Burn Barrel for "True" Wood Smoking!

Discussion in 'Wood Smokers' started by soflaquer, Feb 15, 2006.

  1. saltbranch

    saltbranch Smoke Blower

    Geob is correct on opening up a drum.Even if you know it has not had flammable materials in it. If you torch it,cut with sawzall, cut off wheel... it will leave a sharp edge. Spend about 10 minutes with a pipe wrench and 3-4 lb hammer, top is cut and no sharp edges. Open pipe wrench up with about a 1/4" play for front jaw to sit over lip of barrel. Hold wrench at about a 20-30 degree angle and start hittin the top of front jaw. When holding the wrench with other hand you want to lift the back end up, to help fold the cut in. To each their own though, BTW I am not an old welder nor a young welder. Not a Welder at all, just agree with Geobs advice. I dont think its the welders getting killed by cutting up drums with a torch....thats pretty much taboo. Its mainly those not familiar with the safety issue on cutting a drum. Sure would suck to get killed for cutting a drum for a firebox. Whatever method you use, be safe. I definetly will be making one for these for the house. Thanks for the pics and sharing the idea.
  2. saltbranch

    saltbranch Smoke Blower

    Ok got my burn barrel built, "seasoned" it with a pear burner type torch to burn of paint etc. Then built a huge fire to insure all impurities were gone. That was wednesday. Thursday I took a personal day off at work[​IMG]. the pit was calling me. I put on a 11lb brisket using Dutch's method and 2 racks of BB ribs, did one like I like and 1 with 2-2-1 I read about here. Oh yea did the smoke corn thing too. The brisket fell apart when I went to pick it up with my tongs! a 1st for me.

    All I can say is this was by far my best smoke ever! It was also my first TBS smoke, normally we have the white billowing smoke. The burn barrel made it extremely easy to control the temps. I did go thruogh alot of wood, but the finished product made it more than worth while. I think with experience I can cut down on the amount would used.
    I took a plate to my in laws and parents for a taste test, they are now offering to buy the meat for me to cook [​IMG] Took some brisket to work, it was a major hit.
    Tomorrow I have a dozen ears of corn to do, thinking about doing some ABT's with an apple/pineapple/cream cheese filling. Going to try the potato's too.
    Sundays plans are to dull the new chain saw blade I bought tonight.
    Thanks to everyone here for sharing ideas!
    BTW- smoke was on store bought mesquite chunks and logs.
  3. dirtman775

    dirtman775 Smoking Fanatic

    does anyone know what kind of rig this is???????....i love it
  4. dirtman775

    dirtman775 Smoking Fanatic

    never mind i found it[​IMG]
  5. dirtman775

    dirtman775 Smoking Fanatic

    Are split's added in the initinal start of the burn?....in the fire box?
  6. Where can i order a 50 gallon drum? (i can get them easy from working in the oil industry but i never know what was in them)
  7. jdt

    jdt Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    look around for coops and animal feed manufacturers, they get various food grade oils as well as molassis in drums
  8. marknb

    marknb Meat Mopper

    Lol! Is that just a coincidence that your barrel happens to perfectly fit an old charcoal bbq lid? I've never noticed it anywhere before anyway. A nice conspiracy between the barrel and bbq companies, methinks!
  9. I fired up the new Treager today and have been smoking chicken and boston Butts all day

    Happy SmokeN'

    Sunny St. Petersburg, FL
  10. dmack

    dmack Smoke Blower

    Any of you that have made a burn barrel I just posted an ad on Craigslist looking for a food grade barrel for a burn barrel. Just had a thought. At our local hardware store they sell galvanized trash cans. They even have small ones-somewhere around 20 gallons. I have a Horizon 16 so I don't really want a huge burn barrel. What do you think about one of these for this application? Will that metal stand up to the heat? Is there a problem using galvanized metal given the fact that I'll only be using embers?

  11. twanger1994

    twanger1994 Fire Starter

    My local liquor store wants a ten dollar deposit on the barrels of beer... Not a bad price. Though you will need a torch to cut it. and a welder to create a base for logs. I Am a home brewer and have made a few into boil pots. I know they can handle 155,000 BTU from a flame thrower I use to boil 10-15 gallons of water/wort in a few mins. I imagine a few logs should be fine. just a thought...

    BTW newby to the site but seasoned smoker and love it already... thnx everyone...
  12. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I totally agree with Sloflacker. I use the burnbarrel on overnight cooks also;

    and it is the cleanest fire you'll ever get. Yes, it does use a bit more wood, but isn't perfection what we're after? This will give you that absolute pristine BBQ.

    You can burn a greener wood also;burning the creosote and nasties off before introduction to the firebox.

    The lighting of the wood is mute. Doesn't matter how , as long as starter fliud or charcoal aren't in the mix[​IMG]. Weed Burner, Gas assist, or the Boy Scout way.It's ALL good.
  13. gnubee

    gnubee Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    How is this Thread not a sticky. [​IMG]

    Yahoo now it is. Colour me happy.
  14. I am so glad to read this post because my buddies have been giving me a hard time for "cooking" my wood on my gas grill before I put it in the smoker. I don't know how I first got to start doing that, but it certainly seems to work. The gas grill approach is a pretty good method too... at least from a convenience perspective. I just stick the logs on the gas grill and hit it with high heat for 30 mins or so until all the water / volatile organics have burned off.

    It definitely cleans up the smoke flavor quite a bit, and the other side benefit is that you avoid some of the temperature roller-coaster that comes with throwing on cold wood. Think of it this way - there is an energy of activation that comes with most reaction, and in this case, that consists of the firebox needing to add heat to the log to get it up to combustion temperature, and burn off all the water and VOCs in the log. So, when you need some extra fuel, it actually depresses the temp a bit when you throw it on, and you risk kicking off creosote... then the temp spikes after the log gets past the activation energy threshold and starts kicking off energy of it's own. Treating the wood makes for an amazingly smooth temp profile. Maybe not a big deal in a giant lang or something, but certainly in my small, crappy UDS.

    But seriously, I tend to my logs on the grill more closely than most people watch their steaks. hahaa.

    Great thread!
  15. marty catka

    marty catka Meat Mopper

    Great concept! Just what I had in mind when the group goes camping. We keep a fire going at all times and my plan was to take those embers and coals from the campfire and use it to feed the smoker! I had never thought of using a burn barrel for my home cooks. I tried that with a patio fire pit, but could not get enough coals to make it work. I can see how you would go through a lot of wood though!
  16. wyatt2050

    wyatt2050 Fire Starter

    Does anyone have a lang 84 deluxe that uses this method?  I really want to try it and was wondering how much fuel you need to put in the firebox to bring it up to temp and how often do you add? All comments are welcomed on any stick burner. Thanks
  17. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I agree with Jeff wholeheartedly[​IMG]  It is the best way to get the temp. you want and flavor.I throw sticks in my Tejas some, but the pre-burn method is the BEST[​IMG]  and for those who fuss about paying for wood... look around as you go places,you will be surprised at what people have around;and don't be afraid to ask people, they can only say no[​IMG].  I got a whole Hickory tree from a guy up here.Then again , I don't care what people think of me , I just pull my belt up and ask.[​IMG]

    But , truly , the flavor is improved.

    Try it and judge for yourself , and as always.
  18. I built a burn barrel setup for "TRUE" wood smoking of a 30# Thanksgiving Turkey.  We did an all night cook and had to do quite a bit of experimenting with the coals.  After about 7 hours of trial and error, we came to the conclusion that the wood chunks that we were burning should only be slightly larger than the holes in the grate that they are resting on.  The full size logs that we originally put in the barrel burned well but were only dropping small 1 inch by 1 inch average size coals.  These small coals worked fine, but seemed to create a lot of ash in the firebox.  When we adjusted the size of the wood we were throwing in the fire, the coals started to fit what we had expected.  I'm sure the neighbors did not appreciate the chainsaw at midnight on Thanksgiving Eve, but it worked out well for us.  The end result was incredible, going with fresh burned hickory, apple, white oak and cherry was perfect.  Normally I have been using Cowboy brand Lump, and Humphrey Lump.  I have a set it and forget it smoker, and the burn barrel just gave me the best of both worlds to complete my setup.  If you have the time and lots of wood I highly recommend this method.  Next step, conveting it to make my own lump charcoal as well.  
  19. matt thomas

    matt thomas Newbie

    Ok quick question to the author of this thread. Can i use the embers from the burn barel to fuel my UDS or weber grill?

    What if i used just pure lump and got that to the ember stage? as in light it up in a chimney and when its all red hot, use that as the fuel? will that create the same thin blue smoke as real splits burned down to embers?


    EDIT. i used to have an active account here but i dont rememebr my user name, haha so im logged in via facebook until i figure it out.
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2013
  20. smokinclt

    smokinclt Meat Mopper

    FatCap that is too funny. I do the same thing and people always look at me like I have 2 heads. I do have a Lang 60 and still do it with that. I find that this produces the best sticks for burning. I also use a firepit I got at home depot on longer smokes and do the clean burn method. It works for me because I get a nice fire to sit by when its cold and people just seem to love hanging out by a nice fire. Beer and fire are a great mix no matter what anyone says about the dangers of drinking and an open fire! 

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