55 Gallon Smoker

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Original poster
Jul 23, 2007
I am just putting the finishing touches on my 4th grill. I made it out of a 55 gallon barrel. My question is, I usually use lump charcoal but I am thinking of switching to kingsford just for the fact that I can test how many brickets I need to achieve the temp I want where as if I use lump i will always be eye balling it. Any thoughts???
For a 55 gallon drum it would seem that the fuel efficency would be better with lump than charcoal brikettes as they burn hotter, but either will work. I believe Chris Harper said he used 20 lbs of brikettes in his.

Any pictures of this beauty? I am building one as is several others. Any insight is helpful.
Me? I don't know nothing. I am just kind of getting back into the game. Briquetts (SP) are a good way to stay consistent (SP). I don't know that Kingsford is the best, but I think it is pretty good. Years ago I used a commercial/restraunt grade charcoal that was pretty good as far as a long even burn went.

All I remember was that it came in a brown bag and I think the print was red. Maybe the brand was Chefs blend or chefs choice or something along those lines.

Any PICs of you new smoker yet? Details, details, we love the juicy stuff!
Hope to see some pics.

A buddy of mine made a smoker out of two cast iron bathtubs, drain holes on opposite sides, drew in air bottom left and out top right. He can smoke a side of beef in that thing. That thing will last forever. Ever see anything like that?
I would recommend lump over briquettes. Briquettes contain coal dust, clays, and other substances that are used as binders so the mix can be molded into briquettes.
Weight seems a simple and reasonable measure.
You will get more heat from lump. Also more burn time, depending on your vent settings.
Keep us posted on your results.
when i was using charcoal, i lit a chimney of kingsford. when it was flaming real good, i dumped it in my fire box. i placed wood splits in there, right in the fire. i used wood mostly after that. after i foiled my meat i switched back to charcoal, using the chimney. last winter i would use an 18-lb bag of kingsford, for one smoke. that, plus my wood. then i insulated my smoker. takes less now. plus, i use wood only now.
Welcome to SMF Smokeitup!!! Lump or an all natural briquette is the way to go IMO. The weighing thing is not a bad idea. You can also just mark a bucket or chimney with a mark you need to fill up to. Good luck with whatever you decide.
Thanks for all the imput guys...I think I am going to stick with the lump charcoal which I like better anyways. I am kicking myself now that I didn't add a fire box to my grill. Also, people talked about using just wood (hickory, mesquite,apple, etc.) I have never tried that approach I go with the charcoal and damp chips or chunks. I am going to do some test trials this week to get the temps just right and smoke something nice next weekend. I will post some pics too.
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