I've been creeping around this site for quite some time. I Used a lot of info picked up from here and for the last few months since actually building my UDS have smoked many many fatties, pork butts, pork ribs, Xmas turkey,chicken, baked beans, hams and Mac and cheese...I know, no pron or it didn't happen but since I'm not as savvy on the computer as I would like to be, I didn't add any. None the less I started with a barrel that I picked up from work. It had new motor oil in it and no liner and is an open top with the lid and bolt on band. Now I read all the pros and cons about it and went with non food grade due to availability. I used a pressure washer at work that heats the water to rinse it out really well before I burned it out 3 separate times, til the side were literally red hot. After that I rinsed again and wire wheeled it inside and out, applied high heat paint on outside and proceeded to season it with a big ol basket of kingsford blue and extra virgin olive oil on the side walls. Since then there has been somewhat of a learning curve to figure out how "my" UDS operates. I've made a few changes and upgrades to it and it has become easier for me to use. With all that being said, the only person to not feel well after eating something that came off my UDS was me, due to the fact that it tasted so farking good I over indulged. I hope this helps you with your choice of barrel. The way I saw the debate on food grade or not was, since they started making barrels there have been plenty of people that used them no matter what they contained and I'm sure they didn't all die or get sick from them. This has all just been my point of view. Take it for what it's worth.
1 UDS but plan on a few Mini UDS' in the near future. 1 Brinkman gasser. Mav ET 73.