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  1. #1
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    Default 55 gallon drum bbq smoker

    I'm going to build me a 55 gallon drum smoker and i fuigered out how to build the grill part and the stand fine. I'm just going to cut the drum in half and i salvaged an old rust bucket gas grill off the side of the road so i took the grates, thermometor, handle, side shelves for cooking tools, and wheels. But the only thing i don't know how to do is make the smoke box for it. i could build a box fine and all that but i just don't know how they work. i tried going to the local stores to look at their smokers to see how they work but all they have is vertical box smokers. Dose anyone have any pictures or diagrams on how these smokers work that they could post?

  2. #2
    Super Member Highbeam's Avatar
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    Default Re: 55 gallon drum bbq smoker

    Basicly, build a wood stove with the stove pipe entering the main barrel at the side or bottom. Look at wood stove shops for ideas. The side entry is better. Below the grates though. The main outlet should pick up its smoke below the wood grate as well.

    You could use on of the smaller 20 or 30 gallon steel drums for the fire box or even buy one of those harbor freight wood stoves.

    New brunsfield and Brinkman offer smokers(really barbecues since temps will be above 200) with side mounted fireboxes. Sidewinders.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: 55 gallon drum bbq smoker

    alright so what if i built the grill and then a box about lets say 1 foot by 1 foot and then then put a door on it in the front and on the inside cut a slot about 10 inches long and about an inch and a half tall and then i did the same on the 55 gallon drum and then welded them both together keeping that slot about 2 inches below the grate on the inside of the grill. What would i burn in the box to make the smoke. I had an idea of mounting a cooking tray type thing above the fir and putting wood chips in it. Dose anyone have a diagram of how a smoker works

  4. #4
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    Default Re: 55 gallon drum bbq smoker

    Memories, wow, this thread brings them back. My father took two 55 gal drums and welded them together. End to end of course with the bottom or top cut out of each one. You decide what end you want to cut out. Cut a large door in the top. About 2/3 the length of the drum about 18 inches across. Then welded the cut piece to some hinges and the hinges to the drum and made a couple of latches out of some nuts welded to the door and the drum, then welded a washer to a bolt top then would use the bolt to pull together and close the door to the drum. The washer made it into wing nut kind of top so you wouldn't have to use a wrench to close the door. He made two latches for the top door.
    The bottom door was cut about 6 inches from the bottom of the drum and was about 12 inches square with one latch
    He put bricks/sand into the bottom of it for the fire to rest on.
    To control the heat/smoke he had 2 slits on top of the barrells about 2 inches by 6 inches he could open or close and for the fire at the bottom of the barrels he would loosen or draw tight the door to control the air flow.
    He used regular round grill grates inside the barrels. The type on any store bought grill. They fit perfectly inside. He placed one in the center of the two barrels to catch any falling meat and one at the top of the barrels where he hung the meat from hooks made out of wire clothes hangers. He made double hooks to pierce the meat as the first batch showed one hook wasn't enough to keep up the meat. It would fall while smoking. I suppose you could put in multiple grates if you want to lay the meat in it rather than hang it. He used apple, cherry, mostly fruit woods for the smoking. He smoked mostly Carp. LOL It tasted just like Smoked Salmon. Start at 7 a.m. let it go till about 9-10 p.m.. MMMMM-MMMMM it was great. Keeping it that high up from the heat trully smoked the meat and kept it very moist rather than cooking and drying it out. Imagine, this thing is tall. Needed a ladder to adjust the top vents. He made a few of these for his friends after they saw his set up and tasted the results.
    Side note, come to think about it I believe he used a 3rd drum to make the doors as they over laped the the drum opening by an inch or two when closed. So the cut out pieces obviously wouldn't fit like that. Good luck. The food will taste great

  5. #5
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    Default Re: 55 gallon drum bbq smoker

    That sounds like a good idea. So let me get this straight just useing some examples on how i want to build it. I could take two old drums and cut the bottom off both of them and then weld it together so it would be like an even larger drum. Then i would put a grate separating the two on the inside. Then since i don't have a 3'd drum, could i just cut both them in half and then hinge the halfs so when it was opened half it would open? Now i could just use the one on the right and build my fire in there and then put grates in the one on the left and cook my food there. So the smoke and heat would flow into the cooking area and then i also know that the top of the drums are threaded with 2 inch holes so i could just use a two inch threaded elbow and a pipe to make the stack. I'd be cooking mostly chicken and ribs. Where do the wood chips go? and what burns to keep the fire going (wood?charcoal?ect....?) I'm not even used to charcoal grilling so i don't know to much about the wood chips and fire. I'm used to the propane grilling.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: 55 gallon drum bbq smoker

    What you're describing is a horizontal smoker, not a grill. AS you say, smokers come horizontal or vertical. The drum-shaped smokers are usually horizontal. The idea is to build a smoky wood fire in a box attached to one end, as you described, and attach a smoke stack to the other end, so the chimney draw will draw the hot smoke across your food. The heat is usually not over 200 degrees, and it's the slow heat and smoke that cook and cure the food over a long period -- Texans smoke a brisket in a horizontal smoker for 10-12 hours.

    If you want a grill, forget the firebox and side-mounted smoke stack. lay the drum on it's side, cut it roughly in half (I'd go about 2/3 on the bottom or a little less, maybe 5/8, and the rest for the lid). Put hinges on it and a handle to lift it. Some folks weld arms on the back of the lid and attach a counterweight to help balance the lid when lifting it, and if you position the arms correctly, they'll also act as a stop so the lid doesn't open too far. Weld some tabs to the inside to set your grates on.

    Build a charcoal fire in the bottom of the thing and grill away. If you cut some holes in the bottom, you can make a sliding flap to cover and uncover the holes and vary the amount of air that gets in -- that will help control the temperature. You should also have some holes or a sloppy fit in the lid so the heat can exit and draw across the food.

    It won't last more than a season or two, unless you also build a second grate in the bottom to hold the charcoal away from the skin of the barrel. A trap door in the bottom so you can brush out the ash would also be neat.

    Seems like a lot of trouble, however, when you can get a basic Weber Kettle grill for something like $79, porcelain coated steel, all the grates, engineered openings in the lid with a butterfly closure, and what I call the "propeller" in the bottom that opens and closes the air holes. A Weber charcoal kettle will outcook just about any charcoal grill in existence, and I've seen them last years and years with a little care.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  7. #7
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    Default Re: 55 gallon drum bbq smoker

    Here is a link to what they call a Big Baby Double Barrel Smoker

    Also if you do a search on google for: "double barrel smoker" you'll get even more info on them.

    Moon of Ohio

  8. #8
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    Default Re: 55 gallon drum bbq smoker

    What I was trying to say is that the drums are stacked one on top of the other vertically. It is tall, requiring a ladder to adjust the ventilation slits on the top. Fire is in the bottom and the smoke travels up over the food and out the top. Shouldn't even say fire as getting the ventilation just right to keep the wood slightly smoldering and smoking without making it an open flame. That link Moon has shown is the same principle except the barrels are stacked horizontilly on top of each other. That looks promising, but I think It would require a bit of "flue" monitoring if the wind is drawing out the smoke unevenly between the two stacks. The barrels will last years as long as you line the bottom of the fire box with bricks/sand and cover the smoker up with a tarp when not in use. Smokers are not meant to be high heat like a regular briquet grill so the barrels can take the constant low smoldering fire to produce the smoke. He used only wood. No briquets. Have you seen the pro's BBQ/smoke on the Food channel. They use only wood. Chunks of wood will last quite awhile as they are smoldering without high heat. Keep the roaring flames away. Key is long slow cooking/smoking. If I had a welder this would be on my "to do" list.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: 55 gallon drum bbq smoker

    Here is <font color="blue"> a site </font> with some pictures of their smokers. My son has one of these. There is an opening between the two sections about 4"x6" if I remember correctly. There is a grill in both sections. In the fire box, there is a lid to raise to put wood or charcoal in and also a lower grate for the wood to sit on to get air under it. You smoke in the larger box and can grill directly over the fire in the smaller fire box. There is a damper in the end of the fire box to control inlet air and a damper in the chimney to control outlet air.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: 55 gallon drum bbq smoker

    no i don't want a charcoal grill i want a smoker. I was in sams club and they had a vertical one for aboyut 600$ and i said i could build that. And i think that smokers, or grills should be funky and have character and a name to make a good rack of ribs.

    Would it be alright if i just welded the two barrels horizontially together and cut off the two bottoms so it was just like a big barrel and then made a wall out of 16 GA. sheet metal that went about 1/3 the way down from the top and hten welded a grate that was 1/2 the way down from that and then welded another piece of sheet metal that was another 1/3 the way down and then the smoke could pass through the grate into my food.

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