Big Ugly Drum Smoker

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Big Ugly Drum Smoker

Postby BeerBiker » Tue Sep 07, 2010 8:19 am

Recently, a friend of mine was talking about buying a smoker and was asking my recommendation that didn’t cost as much as a BGE. :oops: I recommended he build a BUDS instead and his initial reaction was kind of negative. Regardless, he did as I suggested and Googled it. He called me back all jazzed about building one and even went so far as to get two drums. We built two side by side. They varied a bit, but our construction was pretty similar. The biggest difference is that I scored a Weber kettle BBQ at the local swap meet for $15. I stole the domed lid and also a second cooking rack. Otherwise, our drums are about the same.

This past weekend, I did the first cook on mine and I did it side by side with my BGE. I have to tell you that while I still prefer my BGE for most things, the BUDS ROCKS!!! Side by side, there wasn’t a whole lot of difference. The BUDS held its temp rock steady and the food that came off was every bit as tasty as what came off the egg. With the naked eye, the charcoal usage was pretty similar to what the Egg used, too.

While I am still a believer in the BGE, I have to say that the drum smoker more than holds its own and for right around a c-note to build, I don’t think you can beat it. The amount of food you can cook on the drum is considerable more than on my large Egg. Definitely the e-ticket for cooking mass quantities. Here are some pics:

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Re: Big Ugly Drum Smoker

Postby tookalisten » Tue Sep 07, 2010 5:04 pm

Nice; I want one now!
Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.
~Robert Brault

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Re: Big Ugly Drum Smoker

Postby wlfpkrcn » Tue Sep 07, 2010 5:23 pm

They are great. Smoked 2 racks yesterday on hardly any coal
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Re: Big Ugly Drum Smoker

Postby tookalisten » Tue Sep 07, 2010 5:49 pm

I googled and get a lot of links for building one - any recommendations for the best (most simple to read for parts, step by step instructions) site/link?
This is my next project.
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Re: Big Ugly Drum Smoker

Postby BeerBiker » Wed Sep 08, 2010 7:25 am

tookalisten wrote:I googled and get a lot of links for building one - any recommendations for the best (most simple to read for parts, step by step instructions) site/link?
This is my next project.


In my experience, they’re all pretty similar. We didn’t really follow any one set of plans, but instead stole bits and pieces from several different ones. That’s half the fun of it, sort of like building your own brewing system.

Drum selection in probably the most crucial thing. You want a food grade drum, but even then, you could end up with one that has the dreaded red liner that is some kind of powder coat, I think. We burned them twice and couldn’t get it all out. We even had a grinder with a wire brush wheel on it and that would barely touch it.

The thing is, this project won’t cost you much and if you aren’t real happy with your results, you can start over for a couple bucks. I think it’s pretty hard to screw up, though.

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Re: Big Ugly Drum Smoker

Postby Lucky » Wed Sep 08, 2010 11:08 am

I built one with instructions from this site. It works perfect and was easy to build. I use to use a Weber Kettle to smoke on but it was too small.So far I've only smoked ribs on it but it was the easiest smoke I've done.

Drilled and painted:
Image

With grate bolts installed:
Image

The charcoal basket made out of a Weber replacement charcoal grate, expanded metal and bolts:
Image

Sorry I don't have any pictures of it all put together.
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Re: Big Ugly Drum Smoker

Postby BeerBiker » Wed Sep 08, 2010 12:48 pm

Looks like you had the red liner, too.

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Re: Big Ugly Drum Smoker

Postby wlfpkrcn » Wed Sep 08, 2010 12:59 pm

I had the liner in one and not the other. What a pain it is.

I googled and get a lot of links for building one - any recommendations for the best (most simple to read for parts, step by step instructions) site/link?


No step by step, but alot of good ideas and links if you read thru it

http://www.barbecuebible.com/board/view ... hp?t=12292

For me it was pretty simple

Find drum and cut off top
Build charcoal basket
Drill three vent holes (3/4" I fill the holes with foil to decrease O2 to the coals, some use nice ball valves)
Determine where the cooking grate should go.
Install thermometer just below the grate
Drill 4 holes and install stainless screws and nuts
Install grate
Fit Weber lid
Start smokin
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Re: Big Ugly Drum Smoker

Postby pclemon » Thu Sep 09, 2010 5:03 am

BeerBiker wrote:Drum selection in probably the most crucial thing. You want a food grade drum, but even then, you could end up with one that has the dreaded red liner that is some kind of powder coat, I think. We burned them twice and couldn’t get it all out. We even had a grinder with a wire brush wheel on it and that would barely touch it.


I'm dense a lot so I'll ask what's probably a stupid question - but why go for a food grade barrel and then remove the lining that made it food grade? If you "burned it out twice" assuming you had really big/hot fires in it, wouldn't there be little/no risk of a problem if running it at smoking temp?
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Re: Big Ugly Drum Smoker

Postby jeeper » Thu Sep 09, 2010 6:43 am

That is awesome. Is the pipe and ball valve for air flow ?
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Re: Big Ugly Drum Smoker

Postby BeerBiker » Thu Sep 09, 2010 7:07 am

pclemon wrote:
BeerBiker wrote:Drum selection in probably the most crucial thing. You want a food grade drum, but even then, you could end up with one that has the dreaded red liner that is some kind of powder coat, I think. We burned them twice and couldn’t get it all out. We even had a grinder with a wire brush wheel on it and that would barely touch it.


I'm dense a lot so I'll ask what's probably a stupid question - but why go for a food grade barrel and then remove the lining that made it food grade? If you "burned it out twice" assuming you had really big/hot fires in it, wouldn't there be little/no risk of a problem if running it at smoking temp?


Those were kind of our thoughts, too, but we decided not to risk it and followed the advice of those that had gone before. Would you use an old motor oil barrel as a boil kettle? Me neither, no matter how clean I thought I had it.

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Re: Big Ugly Drum Smoker

Postby BeerBiker » Thu Sep 09, 2010 7:09 am

jeeper wrote:That is awesome. Is the pipe and ball valve for air flow ?


Yeah, but it's really not all that. The little sheet metal gates we have on the other holes work just as good and you can flip them open/closed with your foot. Lot's of Q guys don't seem to like to bend over to adjust the airflow. I believe it has to do with too much Q.

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Re: Big Ugly Drum Smoker

Postby pclemon » Thu Sep 09, 2010 8:39 am

BeerBiker wrote:Those were kind of our thoughts, too, but we decided not to risk it and followed the advice of those that had gone before. Would you use an old motor oil barrel as a boil kettle? Me neither, no matter how clean I thought I had it. Mark


I think you give a bad example but I understand what you are saying. Since smoked foods are known carcinogens already, I guess I would see the added risk that something may leach out at 300 degrees that didn't leach out at 2500 degrees as being fairly minimal.

Sum it up - there's too many ways to die.
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Re: Big Ugly Drum Smoker

Postby Proetus » Fri Sep 10, 2010 4:18 am

http://www.thesmokering.com/forum/index.php

Best bbq forums i have found yet. UDS can be had for as cheap as 25 bucks depending on what you have laying around and source of barrels. I recommend checking out the smoke ring, great forums.
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Re: Big Ugly Drum Smoker

Postby Monster Mash » Fri Sep 10, 2010 2:47 pm

I still have a 30 gal SS pool filter I've been meaning to convert into a smoker, my Brinkman is on it's last leg so I may have to get started on that project...
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