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Need some advice on a new UDS build


Joined Jun 9, 2009
I have in my possession, 2 drums which I am going to use to build my first UDS.  This will be a horizontal drum smoker, the top drum is a 55 gallon and the bottom (firebox) is a 16 gallon.  I had a steel frame made for me by a friend that I am going to set it on.

I have some questions.

1)  Grill grate.  What material do i use for the grill grate?  If I use steel grating, wont it rust?  And if it does rust, is that a problem?

2)  Heat Control.  I am planning on using two pipes coming from the firebox up to the top drum.  What can you suggest for me to get the best heat control?  Where should I put my dampers so I can have the most control over my heat?

Finally, if anyone who has ever made one of these things before can give me any suggestions at all they will be appreciated.  I dont want to start working on it and find out Ive done something completely wrong.


Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
Joined Oct 18, 2007
Well I have never made a horizontal smoker out of a drum but I can maybe help you a bit. As far as grates most people fabricate their grates out of expandable metal that you can but at most hardware stores. Once you season the grates it shouldn't rust unless it gets wet or something all the time. As far as your dampers I am not sure what you would do. What size pipes are you going to use from your fire box to your smoke chamber? The first thing that jumped into my head was a stove pipe damper that my dad has on his wood stove back home in the shed. Just a flat circular plate that sits in the pipe and you turn it to allow more or less heat into your smoke chamber. And you will also want some type air regulators on your firebox maybe just ball valves like we do on our vertical UDS's would do the trick. You may not need to stove pipe damper if you can control the heat enough with your ball valves on your fire box.

Here is the damper I was invisioning.


Do some searching for Horizontal Drum Smokers. Someone build one a while back with two 55 gallon drums mounted horizontal on top of eachother and put pipe inbetween the two. I will see if I can find it as well. Good luck.

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