Smoker build

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BigTerp
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Smoker build

Post by BigTerp » 29 Apr 2015, 10:44

Figured some of you guys might find this smoker build interesting. Some of you may have already heard of these or have even built one yourself.

I've been smoking meat on an offset style smoker that my mother-in-law got us for Christmas for the last 2 years. Have really gotten into it because the results are great, but the offset just wasn't cutting it. Could barely fit 2 racks of ribs or 2 splatchcocked chickens on it at a time. And it heated unevenely and even after stove roping the crap out of it to control leaks, it still was leaky and didn't hold temps very well and ate a lot of charcoal. Had to pretty much babysit it while cooking. I figured I would just have to deal with it because we weren't spending the $ on a decent smoker. But then I came across UDS's (ugly drum smokers) and was very intrigued. It is basically a 55 gallon steel barrel turned into a smoker. Petitioned my buddy to help me with the welding and we ended up building one for each of us. Turned out great. Mine is seasoned and ready to smoke a pork butt this weekend. Can't wait. And the best part is we built each one for about $80 a piece. Probably be a little more if you get your hardware from somewhere like Lowe's, but I have a buddy that manages an industrial supply store, so I got all my hardware at cost. The most expensive part of the build were the barrels at $30 each and a 4' x 8' piece of expanded metal at $50.

Barrels were used food grade barrels that stored honey.
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The bad part about foot grade barrels is they have a liner in them that is hard to remove. Some don't remove it, but I felt better getting it out.
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The first step is burning the crap out of the barrels. This removes the exterior paint and gets all the nasties out of the inside. The liner in ours partially came out during the burn.
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After the burn
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A bit of a pain getting the rest of the liner out. Used a wire wheel attached to an angle grinder to get most of it out. Figured what was left after a burn that turned the barrel cherry red and grinding the crap out of was OK to stay. 3/4 of the way through liner removal.
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We used #9 3/4" expanded metal for our charcoal baskets and cooking grates. Each barrel has 2 cooking grates. One at 6" from the top and another at 12" from the top.
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Charcoal basket. 15" diameter x 10" high. Will hold plenty of charcoal for a long cook.
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We used 1/2" electrical conduit for our handles.
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Being 6'8" I wanted my barrel a bit taller. Used 2 casters I had laying around my shed and a piece of angle iron as a front foot to raise my barrel about 7".
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Prepped the barrels for paint by taking my wire wheel to the outside and then wiping down with denatured alcohol. Used Rust-Oleum high temp bbq paint through an HVLP spray gun.Turned out pretty nice, IMO.
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Seasoned mine with 1/2 a basket of lump charcoal and it held temperatures really well over about 8 hours. Huge improvement over my old offset. Hardly used any of the charcoal and I had less than a dust pan of ash in the bottom. Will probably fab up an ash tray to attach to my charcoal basket at some point to make cleanup easier. The UDS uses 3 - 3/4" pipe nipples on the bottoms for intakes. 2 are capped with pipe caps and the third has a ball valve attached for fine tuning your cooking temperature. Bottom grate is about 30-40 degrees warmer than the top grate. A homemade heat deflector make narrow the gap. This was at the 8 hour mark.
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BigTerp's Tracker Sportsman 16' build-------> http://www.tinboats.net/forum/viewtopic ... 21&t=26774

JMichael
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Smoker build

Post by JMichael » 29 Apr 2015, 11:06

That last pic makes it appear the food is keeping the smoker warm. LoL Great looking project but how do you clean the ash out? Do you have to turn it over to dump the ash? I've not been real happy with the life span of expanded metal when it's got hot coals on it.

P.S. What are the 2 big nuts on the outside of the upper section?

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RiverBottomOutdoors
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Smoker build

Post by RiverBottomOutdoors » 29 Apr 2015, 11:51

Nice. Use a leaf blower to stoke the fire when burning out. That will get the fire hot enough to burn out any and everything inside the drums.

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BigTerp
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Smoker build

Post by BigTerp » 29 Apr 2015, 11:58

JMichael wrote:That last pic makes it appear the food is keeping the smoker warm. LoL Great looking project but how do you clean the ash out? Do you have to turn it over to dump the ash? I've not been real happy with the life span of expanded metal when it's got hot coals on it.

P.S. What are the 2 big nuts on the outside of the upper section?
For now I just reach in with a dust pan and small broom. I'm tall, so I can easily get to it. A lot of guys attach a pizza pan or something similar to the feet of their charcoal basket so it all comes out with the basket when you lift it out. I'll probably add an ash pan once I get my handle welded on my basket.

Those are waterproof conduit connectors. Basically a hollow nut with rubber inside and a small hole in the rubber. It's what we use to insert our thermometer probes into.
BigTerp's Tracker Sportsman 16' build-------> http://www.tinboats.net/forum/viewtopic ... 21&t=26774

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BigTerp
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Smoker build

Post by BigTerp » 29 Apr 2015, 11:59

RiverBottomOutdoors wrote:Nice. Use a leaf blower to stoke the fire when burning out. That will get the fire hot enough to burn out any and everything inside the drums.
Oh yeah!! Had the leave blower out and the barrels got so hot they were glowing red. Was afraid they would end up warped when I was done. That liner is a PITA to get out!!
BigTerp's Tracker Sportsman 16' build-------> http://www.tinboats.net/forum/viewtopic ... 21&t=26774

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BigTerp
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Smoker build

Post by BigTerp » 04 May 2015, 10:42

Smoked a 7# pork butt for 13.5 hours Friday night/Saturday morning. Turned out great!! I think I'm going to be using the crap out of this smoker.

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BigTerp's Tracker Sportsman 16' build-------> http://www.tinboats.net/forum/viewtopic ... 21&t=26774


overboard
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Smoker build

Post by overboard » 04 May 2015, 12:15

We need some samples! =P~
Nice job, enjoy the rewards!

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fool4fish1226
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Smoker build

Post by fool4fish1226 » 06 May 2015, 13:27

LOOKS GOOD :beer: :beer: :beer: :beer: :beer: :beer: :beer: :beer: :beer:
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Project "A Little Snookered" http://www.tinboats.net/forum/viewtopic ... 21&t=22132

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BigTerp
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Smoker build

Post by BigTerp » 06 May 2015, 16:08

It was good!! First time I've smoke a pork butt. No way I could tend my old offset for 13 hours. I'm thinking next up will be some pork ribs, my favorite.
BigTerp's Tracker Sportsman 16' build-------> http://www.tinboats.net/forum/viewtopic ... 21&t=26774

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jethro
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Smoker build

Post by jethro » 26 May 2015, 08:28

SO I thought at the end of this story and all those pictures there would be an invite for a Tin Boats BBQ party? Guess not...

:lol:
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BigTerp
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Smoker build

Post by BigTerp » 26 May 2015, 08:41

jethro wrote:SO I thought at the end of this story and all those pictures there would be an invite for a Tin Boats BBQ party? Guess not...
:lol:
HA!! You think I want all these crazies hanging at my house?? [-X
BigTerp's Tracker Sportsman 16' build-------> http://www.tinboats.net/forum/viewtopic ... 21&t=26774

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BigTerp
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Smoker build

Post by BigTerp » 26 May 2015, 10:36

Since the butt, I have done babyback ribs and chicken legs/thighs. This smoker if freaking awesome!!

Ribs rubbed and ready to go. One with a commercial peach rub and the other with homemade Memphis dust rub.
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Smoking away....
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Done!!
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Chicken legs and thighs rubbed with my homemade poultry rub. A little spicy, but excellent.
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BigTerp's Tracker Sportsman 16' build-------> http://www.tinboats.net/forum/viewtopic ... 21&t=26774

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Ictalurus
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Smoker build

Post by Ictalurus » 26 May 2015, 14:19

Very nice! For your chicken, do you smoke until done or smoke for an hour or so and then grill to done?

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BigTerp
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Post by BigTerp » 26 May 2015, 14:34

Ictalurus wrote:Very nice! For your chicken, do you smoke until done or smoke for an hour or so and then grill to done?
Chicken is on the smoker the whole time. I ran my smoker between 300-350 for the legs/thighs. Flipped them after an hour and smoked for another hour. Biggest thigh was right at 160 after 2 hours and skin was done to perfection. The higher temp helps crisp the skin and keep it from getting rubbery, which happens if you smoke to low. I also brined the legs and thighs in 2 gallons of water with a cup of kosher salt and 2 cups brown sugar for a few hours before rubbing and smoking. I use apple or cherry wood for chicken. Pecan is supposed to be great on poultry as well. I've never tried it though.
BigTerp's Tracker Sportsman 16' build-------> http://www.tinboats.net/forum/viewtopic ... 21&t=26774

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