Weber Lid Conversion - UDS Ugly Drum Smoker BBQ

Article By Shorty

diy ugly drum smoker uds with weber bbq lid attached

This is my uds drum smoker that I just added a weber lid to. I previously used it weekly for about a year and a half with the lid that originally came with the barrel. Here is my UDS Barrel Smoker Build

The problem I ran into was after a while the lid started warping, and it leaked pretty bad. I think it might have been caused by the continual heat and cool cycles, and because it was pretty much just a disk with a rim, it did not have much structure to hold it flat.

I have seen lots of other drum smokers that had weber lids adapted to them, but most of them used techniques that I wasn't comfortable with to use on my smoker. The problem is the typical weber lid is about 1" smaller in diameter than it needs to be. One technique is to flare out the rim on the lid so it fits. Another technique is to cut the rim off the bottom of the weber bbq and then use high temperature caulk to attach it to the drum, so essentially you end up with a rim inside another. Don't get me wrong, I have seen the Q-View of the others in action and they appear to work just fine -- the only thing is I wanted to find a solution that fits what my preferences are.

diy ugly drum smoker uds barrel

Because of the creosote that was built up on the inside of the smoker, before I could do anything I had to clean it. I used a weed torch to burn off the gunk from the inside.

diy ugly drum smoker uds barrel

When using the flame, it has a neat effect of the creosote will crinkle up and then turn to ash making it easy to clean off later.

diy ugly drum smoker uds barrel

After a bit of scrubbing with a dish scrubber, I washed out the inside and coated with cooking oil to season the inside of the drum.

Here is the start of the weber lid adaption that I went with. I took the regular flat drum lid (forgot to take a picture) and I cut the rim part off. Then I flipped the lid upsided down and welded it to the drum part.

diy ugly drum smoker uds barrel

I did several tacks all around the edge, and then went back and welded around the entire perimeter to seal it off.

diy ugly drum smoker uds barrel

And look at that, it works !!! It isn't perfect, is not as tight as the weber egg bbq fits on it's original base, but the seal I have is much better than the flat lid.

The one draw back that I might have is that it is a little bit more volume, so I might be using more charcoal than I previously was. Or... maybe because it seals better, I will use the same or less charcoal ?

The thermometer I am using is a Maverick Dual Probe Smoker ET-73 Wireless. It is suggested in the various forums, but also numbers of people report having problems with it. I am both !! The reason I got it is because it has a transmitter part that is at the smoker (shown in the picture) and a receiver that you can carry around the house with you and know what the temperature is. It even has alarms and stuff incase the temp gets too high or too low. I think it has a timer function too, so you can have it beep at you after a certain period of time.

I can see the importance of this for conventional store bought smokers because many of them leak air and the temperature goes up and down all the time. UDS smokers have a reputation for sealing very well and being able to keep the temperature very steady for long periods of time. The one I built confirms the legend, my drum has performed just as they describe, she can keep her temp the same for hours on end.

Very soon after I got my mavarick thermometer, the receiver started fritzing out and would not receive the signal from the base unit. I might have been doing something wrong, I tried reading the instructions, but couldn't figure out what the issue was. So I put the receiver in a drawer and was going to get back to figuring it out later.. and never did. The base unit on the smoker has a display of what both temperatures are (air and meat), and thats really the only thing I use it for. Since the drum keeps the air temp at a such a steady temperature, I realized that I just didn't need the other functions. So I really like my maverick thermometer, and if this one dies, I would buy another.

diy ugly drum smoker uds barrel

Looking at the inside of the rim, I didn't exactly do the best job cutting, so it has some flat parts and you can tell it is a hack job.

diy ugly drum smoker uds barrel

The welding around the outside is pretty crappy, I still am not that great of a welder. My welds stick, they just don't look pretty so I tend to over-weld an area and then grind down the excess.

diy ugly drum smoker uds barrel

While I was at it, I made a drawer to hold my propane torch for stating the charcoal and smoker wood. In the top picture you can see that I added feet to the stand so it isn't sitting metal to the porch tiles.

When I first started smoking, I used various hard woods from the store, but I have a couple of citrus trees and they had branches die on them. So I tried them and that is what I currently use. My grapefruit tree had major portions die off from storm damage, and I cut up a lot of that wood to use with the smoker.

Just like I had read elsewhere, the citrus wood is a lot milder of a taste and my family & I really likes it.

As I learned when I first got into smoking meat, it is fairly easy to convert a weber type egg bbq into a smoker which works just as good as my shorty uds, but to me, it was just too irresistable and I had to build the drum smoker.

I think the reason why, is because this is sort of like my main hobby of building, fixing and sailing small boats. I have seen many different meat smokers out there, and with so many different types that work, I wanted to find my own configuration that worked for my preferences -- and I did, I really am happy with this smoker and use it every week.

The other part is that smoking meat is kinda like sailing. You can't just force your way upwind in a sailboat, you have to manuver through the winds & weather conditions which are constantly changing and need gentle adjustments to make it. So smoking meat is sort of the same in that perspective. To me, smoking meat isn't just making a great tasting meal, it is a fun way to cook.