Ugly Drum Smokers

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by swamprb, Sep 27, 2007.

  1. geek with fire

    geek with fire Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Man, if you could find a way to easily get it in and out of a whole in the ground, you could hold on to even more heat for those really long smokes. It would solve the "yard waste" issue as well.

    Nicely done!
  2. swamprb

    swamprb Fire Starter

    Since the drum cooks with direct heat the meats cook faster than an offset or indirect smoker, you do need to turn and spray or mop, but the fats dripping on the coals have a basteing effect or convection, I've done two 9lb. shoulders, 4 racks of trimmed spares and four 4lb chickens with one load of briqs, spread over @ 13hrs and it was still holding @225*when I was done.
    I have a small charcoal ring that I'll use for short cooks,whole chickens, thighs, wings and drums, salmon, ribs, ABT's and fatties.
  3. peculiarmike

    peculiarmike Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    What size are your charcoal rings??
  4. coz

    coz Meat Mopper OTBS Member

    I built one of the drum smokers and have used it twice and am fairly impressed with it.Always one for over kill I put a door in the bottom to take the charcoal basket in and out.I got the drum from my bro in law who works for a canning company.It had food safe grease in it and a removeable liner.I think SKS did his with no welding if I remember correct.maybe he could put a pic of his valve assembly up.
  5. Ask and ye shall receive! I did a no weld build due to lack of access of a welder at the time





  6. So here is what I used:

    3/4" full flow ball valve
    7/8" OD copper pipe
    M-F union with one threaded end
    3/4" electrial washer
    F-M union with one threaded end

    So as you can see in the pics, the ball valve gets a copper pipe extension, as far as you want it, that goes into the union with the female threaded end, and you drill a hole through the drum so that the male threaded end goes into the female end and you tighten the electrical washer on the inside of the drum to "clamp" it together.

    This setup is very very sturdy and easy to do. I had to goto a local plumbing place though, as my HD did not have any of the parts I was looking for. You can make the copper extension as long as you want to. I wanted to have enough room so that the handle wasn't near the drum at all.
  7. The standard is 13"D x 6"H. Many make various sizes, some even make smaller rings that fit into the big ring for shorter cooks. I made mine 15"D x 9" tall, because I only had to cut the sheet of expanded metal once [​IMG]

    I think I may have made it too big, but I did fill it up once. It will hold more than one bag of charcoal!

  8. gramason

    gramason Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    How far does the charcoal sit off the bottom of the drum ? It looks like it is sitting on a cooking rack but can't tell if air can get under the basket.
  9. deejaydebi

    deejaydebi Smoking Guru

    Thanks Mike!

    I really believe that the height of the large drums will make a moister end product. It would seem unlike the horizontal smokers the height keeps the moisture farther from the direct heat so there'd be less dehydration - less instantanious evaporation. What do you think? The vertical smokers seem to produce a moister product. Am I over thinking this.

    Have you used a water pan in the drums? You probably don't need it.
  10. peculiarmike

    peculiarmike Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    No water pan needed. The design places the meat over the fire (direct heat) for the purpose of letting the drippings fall into it. They burn and add that flavor, same as on a grill. You get a different flavor smoked meat from a drum.
    I don't think moistness is effected either way. I feel cooking technique produces moist or dry meat. Cook it too long and it is dry. $.02 [​IMG]
  11. The charcoal basket is sitting on a charcoal grate from a weber 22.5" kettle <about 17"D>.

    That sits on top of 1 1/2" steel square tubing.
  12. gramason

    gramason Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Thank for the info, I found some barrells that had fruit juice in them, and I want to see how one of these things work.
  13. I Get my drums from those Self Brew joints, you know, where you and a bunch of mates can go and brew beer using their equipment, they are happy to sell empty food grade drums.
  14. ma?tley ca 1/4 e

    ma?tley ca 1/4 e Meat Mopper OTBS Member

    I have a local container company that sells new open head drums for $50.00

    Thinking about getting a couple just for the heck of it.
  15. For those of you making one of these, make sure it is as air tight as possible. Air leaks will kill you on these things. I fought with mine while trying to addressing the air leak problems with my lid. The tighter you can make it, the better.
  16. fatback joe

    fatback joe Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Very sound advice for any smoker project. Any air that you don't have control over just makes your job more difficult.
  17. They say beauty comes from within and it looks like its true!
  18. gramason

    gramason Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    I made a drum smoker last week and tried it out yesterday. I could'nt get the temp below 350. I cooked a pork butt and it was done in 4 hours at 200deg. It tasted ok, but it was a little harder to pull than the others I did on my char-griller. May try putting a water pan in to try to bring down the temp. Any suggestions.
  19. stl-rich

    stl-rich Fire Starter

    I love the idea of making one of these but how do you attach the ball valves on the bottom?
  20. tom37

    tom37 Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    One of two things is happening,

    1 You light to many coals, but I kinda don't think so since you didn't say it ever came down.

    2 Which is my guess, you have air leaking in letting the fire build to big.

    Most of us only light 1 briquette per ten lbs or so then dump them on top.
    A simple pipe nipple and a couple EMT conduit jam nuts works pretty good if you use 3/4 nipple threaded in a 1" hole and the jam nuts to lock it down good.

    A bunch of people have just used the thread the nipple in the 1" hole with no jam nuts and not had any problems.

    A few have also just drilled there holes and used frig magnets to cover or partially cover the vent holes with good success. This way would drastically cut down on the build price.

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