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Will This Drum Work For an UDS?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I have no prior experience building a UDS. I have browsed through UDS build threads, but never really had an interest to build one until I typed in BBQ on Craigslist and found this post:


55 gallon steel drums for 25 bucks, but...they were filled with antifreeze. The guy even posts a link to a UDS build site. He says they would be good for a BBQ once they are "rinsed out", but Im not about to cook food in one with only a quick rinsing. Im getting the feeling he doesn't know much about BBQs and toxic chemicals.

Any advice would be helpful. Seems like a good price if its salvagable. I have a powerwasher and could get it out to a friends land to burn it out if it needs it. So, two questions:

1. Is it smokable?

2. How much money will I have to put in to make a decent UDS.

Thanks all!
post #2 of 13
Antifreeze would worry me a bit.

I'm sure you could burn it out, but I would walk away.

Just one man's opinion though.
post #3 of 13
I'd walk away. To many other food grade barrels out there ta take a chance.

Cost ta build a uds, depends on what yall wanna do. Say $35 dollars an up. If ya can scrounge around an come up with stuff cheap er free, they ain't all that expensive ta build.
post #4 of 13

Price So far

I am in the process of building two and the price I have spent so far is $205 That includes two drums, a weed burner, step bits, paint, two $29 spare parts BBQ grill from biglots, Extra weber grills, intake parts, garage door handels, thermometers, and misc hardware. I hope my wife dosen't see this post. This is for two drums so I am guesing 100 per smoker even less if you already own some parts. I spent 50 alone on the step bit and weed burner so that is 25 less per drum if you already have them.
post #5 of 13
if you have to buy all the parts figure 100-150 thats what mine cost by the time i was done.
post #6 of 13
I agree, get a food grade barrell.
post #7 of 13
This guy is 5 dollars cheaper and they are food grade barrels.

post #8 of 13


Check this out in Colorado Springs. $20 a piece foor food grade.

post #9 of 13
If you can get food grade barrels go for them. If not then the ones you described are usable but will require some work. First off you'll want to fill them with water and let it sit for a few days at least. That will leach out any anti freeze remaining. Then dump that out and refill with fresh water and dump in one or two bottles of dishsoap. That will take care of any remaining chemical. After that give it a good rinse, and then a couple of good burns. After that you'll be good to go.
post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all of the advice, especially the links to cheaper food grade barrels. Ill have to look into it further and see if I can scrounge up some free or cheap parts.
post #11 of 13
Don't walk RUN from this one. I would spend alittle more time and money and get a food safe drum if I were you.
post #12 of 13
Although it will be best to get a drum that was food grade, I do not see the inherent danger in using this particular one for a UDS project.

Like AK1 mentions, you would have to add a few steps in prepping the drum before you use it.

Rinse the heck out of it. Warm water, dishwashing soap, and a hefty brush should do the trick. You can even run it through and acid wash of some sort, then follow it up with a base/caustic cleaner. Finish it off with another round of warm water, dishwashing soap and brush. Then burn the drum like most UDS users do and scrape it down to bare metal.

Two most common antifreezes are ethylene-glycol and propylene-glycol. The latter being the less toxic one when ingested. If cleaned well, you will have more likelihood of getting sick from the paint on the drum being burned than the residual antifreeze.
post #13 of 13
Ethylene Glycol boiling point is 387-deg F
Propylene Glycol Boiling point is 370-deg F

So..........burn the heck out of that drum and the antifreeze will boil away.
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