I actually got inspired by my brother-in-law who built a large double barrel smoker on a trailer. I don't have the room for something like that, but I wanted to be able to smoke meat. Having seen the vertical smokers like the GOSM and the ECB, I thought why not make one from a drum? I had no idea how much info there already was on the web about designs and tweaks on this concept. I may get abused here for saying this, but most of what I found was on a competing forum.
After reading a 65-page post on that forum, I set about building my smoker.
I found a local dealer that had reconditioned open-head drums for $30 and picked one up. I then used a propane torch to burn off anything that may have been undesirable on the inside, followed by two extended burns with charcoal just to make sure. After the burns I seasoned the interior with veg. oil to prevent rust.
I drilled holes that would accomodate peg hooks at 5" from the top and at 9" down, at 90 degrees from each other. The hooks I had were the kind that have two prongs to fit into pegboard, but I ground off the lower one on each hook. The idea here was to allow one set or the other to be removed easily to accommodate single- or double-rack smoking.
I bought two replacement cooking grates for a Weber kettle at Home Depot, which fit perfectly in a standard 55-gallon drum. I scrounged up a rectangular pan to catch the ash and an expanded metal grate to hold the fuel.
Because I have a wooden deck and was worried about the heat effects on the decking, I raised up the drum by about 5" by installing feet on the bottom. No problems with heat damage thusfar.
Drilled 3 holes for air vents about 2" from the bottom of the drum and threaded in 1/2" pipe nipples. Two of the nipples are equipped with pipe caps, while the third has a ball valve for fine tuning the air flow.
I also drilled a port for a digital temperature probe just below the lower rack and installed a compression fitting to allow the probe to be removed and replaced.
I just recently added a handle for the lid and a hook on the underside of the lid to hang it on the side of the drum while tending the meat.
Future planned mods: Second temperature probe port just below the upper rack, add a rack/shelf to hold temperature readout(s), add two sides to the fuel basket with expanded metal, paint the smoker in Hokie colors and logo!Attachment 9598Attachment 9600Attachment 9602Attachment 9603Attachment 9604