OK these are pictures of some drum smokers that DeeZ and I worked on this past weekend. We picked up four rather new 55 gallon drums for $5 apiece.
In their former life they contained vegetable oil, each one still contained about a quart which easily drained out after the lids were ground off. Turns out we won't have to apply oil to season.
After a few trips to pick up the barrels, hit home depot, and harborfreight we were ready to go.
We started with our own idea of what we were going for and that pretty much left us with similar plans. Where we differed was in the types and sizes of intake valves.
Quite a bit of the hardware we took off of existing grills and smokers. One we had and the other we bought off of craigslist earlier that morning.
Using an electric grinder we were able to take off the lid leaving us with a nice snug fit for placing it back on for the smoke. One of the pictures shows a close up of the lid with a nice flanged finish. We started to use a pnuematic cutter but the going was rather slow and DeeZ got the idea to use the electric grinder. He also figured out that when the inside lip of the drum started to smoke we were through the barrel and we were able to stop before we went through the lid itself. It took us about 30 minutes to cut off the lid once we got to the second one. On the first one we were still learning but it actually came out a lot cleaner than the second one. Probably because I did the second one and kept getting off track.
On the one with the 3/4" brass fittings we used three equally spaced around the barrel. On the other we used two 1-1/4" close nipples to which we added plastic ball valves. One on each side of the barrel. The reason for this size was to accomodate my Stoker fan. We were able to use a step bit for the smaller ball valves and used a skill saw for the larger holes. Once the larger holes were drilled, we used a dremel grinder to make the holes even and smooth. Then the nipples screwed in perfectly and we added a locknut to keep them there.
We also added the handles and the only thing that remains to do is make up the charcoal basket and install the racks. We have the weber racks with hinged access on the sides for adding smoking wood. Perhaps we can finish them this week. We are still somewhat undecided on what type we are going to make and I doubt that they will be the same on both. I will add more pictures as we go.
A special thanks to Melissa (Ms DeeZ) for taking the pictures. Some of these I didn't even know she took.