Statts' Not-So-Ugly Drum Smoker

Discussion in 'Geek Food' started by Statts, Mar 17, 2015.

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  1. Statts

    Statts RIP

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    After recently trying my hand at smoking ribs and a few other things, I decided that my "Weber Q and chip parcel" method simply won't cut it anymore. I looked into a few bullet style smokers such as the Weber Smokey Mountain and Pro Q Elite 20, but they just don't seem big enough in grate area. So I decided what the hell, I'll build my own UDS.

    Now the issue is that some rusty old drum, no matter how tasty it cooks food, will not suffice. WAF is real, and if I'm to have something cooking in the back yard, it needs to look respectable. So I did some research (the more you read the more you need to start over again!) and started acquiring the parts. Below is a list of things that I have planned for the build, which may of course change greatly or not at all over the course of the build.

    • Recycled 44 galon drum
    • Charcoal basket made from an 18.5" Weber charcoal grate and mesh sides
    • Weber 22.5" cooking grates, upper and lower
    • Weber 22.5" lid on "Unknown BBQ" brand hinge
    • Side tables
    • Castors so I can move it around

    I don't intend for this thread to be a step-by-step, but I will try to capture a decent number of pics of what I'm doing along the way. I spend a good amount of time when I get home from work with my young daughter, so most of the work on this project is done at night so apologies for the sometimes suspect quality photos (night time and phone camera).

    Anyway, on with tonight's progress.....

    [​IMG]
    Got a drum, that's a good start! Made in Korea apparently, hopefully not glorious Korea. Had some kind of solvent in it at some stage, but not to worry, it will be thoroughly burnt-in. Has a slight ding at the top, but a rubber mallet will fix that in no time.

    [​IMG]
    Started out by flipping it and marking out the holes for the castors. Figured this will make it easier to move around when doing other parts of the mock up build (Intend to build the whole thing first before burn in and paint, so I don't have to damage the finish.

    [​IMG]
    Pilot holes drilled and about to attack with with the stepped drill.

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    First time ever using a stepped drill. Holy shit! These things are awesome.

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    Holes for all four castors drilled. Used some vegetable oil as lube for the stepped drill. Can't remember where I read that, but it helped. Thanks Internet!

    [​IMG]
    Bugger, forgot to grab hardware to mount the castors. Oh well, on to something else. I was going to make some side tables for it, to hold the thermometer sender, meat before it goes on, my beer, etc etc beer beer. The I found out some clever blokes had already designed and were selling some. Shout out to Big Poppa Smokers, these are a nice little product.

    [​IMG]
    One table fully assembled. Apparently there is a coating on the timber, but it's a bit light for my liking, so before final assembly, I'll probably give it a quick once over with a polyurethane floor lacquer, something that can easily be wiped down.

    [​IMG]
    Hey, one for each side!

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    Hardware for the 25mm (1") inlet at the front of the smoker. This will only be used for lighting and capped once temperature is up.

    [​IMG]
    This gear is for the two adjustable air inlets. 90° bends at the bottom and the cooper pipe runs up the side of the drum at the rear. 20mm (3/4") ball valves on each for easy control. Before final assembly, these will be rubbed back with wet and dry, and high temp clear coated to preserve that nice copper look.

    Started drilling the hole for the 25mm (1") front inlet but it was getting late and drilling big holes into empty drums is bloody loud, so I thought I'd give the neighbours a break. More progress to come soon.
     
  2. aXis

    aXis Member

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    Sweet :)

    If I didnt have 10 other projects already on the go I'd be doing a smoker too :)
     
  3. OP
    OP
    Statts

    Statts RIP

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    Cheeky little update......

    [​IMG]
    Managed to finish off the hole for the capped inlet. Hardware shown installed.

    [​IMG]
    Marked out the positioning for the side table.....

    [​IMG]
    And test fitted the first one. Figured it better to fit one and measure downto table top from lip of drum to make sure they both sit at the same height.

    [​IMG]
    Drilled the holes for the two controllable air inlets. Unfortunately couldn't locate my hacksaw to cut some threaded nipple, so the hardware will have to wait.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2015
  4. sgtraven

    sgtraven Member

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    looking good champ!!!
    good to see everyone getting into slow smoking
     
  5. hsvguy

    hsvguy Member

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    Following with interest :thumbup:
     
  6. Rezzix

    Rezzix Member

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    Following, very interested!
    I've been wanting to build a UDS for a while now so very keen to see how yours turns out!
     
  7. OP
    OP
    Statts

    Statts RIP

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    Well, I've hit my first snag. It seems the 22.5" Weber lid doesn't fit straight on the top of the drum. Not sure what I'm going to do yet, but I'm not able to weld in a ring as the added height will make using my hinge impossible. I'm thinking the best way might be to utilise the original flat lid, cut the lip off the Weber lid and weld them together, then cut out the bottom of the new lid, leaving just a ring of the flat lid.
     
  8. Rezzix

    Rezzix Member

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    Is the 22.5" lid too small or too large of a diameter?
     
  9. OP
    OP
    Statts

    Statts RIP

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    The lid is too small for the rolled lip of the open-top drum.
     
  10. OldnBold

    OldnBold Member

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    Nice thread and looking good for the start :thumbup:
     
  11. OP
    OP
    Statts

    Statts RIP

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    Mounted up the other side table. Going to get a mate to do the welding on the lid, and while he's doing that, I'll be making the charcoal basket.

    [​IMG]
     
  12. OP
    OP
    Statts

    Statts RIP

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    Well, picked up my donor Weber this morning. It's a circa 1990 one-touch, in generally good condition but with a touch of rust around the spot welds where the handle is. I'll treat these and fill in any imperfections prior to paint.

    So the lid fitment issue, decided on the best course of action was to retain the lip on the drum, and bend out the downward-facing section of the lip flat, then hammering it down to give it a nice flat flange. The gasket material I had planned for here should seal up any minor imperfections.

    Anyway, pics!

    [​IMG]
    Here you can see where I've hammered the lip down flat. Yes, the enamel flakes off, and that's unavoidable, but I will smooth it off with putty or bondo or something prior to paint.

    [​IMG]
    Here's the Unknown BBQ branded hinge. Nice bit of kit, it has a quick-release pin and a notch that allows the lid to lock into the upright position. Handy!

    [​IMG]
    Here's the hinge all mounted up. Splendid.

    [​IMG]
    Very happy seeing this, and happy with how things are progressing.

    Next step is to get the bolts in to support the cooking grates, then the drum side of things is pretty well done. Charcoal basket is this week's task also.
     
  13. MR CHILLED

    MR CHILLED D'oh!

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    Very cool setup....well done. Nice talking point with guests :thumbup:
     
  14. OP
    OP
    Statts

    Statts RIP

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    Thanks. It's so easy to just smash together a really ugly Ugly Drum Smoker. But I'm of the belief that if you're going to do it, do it right.
     
  15. OP
    OP
    Statts

    Statts RIP

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    Last bit of progress for today. I got the holes drilled for the upper and lower cooking grates. Grates are at 20" and 26" off the bottom of the charcoal basket height. Still have to do the very bottom grate, which won't be used often, but can be used for a water pan or heat diffuser, or for direct heat cooking over the coals. It will sit 4" above the top of the charcoal basket (16" off bottom of basket)

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2015
  16. bl4ck32

    bl4ck32 Member

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    looks good. always been meaning to build one myself....

    fwiw paramounts sell food grade drums too (ex veg oil drums) for like $15 from memory.
     
  17. OP
    OP
    Statts

    Statts RIP

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    $17. The trouble with them is that even after burning out the drum, the food grade poly lining remains and you have to attack it for hours with a wire wheel or pay for it to be sand blasted.

    Any drum does the job really, you burn it out so hot that nothing but steel remains. Then season it by oiling and baking.
     
  18. phantom220

    phantom220 Member

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    Following with interest. Nice work :)
     
  19. looktall

    looktall Working Class Doughnut

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    damn it.
    i started reading this thread not realising it wasn't a complete build.

    why does "patience" have to be a virtue?
    why can't "hurry the fuck up" be a virtue?

    :)
     
  20. Turnip Dude

    Turnip Dude Member

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    Y'all forgetting the most important question of all:

    What colour is it going to be? Are you going to go all Hello Kitty? A Hello Kitty oil drum smoker would be all kinds of awesome. Go on, you know you want to.
     
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