I had a question about modifying the plans on my website of a UDS smoker build. (<< you can see the pictures and plan by hitting that link)

Is it necessary to install a pan where you could fill a little water somewhere between the firecage and the grid?
Thought that could be useful as a dripping pan as well as a heat reservoir. What do you think?

The UDS smokers work really great. I get an average of 16hrs burn time off 12lbs of charcoal. It’s hard to beat that!

I’ve seen a few UDS smokers with water pans, but I’ve found that it’s not really necessary. I’ve also seen people place an additional rack about 6″ below the cooking surface and use a pan or pizza stone as a heat diffuser. Both would work in shielding the heat from the meat, but I haven’t experienced a problem without either.

As long as you keep the lid closed as much as possible, you don’t have to worry with regulating the heat too much. With one intake valve 100% open the UDS will sit at 225 degrees F. When I want to cook hotter I open two intakes and it kicks up the heat to 275 F.

If you want the added assurance that the water pan gives you, go for it. It’s not 100% necessary in my opinion.

Malcom Reed
Killer Hogs BBQ Cooking Team
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About the Author

I am Malcom Reed and my brother, Waylon, and I are the Killer Hogs competition bbq team. Here at HowtoBBQright.com, I want to give you my secrets, methods and techniques you need to produce competition-quality BBQ. I want to give enough detail for BBQ novices, but still offer information that is useful for the professional BBQ cooks. I only focus on REAL bbq. And I take it seriously.

2 Comments on this article. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Kathy Cully September 29, 2012 at 3:10 pm -

    our UDS is the best….. we put 1 inch of grease sweep in the bottom, and it clums up all drippings as the product was ment to, it works very well and keeps the drum clean.

  2. Willie Green November 18, 2016 at 8:40 am -

    Without a drip pan , would excess dripping from a couple of briskest smother out the coals ?

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