Took the plunge
Brand new member, this being my first post beyond introducing myself in the Cattle Call forum.
I decided I needed to get back into smoking after about 5 years in the new house. Hated fighting temperatures with the offset I used to have and was determined to find a better way, which led me to this gargantuan thread.
Knowing that nothing really happens without photographic evidence, I promise to post pics once I get them uploaded and figure out how. In the meantime, here's what I hypothetically did...
Bought an unused, unlined drum last Friday. I (and mostly my wife) was still a little paranoid about exactly what the "mild rust inhibitor" was that was sprayed on the inside of the drum, I decided to do a full burn out Saturday night. Drilled 4 x 1in intake holes, wadded up a Sunday paper, tossed in about a dozen very dry fireplace logs and fired her up. WOW! It was like a jet engine on full 'burner! Flames reached at least 6 feet above the drum and the bottom 3d glowed red. Any substance on the inside or outside was toast!
The next morning, I scrubbed it out good and sanded it down as best I could. Washed with Dawn and let it air dry. The nice uniform film of rust that developed told me that I had bare steel. I drilled holes for the cooking grate, thermometer and handles. A light sanding and wipedown to remove the outside rust, followed by 2 coats of silver Krylon high heat paint. Installed all the hardware. I bought a cheapo BBQ Pro 22.5 inch kettle grill at KMart to use as donor parts. Two 12x24 sheets of expanded steel from Lowes bolted together (all hardware is SS) and wire-tied that to the charcoal grate that came with the grill form the firering. It only sits about an inch above the bottom, so it might be a little low and if so, I'll add bolts with wide washers to raise it up some. Sanded the inside and coated with Pam to prevent rust until I completed the lid (see next paragraph). The grates I used are both pretty flimsy so I can see myself getting Weber replacement parts before too long anyway. The drum itself looks awesome, silver with black handles. But then I goofed up...
Thinking I could just use a propane torch to burn off the lid, I went at it with gusto. While it did burn off cleanly, it also warped like a Dorito chip. I tried to hork it down to the drum, put the ring clamp on and heat it back up to try to get it to reshape itself, but that was only marginally effective. So, I called a local welder and have arranged to have him weld the dome lid from the donor grill to the outside hoop of the lid. I'll bring that to him in an hour or so and will get it back in a couple days time.
I'm not going to do anything fancy with the intake holes yet. For now, I've got a collection of flexible magnets from the fridge to use. Maybe I'll add nipples and a valve.
Anyway, sorry about the long post, but that's where things stand. Looking forward to getting the lid back and paining it to match then do a seasoning burn to try to dial in the temps. I was thinking about doing a fatty for a first cook to get even more seasoning on the inside surfaces. But now, finally, a couple questions:
1) Do you think the single vent on the lid will be enough, or should I drill a couple of 1/2 holes on the opposite side to even out the air flow? Probably should just wait till after the first seasoning burn to see what the temps do.
2) Anything else I might want to do besides or instead of a fatty to further the seasoning process? What's a good 'beginner' fatty recipe?
Thanks! Looking forward to learning a lot and having a ton of fun and (hopefully) good eats in the process.