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-   -   Big Drum Smokers (http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/showthread.php?t=16896)

Samichlaus 04-02-2006 10:51 AM

Big Drum Smokers
 
These look interesting, sort of a large bullet smoker without a water pan. Seems like the meat drippings would fall down into the fire, I'm not sure if that's good or not. Refueling might be a pain, looks like you would need to take out the meat racks, but maybe the charcoal lasts so long it hardly matters. The regular model is about 23" in diameter, not sure how big the jumbo is.


http://groups.msn.com/BigDrumSmoker-BDS

tommykendall 04-02-2006 12:17 PM

I remembr a guy from several years ago - Steve Lancaster I think the name was. He developed what he called the Little Drum Smoker and claimed it worked wonders and burned forever. It was only like $40 and received many great reviews. I think he destined to go with larger versions, but never got around to it during my tenure on that list. Those shown are nice - little pricy for what they are and compared to what was available for $40..

Bigmista 04-02-2006 12:40 PM

How do you control temps and airflow?

1MoreFord 04-02-2006 12:49 PM

Mista,

From what I've seen of 'em Rocky experimented quite a while to balance airflow and temps so it's supposed to be set and forget.

I know GiturDone has one. Maybe he'll drop by and let everyone know.

thirdeye 04-02-2006 12:49 PM

I've been looking at them. Would make a great cooker for summertime parties and very portable. It's bound to have some temperature swings in the winter.

They are a very heavy duty drum and standard sized grates fit in. Like my Eggs, you load enough charcoal for the entire cook (10 ro 12 hours) and there are a number of vent holes toward the bottom for adjustment. You can set-up additional grates too. The distance from the charcoal to the product is 24" which is about perfect. I don't think they have an ash cleanout door, dont know how you deal with that chore. Adding a Guru mount would be the cats a**.

qman 04-02-2006 01:41 PM

Long but interesting about the Big Drum
 
Here is a review by Danny Gaudlen about the big drum. While Rocky Richmond was developing the Big Drum, he was hosting a BBQ forum called Rocky's BBQ Forum. Danny was a regular on that site, as was I.

qman

The BDS is a 16 gauge drum that is approximately 38 in. tall and 23 1/4 in. wide. It has a high heat resistant paint and the color is black. It comes standard with one cooking grate that is 22 1/2 in. wide, a good thermometer, and a heavy duty charcoal ring that measures 6 in. deep and at least 13 in. in diameter. The ring is mounted on a grate that fits into the bottom of the pit and easily holds 12 lbs. or more of charcoal. The distance from the charcoal ring to the bottom of the the drum is about 2 1/4-2 1/2 in. for ash build-up. Distance from the bottom of the charcoal ring to the cooking grate is about 24 in. The lid is very tight fitting, plenty heavy, and has eight 1/2 in. vent holes precisely cut at even intervals. The bottom of the drum has three 7/8 in. air intakes with a plug for each one to regulate the draft. Pit weights about 72 lbs and comes in a shrink wrap. Lid is super secured. There was no damage (dings or dents) to my pit which was delivered by Fed-X. Pit can be easily transported from place to place by one person.

Within 15 minutes of the first cook, I knew this pit was a winner. The smell was absolutely what I look for in a first class cooker and NEVER have I achived this quality for the price and cooking capacity. I call it that ol' time "Grandpaw smell"... when many years ago men cooked meat over hardwood coals and the smoke from the wood and the drippings from the meat fell down into the fire, creating an aroma that was unforgetable. It was a lot of work. Not saying that some folks don't do this today, but they are a dying breed. This pit accomplishes this ol' time flavor with little effort due to the fact that the cooking grate is located about 24 inches from the bottom of the charcoal ring which allows direct cooking over the coals, plus the well thought out design from Mr. Richmond. There's a lot more to what he has created than just cutting a hole in the bottom and top of a barrel and calling it a good cooker.

When loaded with 10-12 lbs. of charcoal, I was able to cook long cooking meats (brisket, butts, etc.) without refueling the fire, which could be a pain to some (taking off the cooking grate to add charcoal, wood etc.). With three or four good size chunks of wood (fist size or larger), I used three pecan "mini" logs about 2- 2 1/2 in. in diameter and 6 in. long, the smoke never ran out. I was skeptical about this aspect, but it kept on smokin. After the meat came off and the fire diminished, the only thing left was a couple of the pecan logs that were nearly burned up, but not completely. So the smoke keeps going for a long cook when done properly with no additional wood needed. The pit was still up to cooking temperature after my cook was done. I got about a 10 hour burn, or longer, on 10-12 lbs. of charcoal with wood chucks at an ambient temperature of 48-50 degrees. Summer time heat will bring longer cooks, if that's important to you. One thing you need to remember when cooking this method...the meat will cook quicker due to the DIRECT and convection heat combined. This method of cooking does not reduce flavor...This is a good thing. I know how so many folks get hung up on super long cooking times, and I ain't gonna get into that. That theory holds true in certain cooking situations, but it is not a constant.

Performance: This smoker created a good even heat over the entire cooking grate...not perfect, but close. Never cooked on a pit yet that the heat was perfect. The fire and heat control was a breeze. Easiest I've ever seen. It held steady for hours with an adjustment of putting in one or two plugs out of the three into the air intakes. You can go off and leave this smoker for hours once you do a few cooks on it and figure out how to use the plugs (or sleep at a cook off). Mr. Richmond sends the "how to" manual with the smoker and it is very easy to read and understand, plus accurate. Just read it. Easy as can be. If ones wishes to add a second cooking shelf, that is easily done. Since there are 9 inches from the cooking shelf to the lid, one could add a second shelf at 4 1/2 in. above the main shelf. This would give you a distance of 4 1/2 in. between each cooking shelf and the lid. This would work fine for chichen halves, briskets, sausage, ribs, and other items that aren't too tall. However, if you are smoking tall items like butts, turkeys, beer can chicken, or using rib racks, either take out the second shelf and use the main one, or for high capacity cooking (12 beer can chickens, four turkeys, etc.) place the top cooking shelf eight inchs above the main cooking shelf and use a Weber 22 1/2 in. kettle grill lid for the main lid. This will give you a lot of distance from the top cooking shelf to the lid and about 32 in. from the bottom of the fire box. An extra cooking shelf (22 1/2 in.) can be ordered from Amazon.com for $16.99.

As the cooker comes with one cooking grate, it is a serious machine. You can cook a 10-12 lb. brisket and 2 pork butts, or 4 big butts, or 2 big briskets, or 8 slabs of ribs using the Cookshack rib holder, or 6 beer butt chickens. Figuring the most bang for your bucks...or should I say food...(briskets and butts) one can easily feed 20-25 people. Add the second cooking shelf and you can feed more people than I want in my house on one given day. If this smoker isn't big enough for you, the man makes a Jumbo cooker that holds about 2 1/2 to 3 times the meat the BDS does. It sell for 525 American Dollars. If you want a stainless steel one, that's avaliable also. I can't tell you how much fun I've had cooking on this smoker. I keep coming back to it day after day and it has become my favorite out of many. It is a joy to have in my back yard.

I've talked to a lot of pit makers and distributors in my 30 years of being in the BBQ business. This I can tell you for sure... Rocky Richmond is serious about his smokers and is a man of the highest integrity. He believes in his product and will do his best to see that you are a satisfied customer. Good luck with your smokers, Rocky. What a deal.

Danny

thirdeye 04-02-2006 02:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by qman
Here is a review by Danny Gaudlen about the big drum. While Rocky Richmond was developing the Big Drum, he was hosting a BBQ forum called Rocky's BBQ Forum. Danny was a regular on that site, as was I.

That review ain't fair. When Danny says I call it that ol' time "Grandpaw smell"... when many years ago men cooked meat over hardwood coals and the smoke from the wood and the drippings from the meat fell down into the fire, creating an aroma that was unforgetable. It was a lot of work. Not saying that some folks don't do this today, but they are a dying breed. I get a real flashback. My grandfather had a home-made drum smoker in the 60's. It had about an inch of concrete in the botom to insulate the fire ring and to slow down rust. On weekends we would hang in the backyard and he would listen to baseball games on the radio, drink beer and teach us things. You could smell that cooker for two blocks, he burned oak and pecan. Barbecuing was the only time my granny didn't mind him drinking beer all day.

qman 04-02-2006 03:25 PM

You are right, thirdeye, that review is not fair. However is is absoutely correct. I too remember the smells of my grandfather's pit. His was a brick one though, and like most of the pits back then, the meat WAS cooked directly over the coal bed, seperated by a couple of feet. All the fat and juices did drip into the coals, and that changed the smells and the flavors.

It was not until the coming of the off set cooker that the meat was moved from directly over the coals.

I cooked for many years on a brick vertical pit in my backyard that positioned the meat over the coals, with no water[or sand] pan, so the fat could drip into the coals and rise with the smoke to flavor the meat.

JamesB 04-02-2006 03:43 PM

I've heard nothing but good things about the drum smokers... but, I can't believe that folks are paying that much for what is just a drum, and a couple of grates..

I built one and have less than $20 into it... Got the drum for free. Grates are weber kettle grates I got on clearance. A few bolts (to hold the grates), drill a few holes and there ya go... You can also use a weber charcoal ring in the bottom to improve burn times...

James.

ThomEmery 04-02-2006 03:58 PM

Yes I have one Its fun to use The plugs on the side control temp
Rocky has the thing dialed in GREAT Pork Butt direct fire
Leave the lid of temps rise (more air) and you can finnish chicken
Just dont get the old one too small
oh yes I have not had to add fuel the fire outlasts the meat even on Butts
DONT use new Kingsford Lump was too hot I use ol Kingsford or Royal or Duraflame

Call Rocky I talked to him 60 min before I decided to buy

Yes the smell is wonderful ,Crispy Bark on the Butts

Kevin 04-02-2006 03:59 PM

Oh boy! The OL's gonna *hit when I put another smoker out back. This just looks too easy to not try. Now that you guys mention it, that smell of the rendering fat hitting the coals is a fond memory from my whole hog roasting days. Keeping the coal bed 2 feet away and controling the air makes perfect sense. The price is probably justified, but I think I'll try home brew.

We have the technology. We can build it.

thirdeye 04-02-2006 04:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by qman
You are right, thirdeye, that review is not fair. However is is absoutely correct. I too remember the smells of my grandfather's pit. His was a brick one though, and like most of the pits back then, the meat WAS cooked directly over the coal bed, seperated by a couple of feet. All the fat and juices did drip into the coals, and that changed the smells and the flavors.

It was not until the coming of the off set cooker that the meat was moved from directly over the coals.

I cooked for many years on a brick vertical pit in my backyard that positioned the meat over the coals, with no water[or sand] pan, so the fat could drip into the coals and rise with the smoke to flavor the meat.

Here is a blast from the past....Did yours resemble ours?


qman 04-02-2006 04:29 PM

Your's looks more like the open pit my grandad used to cook on. Mine was built with the fire chamber directly under the vertical smoke chamber, with cast iron doors for access to the shelves. It really looked like a bigger, brick version of the cabinet style smokers made by Great Outdoors and others. I will try to dredge up a picture, but I know I don't have any thing digital of it.

kcquer 04-02-2006 04:32 PM

The pit qman describes and thirdeye pictures that I learned about Q on. It was my Great Uncle's pit at his cabin on Lake of the Ozarks. Just like the pic above except it had a grilling grate up front in the burndown area. You could smell ribs cooking in that thing clear down at the dock all afternoon.

Samichlaus 04-02-2006 06:10 PM

That picture is priceless


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