Rust in UDS?

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big deck bb-jr

Original poster
Nov 27, 2013
Rocket City, AL
How do you guys keep rust out of your UDS? I used to put foil in to bottom of mine to collect ash. I then saw that people were using pizza pans, but I couldn't find one large enough, so I used a water heater pan and cut to size. It was sprayed with high heat paint. After about a year now, the bottom I my drum looks like it's got rust in it. How do you prevent that from happening?
I have experimented many ways with mine. Mine uses a firebox made out of old hog panel folded into a box shape. It encompasses 90% of my bottom area of my 55 gallon drum. So the box catches the majority of the dripping which then burn off before they get onto the floor of my drum. After I am done smoking I leave the lid off and full intake wide open and let er burn for a good 30 minutes to burn the grate clean ect. I then put the lid on and shut the intakes and exhaust and let the fire go out. I haven't given mine a hard core inspection but I believe this will help keep rust down by keeping moisture and juices burned out.

I have probably cooked in mine twenty or thirty times now. There is enough grease char on the inside of mine that I don't think it would ever rust from the inside out. I read where a lot of guys clean the sidewalls out. I think that is a mistake. If you use it regularly it is burning out all the undesirable material and leaving the cure on the inside of the drum. This will prevent rust from the inside of the drum. I bought an eighteen inch bbq, one of the cheap ones and i use the pan from it on bricks and then just set my basket on top of it. The basket was formed around a grill from that same size bbq so it sits in it perfectly.  When I pull the burned stuff out, which is only about once every five or six cooks, I pull the basket first, then reach down and pull that pan. I haven't had a thing on the bottom of the barrel yet.
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I think mine has come from ashes that may have slipped in the bottom, and because I used to use a water pan. Hopefully with a few more cooks it will go away.
I use my aluminium gas furnace with slight modifications as a firebox. Its entirely ceramic, built using terracotta as a lining with perlite and cement filling the space between the oil drum steel and terracotta.

My experience with steel in general exposed to heat is that the firing process speeds up the corrosion of iron, all of my iron crucibles have a limited life span for this reason and constantly need to be replaced. I've seen people use stainless steel without this corrosion being an issue.

Heat speeds the process of oxidation. Prevent direct contact with heat and organic compounds from fuel and you should prolong the life of your barrel considerably, whether this be by natural sealants from combustion of fuels or barriers. Hope this helps. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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