Completed my first one yesterday. In the process of the first cook. Using it to season the drum, calibrate the thermometers and play with the temperature settings.
Been at it for three hours. Decided to throw a chicken in, and thats been going for about an hour. So far everything is going better than I expected.
The thermometer that I installed thru the drum, just below the bottom grate was running within 5 degrees of the one that is on the top grill.
Temperature got up to 225 -230 within 10 minutes of dumping the lit charcoal in. So far I am able to hold it steady. When I open the lid, the temp drops as expected, but then rises higher than it was before I opened the lid. More oxygen I guess. I am able to get it back down by closing the valve but when I get it back down, the setting of the valve that I need to maintain the temp is different than before. Sometimes more, sometimes less. It is not a problem in that once I get it steady it holds, just curious why the settings would be different.
If I did this right here are some pics.
End of the burn
The charcoal basket. Made from a weber 18" grate with expanded metal tied to it with rebar wire.
Close up of the basket
Build in process. Got the lid from a 22.5 in weber clone grill that I got from Dollar General on a closeout (was $50 got it for $5)
Close up of ball valve and other vents. Was going to put 3, ended with 4 when I made a mistake. Easy fix was to put a nipple in it and cap it.
Completed - still some fionishing touches I want to add - shelf, paint, wheels and handle. But wanted to start cooking with it to make sure I was happy with it before I put more money in it.
Will let you all know how the chicken came out.