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Stainless Steel UDS

post #1 of 40
Thread Starter 
I was talking with a friend the other day about making one of these cool "UDS" smokers I saw on this BBQ forum. As fate would have it his neighbor had recently given him 2 Food Grade SS 55 gallon drums to make a regular grill. He told me he only needed one of them and offered the other one to me. I said, "hell yes!" So today I went by and picked it up. Below is a picture as it is now. The rust you see on the top is a steel cap of some sort.

The drum is very clean on the outside with just a couple little dings but nothing at all major. According to the label and his friend it held a food extract. When I peered inside with a flashlight it looked like brand new. The only issue I can see is that it doesn't have a removable lid. So it will have to be cut out. I guess it will be a candidate for the Weber kettle lid. Any tips on the cleanest way to cut the top out? I though maybe a sawzall.

I don't know when I'll get to work on this project but I'll be sure to document the build with pictures as I go and post them here.

post #2 of 40
Nice I look forward to pics of your progress
post #3 of 40
that's a nice drum.........
post #4 of 40
I know this post is common sence ,but maybe it will help someone else out down the road. Sawzall would work , but better yet would be a plasma cutter or a burning torch, you can clean up your cuts with a side grinder.
ATTENTION !!!!! make sure you do all of your cutting, burning or grinding outside !
If you have to do it inside make sure you have a fan blowing the smoke away from you , and lots of ventilation. SS isn't as bad as Galvanized but it can make you feel sick, while cutting or grinding.
Nice score on the SS barrel ! I had a few lined up from a guy on Craig's list but they ended up being galvanized.
Those SS 55 gal. drums cost almost a grand new !!!!!!
post #5 of 40
STAINLESS.....NICE!!! Good Score!!PDT_Armataz_01_12.gif
post #6 of 40
Sweet!! Qview will be required! :)
post #7 of 40
I just cut the tops out of two barrels with my saber saw and a heavy metal blade. Cut was as close to the rim as I could get by riding the saw on the rim as I cut. Clean up the edges with a grinder or file and you are good to go. I will be posting pictures soon of the final build.
post #8 of 40
you would have to use a plasma cutter, a regular cutting torch wont cut stainless. It would just make an ugly mess! a very sharp chisel or air chisel works very well also.
post #9 of 40
post #10 of 40
NICE!!!! You're going to love it!!!
post #11 of 40
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies everyone. I'm stoked to get to work on it. I'm still in the "how exactly am I gonna do this" phase though. I measured the top and a Weber kettle lid will be too small. The OD of the drum is like 33+1/8". I might have to fabricate a lid and it seems that it may be better to do that before I cut out the existing top to help it retain it's shape. Also I need to decide what method to use for intakes. I like the idea of the pipe running up the side to the top with a ball valve. I've seen one build with one large diameter pipe like this as the only intake. I wonder how well that will work vs. a smaller diameter pipe and a couple capped intakes?
post #12 of 40
Thread Starter 
OK guys I finally got around to starting my SS UDS. I have a bunch of people coming over next Sunday for Easter. That lit a fire under my butt to get the UDS done. I want to do some baby backs and a few other things for the get together.

I decided that I was going to follow in the footsteps of "HeSmellsLikeSmoke"'s UDS and utilize some parts from a Weber kettle grill. I've been checking Craigslist every day for quite awhile now hoping to score a Weber grill to use for parts. I just missed one last weekend! So I decided WTH I'll just buy a new one. So that's what I did today. I was unable to get the oven/fireplace gasket where I got the grill so I'll have to source that this coming week.

First was to cut out the top of the drum. I ended up using a jigsaw with fine metal blade. It cut like butter and left a nice edge. I tried my sawzall but I didn't have the right blade.

Next I sanded down the edge left by the jigsaw with a rough grit roloc disc on my air powered angle grinder. I didn't have a stone so it was real slow going with the roloc disc but I got it done.

The next step was to cut a band from the bottom of the kettle grill to use as the lid seat. I needed to do this because the SS drum's diameter is too large for the lid to fit and I really didn't want to beat the crap out of the lid to get a not so good fit. Instead the idea as represented by HSLS's pictures is to glue a piece of oven/fireplace gasket around the outside edge of the band cut from the kettle bottom. This is thick enough to center and seat the band inside the edge of the drum. Then the lid seats on it's original lip of the band. I think it should work out pretty well. Anyway, I cut the band easy enough again with the jigsaw and cleaned up the sharp edge with some sandpaper.

That's as far as I got today.

I plan to use the charcoal grate that came with the grill as the bottom of my charcoal basket. I just need to pick up some expanded metal for it. As to the grate supports? I may have a buddy weld some SS angled pieces inside for supports rather than use bolts but I may not have time, we'll see. Now as to air intake? If I can get a BGE vent before this coming weekend that's what I plan to use.

Here's a couple pictures of where I'm at now.

Oh and BTW... I picked up a new 22" Weber replacement rack to use as the second rack when I bought the grill. To my surprise the replacement grate/rack is much more substantial that the original. I weighs noticeably more and uses much thicker material. Here's a couple pictures. I hope you can make out what I mean.

post #13 of 40


Great score on the ss drum, can't wait to see the finished qview, but I'm gonna give ya points.giffor scoring the free drum PDT_Armataz_01_37.gif
post #14 of 40
That is going to be one stud UDS !!!

Nice work cutting the top off and very interesting on Weber replacement racks.....
post #15 of 40
Thread Starter 
OK some more progress. I still need to decide where I'm going to put a t-stat or two. My buddy should have the charcoal basket welded together for me by tomorrow so I can do a test run on Saturday.

And here are a couple rib racks I'll be using to do ribs for the family this Sunday. The first picture is a Traeger that holds 8 racks the second is a different brand that holds 6.

post #16 of 40
Thread Starter 
She's done. I'm doing a seasoning run as I type this. Here are a few more pictures.

post #17 of 40
That's too pretty to be called a UDS!

I like the idea of the BGE air intake.
Does that give you enough air and does having the intake on only one side negatively affect how evenly a full basket of charcoal burns down?
post #18 of 40


Great job on the uds, now bring on some qview of some food icon_smile.gif
post #19 of 40
That is a very nice drum, the intake looks like it would work fantastic.
post #20 of 40
Thread Starter 
Well I have had it running for a couple hours now. I see now what people mean by temp spikes after removing the lid. It's amazing how that works. I know there will be a learning curve but I can tell already how much nicer it will be to cook on this compared to the CSP.

I've got 15 racks of BBRs for tomorrow so I'll be sure to take some pics and post them.
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