smoker protection/grates

Discussion in 'Wood Smokers' started by pbpilot1025, Dec 29, 2009.

  1. pbpilot1025

    pbpilot1025 Newbie

    I'm working on a smoker build right now using a 55gal drum. I was wondering what would be the best way to protect the inside of the smoker from rust (if any). Also, what would be the best type of grates to use for a low price. I'm thinking expanded steel would work fine but not sure how it would hold up over time. Thanks in advance
  2. rickw

    rickw Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Is this a uds or a a horizontal smoker?
  3. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    Welcome to SMF glad you decided to join us. As for the inside of the smoker most of us find a good coat of Pam spray or cooking oil heated up by a seasoning fire will protect the inside. Expanded metal does work well for grates if you get the heavier material or make supports so it doesn't span to great a difference and bow. The same treatment as the inside of the smoker will keep the racks rust free
  4. bbq engineer

    bbq engineer Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Use it...after your initial seasoning, fire a couple of butts it will season nicely and rust will not be an issue. It will season just like a good cast iron pan.

    Expanded metal works great for grates. If you are spanning a distance, just build a frame around it to keep it from bowing. Also, use carbon steel and not galvanized. [​IMG]
  5. pbpilot1025

    pbpilot1025 Newbie

    thanks for the tips. Also, do you think a propane tank (standard 20lb. size) would be a large enough firebox for a 55 gallon drum? It would be on its side like an offset smoker.
  6. roksmith

    roksmith Meat Mopper OTBS Member

    I would think (without doing calcuations) that a 20lb tank might be a bit on the small side. Without know what you intend to use for fuel, it's hard to tell. But 1/3 the size of the cooking chamber seems to be the norm. If you are planning on using splits, you will probably want to go bigger on the firebox, charcoal.. you might be OK.
    Expanded works great for grates.. get the flattened type to make it easier to move meat around without tearing it up and get the thickest you can. I saw 9 gauge the other day online, but I don't know what you have available. I use thinner stuff myself, but it's welded to an angle iron frame for stiffness.
    To keep it from rusting, as BBQ Eng said...use it. Once you get your first cook or two done in it, it will be seasoned enough to keep it from rusting. If you are going to clean it, don't be anal about it and clean it down to metal....and only clean it just before you cook, not after.. That's an old trick taught to me by a guy who cooks more meat on a weekend than I do all year. He lets the whole cooker, grates and all sit all nasty until he's ready to use them the next time them he hits them with a steam preasure washer just before using them. Metal can't rust if it's coated in greasy crud.

    Oh.. and another ditto from above... plain carbon steel grates.. or even stainless if you have a way to weld it, but stay away from any kind of coating...
  7. beer-b-q

    beer-b-q Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Welcome To SMF...

    Don't forget to stop by Roll Call and Introduce yourself to us and tell us a little about your equipment and experience.

    That will give everyone a chance to properly welcome you...

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