a bit wobbly but not terrible.

I always intend to use a guru controller to run this uds so there was no need to add any more than one inlet, which I did complete with ball-valve. Also pictured here is the side tray.

I personally prefer the uds with its original lid as opposed to the weber lids that some people choose to fit, which meant I set the first grate 6″ down and another 3″ under that.

Handles fitted.



First burn.

Holding temp perfectly.

As most people that have built one of these cookers knows they are one of the most reliable available and so economic. After 14 hours on one load of charcoal I had to shut it down and there was more than half the basket of charcoal remaining.

Two all beef patties………

Most people are familiar with the song.

After stumbling across a youtube video of someone making a homemade big mac we decided to give it a go. So here is what we did and we thought the taste was great and the appearance was similar in looks to the advertising but twice the size of the actual burger!

The only thing to do in advance is make up the ‘special sauce’.

Mix all of these ingredients and allow them to ‘marry’ for a few hours in the fridge.

1/2 cup of mayonnaise

2 Tbs of French salad dressing

2 Tbs of Sweet pickle hamburger relish

1 Tbs of minced white onion

1 tsp of white vineger

1 tsp of white sugar

1/8 tsp of salt.

Next up….make your burger.

You will need 2 sesame seed buns per burger. 1 cut in half and the other with just the middle third cut out to make the middle of your burger.special sauce

2 palm sized balls of minced beef made into patties as thin or thick as you prefer (we made our about 1/2 inch thick), seasoned with a little salt and pepper. Half an onion (finely chopped). A handful of chopped lettuce. A couple of slices of burger cheese. Three or four slices of dill pickle.pickles cheese

Lightly toast the burger bun and fire up the pit. Grill the burgers for a few minute each side or until cooked through.patties after Assemble as follows. Spread ‘special sauce’ on bottom of bun and middle of bun, follwed by lettuce, onion and dill then cheese and burger. Stack it all together and consume safe it the knowledge that you know exactly what went in there……side viewdone

Pay at the next window please………………………


The Drunks favourite Doner Kebab.

This recipe is adapted from a recipe found on the net for lamb shish kebabs and I have added my own tweeks to come up with something very similar to a Takeaway Doner Kebab, but obviously containing ingredients that were sourced by you and you will know exactly what they are……..anyone who has eaten a town centre takeaway kebab after a few adult beverages will understand where I am coming from!

Mix the following in a bowl. 1lb of lamb mince, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp plain flour, 1/2 tsp black pepper, 2 tsp of Todd’s Dirt or dried italian herbs, 1/2 tsp  garlic powder, 1/2 tsp onion powder, 1/4 tsp cayenne. Mix well and form into your roll or mini doner shape.

kebab before

Fire up the pit (or if you’re lazy the oven) to about 350 degrees F (or 180 C) and cook for approx 1 hour and 15 minutes or until done.

kebab done

Serve with a salad and chilli sauce and garlic yoghurt.

kebab plated



D.I.Y. BBQ Pizza.

Ok, the next feature in our D.I.Y. Takeaway food series is BBQ Pizza. Now you don’t need a dedicated Pizza oven for this so don’t be put off if you haven’t got one, we haven’t either. We have cooked pizza successfully on everything from an upright cabinet smoker to a weber grill. Your standard backyard bbq will do the job. The only extra I would suggest is a pizza stone, for ease of cooking and that extra special stone-baked feel. Here is an example http://www.weberbbq.co.uk/accessories/all-round-accessories/original-round-pizza-stone/

Also after speaking to Weber U.K., they have a lot of new products due this season. One of which is a neat attachment for any Weber 57cm grill/smoker, that will transform it into a pizza oven, which will enable an even cook of both the base and the toppings in super-quick time. So as soon as they are released and we get our hands on one we will be reveiwing it in another cook, but for now here is a sneaky look.PizzaOven1PizzaOven2


Starting with the pizza base. If you want to, there are many dough recipe’s on the internet that you can download, mix and spin around the room and your head to your hearts content, if you so choose, and there is absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t do that.  I, however, am lazy, so where I can, I will use ready made things, one of which being the pizza dough. I have tried making my own and can’t honestly tell any difference. I am not talking about buying a horrible supermarket ready made base that would be put to better use by standing your plate on it, but there are some shop bought doughs out there that you can roll to your required shape and thickness and even get creative with cheesy filled edges etc.

So choose the shape (I like plain old round) and choose your thickness ( I prefer thin) and get the base ready and onto your pizza stone. Next up toppings.

Start with the sauce. Take a tin of tomato paste/puree and add your spices. Experiment with spices and amounts to create your own pizza sauce. We use a tablesoon of  ‘Todds Dirt’ which is a blend of mainly Italian herbs, but another simple spice mix is 1 teaspoon of each basil,oregano,thyme and garlic powder, plus salt and ground black pepper to taste. If you can let this sauce sit for a few hours in the fridge the flavours will have time to marry. When you are ready to assemble the pizza spread the mix onto the base first, but not too thick as this could make your base soggy, then get creative with your toppings. Next up cheese. Again experiment but try to start with a standard mozzarella to give your pizza stringiness. Also be careful to not load up with too much cheese as you will get that soggy base again. For our demo here we went with chunks of feta and mature cheddar. On top we went for olives, thinly sliced chorizo (miles tastier than pepperoni) bacon and merguez sausage chunks (so meat with a bit more meat). Finish off with a fine grating of parmesan.

pizza before

Cook time will depend on what bbq or smoker you use and what temperature you are cooking at but if you can, get the grill very hot. So set up for direct grilling with coals evenly spread and pop the lid down and wait until  it gets to around 500 degrees F or higher. Put the pizza in and close the lid. Check at around the 5-10 minute mark (unless your temperature is a lot higher then check earlier). Take off your delicious pizza when ready and consume along with your favourite beer!

pizza after


First cook on the new Christmas present.

So for Christmas Miss Piggy bought me a new toy. A Nipoori Tandoor Oven.

So I decided after seasoning her up that I would cook a little chicken tikka as a test run.
The chicken was cubed and placed in marinade over night. The next day the tandoor was fired up and in approx half an hour was hot enough to cook on.

The chicken is threaded onto skewers that come with the set and placed into the tandoor.

It took slightly over 10 mins to cook, which resulted in tender, juicy chunks of chicken which were miles better than the local takeaway!