So I built a "mUDS" for my daughter for mother's day. Works really good until the ash buildup chokes it after about 3 hours. I think I need a better charcoal basket. For a charcoal basket I used the insert for a stainless steel steamer pot. I drilled all the holes in the bottom out to 1/4". I was going to go bigger, but the stainless steel is so hard it destroyed my brand new step bit in the process. I cut a few slots out hoping the ash would fall through but I don't think it's working good enough. For the rack and lid I bought a $22 Uniflame portable grill from Walmart, pictured below.
I had to bend the lip on the lid slightly and I also used a hammer and curved dolly (used in autobody repair) and flattened the rolled lip of the rim. The lid fits very tight now and seals great. I modified the hinge bottom and mounted it on the barrel. It works fantastic! I even mounted the lid retainer so you can actually pick the whole thing up and move it around by the lid handle. The air intakes are four 3/4" ID pipe nipples that I threaded into the barrel and then welded since it's cheaper and easier than using nuts, washers, and / or couplers. 3 have removable caps and one has a ball valve. So far, the valve opened about 1/2 way keeps it at a steady 225-230 for about 3 hours. The thermometer in the lid as a candy thermometer that is the perfect length. With the lid closed it sits about an inch off the top grate.
My only concern is the charcoal basket. I was looking at this cheap charcoal chimney
and was thinking I could cut the handle off and use it instead. And maybe sit it on a pie plate to use as an ash pan. Any thoughts on this?