Originally Posted by Smokin' D
You certainly can go with a shorter dim. to the lower grate. I have a 34" drum and the first grate is 26" from the barrels bottom and the second is 32" from the bottom. The charcoal grate sits about 3" off the bottom of the drum, so that leaves 23" from cooking grate to bottom of charcoal basket. I do use a donor lid from a kettle as a lid instead of the flat one. 24" is a suggestion and I bet there are some drums out there with as little as 20" charcoal grate to cooking grate.
I appreciate the reply. I think I am just thinking about this too much. It's time to just build it and see what happens!