drum questions

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by donnylove, Mar 6, 2009.

  1. donnylove

    donnylove Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    So I've decided to build myself a UDS. I finally located a drum and was stoked to have found a food-grade version, thinking that I wouldn't have to burn it out. These drums had honey or corn syrup in them. Two downsides: 1.) It's a closed topper, so I'd have to cut the top off (I've been told I could do so with a hammer and cold chisel?); and 2.) Although the source for the drum says otherwise, I've been told that a food-grade drum always has a plastic liner in it, which can be a !#$%^* to get out (from what I've read around here).

    My questions are . . . do food-grade drums always have a plastic liner? If so, given that I would prefer an open-top without a liner, should I look elsewhere? I haven't had much luck so far here otherwise and this drum would be free.

    Thanks for your input!
  2. bandcollector

    bandcollector Master of the Pit OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Sometimes the plastic liner is nothing more than a plastic bag which can be removed similar to removing a plastic garbage bag. Check it out. If that is the case the walls of the drum should be clean and free of paint.

  3. smokin' dick

    smokin' dick Smoking Fanatic

    I had a handle on some food grade barrels too. They all had the plastic liner so a burn out would be necessary. I did find a barrel reconditioning company and they take the barrels, run them through an incinerator at some on wicked high temp then sand blast them inside and out. $30 each. Heavier gauge steel than the food grade too. So free and a ton of work or 30 bucks and start building? $30 sounds good to me. So my advice is to find a barrel co. and get yourself an open top barrel. If you do get a closed barrel use a jig saw with a metal blade to remove the top. Also leave a small lip around the edge so a Weber Kettle lid will fit. Good luck and have fun.
  4. donnylove

    donnylove Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    I was hoping for an answer like John's. We'll see what exactly this barrel is like once I get it. I've looked around for new or refurbished drums, but haven't found a local source. I could get a refurbished one shipped here for around $50, but if I figured I'd hold out and try to find a cheaper route first. Thanks for the responses. It was starting to feel like a ghost town around here!
  5. donnylove

    donnylove Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    Does a burn out take care of a plastic liner? Seems like people always talk about having to grind them out . . .
  6. smokin' dick

    smokin' dick Smoking Fanatic

    From what I've read it is a bear to burn out the liner and I do believe you are correct in that grinding follows the burn-out. There is an uber thread on another forum that speaks volumes about the whole drum build. From burn out to charcoal baskets to spacing of grates etc, etc......

    I will pm you with the info.
  7. div

    div Smoking Fanatic

    I did two burns on mine and if u go the sandblasting route make sure your there to pick it up right when its done and paint right away ... steel drums will start to rust within about 30 minutes .... after the two burns I did on mine I waited till the next day which you will have to do if u burn but a light hand sand takes everything off and then paint away ...no matter what ya do a good burn before using is always good
  8. ddave

    ddave Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    If it is orange looking like this . . .

    do yourself a favor and find yourself a different drum. Of course since it is a closed top it may be hard to tell.

    If it is a closed top, it is unlikely that the liner is a removable plastic bag. If you try to burn it out make sure you can build ONE BIG ^%$^% FIRE!!! I tried it with pallets and it did not work. I wire wheeled on it awhile and gave up. Many folks have wire wheeled them or ground them out with 40 grit. If you do this make sure you have a very high quality mask, good eye protection and ear plugs. I was using just the cheap dust filter kind and was coughing up bits of liner for 5 days. I finally said the hell with it and found a different drum.

  9. donnylove

    donnylove Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    That's a good point about a closed top drum probably not having a removable bag liner. Damn. I wish I was in a bigger city where a better drum was more readily available.

    No matter. I'll keep looking and find one here eventually or I'll just end up ordering one.
  10. ddave

    ddave Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

  11. hog warden

    hog warden Smoking Fanatic

    So you are saying these are not good?

    This one and another like it had soy lecithin in them, which is a heavy, amber liquid that flows like molassass and doesnt' burn worth crap. I did an all day burn last weekend with a hot fire and got most of it out, but I doubt all of it. Still a little paint on the bottom of the barrel. The ash and coals actually insulate the bottom and sides from the heat of the fire.

    Don't know about the plastic liner (I thought I was just burning out the leftover product in the barrel), but these do have a rubber O ring on the lid rim that has to be pried off. It won't burn off.
  12. rickw

    rickw Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    That's the dreaded liner. It needs to be taken down to bare metal to be able to use it.
  13. ddave

    ddave Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Yep. What he said. ^^

    Try scraping the O ring out. Be careful trying to burn it out or you can warp the lid.

  14. donnylove

    donnylove Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    So how do all of you "Drum Heads" clean the ash out of your drum? I've read that some put a pan under the fuel basket, but it seems like it would be difficult to reach and lift out without dumping it. I've always figuerd I would just use my shop vac to vaccum out the ash.
  15. rickw

    rickw Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Shop vac works great. I just scoop it out with a dust pan. Oh, I also use mostly lump as it produces a lot less ash.
  16. ddave

    ddave Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Many people use a cheapo pizza pan or something. I use a cheapo table top grill. There like $5 at ACE hardware stores. It's not too hard to lift out without tipping. Just watch the bolts on the way up. Depending on the fuel you use, there shouldn't be a ton of ash anyway.

    I drilled holes in mine that line up with the intakes and put bolts on it as well to help keep it centerd. This isn't necessary but one time I had it slide over and block one of the intakes. Must have gotten a little carried away when I was "shaking the drum" to jiggle the ash loose.

  17. donnylove

    donnylove Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    Finally found what I've been looking for . . . it's not free, but there is a drum reconditioning busines in town. I can buy a reconditioned open topper for $40. Time to build . . .
  18. rickw

    rickw Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    That's a good deal, congrats.
  19. hog warden

    hog warden Smoking Fanatic

    I put a halt to dealing with my plastic lined barrels and also found a local container rehab place. Best guess was they had 80,000 barrels on site!!!

    Anyway, took a while to make it clear what it was I was looking for (heavy gauge, open top barrel with bung holes in the lid......they found one for me and even cleaned it up while I waited. Cost was $18.00. Also picked up a heavy open top lid for a 30 gallon to use as an ash pan. That was $2.

    Nothing special about them, but they will ship you a similar barrel ready to paint for about $50 shipped price.
  20. smokin' dick

    smokin' dick Smoking Fanatic

    Just built me first drum this weekend and here is my charcoal basket/ash catcher. I call it my Redneck Easter Basket.

    That is a 30 gallon drum top as the catcher. The whole thing goes in and out of the drum as a unit. Fired it up on Sunday with 5 lbs of unlit briquettes with 11 lit on top. Added the lit with the basket out of the barrel and then just put the basket right in. No problem.

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