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Double-drum Smoker

by J. Miller
  • Double-drum Smoker
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  • Project Description

    After taking a beginner's welding class last fall I decided to make a smoker as a Christmas gift for my brother-in-law. I used two 55-gallon steel drums, intersecting in a "T" shape with doors cut out of both barrels. This provides a lower chamber for charcoal or wood (for which I fabricated an expanded steel basket and a steel fire grate, respectively) and an upper chamber for the food to be smoked. In between the two chambers I drilled several large holes for heat and smoke to pass through, and fabricated a removable sheet metal baffle to serve as a drip tray and to deflect/absorb some of the direct heat. The removable grates for the food are fabricated from 1/4" 304 stainless steel rods that were welded together at the intersection points. The doors were both made from the cut-out section of each barrel, reinforced with sheet metal ribs to stiffen the rather thin steel. Likewise, the openings were reinforced with sheet metal strips to both improve their stiffness and prevent major smoke and heat leakage. I drilled several vent openings in the upper and lower barrels, and fabricated some adjustable stainless steel covers to provide control of the air flow through the smoker. These control covers (and the doors) were then fitted with turned maple handles to prevent burned fingers. I mounted the doors with stainless hinges and latches and fitted the lid with a stainless smoker thermometer. The finished assembly was painted with "high-heat" BBQ paint (after grinding off all of the original paint from the barrels). See for much more detail & photos. Materials and Tools: materials: - two 55-gallon drums - various 16 ga. steel sheet (door reinforcements, drip tray) - 1/2" square steel bar stock for fire grate - expanded steel sheet for charcoal basket - 1/4" steel rod for charcoal basket handles - 1/4" 304 stainless steel rods for food grates - 1" maple dowel for handles - 304 stainless steel hinges and draw latches for doors - Rust-o-leum High Heat paint - BBQ/smoker thermometer - assorted screws & nuts tools: - 120V MIG welder with C25 gas - 220V stick welder with stainless rods (for the cooking grates, as I don't have a tri-mix tank for the MIG) - CAD software for modeling the shape of the "pipe joint" between the two barrels - jig saw w/ metal cutting blade for cutting the drums - angle grinder... with grinding disc for assorted grinding, and with paint removal pads for stripping paint from barrels - abrasive cut-off saw for cutting rods and tube (for the feet) - drill press and cordless drill with step bit for drilling vent holes - lathe for turning maple handles the following tools were available at my welding class: - throatless shear, manual bending brake and slip roll (for cutting & forming door opening reinforcements and rolling charcoal basket) - tube/bar bender for forming fire grate

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