What is the "Perfect" barrel for a UDS?

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by badfrog, Mar 5, 2010.

  1. badfrog

    badfrog Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    I found a source that has several barrels and different types...now I just need to know what to look for; what is the "ideal" barrel to start with for a UDS. is it possible to end up with a good result if the tops are not detachable? how would you cut it off?
    I am going to go check them out in person friday or Saturday and I will report back...
  2. ddave

    ddave Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    A removeable lid (that fits well) drum with no lid gasket and that is clean bare metal on the inside.[​IMG] Maybe a little rust on the inside but you don't want one with the reddish liner. They are a royal PITA to get out.

    Yes, several folks here have made UDSs out of closed drums.

    Drum deheader (expensive), saws all, air chisel, some have used grinders. Hopefully someone who has done it will be along with more details on cutting. Gotta be real careful about the former contents if you're going to cut it.

  3. hdsmoke

    hdsmoke Smoking Fanatic

    Yes they are...i have been fighting one for 3 burnouts now...and 12 pallets. Still quite a bit of liner in it. I gave up. Got a new barrel and now i lost all ambition after the failure caused by the liner.
  4. badfrog

    badfrog Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Bad news; I found out these barrels all are from the food industry and have a liner in them.
    Good news; I can get them with the removable lids, and as many as I want for $5.00 each.
  5. hog warden

    hog warden Smoking Fanatic

    I agree on getting one without the liner, but.........

    How hot can you get it? RED HOT from top to bottom should do it. You can do that with propane weed burner or skip the fire inside the barrel and build a hot ground fire and put the barrel on top of that. A fire inside does a good job on the top half of the drum, but not the bottom. Putting it on the fire does the whole deal. Leave the lid on to trap the heat inside. Once the barrel glows red or close to it, the liner will be gone. Once you heat up the lid, the rubber gasket will fall off.

    After it's painted and you season the inside with a test burn, and even more so after one or two smokes, the inside of the barrel will be coated black with creosote, which if my drum is any indication, will only thicken over time.

    Also, in my experience, the food grade drums are of a heavier gauge metal, which is good. Again, not the first choice, but all is not lost if that is what you have.

    Compared to the work of knocking out a closed head drum, I'd take the food grade and it's lid and deal with the liner.
  6. badfrog

    badfrog Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Thanks Hog Warden...
    you give me hope! I am planning on doing a little "early" spring yard work this weekend and we have several huge limbs that fell out of trees over the winter... should make just the kind of bon-fire you are talking about! now I am getting excited about my first UDS...now if I just had some of those really cool 2" ball valves!!!
  7. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    If you are planning on putting a charcoal dome lid on your UDS then I would get the lid first and bring it with you when you pick out your barrel. They will fit good on some barrels and not good at all on some. Just my $0.02
  8. thunderdome

    thunderdome Master of the Pit

    I find a closed drum fits the lid better, or like Wu-Tang did, using the bottom of the open drums as the top. This way the Kettle lids will fit. Most of these kettle lids don't fit the rolled lip on the top of an open drum.

    I look for closed drums (no rolled lip on either side), and plasma cut the top out, then you can use the cut-out top as an ash catcher.

    Plus, i have yet to find one that had that red liner. I would keep looking just to avoid that liner
  9. porkaholic

    porkaholic Smoke Blower

    I just finished my second UDS last weekend. Both barrels had a brown liner that came out with a good burn and a few hours work with a knotted wire wheel on my power drill. The tops were closed and all it took to get them off was to drill a pilot hole for a thick metal saber saw blade and then rest the saw on the rolled lip to cut it out. I stayed close to the rolled lip and the cut came out clean. I do agree with the comments on the liner though. If I have to make any more I would opt for a for one with no liner.
  10. hdsmoke

    hdsmoke Smoking Fanatic

    I disagree with the red hot part...i have a weed burner and this stuff is invincible. Maybe mines differnet but this stuff is TOUGH. I had that mother red hot and it didnt burn it off. I have spent a couple hours with a wire wheel on the grinder. I think i inhaled more of the damn liner doing that that if i just would have cooked with it in. I was weating a dust mask but wasnt going to buy a particulate respirator to do it! Maybe i am having a worse experience than everyone else i dont know...but i admited defeat against that darn liner.

    My new barrel has a nice coating of rust in it...that is easily knocked off with the wire wheel. So when i get the ambition to go for it again it shouldnt be bad at all. Quick burn-out wire wheel and I'll be cooking. Bad thing is i wanted it for winter! Missed that.
  11. stubborn

    stubborn Fire Starter

    I've used both for UDSs, and prefer the closed head. Here's some good info on removing the top. You may have to sign into the forum, but it's full of good info. Mods--if this isn't allowed, oops! Sorry.

    Use an angle grinder to grind the edge off the top, then a chisel to pop the lid free. Before removing my top, I ground just a bit of a nick into the edge to correspond with the seam in the drum. That way I know where to align the top when I put it back on. Helps it seal better. Seals the point that if I do an overnighter, I have to use a screwdriver and hammer to open it the next morning. The change in overnight temps draws the lid in super tight. It took me about 25 minutes, mostly because I wasn't overly familiar with using a grinder. The next one I should be able to knock out in a lot less time. Doing it this way also makes it easier to make an extended top from another drum. Just cut in the widest portion of the rib, and it'll slip right over the top...
  12. badfrog

    badfrog Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    just a thought...if that red liner doesn't come off when red hot with the weed burner, how can it come off when smoking which is MUCH less heat? AND where can I get a couple cans of that red stuff...I have a few things around here could use a good coat of "can't take it of with a torch" paint!!!!
  13. billbo

    billbo Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    It's not that it won't come off during a smoke, it will give off toxins. That liner has to go! Better yet save the aggravation and buy a new unlined drum if you can. If not you need to get that liner out.
  14. stubborn

    stubborn Fire Starter


    Proof, please? ANYTHING to back it up?

    Until then, I call this red liner hysteria a modern equivalent of an old wives' tale.

    Badfrog, I'm in the minority here, but I'd use it. If red-hot don't do it, smoking ain't gonna do it. Coat that sucker with some grease and season it.
  15. meateater

    meateater Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    After all the horror stories about a liner I bought a brand new barrel and skipped that part. Was pricey but worth it.

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