Finally decided to build a smoker. Been working on various rubs for pork shoulder and ribs for a few years, but only had an oven to cook them in. Always taste good, but still missing something.
Over the holiday I was eyeing some smokers, electric, lower-end side firebox, etc. To get something halfway decent (WSM, etc) I was looking at $300+. That's not happening right now. Started researching, on this site and elsewhere, and came across the UDS. That seemed to fit the bill - simple enough for a newbie, inexpensive, and I get to design and build it myself!
So far, I've requisitioned a 55 gal barrel (unlined) that was used for coconut oil and got some caster wheels and assorted bolts and nuts. Still looking for a cheap, gently used Weber 22.5 kettle grill to act as a donor for the grates and lid. No big hurry yet. As long as I keep the occasional expenses low, it won't attract the attention of the CFO!
Fighting the urge to over design it right now. Just the engineer in me.
As with most newbies, I have a couple of questions pertaining to the barrel.
1) Do I need to burn it out? I cleaned out the coconut oil residue with soap and water. I don't really have a place to have a roaring fire (too many trees).
2) I assume the current exterior paint needs to be removed as it likely isn't heat tolerant. Since I can't burn it off with a burn out, I'm left with a heat gun, chemical strippers, or sanding it off (ugh).
I'll be documenting the results as I go. So, can add a few more pages to this thread!