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 Post subject: Built my own smoker
 Post Posted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 5:15 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 05, 2003 8:04 am
Posts: 3480
Location: Decatur/Huntsville, Alabama
I've been wanting a smoker for a while. Kinda' hard justifying the cost since I don't grill that often. So, I did some research and found a cheap and easy way to make my own smoker called a UDS (Ugly Drum Smoker). Basically it is a 55 gallon drum with some added hardware to make it a smoker. You can build your own for around a $100-150. Here's how I did it:

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I bought a "food grade" barrel locally from a container business. It was $25 with the removable lid.

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The inside of the barrel had a thin varnish type finish, so this needs to be burned out so you don't have nasty/toxic fumes entering your food. I drilled three 1" holes near the bottom for air inlets (vents). One will have a ball valve to "fine tune" the temp. Others will have a bung that I can put a cap on.

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So, I got a couple old oak palets from my brother-in-law and took them apart. Put them in the barrel and started a fire to burn out all the varnish inside. Also, it burns off the paint on the exterior to prep for high temp paint.

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This is after the burn. I then took a wire brush on my side grinder to strip the remaining paint on the exterior. I cleaned the inside with a pressure washer, then removed any remaining crud with the wire brush.

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This is the lid after burning and cleaning. I drilled four 1" holes for smoke exhaust.

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Ready for high temp paint.

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This is the fire basket I built using expanded metal and a Weber grill fire grate, all from Home Depot. I welded it all together and put 2" legs on the bottom. I then welded a pan to the bottom of that to catch the ashes. The pan was not welded onto the bottom in this picture. This will allow me enough charcoal for a 16+ hour smoke if necessary.

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Made some handles with L-brackets and 1 1/4" dowel I had lying around.

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I mounted casters on the bottom to make it easier to move around.

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This is the (almost) "completed" smoker. The ball valve is to control air inlet to control smoker temperature.

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This is the inside. It has two racks. I can smoke a LOT of meat in this at one time. I used stainless hardware to mount the racks (grates). No zinc or galvanized parts inside smoker.

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Here it is getting ready for the first smoke. The metal plate with the holes is being used as a diffuser to help "spread" the heat more evenly. I use a Maverick 732 remote temp sensor to monitor the meat and smoker temp from inside the house. It has a temp gauge for "quick glance" temp reference. It's a little out of sync with the digital, I need to get one I can calibrate.

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Here's the first smoke. A Boston Butt. Mmmmmm, just about ready. Note the temp probe inserted in the middle for the remote temp monitor. I used apple and hickory wood chunks for the smoke flavoring. I used an off-the-shelf rub. I believe I will make my own next time. The rub I used was a little salty for my taste.

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My first completed smoke. Nice bark and color. I pulled when it reached an internal temp of 198. It really could have went a little longer. It was tender and juicy but was not as tender is some areas. I think I should have left it a little longer.

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Pulled pork, Yummm! Nice smoke ring. Had some family over and they destroyed it! :D

Gonna do ribs this weekend!

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 Post subject: Re: Built my own smoker
 Post Posted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 12:46 am 
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Joined: Wed Oct 09, 2013 6:23 pm
Posts: 475
Location: Cedar Rapids, IA
I built one as well a couple years ago. Below are some pictures and food.

Ill try and see if I can find some better ones. I made a side shelf for it as well out of some HDPE from an old employer.

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 Post subject: Re: Built my own smoker
 Post Posted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 2:50 am 
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Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2008 5:00 am
Posts: 1274
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
I like mccormick grill mates applewood rub. It was one of the first flavor I tried and stuck with.

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 Post subject: Re: Built my own smoker
 Post Posted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 8:28 am 
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MalibuRacing.com Founder
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Joined: Mon May 05, 2003 8:04 am
Posts: 3480
Location: Decatur/Huntsville, Alabama
1981Regal wrote:
I like mccormick grill mates applewood rub. It was one of the first flavor I tried and stuck with.


I've seen others recommend that.

Rodney, I found out quick that it would be nice to have a shelf. I'm definitely going to add one. I'd like to find a Weber lid also.

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Phillip Patterson - MalibuRacing Founder
Father/Son '79 Malibu 4.8 LSx Swap

Only 2 defining forces have ever offered to die for you....Jesus Christ and the American Soldier. One died for your soul, the other for your freedom.


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 Post subject: Re: Built my own smoker
 Post Posted: Fri Feb 21, 2014 1:39 am 
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Frequent Racer

Joined: Wed Oct 09, 2013 6:23 pm
Posts: 475
Location: Cedar Rapids, IA
Search craigslist for old webwra. You can pick them up for 15 or 20 bucks and use just the lid. I stole mine from my kettle but now have to get another one for it.


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 Post subject: Re: Built my own smoker
 Post Posted: Fri Feb 21, 2014 5:10 pm 
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Top Fueler
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Joined: Thu Feb 21, 2008 12:35 pm
Posts: 3298
Location: Ontario, Canada
well.....I'm hungry now.


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