Update: I found a company here in town that sells their drums - picked one up for $10 and it looks almost brand new. It's an open top drum so I no longer have to worry about cutting the top off!
The problem is that unlike the first drum I got that had motor oil in it, this one had some sort of gear lube that looks like tar.
Someone on another site suggested that I take the drum to the car wash and use the "engine degreaser" setting to remove most of the residue before my burn out. It sounded like a great idea, but it didn't work at all. I'm not sure if it was maybe the particular car wash I chose to go to (in the "hood" - very old business, old equipment, etc. :-) or if it's just that I'm not going to be able to work with this particular drum.
The 'engine degreaser' setting at the car wash produced the very low flow of water (like when you switch from the high pressure soapy wash to the low pressure 'spot free rinse', for example). About 10-15 % of the gear lube came out, but that was after 5 straight minutes of switching back and forth from the engine degreaser setting to the power soap setting. The last minute or so - I didn't really remove much residue.
So - my next thought is to head to Autozone or some place similar, and buy a quart of commercial grade degreaser and see how that works. I'm thinking either the Orange Zap, or perhaps Simply Green Degreaser.
What are your thoughts on this?? Anyone had any success with these products? I know both are advertised as "all natural" as opposed to those that use harsh chemicals.
I have put ads on Craigslist for food grade drums, and I've also called almost every business in town that I could find that deals with food products. I was told by everyone that they either use plastic or fiber drums or no drums at all. (BOO!!) I've already spent a fair amount on a step bit, hardware, webber grill parts, ball valve, etc...so I don't want to order a new drum online - as once this all adds up, it will kind of deflate the whole personal satisfaction I would get from creating a great smoker on a low budget!
I thought of one more thing - since I get LTL freight deliveries daily here at work, I'm going to start asking truck drivers if they deliver products anywhere around my area that are contained in steel drums - then I can call these businesses and see about getting one.
Now that I've got all the tools and parts, I'm dying to get started - all I need is a way to clean out this damn drum!