Originally Posted by jcinadr
I really would not worry about the material on your grate bolts. You would be cremating your meat before they got hot enough to cause any problems. They will get coated in creosote anyway. You will never see them again if you put acorn nuts on them.
I prefer a smoke stack to prevent water from running into the it during a rain. Unlike a domed Weber lid - the entire lid of a barrel is lipped to collect water. That said, the flat lid will help keep your sauce warm.
Do care about what your nipples are made of - They will rust and make it impossible to remove the caps. Unless you are religious with oiling them - just use brass.
As for cleaning - use an ash pan. It is practically eliminates cleaning the bottom of the uds.
Actually I didn't even think of keeping the sauce warm that is a great idea. I live in Atlanta so we have walk out basements so my deck is about 12' high and I put flagstone under 1/2 of that which was a flat area then put the corragated metal panels under the bottom of the deck to act as a roof so I actually keep my lawn mower and other stuff under there as its totally dry. My barrel will be stored under there and since the roof is metal could actually drag the barrel out of the rain in the event it started to rain and keep smoking under the deck. Not using the nipples, doing the ball valve with a 2' extension because of my back, using round magnets that have a hook on them for the other 2 intake holes, 1 1/8 inch round magnets from Harbor Freight so I don't have to peel the flat ones off just need gloves to pull them off grabbing the hook, they were like 2.50 for 4.
Mike had replied buy a 2" hole saw but I have a step bit set so can easily do the other 5 holes with what I have.
Thanks to you and Mike for your suggestions, probably will go the weber route down the road but gonna start with the original design and make that decision later after I get some experience cooking.