Drum BBQ Smoker, No Welding





Introduction: Drum BBQ Smoker, No Welding

I needed a large BBQ smoker for work,


I don't have a welder so have used rivets bolts.

Tools needed:

Angle grinder, metal cut and grind disks

Spanners,nut runners,


Metal Drill bits

Sanding stuff (i used a grinder flapper wheel)

High temp stove/BBQ paint

set square

Step 1: Prep

First I sanded off the paint on the lid, I will sand the rest later (it's wet here)

Using a piece of string I marked off a quarter, then made a rectangle for the lid 40mm in.

Step 2: Cut Out the Lid

Using an angle grinder I cut out the lid, being careful at the corners. I then cleaned up the edges with sandpaper. Also, I got some free soy sauce with mine!

Step 3: Making the Lip

To stop the lid falling through I used two thin strips of stainless steel I had, but use what you have.

I cut the strips to length and riveted them on the inside of the barrel.

I found starting in the center and riveting out kept them flush.

Step 4: Add Hinges

I lined up the hinges and center punched and drilled two holes on each hinge at opposite corners. Then checking it swings properly and adjusting, drilled and riveted the rest.

Step 5: Handle

For the handle I just used an old stainless steel cupboard door handle I had and drilled through the lid.

Step 6: Making the Chimney

To make the chimney I used a turbo I had recently changed on my Landrover as it had places to bolt through. But I think a lot of exhaust parts would do the trick, see what your scrap man has.

I just cut the two pipes off, job done.

Step 7: Grill Rack and Chimney

For grill racks I used threaded bar.

I drilled two level holes just below the door level on each end, I then fed threaded bar through putting a nut inside and out on both sides. I tightened the two outside bolts first to put tension in to them, then used the inside nuts to lock them, this made the barrel much stronger. I left the bars long on one side to hang tools.

For the top rack I used a similar idea, but put them through the top bracket on the exhaust pipes as well, with a nut and bolt to secure each chimney through the second hole.

Step 8: Frame

I just made a simple frame. Using 4 legs secured using washers as shown, this means it will fold away. With a cross member at the top to hold the BBQ and halfway up the legs for support. Chains stop it opening too far and enables adjustment. This was just attached using self tapping bolts.

Step 9: Finishing

I sanded it and used stove spray paint to give a satin black finish.



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Very nice instructable! One tip I would add - when cutting out the door, just cut the top and a short distance down the sides (leave the majority of the sides and the bottom uncut. Then install your hinges, and when done finish cutting out the sides and the bottom. Makes allineing the door and hinges much easier!

4 replies

I didnt the the idea. anyone could explain clearly? Or with picture will be better. Thanks a lot :)

I just got the idea. Thanks.

nice idea I'll use that method in future

That's pretty practical suggestion... true, it's easier with the hinges.

Thank you for sharing your idea , that will help me a lot to build my own bbq barrel

Artisam, let us know how it works when you get a chance to try it.

If it is galvanized, soak it in some muriatic acid at 7$/quart or so at ACE. The galvanizing will dissolve off in about 30 seconds. Season with oil immediately as it will rust quickly.

I love BBQ's and I love this build. Two suggestion though:

1. Air holes at the bottom to feed the flames; and

2. a small hatch to dump ash and what not (saves you from scooping ash off every time you clean it). This hatch can probably serve as air intake, too.

The lining is easy enough to get rid of... I used a lined drum for my UDS and used a propane weed burner from Harbor Freight to burn it out. Heated the outside until the liner flakes off (I had mine glowing red hot pretty much everywhere). Once it's all off, give it a good scrub and wash it out. Then coat the inside with some spray on cooking oil and give it a good heating. That should seal in any little bits that might still be hanging around. Been smoking with mine for years with out any issues.

Dont use a lined drum of any kind project, use only unlined drum


Just a reminder to folks contemplating this great project: Make sure the barrel was NEVER used to store any petroleum product. Bakeries are great for clean barrels as they would have been used for vegetable oil. Enjoy!

3 replies

That isn't really paint that is a liner, it is a lined steel drum. Bad choice for a cooker or heater. Use a unlined steel drum used for a food grade product. Burning it out would be hard to do, you would need to get the whole thing glowing red. The liner will have filled the seams and not be visible to you but will continue to emit gasses. Poisoning the family and friends every Saturday don't sound fun to me. Toxins may not have a immediate affect on you and loved ones, they can build up in your system and not manifest for years.

Clyde :(

Do not use a lined barrel of any kind, some food product may require a liner, just because it was used for food product does not make it a good candidate of this type of project.


Thanks, yea mine was from soy sauce, I also found food barrels are often in better condition.

I would have just built a UDS, much easier and a better use of a drum.

Thats a fantastic build. It looks amazing. Very neat work.
Just a thought here.... would a small trap door at the under side of the smoker, help with removing the ashes at the end of the day?