Introduction: Drum BBQ Smoker, No Welding

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of Finishing

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


wrconner (author)2015-04-22

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!

seeroon (author)wrconner2017-07-14

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

seeroon (author)seeroon2017-07-14

I just got the idea. Thanks.

ArtiSam (author)wrconner2015-04-23

nice idea I'll use that method in future

RubenV52 (author)ArtiSam2017-02-17

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

boycee1958 (author)2017-02-01

brilliant great idea

Bahreyni (author)2016-12-31

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

bpalani made it! (author)2016-01-02

It worked well..!!!

ArtiSam (author)bpalani2016-09-03

Nice, looks sweet mate

Worked_the_World (author)2015-11-04

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

DiveCayman (author)2015-04-21

Make sure your threaded rod is not galvanized.

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.

olivia11 (author)2015-04-24

very nice

praetorian216 (author)2015-04-24

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.

chuggins143 (author)2015-04-21

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.

cmayo (author)2015-04-21

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

Frabjous (author)2015-04-17

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!

cmayo (author)Frabjous2015-04-21

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 :(

cmayo (author)cmayo2015-04-21

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.


ArtiSam (author)Frabjous2015-04-18

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

theboz1419 (author)2015-04-21

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

neilcp (author)2015-04-21

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?

Oscar_Scheepstra (author)2015-04-21

Did you remove the old paint from the inside of the barrel? It could be quite toxic and produce some nasty fumes under the flames...

madmungo (author)2015-04-21

Fantastic design! I really like the exhaust manifold. That gave me a super idea to use some racing stainless steel headers, or maybe a vertical tubular silencer like a big rig exhaust. :-) you could have the rain flap on the top like they have on lorries. and use it to open up the airflow manually :-)

I made my BBQ last summer by cutting one in half. I really like your design much more.

Beergnome (author)2015-04-20

looks great! but, seems to be missing a lower vent for air flow so your fire can breathe, and a rack to hold your cooking fuel off the bottom so it doesn't burn it out.

ArtiSam (author)Beergnome2015-04-20

Hi I have drilled holes in the bottom left opposite the chimney, i will add a peice of metal to act as a control. And i am currently on the lookout for some old oven shelves or something for the bottom rack. I have also ordered a tempreture gauge to add. I will update as I finish these bits and pieces.

AGelatt (author)ArtiSam2015-04-21

If you can find an old grill that has been tossed out, use the shelves from it. Some of them last much longer than the grill.

Prairie Dawg (author)2015-04-21

A nicely built project and one I will likely tackle as soon as my Weber Kettle collapses-should be soon now. . I built a vertical smoker from a 55 gallon drum that had contained some sort of food product. I would suggest that you incorporate a combination cleanout and damper door to remove ashes and a shelf of expanded metal for a grate for your coals and your grill. Also make sure you do not use any zinc or cadmium plated hardware as they can release toxic fumes when overheated. Best to be safe, stainless steel or mild steel hardware is best. The last suggestion I would make is to build up your grill and then start a hot fire in it for a couple of hours. This will render the paint easily removable with a hand sander. Then, clean out the dust and wipe the inside down with clean paper towels and vegetable oil. Do a burn in and then get some steaks or bratwurst and have a happy carnivore summer.

Flintsman11 (author)2015-04-21

Thanks I am about to try it in the next few days.

Kjmix1 (author)2015-04-18

I am definitely going to build this. Thank you

behrang_a (author)2015-04-18

Nice and clean, fantastic job

tomatoskins (author)2015-04-17

This looks great! Have you noticed any lossening of the rivets with heat?

ArtiSam (author)tomatoskins2015-04-18

I haven't yet but this is still new. I made sure to use good quality rivets, the same ones I restored my wood burning oven with and that's holding up well.

bgipson1 (author)2015-04-17

Just asking did you burn it out before painting it bbq black. It looked like a primer coat inside

ArtiSam (author)bgipson12015-04-18

Yea I did burn it out, the stuff they use on food barrels can be bad apparently.

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