Originally Posted by The Smokin Texan
I am planing on building a USD. I am going to get an unpainted unlined open top 55 gallon drum. In the lid I plan on putting 6 to 8 1/4" holes and 3 to 4 3/4" holes about an inch from the bottom. I plan on putting 2 grates one about 6 inches from the top and another about 4 inches lower than that in case I want to do a beer can chicken or a thick brisket. I am going to make a coal basket out of expanded wire and if this gives the coals to much air I will line the sides with metal and just leave the bottom with the wire mesh so coals can fall through. I will put a handle on the lid and a thermostat and then oil the drum and cook a hot fire to season it.
This is my first USD so if anybody has any suggestions on my design or if yall see an obvious mistaken I am making please let me know. Also should I strip the paint and repaint with High temp BBQ Paint. I do expect to run the pit over 350. Will the barrel paint hold up to this?
I think you're on the right track here, except for the exhaust holes. I'd make the exhaust holes on the lid at least 1/2" or maybe even 5/8" diameter. 1/4" won't give you the airflow you need to get rid of stale smoke. Put the holes in the bottom of the barrel about 2 1/2" to 3" above the bottom. Your basket, as planned, will be great.
How are you planning to control the airflow into the bottom holes?
The paint you indicate will be fine.
Other than that, looks good!