Uds Vs Offset Smoker – Complete Comparison

Comparison Between Uds Vs Offset Smoker:

Here is the Difference Between Uds vs Offset Smoker and complete detail.

Product one
Product Two
Offset Smoker
Offset Smoker
Market Value
Market Value
Less Expensive
Price Level
Price Level
Best Smoker Under $500
Runs on wood or Charcoal
Runs on wood or charcoal
Running Cost
Running Cost
High Moderate
Low-moderate running Cost
No power required
No power required
Cooking Value
Cooking Value
For Small Cooking
Small to very large cooking capacity
Portable Status
Portable Status
Difficult to Portable due to weight
Generally not Portable
Cooking Level
Cooking Level
Quick Cooking(barbecue)
Suitable for smoking and grilling

What is UDS?

The ‘U’ in UDS refers to Ugly. The drum is very simple looking, but it gets the job done! You can put whatever meat or veggies into it that you want at whatever time, and they’ll come out tasting delicious!

The ‘D’ in UDS refers to Drum. The ‘drum’ is the steel cylinder that holds your food. If you decided to make one yourself, it would probably look something like this.

My ugly drum smoker

The UDS smoker comes with a lot of safety features that make it easier for you to start smoking your meats. The first is the water pan. This will help provide moisture and keep the temperature down inside the smoker. Another feature is the firebox, which has an access door at one end so you can easily add wood chips to keep your smokes going strong. Finally, there’s also a dome vent which helps regulate airflow within the smoker-perfect!

The UDS smoker makes it easy for you to smoke up all of your meats without having any problems or worries about how long they’re cooking in there! It does this with its easy access door on the end of the firebox. It allows you to add your wood chips easily when you want and also provides an adjustable airflow system that helps regulate the temperature inside the smoker. All in all, it’s probably one of the best smokers out there!

And finally. One more thing – did I mention how useful this smoker is? Yeah, there’s a reason why it’s called UDS (Ugly Drum Smoker)!

How can we make UDS?

A UDS [Ugly Drum Smoker] is a smoker relatively easy to make and uses items commonly found in hardware or home improvement stores. The design of such a smoker was popularized by “welding make” on the Smoking Meat Forums, who used Google SketchUp to create his designs for fellow members.

*UDS stands for Ugly Drum Smoker*

The two main constituents of a UDS are:

  • an old propane tank (55-gallon drum)
  • some sort of metal bowl intended for use over an open fire (a wok, turkey fryer pot, etc.)
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UDS Making

Here’s what you’ll need:

  1. Old propane tank (with valve)
  2. A metal bowl (with handle)
  3. 1/8 inch steel rod (optional, but recommended as it improves airflow and increases heating efficiency)

These items can be purchased at a local hardware store like Lowes or Home Depot. While you can use almost anything for the bowl, try to find something with a wide base, flat bottom, and relatively high sides; you’ll thank yourself later when your meat doesn’t fall into the fire.

If you do not have a propane tank available, consider asking a local welding shop if they have any tanks that they will sell or if they know of anyone who would want to get rid of one. You could also look into purchasing a new drum from somewhere such as Harbor Freight.

Now that you have a drum, it is time to get it ready for smoking! You’ll need a drill with the correct bit (a 1/2″ drill bit will work) and some sandpaper or steel wool. If at all possible, try to clean your drum before drilling any holes; since drums are old their original owners may not have taken care of them, so there may be contaminants in the walls of the drums that could make their way into your food.

Start by drilling 2-3 holes in the bottom of your drum (about 1″ from its outside edge), then put sandpaper over one end of a long screw and attach it to an electric screwdriver; use this to drill several holes along the top of the drum (about an inch below the lid). The goal here is not to remove any metal, but to roughen up the surface so that your charcoal will grip it more effectively! If you’re having trouble fitting your drum over the Weber Lid, take off one handle.

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What do they Cook?

You name it, they cook it! Steaks, ribs, chops, chicken… anything that would normally go on a barbecue or grill can go into a UDS Even things like pizzas and baked potatoes can be cooked.

What are the benefits?

UDS smokers offer the following benefits over other types of smokers:

  • Quicker cooking times – UDS smokers can cook food much closer to a barbecue than most other types of smokers, so it’s quicker. Usually only about an hour is needed for really good results!

Brisket off of UDS

  • More efficient fuel use – Less charcoal or wood will be used because you’re able to get your food to the ideal temperature faster.
  • Better tasting food – Because you have more control over what happens inside your smoker, you can produce better tasting meat with less effort.
  • The ability to cook for longer periods of time if required – It’s possible to leave your food smoking overnight without any risk of it burning or drying out.
  • Better construction quality – While there are certainly some well-built UDS smokers out there, most are made from thin steel which isn’t the best choice when it comes to longevity.
  • It’s also surprisingly common for people to buy a used UDS and for someone else’s sloppy welding job (or lack of welding at all) to result in leaks that make the smoker worthless.
  • Less effort required in general – You don’t have to spend any time basting or mopping meat with barbecue sauce because there is so little chance of ruining your food by overcooking it.
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Disadvantages of UDS:

The usual disadvantages of UDS smokers are:

  • Be prepared to give away many hours of your life to this device.
  • The worst part is that even when you get it right, if you put too much charcoal in there or don’t adjust the air-flow correctly, there’s no smoking at all and you’ve wasted a bunch of expensive meat because now it’s dry and tough.
  • The smoke flavor isn’t as good as that produced by a good electric smoker.
  • The product produced by an Ugly Drum Smoker just can’t hold a candle to that of a nice electric smoker.

Offset Smoker:

Offset Smoker

An offset smoker is a style of barbecue grill that offers several advantages over other designs. The more traditional, box-shaped barbeque requires relatively even heat to deliver the best results; however, this is difficult to achieve on an open fire. An offset smoker attempts to solve this problem by literally “offsetting” the firebox from the main cooking chamber.

What does that mean?  Is it safe?

An offset smoker is used by restaurants and backyard amateurs for its ability to maintain temperature with little effort.  As long as you set up your offsets properly (which we’ll cover in detail later), they are fairly safe.

Who needs an offset smoker?

A lot of home smokers prefer offsets because they’re easy to modify, unlike other smokers that are built for performance.  Home smokers often use offsets because you can add room in the smokebox for more fuel, air intake control, and exhaust damper.

How does an offset smoker work?

As mentioned before, the firebox is separate from the cooking chamber which allows it to produce much hotter temperatures than traditional barbecue pits.  The firebox must be large enough to hold all of your charcoal (and wood chunks) for hours at a time without having to refuel.

The offset design requires three parts: The main cooking chamber or “stick burner”, the firebox (which holds the coals), and an ash pan.

How to Use an Offset Smoker

A chimney on the cooking chamber is used to draw fire up into the center of the pit, then it flows into the left side for burning.  The right side holds an ash pan that catches ashes and grease, making clean-up much easier.

The smokebox should be large enough to hold plenty of fuel, yet small enough to retain heat.  This design allows you control over airflow by adjusting dampers located on both sides of the smoker.  Nearby dampers can also adjust airflow through the charcoal bed.

A thermometer on the top vent lets you know if it’s time to add more coals or wood chunks, or whether or not it’s time to start basting.  You’ll also be able to see what the pit’s internal temp is by looking through the glass on the doors.

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Four steel locking casters (wheels) and a front door handle make moving and positioning this smoker easy.

An offset smoker has two chambers: one where the food is cooked, and another that holds coals used for smoke generation. This adds an extra bonus of control – by adjusting airflow between these chambers, you can add more or less smoke as needed, without worrying about overcooking your food while it’s smoking.

Both chambers have adjustable dampers so you can maintain optimal temperature during cooking and while generating smoke, respectively. The firebox chamber is designed specifically for efficient food smoking, with a baffle that minimizes direct heat radiation to the meat. Heavy-gauge steel grates provide excellent airflow and fuel capacity for long, consistent smokes.

The cooking chamber comes standard with 5 damper openings (2 top, 2 sides,s, and 1 bottom) which you can use to control airflow allowing you to make fine adjustments to the temperature inside the smoker.  You’ll also find our fire grate is hinged so it’s dead simple to add more charcoal during your smoke if necessary. after you’ve made some room by shoveling out ashes.     A removable ash drawer makes cleanup quick and easy.

Offset Smoker Pros:

  • Dual chamber design makes it easy to add more fuel
  • Adding fuel won’t disrupt the heat and smoke levels in the cooking chamber
  • Most double as a grill either in the firebox or by switching out the cooking chamber grates to make a large charcoal pit
  • Can be run on pure wood
  • Doesn’t require power so can be set up anywhere
  • Long-lasting barbecue

Offset Cons:

  • Regular offset smokers do vary a lot in temperature from one end to the other so meat requires careful arrangement and/or turning
  • Takes most people longer to learn how to use an offset well than to do the same on a vertical
  • Requires frequent tending to throughout the cook

Check out best Uds Vs Offset Smoker 2022


If you’re looking for a smoker that is more economical, the offset smoker may be right for you. With an offset smoker, your fuel source will be on one side of the grill and there should be air vents to keep constant airflow happening in order to prevent too much heat from building up. The UDS (Up Draft Smoker) has two grates where meat can cook at different temps which means it’s perfect for cooking large cuts of meats like whole chickens or pork shoulders.

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