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.