Originally Posted by Napper
Just my $0.02. There is no BEST design....just find what works for you and cook enough to "learn about" your drum. The ones I equipped with a fan and PID controller could control temperature on the dot but what fun is that!
I thought the same thing. I just built my first one this past week. I thought about an electric hot plate and a cast iron bowl full of wood chips, then maybe a PID controller, and after a few cold ones and some tinkerin', it hit me. Half the fun is building it and the other half is keeping it dialed in and tasting the fruits of your labor.
Mine has 4 half inch holes and magnets for intakes 2" off the bottom, and a 18" x 2-1/4" exhaust pipe (90* elbow and 18" stack w/rain cap)) welded on the side of the drum at grate level. Ran it yesterday for the first time to season it, it ran for 16 hrs, before I finally hit the rack. Maintained it between 180-300. 27 hrs later, it still has some hot coals left in it.
I am going to drill out the intakes to fit 3/4" pipe nipples, I added a lid thermometer about 2 hrs . into the smoke, (mailman was kind enough to bring it), and I have a turkey thermometer 1/2" below the grate protruding to the middle of the drum, just to see how the temp varies from spot to spot. It stayed within 12* from grate to top and back to front. At some point I want to scrounge a Weber lid for it, add some handles and the obligatory bottle opener.
Ol'duke already standing guard.