Wheels and cooking surfaces – a UDS pellet smoker update

I realize that it has been quite awhile since my last ugly drum pellet smoker project update.  There are actually a few reasons for that, and while you might think that it being winter would be the biggest, it actually has more to do with the holidays and simply not having a whole lot of free time.  Now that the holidays are well behind us, I have started moving forward again and actually hope to have the project finished by this coming weekend, who knows, maybe brisket for the big game on Sunday.

UDS Wheels


I have been debating for quite awhile what I wanted to do for legs for the new smoker.  I had come up with a number of ideas along the way but in the end, and with a little input from my wife, I decided to go with wheels instead of legs.  The wheels that you see in the picture are actually from a left over furniture dolly we had left over after our move to Olympia in 2012.  I wasn’t using it any longer and in the interest of reusing / recycling I couldn’t think of a better use for these old wheels.  Attaching them to the barrel was quite simple, just drill some holes and use some bolts to hold them in place.

I also picked up a couple round Weber replacement grill surfaces over the weekend.  They are 22″ in diameter and fit in the 55 gallon from almost perfectly.  To install them I simple attached stainless steel L brackets to the inside of the barrel and laid the grill on the L bracket.  The following picture shows the lower grill.

Bottom Grill

Lower cooking surface

As far as spacing from top to bottom of the barrel, I sort of just “eye-balled” it to what I thought would be a good place for this lower grill.  I also wanted to leave enough room under it incase I want to add another once to use as a drip pan so I can have 2 cooking surfaces, in this setup the grill you see here will hold the drip pan and the upper grill will be the cooking surface.

Top Grill

Upper cooking surface

This shot shows the upper cooking surface, as well as the lower one, in place.  For this one I installed it 5″ down from the top lip of the barrel.  My plans are to use a domed lid from something like a Weber grill as the top of the smoker, but with it being 5″ down I can still get away with something flat until I can find a domed lid that will serve my purposes, I don’t have one yet.

For the most part, I am only missing 2 components to allow me to fire this up and start cooking in it.  The first is the lid that I have already mentioned, and I can always find work arounds until I find what I am looking for, and the second is the actual pellet hopper / burner which is scheduled to be delivered today.  It should go without saying that I will be updating the blog as soon as I have it installed. 🙂


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