Posted this on the other list but seems like more people are on this thread. Thanks for any info!
Wow, this is a great thread for building one of these smokers. I have looked around and found a local place selling used food grade barrels relatively cheaply but A) I live in a neighborhood where I have seen a neighbor ding'd by the hoa for having a shed top peaking out over their fence so doing a major burnout isn't really an option and B) considering me and my family are going to be eating food out of this I would like to have a barrel that I know what has been in it previously. So I saw in your thread that you ordered your barrel new from mcmaster. I have a location relatively near where I work and was looking at the 20 guage 55 gallon drum part number 4115T68. This is an uncoated (on the inside) new steel drum which should work. Anyone have any problems with this one I should know about? Secondly it has normal black paint on the outside. Since I can't really do a good burnout what would you suggest on this? I can always try to hit it with my sander but seems like alot of work. Is it needed to do this? I could not tell if you were using the standard paint that came with the drum or if you sanded/repainted. Third is I had an idea for adding functionality to this and wanted to see what everyone here though. Right now I have a gas smoker and a gas grill. I really like the taste of charcoal grilling though. So what I was thinking was add another "grill level" about 2 inches inside the top of the barrel and then if I want to grill out put my charcoal on the top of the 1st normal grate down (about 6" so about 4" from the food grate I am putting in so I could use the upper section as a charcoal grill. Any objections to doing that? Fourth from the comments about finding just the right height for the grill racks. What I was planning was to have 5-6" from the lid and work down from there. From cad drawings it looks like I should be able to get 3-4 racks in although I also want to have a wood chip holder suspended above the coals and a water pan above that. Would having the water pan help to alleviate some of the concern about how far the lowest level of food is from the coals? If I can get 4 22.5" racks in there then that give me ALOT of cook space. Also thinking of adding extra level holes that I could blank off if not needed for when doing ribs to allow for even more rack space. Any comments on this?
One more thing I was looking at. As I don't have access to welding equipment but I really like the roller you have on it had an idea and wanted to see what you thought. What I was thinking was, instead of welding the pieces to the bottom of the barrel, make the X with castors attached at the edges and then drill 4 holes through the material holding the castors and drill holes through the bottom of the barrel and then bolt the castor X to the bottom of the barrel. Probably not as sturdy as welding but with washers/nuts on all sides so its not focusing the force on a small area of the bottom I think it would work. Any comments?