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BBQ-Joe 08-06-2011 09:24 PM

Anyone talking about using aluminum fo a smoker build. I have a 5' X16' of 1/4 diamond plate and several more 4'X5. And am thinking about making a rotisery smoker. I have 316 SS for the fire box. But was wandering if any one had any insight or tried it befor.

colonel00 08-06-2011 10:00 PM


Originally Posted by BBQ-Joe (Post 1740040)
Anyone talking about using aluminum fo a smoker build. I have a 5' X16' of 1/4 diamond plate and several more 4'X5. And am thinking about making a rotisery smoker. I have 316 SS for the fire box. But was wandering if any one had any insight or tried it befor.

Search the forum for aluminum smoker and you should get some threads. I know there was at least one with some good discussion in the last few months. I think the biggest concern is the fact that the aluminum will not hold heat like steel does. So, you will be burning through a ton of fuel.

Mettle Man 08-07-2011 10:13 AM

Howdy. I am new to this, but here is my take on the drum smoker. I used scrap square tubing, welded to the drum. And I chose to put the air intake opening underneath. It seemed like this might allow the coals to burn more evenly.

And on the first go-round it worked great. Temperature control was a bit difficult, but I suspect I will get better...

coewar 08-07-2011 12:07 PM

Wow man. Those pictures are huge. And that is some good looking welding.

Anyway, first thing is that you should start with plain charcoal briquettes instead of the lump charcoal to help with the temp control. Once you get the hang of it, you can start mixing in some lump more and more until you're happy with it.

Second thing, in your fire basket with ash pan, does it have any hole in the bottom? It shouldn't because if you did, the coals in the middle (as your picture of your fire basket shows) will burn up quicker, leaving the other coals hanging around. But if the ash pan is sold, it will distribute that incoming air to indeed let your coals burn all around.
But what I can't tell in the picture, is if the fire basket has legs to stand in the ash pan. It should not be just resting on it without legs because then the air will not circulate properly into the coals.

Finally, you don't need a damper on the exhaust except to close it up when you're done. during cooking always leave the exhaust fully opened and control temp only by the intake.

otis 08-07-2011 09:43 PM

Briquettes may give you more consistent temps, but they leave a huge amount of ash behind. Once you get the temp dialed in, lump is no harder to control than briquettes, plus you have no nasty fillers flavoring your food, less ash, and better aroma/flavor.

I know we all use legs on the bottom of our baskets, but air flow is only involved in that the space allows the ashes to fall down out of the charcoal. Once the air is in the drum, the fire will use it, regardless of where it comes from.

soapy_junk 08-08-2011 07:11 AM


Originally Posted by Crazy Harry (Post 1738994)
soapy, like this?
the bung is 2" pipe thread. black pipe is heavy, I used 2" electrical conduit much lighter and cheaper

yep.. thats it.. so the electical conduid.. didn't think of that.. no issues with galvonizing or anything on those?

jcinadr 08-08-2011 09:07 AM

For thermometer holes, I drilled out a replacement car valve stem. Fairly cheep. I have one right below my grate for pit temp, and a second a few inches above my great where I thread a digital remote for my meat temp. Both of those are digital on mine, but pretty sure a turkey thermometer would work fine for the pit temp. I have a mounted thermometer as well, which I just leave attached 24/7.

I used a nipple screwed into my bung hole for my smoke stack on my second UDS. I used a threaded conduit fitting and some metal conduit on my first.

mike5150 08-09-2011 04:44 AM

Got my UDS built!!I have a problem temperature control when I hit 200 I put both caps on and leave the ball valve 100% OPEN with the big bung hole on top OPEN..But my heat starts to drop.then I remove one of the intake caps and adjust the ball valve and the temp goes 250+

jcinadr 08-09-2011 09:26 AM

Here is a picture of my thermoeter arrangement (the little chome piece is the valve stem - I now have another about 4" above it. Sorry no pic on the nipple. It was just easier and cheaper than the conduit. It weighs a little more - but it is only a 2" or 3" nipple, so does not weigh too much more.

Here is a link to the post with the rest of my pictures - including my basket assembled with hog rings, a chickens foot lift assembly, the pizza pan ash pan, the single bottom air intake, the diffuser plate to make for a very even burn, and my #12 can fan box.

grads 08-10-2011 01:08 AM

Been reading this thread for a few days now, got the bug to build me 1 of these.
Got my design ready, measurements, parts list etc. The only thing i can't get a decent price on is the bloody drum1 :-( does anyone know of any uk based Stockists of open top, unlined, 55 gal drums?
Much appreciated.



hankll 08-10-2011 06:20 PM

New from Nashville TN; UDS project started
1 Attachment(s)
Got my Weber grill today.....$45 for it and it had been used. The PO wouldn't negotiate more than $5....and the charcoal grill was kinda rusty and corroded, but not unusable, just not new anymore. The cooking grill was used, and it will clean up........but the all important dome lid is in excellent condition and (Drum Roll please!) It fits my barrel rim perfectly!

Now to start the construction. Before I commit to cutting out one end, I've got to see if I can plug the 2 1/2" threaded opening. Think I will use it for a clean out drain. So I need to find a suitable threaded plug if I can't find a replacement drum plug.

Here is the Barrel with the Weber dome lid sitting on it. It has already got a permanent location just off my deck at the corner of my house where my firewood rack is located. My wife wants me to cut down a runaway shrub that is ugly(??) and set it on top of the shrubs present location.......who am I to argue with my wife?

hankll 08-10-2011 06:22 PM

I'll try to do some detailed photo's as I go with the build.

I stopped today and bought the expanded metal for the charcoal basket. 11" x 48" for the wall of the basket, and a piece of expanded metal 13" x 17" to beef up the floor of the grill grate, which in my case is a little rusty and corroded, so I wanted it to last more than a few burns. The whole amount for the pieces of 9 gauge expanded metal was only $15.92 tax included.

So with my Drum (free), the Weber grill ($45), and the expanded metal ($15.92) that is just under $61.00.......I have a electronic sensor thermometer, and I have a manual dial probe thermometer for the interior temp monitoring. So the only expense left is the hardware for the cooking grills to hang on, and I want to buy another cooking grill at Wally's Garden Ctr ($12) plus I need to come up with an ash pan to add to the bottom of the charcoal pot. I should come in under $80 for this UDS project. I'll keep a tally as I go. I may under estimate the bolts/nuts and ball valves costs. I won't count my welding time and I may use my Vets advertising magnets for my intake openings for a while until I've got more Moolah in the wallet.

hankll 08-10-2011 06:24 PM

3 Attachment(s)
I got a little done today. I cut the bottom of the drum out and I found the inside is unlined. All I have to do is clean out the Windshield Washer fluid and then start drilling the intake holes.

The lid is a little tighter than I realized. I think I'll grind off the rim with a angled edge from the outside to the inside rim edge. I think that will make it just right. As it is right now, it will fit if I press it in place and then it takes a little effort to remove it. I don't want that lid to fight me when the heat is on.

Also I discovered that the bottom cutout can serve as my ash pan. I started to form some sides on it with a hammer and using a log laying by my shop, I can probably get it more or less stretched into a half way decent pan. It doesn't have to be pretty, but I want the sides closer to the 17" diameter so I don't have to fight to get it out of the drum to empty the ash and refill the charcoal.

rondini 08-10-2011 08:01 PM

mike5150, I don't know what temp u r triing for. Try leaving 1 cap off and adjust with ball valve:idea:.

tony69 08-10-2011 10:39 PM

Hey, can everyone stop posting for a week or 2 so I can get through this thread!!! Only on page 121! I figure while I'm searching for my free or super cheap drum, I may as well go through the whole thing & get as much info as possible. Looking forward to building mine.

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