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-   -   Ugly Drum Smoker (

stl-rich 08-16-2010 09:30 PM

I shouldn't answer anything as I am only building my first drum smoker - a whiskey barel. Seems to me that if yo have a drum and your weber cover fits well, you are in fat city. My wever lid goeson my weber where I can cook real good stuff - and your UDS will cook as well. I just drilled 3 one inch holes for air intake - one 2with a wooden spigot for control. Charcoal basket - I bought a hunk of 9x3/4" expanded metal 12" x 48" - gonna bend it into a circle and wire it to a charcoal grate from a 22.5" kettle.

Having fun is a part of the UDS thiing.

ChicagoSizzlin 08-16-2010 09:48 PM


Originally Posted by cheez (Post 1371147)
Ok, so I got a free drum the other day, and now I have a few questions for all you experienced drum heads. Oh, and I have been trying to "do the homework", but so far am only through the first 100 pages of this thread (it's not a thread, it's a whole tapestry). I'll go back to reading after I post this. I'd like to build while I am at home this week, most of my work time is spent on the road. That's why I am jumping to the end here with my questions.

1. Ok... closed-top drum, cutting it will be no problem. Have set my Weber lid on it and it seems to fit snugly over the rolled top, like it was made for it. I have parts of another Weber in the garage that have been waiting for this to happen. I've seen big stacks, lids with 8 smaller holes drilled, etc.... is the Weber lid with it's stock vent enough for the exhaust?

2. So far (through those 100 pages), it seems that (3) 3/4" pipe nipples for intakes, one with a ball valve, are working well for many. Feel free to correct me if there are better ideas.

3. Charcoal basket size - my biggest question so far. I've seen low and wide and tall and narrow. What's the consensus? I am thinking around 14" in diameter, sides need to be maybe 8" high? More or less on either measurement? Pan underneath for ash containment, basket raised above the pan just an inch or two? Basket will be expanded metal with a handle for lifting from the drum.

4. Small things: Thermometer mounted in the side, just below the lower rack I think? Maybe a small hole or two for a probe thermometer, handles and casters are options I'm considering...
What am I missing? I'm certainly open to suggestions and criticism!

1. Im using the stock lid on my drum right now. Just using the 2" open hole is working just fine. Not sure with the weber lid but Im sure someone can answer that.

2. is what Im using and works flawlessly

3. i used the charcoal grate from a 18.5 weber. Im pretty sure its 14" round. I use expanded metal and did 12" and that seems overkill for me. Im sure you can go down to 8" and just be fine.

4. no bottle opener??

The best advice is to keep it simple. Make sure you post some pics of the drum and the offerings of food.

your going to love this thing.

cheez 08-16-2010 11:14 PM


Originally Posted by ChicagoSizzlin (Post 1371285)
4. no bottle opener??

Hah! Ok, I forgot to list the opener, but that is a must-have, isn't it?

Thanks for the other answers, I look forward to reading more. Think I'm on the right track so far.

duramax 08-17-2010 09:53 PM

No pictures yet but I got mine done tonight. Finally got some rain so I could work on it. Anyway fired it up, got it up to about 300 degrees. Then choked it back and had to leave for about two hours. When I got back it was running at 175 degrees, Had one pipe open and the ballcock right at half closed. Does this sound about right to everybody here?

Paul B 08-18-2010 04:03 PM


Originally Posted by duramax (Post 1372407)
No pictures yet but I got mine done tonight. Finally got some rain so I could work on it. Anyway fired it up, got it up to about 300 degrees. Then choked it back and had to leave for about two hours. When I got back it was running at 175 degrees, Had one pipe open and the ballcock right at half closed. Does this sound about right to everybody here?

Sounds a little low, BUT, drums seem to run all over the place, so it could be normal. Keep playing and see how she likes to fly....

Paul B
SS Auspit

thunderwagn 08-18-2010 06:28 PM

Never got around to posting it yet, but I finally finished my UDS last weekend too. I am a plumber so I had pretty much everything I needed on hand except for the barrel, Weber grate, and thermo. I also purchased some spray paint and a couple sanding wheels. I think total $$ invested was about $65. Not to shabby.
You can see what a beautiful day it was when I got to break it in!!!
IMAG0061 by thunderwagn, on Flickr

chaddie 08-18-2010 06:41 PM

duramax, you finally got some rain so you could work on it.? I feel you pain. I built my drum in the PNW winter and had to wait for the sun! But seriosly, how long is your intake control? Airflow has friction invovled and the longer the intakes, it will have a lot to do with drum temps.Like Paul B said " keep playing and see how she likes to fly!Just my .02 cents.

chaddie 08-18-2010 06:50 PM

Nice lookin drum, trunderwagn! and nice looking ribs! Welome to the drum corp! BTW my first 12 yrs. I lived in Carr! Pop. 20

thunderwagn 08-18-2010 07:28 PM


BTW my first 12 yrs. I lived in Carr! Pop. 20
No kidding? That is amazing. An old girlfriend and I rolled a car on a dirt road in Carr in 1986. It was all the volunteer paramedics in the area that saved us from the carnage. Its a small world! Carr and Nunn!

DawgDrvr 08-18-2010 10:11 PM

Holy Smokes , 435 pages of UDS knowledge. I started reading like 3 days ago, I think i'm on page 52 right now. I got most of the parts to build one but i am having trouble finding a barrel in or near Olympia, WA. I've tried CL and FreeCycle. also several feed store in the area but no luck . ideas anyone??

Jeff S. 08-19-2010 10:34 AM

Getting ready to weld up my charcoal pan and basket today for my UDS.

I went easy the first time, was excited to try it and just over cut my bottom grate out of exp metel, then bent the corners down to make the legs. Worked well but clean up is a b*$ch.

This morning I am welding my 18 inch weber coal grate to the basket and putting a pizza pan under that.

Question is how much room to leave between the coal grate and the pizza pan?

I am thinking about 5 inches, current set up has around 3 inches clearance, and I can cook 5 or 6 times before the ash build up becomes a problem, and thats with Kingsford.

This will make it possible to clean it before each cook, so maybe I would need less?

Pizza pan will sit on the bottom of the drum, and i have 23 inches from the bottom of the coal grate to the first rack as it sits right now. If I go 5 inches off the bottom this would make that clearance 21 inches.

The intakes are 1.5 inches off the bottom of the drum.

Should be ok huh?


Jeff S. 08-19-2010 05:41 PM

wound up doing this.

Original exp metel welded to 18 inch coal grate and welded ends

Added a handle across the top

And a pizza pan that she had layin around not doing anything. Used some 5/16 bar I had layin around for the legs

still have 20 inches to the first grate.

Got to go buy a pizza pan


duramax 08-19-2010 09:49 PM

Finally got to smoke some chicken tonight. F'in wow was it great. Fired it up using the minion method. Jumped to three hundred, then choked her back a little and it cruised at 250 for two hours. didn't even have to adjust. Oh about the rain comment, we do some custom haying. been leaving home around 6:30 am and getting home around 9 or 10 pm. And yea the wife sits on a tractor in all her spare time also.

stglide 08-20-2010 10:40 PM

May be a silly question, but as for the thermo for my DS, is there a preferred brand, or where do most get theirs for their cookers? I've looked at several stores and don't see what I think I would need. Probes are too short IMO! (Okay... no wise cracks.. ) :-P

BWJ 08-21-2010 12:31 AM

I just bought two 12" thermos from Wally World. $5 each in the grill section. May not be as accurate as the $50 models but good enough to get a good idea whats going on heat wise.

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