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jgh1204 01-13-2007 09:10 AM

Ugly Drum Smoker
 
ADMIN NOTE:

This is the mother of all UDS threads. All information you will need to build a UDS is in this thread. use this, and a search of the forum for UDS and you will find a wealth of information.


**************************

I recently scored a free food grade 55 gallon drum. I bought a weber replacement grill and some misc. hardware. I need to go buy a handle and some hardware to make an access door.

Any advice on air flow hole placement. Size of hole? I was thinkin about getting some roofing caps to use as closures for the holes in the lid.

With my minimal metal working skills, this is not going to be pretty, but hopefully it will be effective.

ThomEmery 01-13-2007 09:15 AM

Talk to Big Mista You dont need the door The fire will last 16 hours if built right

jgh1204 01-13-2007 09:38 AM

Thanks , the simpler the better for me.

Blutch 01-13-2007 09:41 AM

I'd really love to see you post pics through the process of building this bad boy. I'd love to do one someday and a photo primer would be a great help.

Where did you get the barrel? What makes it "food grade?"
Thanks
B

jgh1204 01-13-2007 09:44 AM

There is a local food processor down the way from our office and we bought them to get rid of some contaminated dirt. Turns out the oil that was contaminating the dirt was biodegradeable and did not have to be removed.

The barrel has apple juice labels on it.

I dont think the barrel has to be food grade, you just got to make sure there was nothing hazardous to your health put in it. Therefore, it is safer to go with barrels that stored food products.

Bigmista 01-13-2007 10:49 AM

The door really isn't necessary. I found that out later. I only open it when I really need to crank up the heat quickly and most of the time Ihave to prop somethign against it to make sure it stays closed tight. I've learned a lot and my next one will be better.

I currently have six holes around the bottom and 4 holes around the top. I leave the holes at the top open during a cook and usually two holes at the bottom are open to give me steady 225-230 temps. I plug them with aluminum foil since the guy that made it just burned the holes in instead of drilling them and making them circular.

jgh1204 01-13-2007 10:51 AM

Mista, how large are the holes?

Bigmista 01-13-2007 10:53 AM

I could poke my index finge in to about the second knuckle. I'm guessing somewher between 1/2" to 3/4" in diameter.

jgh1204 01-13-2007 10:57 AM

1 more question, how high up from the bottom of the barrel?

Bigmista 01-13-2007 11:14 AM

About an inch or so. You can see the pics here:

Mod Note: Link removed to prevent a redirect. PM sent to BigMista so that he can look into what happened.



Sawdustguy 01-13-2007 11:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jgh1204
I recently scored a free food grade 55 gallon drum. I bought a weber replacement grill and some misc. hardware. I need to go buy a handle and some hardware to make an access door.

Any advice on air flow hole placement. Size of hole? I was thinkin about getting some roofing caps to use as closures for the holes in the lid.

With my minimal metal working skills, this is not going to be pretty, but hopefully it will be effective.

Exactly! It can be the fugliest grill on earth but if you can cook good Que with it, she is pretty in my eyes.

tommykendall 01-13-2007 12:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bigmista
I could poke my index finger in to about the second knuckle.

Now there's a morning visual we could do without. :shock:

jgh1204 01-13-2007 05:40 PM

Well, I think this going down as a failure. As I said, the drum was used to hold apple juice concentrate. Whatever they used to coat the inside of the drum is putting off a funky smell.

Not gonna que in that.

vr6Cop 01-13-2007 06:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jgh1204
Well, I think this going down as a failure. As I said, the drum was used to hold apple juice concentrate. Whatever they used to coat the inside of the drum is putting off a funky smell.

Not gonna que in that.

Maybe a couple of good burn-ins will take care of that smell. It just needs to burn off. :?:

motley que 01-13-2007 06:14 PM

a buddy of mine owns a scrap metal business, he is keeping his eyes out for a 55 gallon drum that has lids and is in decent shape, when i go pick it up, i will dig through his yard and see if there is a charcoal ring just laying around ready to be made

motley que 01-13-2007 06:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bigmista
I could poke my index finge in to about the second knuckle.

thats what she said

ThomEmery 01-13-2007 06:18 PM

We made a charcoal basket out of a metal washing machine drum
Sure would work as a Big Mista Smoker charcoal basket.
Easy to clean up after
The center stud gives you good air flow.

ThomEmery 01-13-2007 06:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jgh1204
Well, I think this going down as a failure. As I said, the drum was used to hold apple juice concentrate. Whatever they used to coat the inside of the drum is putting off a funky smell.

Not gonna que in that.

You have to burn that off Ol Rocky at BDS earns his money doing just that
nasty job

Thats why he buys new ones now no coating to deal with

jgh1204 01-13-2007 06:35 PM

Thom, you think it will be ok after a few more burns?

My wife thinks I am crazy for putting $50 into this. She would not understand ordering a $300 BDS, especially when I am considering buying either a Klose BYC or a Spicewine type smoker next year.

ThomEmery 01-13-2007 06:38 PM

Rocky was using apple juice bbls and quit because they are such a pain in the a$$
It takes a long burn to get the coating out of there
He earns the $300 making those BDS Smokers

Wayne 01-13-2007 06:42 PM

Bigmista's drum smoker is a beautiful thing to behold. It looks good and I'll bet it makes some mighty good eats. I saw a similar one here in Wichita that was made from an old propane tank. The fella that was using it said the secret was keeping the meat four feet above the smoldering fire. He had a huge grill area that made it easy to tend to the meat. Follow Bigmista's advise and you will have a smoker that will do you proud and be a man sized conversation piece.

Wayne 01-13-2007 06:51 PM

Bigmista's drum smoker is a beautiful thing to behold. It looks good and I'll bet it makes some mighty good eats. I saw a similar one here in Wichita that was made from an old propane tank. The fella that was using it said the secret was keepint the meat four feet above the smoldering fire. He had a humge grill area that made it easy to tend to the meat. Follow Bigmista's advise and you will have a smoker that will do you proud and be a man sized conversation piece.

Bigmista 01-13-2007 07:20 PM

Thanks Wayne!

I have made a lot of good eats on it. When I put a little more change together, I'm gonna try to hook up with Norco so we can build one together. Share the knowledge and build an even beter smoker...

jgh1204 01-13-2007 07:26 PM

I think part of the smell is the paint baking off the outside as well. I got a dang bonfire going, started to get afraid someone might call the fire dept and then I heard a siren. Luckily it never got close.

I let it burn hot for about 30 minutes, the flames were dancing above the rim. I had just put the lid on when I heard the siren.

I imagine this thing is going to burn all night.

The paint on the outside is about 70% gone.

Lesson learned. If you are living in town, you need to find a new uncoated barrel.

jgh1204 01-13-2007 07:28 PM

Does the 22.5 inch weber kettle lid fit a 55 gallon drum?

swamprb 01-13-2007 09:50 PM

I had to cut the rolled edge off the top of the drum for the Weber to fit. I laid a bead of High-temp silicone gasket on the lid for a more secure fit. The lid that came with the drum needs a little persuading but still fits.

ThomEmery 01-13-2007 10:14 PM

My Webber 22.5 fits my 55

swamprb 01-13-2007 10:41 PM

Do you use the Weber lid much? I set my E-Z-Que Rotisserie ring on it and i'm having visions of rotating old grandpa Q!

Bigmista 01-13-2007 10:51 PM

I use the weber lid when doung whole chickens or turkeys. I just kinda take my time and balance it on the top.

jgh1204 01-14-2007 12:17 AM

Well, it might not be a failure. I had closed the lid on the fire and it had settled down pretty good and we went to eat dinner. When we came back, I figured it was getting late and maybe I could get another good burn going.

So, I added 2 large oak split logs I picked up last year. Then after 30 minutes, I added 2 more. Had a real good fire going. The original green of the barrel was only visible the top 6 inches. Then, I added a bag of small mesquite chunks someone gave me that I wont ever use to make Q.

The fire got real hot and was shooting up almost a foot past the top of the barrel. The rest of the green disappeared. The bottom 2/3rds of the barrel is burnt orange(may have to give this to Jorge if the color does not improve.)

One interesting thing I learned. When you spit on the side of a orange hot barrel, your spit does not sizzle on the side. It bounces off. Pretty cool.

So there is a new saying. Spit bouncing hot.

When I put the lid on, it starting rolling white smoke, so I figured I better take it off and let the fire die down a little more. Did not want the smoke disturbing the neighbors. I was careful to step back because about 5 seconds later, there was a backdraft and flames shot up about 4 feet past the top of the barrel.

I could enjoy this a little more if I was not in the middle of a neighborhood.

Anyway, looks like I might have a usable smoker. The smell disappeared with the last of the green paint.

I am going to babysit this thing another hour or so, but I bet this stays hot until tomorrow afternoon.

Jorge 01-14-2007 12:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jgh1204

The fire got real hot and was shooting up almost a foot past the top of the barrel. The rest of the green disappeared. The bottom 2/3rds of the barrel is burnt orange(may have to give this to Jorge if the color does not improve.)

One interesting thing I learned. When you spit on the side of a orange hot barrel, your spit does not sizzle on the side. It bounces off. Pretty cool.

So there is a new saying. Spit bouncing hot.


If you were a real man you'd find another way to cool that thing off:wink: 8-)

swamprb 01-14-2007 12:54 AM

It's starting to sound like my old earthenware Kamado-it went from green to orange before I rebuilt it! The BFarkinDS has cruised for 11 hours at 275* now, Lazarri Mesquite lump!

Norcoredneck 01-14-2007 01:45 AM

Jgh,
Gather as much info as you can and build your dream. Show your wife this thread: http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/sh...&highlight=bds

My wife rolled her eyes when I started gathering parts for mine. When she tasted the goods she had a change of heart. I actually heard her bragging about "our new smoker".

Read the description of the BDS. lots of good info. I cooked the butts on mine with 1 load of 12# of kingsford. I still had time to cook when meat was done. Also keep in mind the I live off interstate 15 where the semi trucks blow over and the wind was so strong that day it blew all the potted plants and trees over on my patio. I have wheels on mine and I had to chock them because it was rolling away and I held 220-250 deg.
I prommissed to make up a word document on my build but have family emergency and not able to get to my tools to measure hole size I used for fittings(see pics.). The holes in top are 8 1/2" holes. Do yourself a favor and get a step drill to make holes. If you ever drilled thin material you know the holes are not round but will be with a step drill.
http://i91.photobucket.com/albums/k2...neck/08873.gif
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/gifs/clear.gif
My costco had them as a set. Little bit of money but they come in handy.
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/gifs/clear.gif
To answer other questions from the other thread. I have no door, I was waiting to see If I needed one. I loaded up on coal, lit, then threw on hickory chunks, Seemed to be a good combo. I have to dump mine out. Plan to make a scoop like Thirdeye did, pretty cool. I think the most difficult part of my build was the charcoal basket. Here is where I got my nickname "Norcoredneck" by my friends for my hillbilly engineering. I got a log (stump) about 13" in diameter. I got a piece of expanded metal 9 in"X43" I think. (circumference + 2" overlap) I used drywall screws and washers and screwed 9" width to log. I rolled log and tack welded when it overlapped. Remove log - ! ring. I used a piece of expanded metal and used 2 10" pieces of 1X2" tubing for standoffs and tacked it to ring.
http://i91.photobucket.com/albums/k2...sentation2.gif
Hope that makes sense.

Norcoredneck 01-14-2007 10:19 AM

Food for thought.
 
Looking at Mistas fire ring I would venture to guess he took 30 gallon drum and sliced it kept bottom for pan and slice with expanded metal for basket. This is good because it accomplished his need for emptying ash. Plus it probably provides more even heat due to fire diameter than mine. 12# of charcoal in a 13" ring stacks about 6-7 inches. In a 30 gallon drum it is lower. If it is ideal to keep 24" between coals and grill it would give more room for 2nd grill.

Mista, keep track of my ramblings and when we build the envy of barrel smokers we can use the ideas or laugh at my delirium. I think I need to wash my hands after giving the old man his Mophine

Bigmista 01-14-2007 02:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Norcoredneck
Looking at Mistas fire ring I would venture to guess he took 30 gallon drum and sliced it kept bottom for pan and slice with expanded metal for basket. This is good because it accomplished his need for emptying ash. Plus it probably provides more even heat due to fire diameter than mine. 12# of charcoal in a 13" ring stacks about 6-7 inches. In a 30 gallon drum it is lower. If it is ideal to keep 24" between coals and grill it would give more room for 2nd grill.

Mista, keep track of my ramblings and when we build the envy of barrel smokers we can use the ideas or laugh at my delirium. I think I need to wash my hands after giving the old man his Mophine

You're not delerious. That is exactly what it is. Since I am on a balcony, it would be extremely inconvenient trying to dump the whole barrel. Plus it would end up with ash going over the side and that isn't a good idea since the apartment manager living directly under me. With the setup I have, I wait a day or two to make sure there are no lit embers. Then I give the charcoal grate a shake so all of the ash falls thru in to the pan (plus the unused coal stays in the grate for the next cook). Then I just dump the used ash into an old charcoal bag.

http://www.thesurvivalgourmet.com/images/newsmoker4.jpg

http://www.thesurvivalgourmet.com/images/newsmoker7.jpg

http://www.thesurvivalgourmet.com/images/newsmoker8.jpg

Blutch 01-14-2007 02:07 PM

so, there is no need to dump ash during the cook to keep the airflow going?

Sorry if this is a stupid quesiton.

Thanks

B

ThomEmery 01-14-2007 05:33 PM

No its much like a WSM
Easy to use

jgh1204 01-14-2007 08:12 PM

Norcore, thanks for the advice on the step drills. I tried using a metal hole saw with no luck. Figured there had to be a better way.

Napper 01-17-2007 07:23 PM

You can cook more good BBQ in a 55 gal. drum than you will ever be able to eat!
I have made several custom builds. To make the holes I use an electricians "slug cutter". It makes nice clean 7/8" or 1 1/8" holes. These are perfect fits for electrical box plugs. I have also threaded 1/2" and 3/4" pipe nipples in the holes to draft air closer to the charcoal ring. The slug cutters are expensive tools but after you make a few cookers they are well worth the price.

These things can really cook.

Bigmista 01-17-2007 08:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Napper
You can cook more good BBQ in a 55 gal. drum than you will ever be able to eat!
I have made several custom builds. To make the holes I use an electricians "slug cutter". It makes nice clean 7/8" or 1 1/8" holes. These are perfect fits for electrical box plugs. I have also threaded 1/2" and 3/4" pipe nipples in the holes to draft air closer to the charcoal ring. The slug cutters are expensive tools but after you make a few cookers they are well worth the price.

These things can really cook.

Welcome aboard Bill! Do you have any pics of all of your cookers?

Now get on over to Cattle call and and introduce yourself!

gman 01-18-2007 12:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bigmista
You're not delerious. That is exactly what it is. Since I am on a balcony, it would be extremely inconvenient trying to dump the whole barrel. Plus it would end up with ash going over the side and that isn't a good idea since the apartment manager living directly under me. With the setup I have, I wait a day or two to make sure there are no lit embers. Then I give the charcoal grate a shake so all of the ash falls thru in to the pan (plus the unused coal stays in the grate for the next cook). Then I just dump the used ash into an old charcoal bag.


Thinking about building my own (Don't tell the wife). Right now I'm trying to locate as much info as possible from fellow Bretren. How do you remove the ash pan without tipping the hole unit? Also, as far as supporting the cooking grates, which is better - bolts or welded brackets? One of my neighbors is a welder, so it wouldn't be a problem to ask him for assistance.

Thanx.

Bigmista 01-18-2007 01:36 PM

The diameter of the ashpan is small enough for me to take it straight up without bumping the support brackets. Maybe the next version will have a hole for hooks to lift it out...

http://www.thesurvivalgourmet.com/im...ewsmoker11.jpg

motley que 01-18-2007 03:11 PM

i am thinking that for my ashpan i will use a water pan from a broker brinkman electric smoker that i will have. one question i have is what do you do about the drippings from the cooking grate that dont land on the coals?

I will use bolts as i have no welding capabilities. my other thought for airflow in the lid is instead of drilling 8 holes, to drill 3 and put adjustable valves in them like i will do in the bottom. any thoughts on this?

Bigmista 01-18-2007 04:53 PM

They fall in the bottom of the barrel. Hit it with a power washer (I take mine to the self-serve car wash) once every blue moon. Otherwise, don't sweat it.

I would worry more about about adjustable valves in the bottom. You want you top holes open until you are done cooking.

Napper 01-18-2007 05:33 PM

Motley Que,
I totally agree with Bigmista. Leave the holes on the top open fully while you cook. You need good convection flow in the drum. I have 3 -7/8" holes on the bottom of my drums. I usually only need one plug out to maintain a temp of 260 degrees. Two out and it goes over 340! I have never run with three out. I use Royal Oak Lump charcoal. It burns quite hot. Brickettes burn much cooler and are very constant in temperature. (easier to control) You MUST light the charcoal from the TOP. If you start it from the bottom you will never be able to control the temperature.

circle m 01-19-2007 04:58 PM

I made 1, 6 half inch close nipples threaded into the bottom of the barrel with caps, (use a multi drill bit, they thread right in). 8 half inch holes in the lid. I used the charcoal grate from a weber 18" kettle wrapped in expanded metal for the fire pit. the expanded metal is 13" high, with 2.5" below the grate for ash, and 10.5 inches above the grate for charcaol. this holds 12 pounds easy, and will burn at 225 degrees for 10 to 12 hours.

bbqpigskin 01-19-2007 08:01 PM

These drum smokers look pretty cool. May be my next BBQ project!

Blutch 01-19-2007 10:48 PM

Ok.. so, what's the diff between a WSM and one of these homemade barrel smokers?

B

swamprb 01-20-2007 04:41 AM

Direct cooking over the coals @ 24" and no water pan.

Piedmont 01-20-2007 08:55 AM

I looked over your pics...
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Bigmista
About an inch or so. You can see the pics here:

http://www.thesurvivalgourmet.com/archives/80

I looked over your pics and was curious how you 'tend' the cooking of the ribs in the drum cooker you made. Do you flip them?, do you baste?, do you spray?

You also mentioned making another drum cooker but modifing, what where the modifications you were thinking about?


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