I did it! The UDS is finished!
First off, big thanks to all the guys who chimed in with great ideas and advice for how to do this. Amazing!
I had a blast doing it and I can't wait to fire it up (probably next weekend). I guess I'll coat the inside with PAM, light it up and maybe toss a naked fatty on there.
Here's some details:
New unlined drum. This is a pure steel drum with no liner. I attempted to use a propane torch to take the paint off. I started with the lid. I ended up warping the lid. This caused so much panic and pissed-off-ness that I decided to keep the black paint from the new drum on the sides. I bent the lid back to proper form and decided to paint it purple. 45 inches of expanded steel bent into a circle and attached to a charcoal grate with U-bolts. I have 1 cooking grate at 7 inches below the top and I have another option for a grate 16 inches off the bottom of the smoker. This can allow for a diffuser or a water pan down the road. Obvious bottle opener and cheapo thermometer mounted in the side. I'll be doing accurate temperature readings through one of the 1 inch holes on the top with a digital probes. I got a small circular piece of wood from a big box store and stained and sealed it black. Mounted it to the side with cheap right angle brackets. Standard air intakes and 1 ball valve for temp control.
There we go! The official Grilling24x7 UDS is complete!!!! Can't wait to get a big packer brisket!