Instructables
Picture of How to build a barrel smoker

This is my first Instructable so don't laugh.

Hopefully by the end of this you will be able to build your own BBQ smoker out of some barrels.  I believe this smoker is called an offset drum smoker.  With it you can smoke meats and foods.  It uses charcoal and fruit wood as fuel/smoke.  This requires a lot of welding and cutting but if you don't have a welder you may be able to rivet it together but since I think rivets suck I weld things.
 
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Step 1: Preparations or Step 1

Picture of Preparations or Step 1
Welcome to step one you made it!

This is the first of many steps where I boss you around and tell you things. 

First off to build one just like mine you need some barrels.  I found my barrels at some barrel company and they were the floor models in the showroom.  Yes they have models of barrels and a showroom to show off the pretty colors or latest technical feats of barrel making.  I don't know if there were mannequins in flannel and hard hats modeling the barrels lifting them etc. but I assume so. 

It is important for your life and health you get some barrels that either have never been used like mine or have never had some bad stuff in them.  If the bad stuff is bad you don't want it on your food.

I used two 33 gallon barrels I think.

Get a welder.  Or a weldor.  The difference is you pay the weldor to do all the work and you don't look like a manly dude with a cool welder in the garage. I would recommend a MIG welder.  It is much better than a stick because the stick welder will burn through thin metal very easy.  I also would stay away from one that uses just flux core wire because it sucks.  It makes it harder to weld and you got smoke and sparks and crap flying everywhere.  A MIG welder produces a much cleaner easier weld.  But if you are out in the wind like a tornado and need to weld your weather vane back on I would go with the flux core welder.


w1zard8 months ago

dude if you knew how to weld it would be easier to stick weld it with 6011 low heat ...wire brush and all is good

jmckinnon21 year ago
wow hope my 1st smoker looks as good as that
skwoorl1 year ago
I like your humor!
skwoorl1 year ago
I like your humor!
i don't have the money for a mig welder... will an oxy fuel torch work?
joemonkey4 years ago
very cool. the only problem i have with 55 gallon drum smokers is the thickness of the walls. they are simply too thin. the dont hold heat in well enough. the smoker i have on my patio has about half inch thick walls.
1/2 " thick ? How in the world did you move it ? must weigh about 600lbs and what was a 1/2 " thick drum used for ? to contain radioactive material....
Verga joemonkey4 years ago
I built one about 7 years ago similar to this, except that my fire box was located underneath. You want to keep your heat under 300 degrees so the "thin" walls are perfect. I can cook almost 100lbs of food in mine with no problem. I have cooked numerous turkeys, briskets, pork loins, and racks of ribs. Also isf you look at Lowes, Home Depot etc... you will see similar commercial ones that use almost the same guage metal. BTW great instructable
Ruettiger (author)  joemonkey4 years ago
then don't build this...I think I may wrap mine in a welding blanket to cut down on the heat loss.
Love the illustrations! They're more fun than pictures. Could you cover the smoker with a thin layer of refractory cement, or would that not hold in enough heat to be worth the trouble? How expensive is high temperature rock wool insulation?
Ruettiger (author)  sysadmn4 years ago
not sure if it would stay on there but It would possibly work awesome to roll a sheet of chicken mesh/wire as a form for the inside. Thank you for your comments especially about the drawings. I thought it would be funnier to do drawings and possibly show the process better.
You may want to try that thermal tape they use to wrap motorcycle exhaust headers. Don't know how expensive it is though.
FyreAntz4 years ago
Should have been named "Manstructable." I feel like slaying some large animal and smoking it now. MAN UP AMERICA!
Derin4 years ago
I loved this instructable, very funny and nice drawing!
madflower4 years ago
manly scissors go by the name tin snips. You would be a manly man if you could cut it with tin snips. :)
confortif4 years ago
I bought a plasma cutter on ebay from Harbor Freight about 5 years ago and it works just fine. Is the gap it leaves (~ 1/16th - 1/32") small enough for the "gap" you are referring to? I've cut propane tanks with this (filled with water of course!) so I know I can dial it in for a very fine cut but wanted to know if that's good enough.
Ruettiger (author)  confortif4 years ago
I think you are talking about the cuts for the doors? If so that would be great to use for it. If you can't get the gap small some flanges could be welding on the underside of where the door stops. This would be done to overlap the back of the door to provide a better seal. I think your plasma cutter would work much better for these cuts than the cut off wheels I used.
rbbiggs4 years ago
Nice job on the build. I can't seem to find barrels that haven't already been used for some chemical.
Ruettiger (author)  rbbiggs4 years ago
Try a bread store. Apparently they get huge drums of honey and other stuff in them. I think if it is a food grade barrel is should be ok.
maven4 years ago
joemonkey - So use a discarded propane tank instead, just be sure to have someone else fill that bugger with water and cut it with a torch. (real women prefer plasma torches) I'm looking for a 200gal (dead) tank now for a smoker project. I have an old lawn ornament now (dead 500gal tank) that I'm looking for a use for...I think one could smoke an entire side of beef in one that large, but that's a wee bit too big for the family....
johnnyblegs4 years ago
Loving the illustration. Great job on your first instructable!
Phil B4 years ago
I do not believe anyone will laugh at you. You did a fine job on your first Instructable. You are a talented illustrator. If I had a need for one of these smokers, I certainly would use your Instructable to build it. I hope you will do many more Instructables in coming months.