Pellet Ugly Drum Smoker – a new project

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Starting the project with some rusty old barrels


I suspect that you might be wondering why I am starting a blog post here on my personal blog by showing an iphone image of 3 old and rusty 55 gallon drums.  Well, the answer is quite simple, I am starting a project to build a pellet fired “Ugly Drum Smoker” for UDS for short.

For those that know me, you know that real BBQ is somewhat important to me.  I have had meat smokers of one style or another for many years and IMO there are few things better to eat that BBQ that is cooked low and slow over a long period of time.  I have also come to the conclusion that there is no such thing as a one size fits all, or does all, when it comes to smokers.

I have been wanting to get something that I can put a huge brisket in, set it and forget it, and have BBQ 12 to 14 hours later.  None of my current setups will allow me to do that and I have to set my alarm clock for every 2 to 3 hours to check the smoker temp, needless to say that doesn’t really let me get a lot of sleep on smoke nights.

Obviously the first thing I needed to start this project was a 55 gallon barrel, I debated for a long time as to what sort of barrel I wanted to get, I would have loved to find an unlined, food grade barrel but I simply could not find one.  I ended up finding these, which are unlined and held an alcohol based solvent, I did read the MSDS for the solvent and I am very confident that these barrels are a safe choice, especially after I give them a good burn out.  More to come on that later.

The first thing I needed to do was cut the top out of one of them.  I really thought I had the perfect tool for that in my trusty jigsaw, the problem was something broke in my saw and after about half way through the cut the blades simply would not stay in the saw.  I am a firm believer that when all other tools let you down, a reciprocating saw will always come to the rescue.

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After a lot of cursing at the broken jigsaw and grabbing the reciprocating saw to finish things off, I should have just used it in the first place, I have a barrel that is ready for a burn out.

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As I said, the next step will be burning out the barrel with a very hot fire.  I will have to wait some time for that as we are currently under a burn ban here in western Washington, but that is ok, it gives me time to assemble some of the other parts that I will need.

Stay tuned, I plan on posting the progress of my pellet fired USD build here on the blog.  I promise to have better pictures going forward also. 🙂


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