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So I tried a burn barrel...

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I've always been intrigued by different methods of smoking food. I had never tried burning my wood down to coals like I've seen many times on real pits for use in my offset.

I picked up a used 50 gal steel drum and turned it into a burn barrel and decided to give it a try.

After 2 smokes using this method I am abandoning it and going back to managing the fire right in my offset , I found pre burning to be very time consuming and a waste of fuel.

Any who take a look at how I made the barrel and give me your thoughts on how you like to smoke.

After smoking for a few years now and trying many methods , my method is to start with lump charcoal in my FB, and I dump 2 chimneys of white hot lump on top.

After I'm up to temp I then maintain a fire with 1 log burning to keep my coal bed.

I attempt to keep the log burning and get it combusting as soon as I put it in to cut down on the thick smoke . For me getting the seasoned wood lot quickly seems to cut Down on bad smoke and keeps it Thin and blue


I filled the drum with water

Next I placed a pipe wrench over the edge , with it closed just enough so it had a little play and used a mini sledge to punch holes all the way around.

For one I didn't want to cause an explosion by using something that could cause a spark and I used water to evacuate any gases that had built up

I drilled holes and put steel rods through to keep the fire high so the coals would fall down

I cut the hole big enough to fit my flat shovel at the bottom with a sawzall

Edited by slimc - 11/23/15 at 3:57pm
post #2 of 5
I've used a fire barrel a lot and still do when I have wood like Black Walnut or Mesquite , I like the heat from these hard woods , but like a lesser bang from the smoke tasre!

Yes , I'm saying it takes a lot of fuel like Maple , Apple ( Fruits) , etc . The length of glowing coals makes feeding as often ,IMHO !
post #3 of 5
post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 
I was not trying to build a smoker. I have an offset smoker I do my cooking in. The barrel was just to burn down wood into hot coals before placing them into my offset smoker. Some people call this pre burning. It does make for clean and hot cooking but my smoker does not keep the heat well so I'm sticking with just maintaining my fire in my offset
post #5 of 5
Have you looked at DIY charcoal making? You can make larger chunks. Requires using a smaller barrel inside a larger barrel. Might be an option.
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